Brain Fog Improves on Gluten-Free Diet in People with Celiac Disease

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Celiac disease is a condition that involves damage to the small intestines as a result of an inflammatory response to gluten from the diet.

People with celiac disease commonly report that they experience brain fog, which can include difficulty concentrating, trouble paying attention, lapses in short-term memory, difficulty finding words, temporary loss in mental sharpness or creativity, and confusion or disorientation. These same patients usually report that the brain fog dissipates after following a gluten-free diet for a period of time.

Until recently, these reports of improved symptoms after following a gluten-free diet were confined to doctors’ offices and patients’ homes. It was all anecdotal. No studies had been done to confirm or deny the phenomenon. A recent study published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, is confirming what these patients and doctors have known for so long. They found that recently-diagnosed celiac patients with brain fog improved their cognitive function after following a gluten-free diet for a year.

“The study outcomes highlight the importance for individuals with celiac disease of maintaining a gluten-free diet not just for physical well-being but also for mental well-being,” stated Greg Yelland, PhD, lead researcher.

Improvements in short-term memory, movement, and processing speed in these patients occurred along with a healing and recovery of their intestinal lining. Before the diet, the patients were functioning at the level of someone with severe jet lag, and by the end of the study their cognitive function was the equivalent of someone who had recovered from jet leg over a 24-hour period.

This study is important because brain fog may be a sign of underlying celiac disease in people who are undiagnosed. An astonishing 83 percent of people with celiac disease have not been diagnosed with the disease.

I know that brain fog is a common symptom in so many people. It’s not just celiac disease, but also gluten sensitivity that underlies symptoms of brain fog. So many people find that they feel better—mentally and physically—after following a gluten-free diet. If you experience brain fog, you may want to consider this option as well.