This is a fascinating question with many answers waiting to be revealed through studies yet to be conducted, in and outside the context of celiac disease. But individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease who have reported “brain fog” as a symptom, and found that the “cloud” miraculously lifted after going on the gluten-free diet, will swear that gluten affects their brain.
Individual stories abound in which people, celiac and nonceliac gluten intolerant alike, found one or more of the following scenarios to be true after permanently following the gluten free diet:
1. Improved concentration and focus; clearer thinking
2. Improved mood and outlook on life; depression lifted
3. Improved interest in learning, memory retention, and intellectual faculty
4. Improved energy level
5. Stopped medications previously prescribed for a psychiatric disorder
Though there is no voluminous body of scientifically supported knowledge that endorses these claims, the answers are undeniably intriguing.
There remains much to be explored about the brain-stomach-gluten connection, and gluten intolerance is bringing much needed attention to this hypothesis. How does gluten affect the brain tissue and the workings of the brain? Or, how can certain functions in the body, such as digestion, affect the brain when they aren’t working properly? Clearly, frequent bouts of gluten-produced abdominal pain can surely be a damper on one’s outlook on life!
While research is suggestive of definite links between gluten and the brain, much remains sheer speculation. Perhaps we are simply in the midst of an interesting evolution where science and medicine have not yet caught up to the large body of personal, anecdotal experience that claims beyond a reasonable doubt that gluten affects the brain. Many a gluten-free individual will gladly remain gluten-free to keep their minds happy on many different levels, and they won’t wait for the science to prove them correct.