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Gluten = Learning Disabilities + Behavior Problems

February 26, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Many studies have been done, reports and books written and differing opinions given as to whether or not gluten is a factor in learning and behavior difficulties. I’m no scientist, but when my formerly happy and bright high schooler could no longer think clearly or function in school or out, I became well aware that removing gluten from the diet can make amazing improvements in the brain, not in all cases, but definitely in some. I don’t need a study or a book to tell me that there is something to this idea.

No longer a high schooler, and back to his quick thinking, sharp, and witty self – my gluten free son can attest to the ill effects of gluten on learning in his own life as well.

Below is an excerpt of an article called: “How Gluten Grains Can Impede Scholastic Achievement,“ By Ron Hoggan, Ed D. The author is also co-author of Dangerous Grains and is editor of Scott-Free Newsletter, a publication that serves the celiac and gluten sensitive community.

A growing body of evidence is now demonstrating that our gluten consumption is also helping to create and/or exacerbate the behavior and learning problems that beset our children.

Gluten grains have been shown to cause neurological damage. They incite an autoimmune attack on neurological tissues through a process called molecular mimicry. Gliadin, a protein sub-group of gluten, has also been shown to be cytotoxic causing the destruction of a range of tissues including neurological cells. Whether directly or indirectly, gluten grains are clearly causing neurological damage, some of which may be connected to learning disabilities and behavior problems. Thus, it is now clear that genetic susceptibility, when combined with gluten consumption, can result in compromised learning readiness in a small but significant percentage of the population.

Several reports indicate that the learning and behavior problems associated with celiac disease are abolished after six months to one year of strict compliance with a gluten free diet. In the context of gluten sensitivity, which is found in 11% to 12% of random groups in the U.S. and U.K. similar improvements were observed in learning readiness after at least three months of strict compliance with a gluten-free diet.

The parallels are clear. Behavior and learning problems in the context of gluten sensitivity should be treated with a gluten-free diet. We have observed almost as dramatic a positive response to the gluten free diet among gluten sensitive patients with signs and symptoms suggestive of learning and/or behavior problems as is reported for celiac children.

Read the whole article here.


3 Responses to “Gluten = Learning Disabilities + Behavior Problems”
  1. Nancy, thanks for sharing this first hand experience! It is such a controversy whether or not a gluten-free diet can help improve behavior, concentration and well-being in children. Some swear by it, others say it’s all bogus. Especially in the context of autism and the so-called “leaky gut” this is an intensely discussed topic.
    I think that it is definitely worth a try for anyone because it won’t hurt and and definitely won’t worsen then situation. The “worst” case is no improvement, so I find it difficult to understand why some people argue so emotionally against even trying a gluten-free diet when they don’t even know whether or not it will mean improvement in their children’s quality of life…

  2. gloria E renderos says:

    I am so glad >Ihave found this article, since I know five children in my family have a gluten sensitivity and also have a very weak learning disab9lity. Unable to pass testing, which have caused a very low self image along the school years. This is an eye opening article. Thanks

  3. Mikek says:

    There are other factors as well. MSG and fluorinated water reduces IQ.

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