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Multiple Sclerosis and Celiac Disease

The following research was compiled by Don Wiss and posted on the Celiac Listserv news group:

The MS/gluten/casein connection is mostly only anecdotal as it has never really been studied. This is what I have (much contributed by Ron Hoggan):

(1) Roger MacDougall was a famous British playwright, who was diagnosed with MS in the 1950s. The doctors felt it was best to keep the information from him. They thought it was in his best interests not to tell him what he had. It was not until he was bedridden that he learned what illness he had. When he knew about it, he did some reading, and went on a gluten & casein free diet. He recovered almost totally. This is from Can a Gluten-Free Diet Help? How? by Lloyd Rosenvold, M.D., [Keats Publishing, 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT 06840-0876, 1992, ISBN 0-87983-538-9]. MacDougall eventually wrote a pamphlet titled My Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis, pub 1980 by Regenics Inc, Mansfield, Ohio. Rosenvold also includes some other anecdotes in his book.

(2) In the Oct. 5, 1974, Lancet, Dr. Norman A. Mathesons letter Multiple Sclerosis and Diet was published on p. 831, wherein he outlined his having been diagnosed with MS and subsequently reading Roger MacDougalls story. He then described his return to good health and ended with: I thank Roger MacDougall, whose diet made it possible to carry out these observations.

(3) Ashton Embry has written an article MS - probable cause and best-bet treatment in which he discusses the dietary and food allergy links to MS.

(4) In Gluten Intolerance by Beatrice Trum Hunter, Keats Publishing Inc. New Canaan, CT. ISBN 0-87983435-8 She talks about a Dr. R. Shatin in Australia who has suggested that an inherited susceptibility to multiple sclerosis is from a primary lesion in the small intestine resulting from gluten intolerance, and that the demyelination is secondary. Shatin suggested that the high incidence of multiple sclerosis in Canada, Scotland and western Ireland may be related to the predominant consumption of Canadian hard wheat, which has the highest gluten content of all wheat varieties. In contrast, the incidence of multiple sclerosis is low among indigenous Equatorial Africans who mainly consume non-gluten containing grains such as millet.

(5) In Multiple Sclerosis, by Jan de Vries, Mainstream Publishing, (Thorntons?) UK it recommends absolutely no gluten and very high reduction of dairy products, refined sugar, and saturated fats. He says that one of his most successful case studies, confirm that absolutely not one pinch if flour i.e. absolutely no gluten at all... otherwise you are deceiving yourself.

(6) According to Dr. Joe Murray at the University of Iowa there is the possibility that the MS patient suffers from a neurological complication of undiagnosed celiac disease. About 5% of celiac patients get nerve damage that can vary from tingling and numbness in the feet to confusion, memory loss, dizziness and loss of balance, visual abnormalities. This sometimes happen in the absence of GI symptoms.

(7) Lutz, W.J., The Colonization of Europe and Our Western Diseases, Medical Hypotheses, Vol. 45, pages 115-120, 1995

Dr. Lutz argues that there is a clear, inverse relationship between civilisatory diseases and the length of time the people of a given region of Europe have had to adapt to the high carbohydrate diet associated with the cultivation of cereal grains that was begun in the Near East, and spread very slowly through Europe.

I quote from the first page of the article:

In over thirty years of clinical practice, I have found, as published in numerous papers and several books (3, 4), that diet works well against Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, heart failure, acne and other problems.

Don Wiss can e-mail a copy of the article text to those requesting.

(8) There is a fellow named Dave Q that has recovered with a gluten-free diet and lots of supplements. He discusses this, along with other recovery stories.

(9) There is supposedly a newsgroup for those interested in Natural Recovery of MS. Its alt.support.mult-sclerosis.alternatives. Ask your system administrator to add it if you cant find it. But it seems to be hard to find.

(10) A page on Milk and MS is from the Carbondale Center for Macrobiotic Studies and blames dairy for the distribution of MS. Visit: http://www.macrobiotic.org/health3.html

(11) The following is a list of articles in medical journals, which were published at about the time that prednisone became popular in the treatment of MS. They appear to connect MS with celiac-like intestinal morphology.

  • Cook, Gupta, Pertschuk, Nidzgorski Multiple Sclerosis and Malabsorption Lancet; June 24, 1978, p. 1366
  • Fantelli, Mitsumoto & Sebek Multiple Sclerosis and Malabsorption Lancet May 13, 1978 p. 1039-1040
  • Davison, Humphrey, Livesedge et al. Multiple Sclerosis Research Elsevier Scientific Publishing New York, 1975

I find it curious that the connection between malabsorption and MS stopped at about the same time that prednisone and other such steroids became the treatment of choice for MS. As Im sure you know, prednisone incites the re-growth of the villi despite the ingestion of gluten, in the celiac gut. Investigators who did endoscopies on MS patients admit that they have not asked about the patients use of such drugs.

(12) Some literature from the celiac view point:

  • Drs. Cooke & Holmes in Celiac Disease 1984; Churchill Livingstone, NY say that 10% of celiacs have neuropathic symptoms. Many appear to be associated with demyelination. Fineli et. al. echo that figure in Adult celiac disease presenting as cerebellar syndrome Neurology 1980; 30: 245-249.
  • Cooke & Holmes come right out and express some of their frustration with neurologists for ignoring the potiential for neuropathic celiac.
  • A new school has emerged, on the heels of the following report:
  • Hadjivassiliou, et. al. Does cryptic gluten sensitivity play a part in neurological illness? Lancet 1996; 347: 369-371
  • They found that 57 percent of those with neurological problems of unknown cause also had antibodies to gliadin, which is a component of gluten. Sixteen percent of them had celiac disease, a much higher level than normally found. Most of the patients with the anti-gliadin antibodies did not have other symptoms of celiac disease such as poor absorption of vitamins.

(13) There is supposedly a book on MS written by a Greg Nooney, a fellow that has cured himself with a gluten-free diet. He may be in Colorado.

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37 Responses:

 
kurt
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said this on
10 Jun 2008 8:09:08 PM PST
PHENOMENAL!!! I forwarded to a friend with MS, I am praying this is of great help for her!!

 
danielle
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said this on
29 Jun 2008 9:40:41 AM PST
Thank you. keep up the good work.

 
Urno
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said this on
07 Sep 2008 4:38:40 AM PST
I was diagnosed with relapsing & remitting MS 18 months ago and have been following a gluten free and dairy free diet for almost one year now. I have not had any further relapses since my diagnosis, and while I cannot prove that this is due to the diet, my general health has certainly improved because of it.
Frankly, the science makes sense.

 
liliana
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said this on
27 Jan 2015 9:26:34 AM PST
How are you today ? I have ON and afraid for the future. Was the diet useful???

 
Lisa
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said this on
12 Sep 2008 6:36:55 AM PST
I have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and subsequently went on a diet free of: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and carragean. I am on no medications for Multiple Sclerosis after 2 1/2 years on the diet. It has completely changed my life -- more research in this area is clearly needed.

 
Carol
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said this on
25 Mar 2010 5:21:05 AM PST
Hi Lisa,

I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2000. I was just diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and I'm supposed to start medication this week. I still have doubts about going on the medication but I'm scared that if I don't take the medication that I'll do additional damage.

 
Carole D
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said this on
06 Aug 2012 1:09:12 AM PST
Try doctor Terry Whal's diet. She is a doctor recovering from advance multiple sclerosis. I do the same and do not take medicines. I feel great! You can find her on the web.

 
ahmed
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said this on
03 Aug 2012 1:22:55 PM PST
Dear Lisa,

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 12 years ago. I am suffering spasticity and fatigue. I started a nearly gluten and dairy free diet for about 4 months. I started to feel better concerning fatigue, but I inquire about your regime. Does it contain corn, rice or soya?

Please help. Thank you!

 
Lyndy Werdin
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said this on
13 Sep 2008 9:06:42 AM PST
I'm willing to try it as I have some weight to lose and the gal who sent me this literature lost weight dramatically a year ago.

 
beata mione
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said this on
08 Nov 2008 6:32:33 PM PST
Thank you!

 
sarah
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said this on
19 Jan 2009 9:40:57 AM PST
Thank you for this article. I am currently doing my Thesis on this topic after knowing a loved one who saw amazing results with their Multiple Sclerosis after doing a gluten-free diet. If anyone reads this who has MS and would like to help me with my thesis (I need individuals testimony) I would greatly appreciate it!!!!

 
Marco
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said this on
07 Feb 2010 8:22:19 AM PST
Have you finished your thesis? Would I be able to read it?

 
John Whiting
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said this on
25 Sep 2010 11:01:00 AM PST
Sarah,

I have been diagnosed with celiac for more than forty years, I have followed a gluten free diet for that amount of time. I have just recently been diagnosed with MS. My intuition tells me that the MS is related to the celiac, even though i have followed a gluten free diet. I am interested in more information, if you know of any.

Thank you.

 
Alesia
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said this on
07 Dec 2010 5:39:25 PM PST
I too would love to read your thesis. I have a 15 year old with many celiac symptoms-never tested, and a new diagnosis of possible MS.

 
Paul
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said this on
17 Mar 2009 11:30:15 PM PST
Message for Sarah...my daughter who is now 20 living in Toronto has gluten allergic (i.e., celiac).
She has just recently displayed symptoms of MS. Currently not yet 100% confirmed, despite MRI's etc.
I believe there is a connection. She has been cheating on the diet lately and now has these symptoms. She plans on now strictly adhering to diet so she might be a good case study and hopefully please god a success story too.

 
Claudia
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said this on
05 May 2009 2:31:56 PM PST
I have Celiac and I am have been gluten free for 5 years. I'm currently being tested for MS due to balance issues. Thanks for this article, I was wondering if there could be a connection.

 
Kathy
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said this on
02 Aug 2009 4:26:00 AM PST
Thank you for your website and this article. I was diagnosed with MS in 2002. My MD (not my neurologist) recommended that I go on the Gluten and Casein free diet. I have been gluten free for almost 5 months, but I have not yet eliminated dairy completely. I recently found out that my sister has celiac disease; my sister and I speculate that our mother's (now diseased) gastrointestinal issues were a manifestation of her celiac disease.

 
Cdc
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said this on
10 Aug 2009 9:57:44 PM PST
Thank you for creating this site in 1994. I developed gluten intolerance in 1995 and your site was the first and only place I found the info I needed to get my life back!

 
GSS
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said this on
09 Sep 2009 12:57:10 PM PST
My mother was diagnosed with MS in 1991 and she passed away in 2008. I started getting the similar symptoms of balance problem, eyesight problem, numbness in right leg and difficulty walking. I read Roger Macdougall example and went on Gluten and Dairy free diet and I got a positive response within few weeks but lately I am cheating on my diet to see if the symptoms do re occur and I was surprised to see that it does.
Now I am completely on gluten free but occasionally I do grab some pizza once a week, cant resist that.

 
Ryan
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said this on
14 Sep 2009 3:38:37 PM PST
There is gluten free PIZZA!!! There are many brands of gluten free frozen crusts!!!! They are all very good, I am a pizza addict myself - and friends that have tried them who aren't even on a gluten free diet love them. I hope this helps...

 
Mel
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said this on
26 Oct 2010 9:30:26 AM PST
Studies have said that a single gluten exposure can remain in the body for as long as 6 months. Please for your own health sake don't cheat. There are plenty of gluten free options out there. When your body is attacking nerve tissue in response to eating gluten...you don't want to mess around with that.

 
rosalind thompson
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said this on
26 Oct 2009 3:53:25 PM PST
I was very interested in your article because I just started using a product called ISAGENIX which is a colon cleansing product with vitamin replacement as well and my arthritis has completely gone, no more stiffness in my joints , and my psoriasis has begun to disappear. Also of note I am Canadian of Scottish heritage and while at the seminar for this product they mentioned that one lady had multiple sclerosis whom the doctors had told she would be in a wheelchair soon and now she is totally symptom free. I am also a retired critical care nurse so if you know of anyone who is curious about hearing more about this product they can email me.

 
Jennifer Morrison
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said this on
01 Mar 2015 4:29:56 PM PST
Rosalind - I am very interested to know about that RX for arthritis. As a retired med. tech I wondered if my arthritis was from running to the ER for many years. I am really interested in that arthritis remedy.

 
Jerrie Burnside
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said this on
28 Feb 2010 8:32:43 AM PST
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis back in 1991 and I just found out that I have celiac,. Reading this article was very interesting to me; any info on the subject would be appreciated. Thank you!

 
Theresa
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said this on
17 Aug 2010 2:42:31 PM PST
I was diagnosed with MS in 2003. About 3 years ago, I saw a gastro and was diagnosed with IBS. He did not go any further with testing for celiac. A couple of months ago, I read interesting things about gluten free and MS, so I have been gluten free for about a month now and no longer have the diarrhea issues or constant need to go to the bathroom. I have decided to get tested for celiac just to make sure. I have not noticed any differences with my MS yet - but time will tell

 
Hope
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said this on
07 Sep 2010 1:40:32 PM PST
I do not have MS but I have lost the myelin sheaths in my legs from a reaction to Lipitor, the cholesterol medicine. I was put on a gluten free, lactose free and no meat diet and started walking better in 90 hours! There is no gluten product in the world that tempts me!

 
shireen
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said this on
22 Oct 2010 8:25:06 PM PST
I have probably been a ceoliac all my life but was diagnosed in 1994. My brother has primary progressive MS and has deteriorated very quickly. A very interesting article indeed.

 
nick masri
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said this on
22 Oct 2010 11:42:54 PM PST
Thanks for all the information, I have MS and from now on I will be starting my gluten free diet and upon any progress, I will post it here.

 
Margaret
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said this on
15 Nov 2010 6:06:58 PM PST
I was diagnosed with celiac disease 7 years ago. I adhere to a strict gluten free diet. I've also been diagnosed with IBS, hiatel hernia, GERD and gastroparesis. Prior to my diagnosis, I was vomiting constantly, lost 25 pounds in two weeks because I was so sick. After being on the gluten free diet for a short time, my stomach didn't hurt anymore. The toughest year was the first year because everything I tried to bake fell apart without the gluten. Then I discovered a wonderful ingredient, xanthum gum which acts like gluten holding things together. I'm in the process of writing my own gluten free cookbook as I have had to convert many of my favorite recipes to gluten free. I also have a sister who has MS. I'm going to inform her of this website. Thank -you.

 
Saffina
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said this on
28 Nov 2010 6:33:51 PM PST
Very interesting article.

I have had MS for almost 3 years, and my burning hands symptom made the eczema on my hand quite bad. Being of Asian origin, our staple diet is made up of chappati’s which is made of whole wheat flour. Thankfully the eczema made me ditch the chappati’s as I could not handle the dough, due to the added allergic reaction and without realizing it made my MS go into remission. I was also taking chlorella at the time which helped repair the damage in no time (I refused treatment, so I was not taking any drugs to weaken the immune system). I still had some remission symptoms which subsided completely after 2 weeks on vitamin D3 5,000iu daily.

Considering the neuro who diagnosed me with the prognosis of “I can confirm you have had 2 relapses of MS, and generally the disability in Asians is very severe.” I feel blessed and I have always focused on healing. As the Law of Attraction states “what you focus on expands”.

 
Alesia
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said this on
07 Dec 2010 5:38:00 PM PST
My 15 year old daughter has been diagnosed with pre-MS, demylination of the brain on MRI. She has had GI issues for 10 years following a severe intestinal virus. I often suspected IBS and then as she got older I considered celiac but a short trial of a gluten free diet put her over the top-she hated the food. Now with her new diagnosis, we are day 5 of a gluten free diet and we are committed as a family. I wish I had known about the connection sooner. They want her to start MS drugs to halt the progression. We are definitely going Gluten -Free. and unsure about starting copaxone..open to any and all comments....scarey. But so grateful for the hope this gluten free diet offers. Thank you.

 
ambrogio
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said this on
26 Dec 2010 4:27:19 PM PST
Thanks for the information, we are reading from Italy. My wife 7 years ago started to have diarrhea problems, this for 2 years: the doctor said that was because we were just married and my wife was still nervous for the change of life. 5 years ago she had a gastro inspection to understand possible celiac problems cause she understood that a diet without gluten was better: the day before the gastro inspection she assumed gluten (in order to let them discover better) but in the day of inspection she had the first attack of SM with paresis. 1 years late(4 years ago) -during the gluten free diet- doctors asked her to start again with gluten-free diet-: she had the 2nd attack and started interferon. 1 month ago she had a visit in another hospital for understand intolerance: we brought the old exams on glasses, the result was she is/was celiac.... the first hospital wrong the exams result.... Is she little MS and than celiac Or she is celiac and little MS.

 
Beau
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said this on
14 Jun 2011 1:37:06 AM PST
2007 had a full-scale MS blow out - degenerated, full 1.5 yrs in bed and dying. Within a couple of days of dying, friend suggested possible gluten Intolerance. We'd never even heard of it before (this was before the awareness craze!). Started the diet that hour. Within a day could understand and speak English again, the next day I could sit up, the next could hold a fork. Remarkable recovery off my death bed, though I had been so far gone with full body systemic shut down that it took another 3 years to heal using foods, nutrition, herbs and getting OFF 15 drugs that ultimately were killing me. For a year after completely healed, I walked, hiked, and swam at the gym 5-6 days a week and had my life back! But this past month, I am in full neurological melt down again. Don't know if I am being inadvertently exposed to gluten or if it's some toxin in my environment - or what. Running out of time and tricks. But I swear there's a direct connection with our gut issues, immune system, gluten intolerance and neuro symptoms (for some of us.) Looking into medicinal pot next as I've seen new studies regarding benefits of cannabis on MS.

 
Emmy
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said this on
31 Mar 2016 6:16:41 AM PST
Did you also give up dairy. I keep reading that people with MS do that too.

 
lynne
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said this on
07 Jul 2012 5:35:04 PM PST
I love this information. I am now being tested for celiac disease. I am 58 years old and I was recently diagnosed with Addison's disease and I am of course on steroids. I look back and have had do very many autoimmune diseases and am so praying that I am finally going to have understanding of my poor health and can live the rest of my life feeling much better. I will be sure to pass this information on. Thank you

 
James Bostrom
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said this on
18 Sep 2012 2:18:56 AM PST
While some MS patients who have had the liberation therapy are reporting long-term benefits from having the procedure, there are just as many for whom the ‘liberation therapy’ has failed as an effective therapeutic intervention. This doesn’t mean that these patients didn’t have some immediate benefits once the neck veins were opened; most did, but over time the veins restenosed again and their MS symptoms returned. In fact, having seen their MS symptoms almost totally disappear however briefly once their veins were cleared, patients who have restenosed want it done over again, as many times as necessary in some cases. However, there is now a new and growing subset of MS patients who have had vein widening venoplasty multiple times, usually to less beneficial effect each time, leading to the later discovery of so much intraluminal scar tissue by the second, third, or fourth attempt at re-opening the veins that the procedure cannot be performed again. For more information on the combination therapy protocol and study email to apply@ccsviclinic.ca or call 888-468-1554.

 
mary
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said this on
20 Sep 2012 3:25:36 PM PST
I'm grateful for this!!! I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007 and two days ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I am astonished not one of the many doctors I have seen ever mentioned the connection. I saw a naturopath that told me to eat "anti-inflammatory" but not glutten-free. I am 38 and have been falling apart for the last 5 years on and off. I treat multiple sclerosis with a daily injection and have tried the anti-inflammatory(not 100%) way and I have lost 60% of my hair, and just recently had a disc herniate in my cervical spine that led to surgery and now this. Some of you gave me some hope, thank you! I am angry that I had to ask to be tested and that these neurologists and MDs dont have a clue! You have to be your own doctor, I guess.




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