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Is there a link between Parkinson's Disease and Gluten Intolerance/Celiac Disease?

I caught a spot on Oprah today with the actor Michael J. Fox discussing his battle with the neurological symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. He's always been an engaging persona, and I enjoyed the segment. As a nurse, I've always had a strong interest in neurological disorders, and have done a lot of reading on the links between Celiac disease and neurological disorders, especially gluten ataxia. At this point, Michael's symptoms are very noticeable and greatly affect the day-to-day activities of his life. Toward the end of the segment, he related that many of his symptoms "mysteriously disappeared" on a recent trip to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Dr. Mahmet Oz, Oprah's frequent medical spokesman, was also a guest on the show, and was tossing out ideas of why this might be, everything from "they eat a lot of chili's" to the benefits of high altitude, or on medications that Michael took to help with adapting to the altitude. But, I grew very excited by the prospect that Michael J. Fox's improvement was a response to, however accidental, a gluten-free diet! Because, I knew from personal experience that the diet in this part of Asia is largely based on daily consumption of dhalbhat, or rice and dahl (small yellow lentils). Fresh vegetables are rare at high altitudes, but the diet is supplemented by occasional meat, except in some strict Bhuddist or Hindu areas. In 1980 I lived in a neighboring
small kingdom of Nepal, and ate almost exclusively a diet of rice, dhal, some vegetables, and occasional sheep or goat meat. Dates, peanut butter, and raisins rounded out our diet, washed down with copious amounts of chai tea, made with black tea and canned evaporated milk. Granted that I also was exercising vigorously much of the time, but looking back, this was when I was at the healthiest, strongest, and most vital in my entire life. Unbeknownst to me, my travels had excluded gluten from my diet for nearly six months. Upon my return to the U.S., and binging on all my favorite gluten-laden foods, I suffered severe intestinal distress, lasting nearly two years. Of course, at the time, both my doctors and I attributed all of my gastrointestinal symptoms to parasites, bacterial infections, and other health problems common to returning travelers. It was decades later that I was diagnosed with a gluten problem, and finally began to recover my health. So, back to the possibility of excluding gluten from the diet having a beneficial effect on Parkinson's, or a possible link between Parkinson's and celiac disease or gluten intolerance, I have to say that I haven't found much evidence. But, that doesn't mean I believe the link doesn't exist. There are many established links between other neurological disorders and neurological symptoms and the consumption of gluten in sensitive individuals. What I would love to see now is readers responding to this blog, or sending me an email, sharing personal stories, links to articles, etc. on this topic.

As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).


Spread The Word



47 Responses:

 
R. Jean

said this on
02 Apr 2009 4:12:32 PM PST
Hi Wendy,

Two years ago my Dad recovered from prostate cancer. Then he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease because he has a debilitating 'shake' in his one of his wrists. After he was diagnosed with celiac disease, his doctor re-diagnosed the Parkinson's Disease, realizing that he really had a secondary myoclonus ('shake') related to the celiac disease. There is a lot of peer-reviewed medical literature on secondary myoclonus. We live in NH. I have met a woman in NH that similarly to my Dad, was 1st diagnosed with Parkinson's, come to find out it was really the secondary myoclonus related to Celiac Disease that she was diagnosed later as having.

On another note, a neighbor of mine was diagnosed recently with celiac disease. This is a tie-in to your Michael J. Fox's Asian experience. My neighbor had gout. He travels a lot. In Asia, his gout doesn't bother him as much. He realized that he didn't eat wheat in Asian, and drank rice beers. So, he was tested for Celiac Disease and he has it. His gout is less of a problem now that he's on a gluten free diet.

 
Ron Hutton

said this on
03 Apr 2009 12:22:58 AM PST
Hello,
I have suffered Parkinson's for 18 years, and as a retired scientist, I have studied the disease. I have come across other pointers to gluten playing a part, and will try a low gluten diet and let you know.

 
kelly fordon

said this on
10 Nov 2009 6:33:31 AM PST
Did it work, Ron?

 
Betsy

said this on
17 Dec 2010 8:24:21 PM PST
A low gluten diet will still damage the intestinal wall, causing leakage into the blood and in turn the blood brain barrier to the nervous system, thus causing damage leading to the Parkinson-like symptoms.

 
David Bell

said this on
12 Feb 2013 8:38:26 AM PST
I have Parkinson's disease and also celiac disease. I have been on a gluten-free diet for 15 years and I don't think it helps my Parkinson's any. I was diagnosed 6 years ago with the Parkinson's.

 
Laurie

said this on
02 May 2013 11:38:45 AM PST
David, have you you replenished your body from all the malabsorption and malnourishment you suffered from years of eating gluten? A gluten-free diet is never enough if a person doesn't start nourishing and replacing what they have lost. Have you sought help from anyone to heal your small intestine or to check your stomach acid level? Most likely you are very low in stomach acid and are still having absorption issues of your fats, minerals and proteins. How much good fat do you eat? Do you use coconut oil? Fat is a key factor in healing from neurological diseases and coconut is quite a miracle food in that arena.
Blessings to you.

 
Joy Edwards

said this on
23 Apr 2013 8:40:45 AM PST
Hello Ron, I read your post above and have recently removed wheat (and sugar in general) from my diet. The reason? I just want to feel better. Two weeks in, I feel wonferful - so much energy.

I would be interested in learning if you have found that the removal of gluten from your diet has had any impact on the Parkinson's Disease that you have suffered from for so long. Thanks in advance, Joy Edwards

 
Colleen Curran

said this on
03 Apr 2009 3:47:12 AM PST
Almost all of symptoms eventually were neurological and I was wrongly treated with antidepressants, stimulants, mood stabilizers, etc. I had many symptoms but now I take no medications and just eat gluten free. I was a mentally ill person and now I am not. It is like having two lives, I have a hard time reckoning with my past and where I have been as a result of not knowing but I try to have compassion with myself. Nothing would surprise me because I know how sick I was, mentally. Colleen

 
John

said this on
23 Jan 2012 3:05:05 PM PST
I know this is dated, but it is worth noting the mental health link with gluten. Most doctors don't make this connection. I am now over 60 so some wisdom comes with age - but I have to say my mood swings and odd feelings of recent years have gone with the gluten.Colleen hope you continue to enjoy good health both mental and physical.

 
zia

said this on
07 Apr 2009 9:04:28 PM PST
I have had Narcolepsy and non-epileptic seizures for over 10 years. For a few months I was completely disabled until I was put on traditional Narcolepsy medications. I have 2 family members diagnosed with Celiac (through biopsy) but my blood test 10 years ago came back negative so I never went gluten free. I should have!

In 2002 I went on an Atkins-like diet and found my symptoms mysteriously disappeared and I could live a normal life without medication. I eventually went back to wheat and got sicker and sicker. Late last year I found most of my symptoms were due specifically to gluten, which I began to avoid 100% with great results. The rest of my symptom triggers are due to food allergies related to pollen allergy. I've heard that Celiac can cause allergies, too.

I recently received a copy of my DQB1 and DRB1 genes and found out I have a Celiac haplotype plus another gene on the same locus that is both a Celiac and a Narcolepsy gene. This explains why avoiding gluten controls the Narcolepsy and seizures. I seem to have some permanent Narcolepsy damage that happens even on the strictest diet, but it is mild and completely manageable. The seizures never happen unless I eat gluten.

It is my belief that Celiac Disease caused my Narcolepsy, but there isn't a doctor in the world that would have ever heard of that. Funny thing is, I'm not the only one!

My only gripe is that I had to figure this all out on my own because doctors just thought it was all psychological, despite a total loss of reflexes during paralysis. And I only figured it out because I kept working at it and never gave up. When will they wake up and start helping people?

 
Bev

said this on
08 Apr 2009 2:48:55 AM PST
Those who speculate on who has and doesn't have celiac know that short stature has always been a symptom of celiac. Today, it would definitely raise a red flag for celiac screening in a child. It's also part of what makes Michael J. Fox unique in Hollywood and been a contributing factor in his very successful career...

 
Majella Holton

said this on
27 Apr 2009 11:07:05 PM PST
Is there a link between Celiac Disease and tremors (shakes) of hands and fingers. Would this necessarily be Parkinson's Disease?

 
Bev

said this on
30 Aug 2010 2:55:55 PM PST
I have been reading a lot about gluten free and Parkinson's disease which I have and primarily a tremor in my right hand. Hoping this helps...makes sense.

 
R. Jean

said this on
02 May 2009 10:53:44 AM PST
My father's shakes are in his wrists predominantly, but this also effects his fingers/hands, so I'm not really sure where they are originating. Question: I also have Celiac Disease, and in the last 4 years (mostly prior to my diagnosis) I have had some strange symptoms of my own and am wondering if anyone else has experienced these, as I understand that some of these may be neurologically based? These include occipital neuritis; visual-spatial deficits (so much so, that I have been recently coded as having a 'non-verbal learning disorder'); and a couple of times, my whole body has become 'paralyzed' for a couple of seconds, although I can still 'see' around me - just can't move. This paralysis hasn't occurred since I've been on the gluten free diet. I still have problems with vertigo. Also, I had problems with 'burning' feelings in my body, not anymore really now that I am on a gluten diet. These occurred predominantly in bending areas; also in fingers/toes. Sometimes there was a rash along with the burning but it was diagnosed as not being Dermatitis Herpetiformis. Oddly enough, sometimes the one on my face resembled the lupus rash - although that in and of itself was diagnosed as not being lupus, based on many test results, including a negative ANA. I am not deficient in any vitamins and minerals; I have been tested and have (fortunately) been supplementing i.e. with extra with Bs & Ds & probiotics for years. I also forgot to mention that I still have trouble with gastro-pareisis, which I understand others with Celiac might have? For those who don't know what gastro-pareisis is, I can only describe it really, how it is for me personally. It's like someone unplugs your entire digestive tract from a power source. There are no sounds, no movement. It's actually very scary. When it happens, I have to wait it out. If I eat, I throw up. It doesn't hurt per se. It's just there's no where for the food to go that's how it feels anyway. For the oddest reason, if I don't eat any grains whatsoever (i.e. quinoa, rice, sorghum, corn, et cetera) the gastropareisis all but disappears. When I get 'glutened,' I don't get the traditional gastro-intestinal symptoms. I get headaches/migraines, and the burning in bending areas. My IgAs were above the testing range when I was 1st diagnosed; however, there was very little villi damage; I do recall the doctors being very surprised! Just wondering if anyone else has had any of these experiences or perhaps all.

 
Rebecca

said this on
05 May 2009 9:35:24 AM PST
1. I know from personal experience, that gluten intolerance can cause depression and mental illness. I suffered from two bouts with clinical depression and tons of other problems prior to going gluten-free.

2. I decided to try being gluten free last year to determine whether gluten was the cause of my health challenges. I went without it for four days, then had two pieces of homemade wheat bread. Within 45 minutes, my feet were like ice cubes, my left arm was tingly as though it was falling asleep, I had to lie down from exhaustion and I was shivering uncontrollably. (I don't necessarily recommend this method of determining gluten sensitivity.) I could literally feel all the blood in my body rushing to my abdomen.

3. My mother and I have both determined that we have gluten intolerance. My maternal grandmother passed away from Parkinson's a few years ago. She had been diagnosed as having diverticulitis, IBS, and Osteoporosis - all of which are related to gluten intolerance.

So yes, in my unprofessional opinion (we know how uneducated MOST of the professionals are about this), there is a definite connection between celiac and Parkinson's.

 
Robo

said this on
05 May 2009 9:02:07 PM PST
I was diagnosed with Celiac 6 months ago and have been gluten-free since. I've had a tingling in my hand and forearm, on and off throughout the day for a couple weeks. Has anyone experienced this?

 
Kristina

said this on
08 May 2009 2:30:12 PM PST
I am very interested in this topic. My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease about one year ago.. although he has been experiencing the symptoms for about 2 years now. I was talking with a friend of mine who is gluten intolerant. She asked me about the possibility of gluten affecting patients with Parkinson's Disease. She explained to me what gluten does to ones intestine and the affect it has on absorption of nutrients. I thought about all the research I've done on Parkinson's Disease and that studies have shown patients to be lacking in Vitamin D, E and most B vitamins. If there is a link then it makes sense why there is such a deficiency in Vitamins. So I decided to get rid of all the gluten in our home. My husband has reluctantly agreed to go along with it. The most amazing thing is my oldest son, who has just turned 3, is doing so much better. He's still in diapers and they have been horrible and nasty. I have always known something is bothering him. Well after two days of gluten free eating his diapers have been almost normal. So I am even more convinced that my husband has an intolerance to gluten. Especially since his mother and sister are gluten intolerant. Please write more about this subject if you have anything to add about Parkinson's Disease and celiac disease.

 
Lila

said this on
20 May 2009 3:18:46 AM PST
(10) Hi Robo!
Yes, I have experienced the symptoms you mentioned. Although I'm gluten-free since have the tinglings and numbness in feet, knees, hands and elbows - although in a very low level. I try very hard to understand if there is anything more I have besides celiac disease but I can't find. I have visited many doctors (reumatologits, endoc., neurol. etc. and nobody can find a thing while my tests are negative.
Please, if somebody knows more for this subject, I would appreciate to let me know.

 
Cindy

said this on
08 Jun 2009 6:48:32 PM PST
Lila and Robo, I too have the tingling...I described it as buzzy hands. I thought at first it was carpal tunnel, but the surgery didn't help. Going gluten-free made a huge difference, but I'd still wake up in the morning with buzzy hands. Then I did research on B-12 and discovered that gluten intolerance and malabsorption of B-12 is related, and B-12 deficiency had all the symptoms I was experiencing.

 
annie

said this on
23 Jul 2009 11:40:58 AM PST
I have not been confirmed coeliac but any gluten/wheat however small sets off dreadful abdominal pains bloating etc so I eat a gluten free diet. I have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and am interested if there is any link

 
art clark

said this on
29 Jul 2009 9:56:24 AM PST
I have been gluten free for two years. I started because I was diagnosed with Chron's I'm 76 years old gluten has had time to do a great deal of damage. Besides the Chron's I also had high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, arthritis (60) years. After bypass surgery I had to quit my arthritis medication. Then the Chron's kicked up. Two years of that with no medications that worked made me desperate. I read on line that gluten could damage the small intestine so I tried the gluten free diet . Results after two years, blood pressure normal or lower, nearly no arthritis pain. my heart is now back to normal. I'm only taking 20mg Lasix every once in a while no other heart medications. Any one who has stomach problems should try it. Twenty years of indigestion went away after two weeks and never returned

 
Mimi

said this on
24 Aug 2009 10:25:28 PM PST
Have any of you with diagnosed celiac disease been told that the antibody count in your blood is higher than normal?

 
Eileen

said this on
15 Oct 2009 2:03:32 PM PST
I was diagnosed as Celiac in January after antibody count was over 60. However that is the only test which was done so I do not know how the Dr. could have been so sure I was Celiac. Now I think that I may be just gluten intolerant. My count is down to 23, still a little high, so I soldier on with a gluten free diet. This is one really great site for information isn't it?

 
Heidi Lindborg

said this on
04 Jan 2010 1:12:07 PM PST
I have narcolepsy and my father has Parkinson's.
I have a long and involved hypothesis on how both of them are related to gluten. I believe it is the IgG antibodies rather than the IgA antibodies which cause celiac disease.

 
joyce

said this on
20 Dec 2011 12:42:15 AM PST
I am seeking information on gluten intolerance and Parkinson's.

 
Kristin Brown

said this on
30 Apr 2010 2:14:17 PM PST
I was diagnosed with Celiac disease about a year ago due to extremely low iron counts during pregnancy and after the birth of my third child. My mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease around the same time. She has recently been suffering from debilitating, but temporary paralysis of her body. She is coherent during this time, but unable to move her arms or legs. Her doctor has prescribed medication for epilepsy. But we are very reluctant to go that route. I definitely believe that celiac is the cause, however, she took a blood test a few months ago which came back negative.

 
Mary

said this on
06 May 2010 3:42:37 PM PST
Don't give up Kristine. I was tested and they found nothing. Then I was tested with a much more sensitive test with the help of a nutritionist. My antibodies were around 20. After giving up the gluten, my irritable bowel went away, acne cleared up, am clearer thinking and so much calmer! Find a good nutritionist or naturopath in your area and ask them to do the testing. Grass fed meats provide Vitamins. A, E and D and omega 3's not present in the common grain-fed meats. While the gluten is not coating her bowel, she can now absorb her nutrients! Give lots of organic fruits and veggies (kale) and daily tablespoons cod liver oil (also high in A and D). Give her a good probiotic. She may have a dairy sensitivity as well, if so don't give soy milk. There are many other alternatives.

 
George

said this on
15 Oct 2010 10:52:31 AM PST
I have been on a gluten free diet for ~ 20 years, and have NEVER intentionally gone off it, as I feel the negative impact almost immediately. To say I feel better for being off gluten and dairy is an understatement-- I feel sure I would have been dead long ago had I not eliminated gluten.

I drink nothing but filtered water, 1 1/2 cups of coffee and 2 cups of green tea/ day. I eat approx 1/3 the meat most Americans do. To say I eat a very healthy diet is an understatement.

Starting in 2001, I began and continue a very intense daily program of physical training, including 35-45 minute sessions with free weights, alternated with manual treadmill and now a recumbent exercise bicycle. I did this to prepare for and maintain my fitness for backpacking the Grand Canyon, which my wife and I did in 2001 & 2002, at the age of 52.

5 years ago, I started having a tremor in my right hand, and approx 2 1/2 years ago was DX'd with idiopathic Parkinson's.

I can only imagine how much worse I would be with the PD, had I not started exercising aggressively 9 years ago. As I have already said, if I hadn't gone gluten free 20 years ago, I am convinced I would have died years ago-- I was severely malnourished when the doctor suggested I eliminate gluten from my life.

Is there a connection between gluten and PD? I don't doubt it at all, especially since gluten intolerance depletes the B vitamins in particular (good for nervous system health), and PD has been linked to a near-continuous fight or flight reaction by the body.

 
Laura

said this on
25 Jan 2012 5:04:17 AM PST
George,

I have Early Onset PD and am struck by your last statement linking PD to "a near continuous fight or flight reaction by the body." Where did you learn this ? I am fascinated because anxiety was the very first non-motor symptom for me and I now have disabling panic attacks. Talk about feeling like you would die. As for celiac and gluten links, I have been considering giving it up as I have several markers for it according to a site I read.

Thanks!

 
Laura

said this on
21 Jan 2014 12:20:22 AM PST
Laura,
As I read George's comment I was also struck by his statement about "fight or flight reaction" because I also have Early Onset PD and have battled anxiety most of my life. A nutritionist recommended I try a gluten-free diet and after just a few days my indigestion and heartburn went away and I felt better in other ways. I haven't kept it up 100 % but keep coming across more and more reasons to do so. I could identify with your comment and when I noticed that your name is also Laura, I decided to comment and ask if you have tried going gluten-free and if it has helped you. Perhaps you won't even see this, but I thought I'd try! I hope you have found something to help and I hope I can find the discipline and resolve to stick with it!

 
Linda Arian

said this on
22 Jan 2013 2:23:11 PM PST
So just to clarify, you had been off the gluten for 15 years when the PD symptoms developed? I've always wondered about the continuous "fight or flight" response being connected to PD. You say you've read research about this?? Where? It took 18 years of suffering to finally find out that gluten was the problem for me. My entire life has been on the "fight or flight" response. Shortly after I got off the gluten, I started with the tremors. I've been 98% gluten-free for about 8 years now and feel like a new person. Still have fatigue at times but the PD symptoms have remained only the tremors. The tremors unfortunately have gotten much worse. My question at this time is... can the PD symptoms go away once the damage has been done? Does the fact that I still get a little bit of gluten impact my symptoms?

 
paul

said this on
31 Mar 2011 8:33:25 AM PST
I have been gluten free for 5 months after researching a particularly bad episode of stomach pain and bloating. I have found that my mental and physical well being has improved dramatically. I started by drinking kefir milk and eating non gluten carbs then stumbled across a diet plan by Zoe Harcombe specifically for people with food intolerances. I used to be very depressed and lacked energy, mood swings and angry outbursts were commonplace and I had a long standing weight problem which was causing me a great deal of physical pain I was beginning to consider if life was worth living. However I have now lost three stones in weight and feel positive healthy and optimistic. In fact I feel better than I have for twenty years.

 
Richard

said this on
02 May 2011 4:28:34 PM PST
I was diagnosed with PD about 3 years ago and so far have eschewed medication. Just recently had a sophisticated gluten antibody blood analysis that tests for antibodies to 24 separate wheat/gluten proteomes (peptides). To my surprise results came back showing sensitivity to 16/24 of these markers. Naturally, I am very interested in the possible connection between PD and GI. Am going on a gluten-free diet (to the extent sensibly possible), and am giving up my drinking of wine. So far, I can report I have had a huge improvement in the quality of my sleep, though no noticeable improvement in my tremors and slowness. I much appreciate the info on this board.........

 
Emily

said this on
07 May 2011 9:38:05 AM PST
I have just been diagnosed as 'gluten intolerant' and have been gluten-free since Feb. 9, 2011. I am interested in learning more about a possible gluten intolerance - Parkinson's Disease link. My mom was finally, finally 'diagnosed' with Parkinson's Disease which was quite possibly gluten intolerance; I think they just told her that diagnosis after the many, many tests could not find a definitive reason for her sporadic loss of balance and hesitant gait. Her doctor specifically called it "Lower Level Parkinson's Disease; she never had any tremor at all in her hands or head. Her speech was somewhat affected. She kept telling the doctors it was 'all in her head, not in her muscles'. However, at 80 years of age, her insights were disregarded, and when the medicines for treating Parkinson's were ineffective in alleviating her balance problems, she was pretty much sentenced to just living out the rest of her life un-helped, wheel-chair bound. She passed away at age 85, after suffering many years with the balance problem, and I just wish -so very much!- that I could have found out about gluten-intolerance early enough so that she could have been helped. Maybe this information will help others.

 
Barry

said this on
22 Jun 2011 5:20:27 PM PST
Just been diagnosed with celiac disease. After one month gluten free my symptoms-psoriasis,weakness,exhaustion, bowel problems, gout-like pain, joint pain,recurrent hives,indigestion, high blood pressure are all going away.My father died from Parkinson's at 77. I now believe, since he had all these same symptoms that he was misdiagnosed for PD and he actually had celiac. The side affects of the PD drugs were truly horrific in his case and I wish now that doctors would consider gluten intolerance as a standard test before diagnosing Parkinsons. You will never convince me now that there is no connection. I hope this will help others to tell there doctors to test for celiac disease.

 
julie

said this on
10 Oct 2011 2:10:50 AM PST
You really need to do a proper study with a control group. if you invite people to contact you who have both CD and Parkinson's disease then of course you will find such people, and only such people. This does not tell us if the incidence of PD is greater in people with CD than in the normal population.

I went on a GF diet 4 years ago , on advice of friends. Not on;y did this clear up severe digestive problems, but also my increasing pain and stiffnes in joints, muscle weakness and
Blood tests for CD were negative, presumably because I could not go back on a normal diet , as my symptoms were too severe. Have had a hard time getting consultants to take me seriously, on this account, but have now been diangnosed with NCGI, together with a plethora of food intolerances which subsequently delevoped (I now cannot tolerate any grains and seeds at all, nor legumes (in the main) nor fats and oils. The only protein food I can now tolerate (that I can find ) is soya milk. Consultant gave the impression he thought i was probably making it all up, and said there's nothing he can do for intolerances, just keep avoiding problem foods, goodbye.

I get quite sever neurological symptoms along with all my food reactions, approx 5-6 hoours after eating. I had suspected gluten ataxia, but now other foods priduce same symptoms, would be interested to know if this is still a possibility?

Have been dyspraxic all my life and this has been worsening in recent years. Am now developing Parkinson-like symptoms. Have had various tests including MRI scan, and all negative. Have ben too depressed to go back to the doctor , since her partner told me that he believes all my symptoms to be psychosomatic. This was soon after seeing the dismissive consultant. I had rung the surgery in concern because i was reperatedly loosing control of my leg muscles and falling to the ground in the street. I wanted to know if this could be diet-related and naively thought that, maybe , if I alerrted my doctor DURING an episode, then appropriarte tests could be done immediately, and might, at last, reveal something.

Have just found out that Parkinson's Disease does not show up on tests, so this is still a possibility , isn't it?

 
Bill Ray

said this on
03 Dec 2011 8:39:30 PM PST
Food reactions can be linked to PD, my partner gets worse with certain foods.

 
Christa

said this on
08 May 2012 7:53:17 PM PST
I am a 43 year old woman who was diagnosed 7 years ago with early on-set idiopathic pd. Two weeks ago I was diagnosed as having celiacs disease. In my mind there has to be a definite link. I'm hoping that my PD and overall health will improve with this gluten free diet. I would LOVE to have the PD symptoms someday disappear and to have a normal life back.

 
Patriicia

said this on
30 Jan 2013 10:42:46 AM PST
Please keep us updated. Did you try the gluten-free diet? If so, how long have you been on it? What, if any changes have you seen so far? Even if you have not seen any changes, I'd love to know. Thank you for taking time to help inform!

 
Shandra

said this on
28 May 2012 3:21:14 AM PST
I don't have Parkinson's disease, but I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, obsesive compulsive disorder, clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder and bipolar. The vast majority of my symptoms vanished with a gluten-free diet. Self-diagnosed that one and lost 70 pounds in the process. I no longer trust doctors.

 
Jill

said this on
15 Jul 2012 9:02:44 AM PST
Eating a gluten-free diet does not improve Parkinson's symptoms. I have been coeliac and eating gluten-free for 12 years and have developed early onset Parkinson's in my 40s and diagnosed 4 years ago. My diet is strict, so going gluten-free is not the answer, sorry to dampen enthusiasm here. I have been told by several doctors that some of my neurological problems, e.g. numbness and tingling etc. may be due to the coeliac disease and not the Parkinson's.

 
Patriicia

said this on
30 Jan 2013 10:53:58 AM PST
Thank you for sharing your experience. It's great to hear what going gluten-free can do, but it's equally important to hear when it doesn't work. I'm an acupuncturist and have treated patients with PD. For the one patient who has continued treatment, (while still on meds,) his tremors have decreased from an 8/10 to 0-2 out of 10. His internal tremor has stopped. Just recently, he is able to walk backward without hesitation. He won't change his diet of white flour, meat, and very little vegetable. He does supplements. It's a difficult disease for sure. One nice thing about going gluten-free is it usually means a healthier diet and that's a good thing to continue to explore.

 
Laura

said this on
22 Jul 2012 11:42:52 AM PST
I recently discovered that I and two of my children are gluten intolerant. My father and my husband's father both have Parkinson's disease and I was also wondering about a connection. One of my children in particular has a severe neurological reaction to gluten. You could be on to something here.

 
Patriicia

said this on
30 Jan 2013 10:59:37 AM PST
Please update us if your father and father-in-law try a gluten-free diet. I'm interesting in following this connection with Parkinson's disease. How long does it take to start seeing a change in tremors (external or internal), if decreased sense of smell, any change there, bradykinesia, etc.? Even if you do not see any changes, that would be helpful as well. Thank you.

 
roynj

said this on
23 Sep 2012 10:42:12 AM PST
there may be other issues to PD:
see lef.org for other vitamin issues for PD like the need for DHA fish oil 4x day and 5000 IU vitamin D3 as examples.

excerpt
==
Life Extension Recommendations

Parkinson's disease is a multi-factorial pathology and must be treated as such for symptomatic relief. An ideal management regimen should include the lowest possible effective dose of dopamine replacement therapy, daily use of a neuroprotective agent (such as 1mg of rasagiline), nutrients to support mitochondrial function (such as CoQ10 and B-complex vitamins) and if possible, cardiovascular aerobic exercise with a target heart rate of 75% for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times per week (to stimulate the release of neuronal growth factors in the brain). Muscle stretching and practicing either yoga or tai chi are supportive as well.

The following nutrients target various aspects of Parkinson's disease pathology:

CoQ10: 1,200 – 2,400 mg as ubiquinone, or 200 – 300 mg as ubiquinol
Creatine: 1,000 – 2,000 mg daily
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (from fish oil): 2,000 – 4,000 mg daily
Mucuna pruriens; standardized extract: 300 – 1,200 mg daily
Vitamin D: 5,000 – 8,000 IU daily (depending on blood test results)
B-Complex vitamins: Per label instructions
Acetyl-L-Carnitine: 1,000 – 2,000 mg daily
Green Tea; standardized extract: 725 – 1,450 mg daily
Green Coffee; standardized extract: 400 – 1,200 mg daily
Trans-Resveratrol: 250 – 500 mg daily
Probiotics: Per label instructions
Curcumin: 400 – 1,200 mg daily
Melatonin: 1 mg – 5 mg daily
N-acetyl Cysteine: 600 – 1,800 mg daily
Lipoic Acid (as R-Lipoic acid): 300 – 900 mg daily

 
Tabitha

said this on
30 Apr 2014 5:59:51 AM PST
I changed my diet to be GF and now mostly grain free too after a period of neurological illness. I feel amazing now and more alive then the 30 odd years I ate gluten. My mother died of MND her mother had MS my daughters are both gluten intolerant. The link between gluten and neurological disease needs to be told more I started a blog to share this info etc.

 
Fredrick Ford

said this on
30 Apr 2015 10:55:36 AM PST
I had severe thickening and cracking of my knuckles, elbows, heels, Palms (where my golf clubs were held), and finger tips where I held my bowling ball. This started in the 1970's without relief up until about 4 years ago. I had occasional bleeding as the thick skin would crack when I exercised. I had no clue what was the cause. It was at this time (4 years ago) that I was about 40 pounds overweight when I saw on TV a report by a nutritionist on the PALEO diet. The appeal of this diet was it caused reduction in my weight. There was no mention of the fact that this diet was gluten free. I went on the grain free diet in order to lose the weight (which it did). After the first 2 months my weight had come down significantly. During this same time (I took no notice of when it actually started to change) my thickening of all the affected skin areas cleared up completely. I noted at the 2-month point that it had happened. I then followed up by researching my condition and eventually discovered the gluten link. I have been gluten free for the past 4 years and have had no recurrence of my skin problems. I did not have any other gluten symptoms such as stomach discomfort, etc.. I will now stay gluten free for the remainder of my life.




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