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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Brain Fog And Light Sensitivity.
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11 posts in this topic

Hey there,

After 3 tough years I found out that I am celiac, however, I am only about 3 weeks into the gluten free diet.

I have had really horrible and non-stop brain fog for the last 3 years. I haven't had any good days with the brain fog where it is even slightly relieved, all bad days.

I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this and also my burning desire is to know how long it took for the brain fog to disappear after being on the gluten free diet?

Does the brain fog suddenly disappear, does it slowly leave, how long does it take?

It is driving me crazy, I cannot function properly.

Thanks :(

Craven

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Well, there are a few options. One is that is it directly related to the gluten, in which case it could go tomorrow or take a while longer to lift. I had depression arising from gluten, and it lifted very obviously about 3 months after going gluten free (with 1 or 2 known glutenings in that time).

Other options are secondary problems. Have you had your iron and B12 levels checked? It's quite common for these to be low in people with celiac/gluten sensitivity, and both can cause brain fog. I've been deficient in both, and they definitely affected me that way, and severely

For me, I have been gluten free close to 2 years. The first 6 months of that I spent with yo-yoing iron and B12. After that I started looking into secondary food intolerances, as I found that I would usually crash with overwhelming brin fog directly after lunch (as well as other more general GI smptoms). It's been a complicated process for me, but I am about 3 weeks into a chemical elimination diet and experienced a couple of days in that time where the brain fog was totally gone. I am yet to reintroduce foods to pinpoint what is causing the brain fog, but it certainly seems food or chemical related for me.

If the brain fog continues, look in to iron and b12 (there's probably other nutrients to look at, I'm sure others can give you a more thorough list), it also wouldn't hurt to look at your thyroid if you have general tiredness as well. If nothing comes up, try a food journal to see if you can find any patterns between the fog and food.

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I 2nd the B12 and iron levels. I have had severe brain fog and lethargy for so long that I sank into deep depression.

My iron has been low all my life to the point that I could never donate blood. My B12 was also always low even with taking pills. I finally found a dr. that started me on B12 shots. I thought the world was a new place! The energy I had!

I now take sub lingual B12 under my tongue. I can definitely tell the difference after about 5 mins.

As for the lethargy mine is still lingering around at times but I am finding as my diet is improving (gluten free/dairy free) I am gaining a bit more energy.

Brain fog has also lifted. I find it returns if I accidentally gluten. I think it took me about 2 weeks to start feeling it lift after going gluten free and then it took another week or so to really accept the NEW feeling of being fogless. :)

Remember it took a long time for your body to get sick and it could take a while to heal as well.

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I'll add vitamin D to that list as well. I struggled with brain fog for a good 9-10 months into my gluten free diet and then it lifted. One day it was just gone. I suspect that my vitamin levels are at a good place and that I'm finally getting the nutrition I need from my food.

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I 2nd the B12 and iron levels. I have had severe brain fog and lethargy for so long that I sank into deep depression.

My iron has been low all my life to the point that I could never donate blood. My B12 was also always low even with taking pills. I finally found a dr. that started me on B12 shots. I thought the world was a new place! The energy I had!

I now take sub lingual B12 under my tongue. I can definitely tell the difference after about 5 mins.

As for the lethargy mine is still lingering around at times but I am finding as my diet is improving (gluten free/dairy free) I am gaining a bit more energy.

Brain fog has also lifted. I find it returns if I accidentally gluten. I think it took me about 2 weeks to start feeling it lift after going gluten free and then it took another week or so to really accept the NEW feeling of being fogless. :)

Remember it took a long time for your body to get sick and it could take a while to heal as well.

Thank you all for your replies, this has been really helpful. =)

Could you please tell me, at what time of the day is sublingual b12 best taken? Also, before or after a meal?

Thanks!

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Thank you all for your replies, this has been really helpful. =)

Could you please tell me, at what time of the day is sublingual b12 best taken? Also, before or after a meal?

Thanks!

Honestly, I take mine in the morning and then again about 2pm or so to give me just a little more edge to get through the last of the day with the kids. Since it's sub lingual dissolving under my tongue I don't have to take it with food. Hope that helps!

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...um.....

What exactly is "brain fog"? What does it feel like?

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...um.....

What exactly is "brain fog"? What does it feel like?

For me brain fog is when I have trouble thinking. My memory is shot, constantly forgetting things and I have trouble with talking. I know what I want to say but just can't get it out of my mouth. I get very frustrated very easily and also my temper will flare, perhaps not a true part of brain fog but definately an effect I get from gluten. Things that will not normally bother me a lot will easily cause tears, like something I read or see on TV. All I want to do is just sit and stare at the walls. A lot of this can be seen as symptoms of 'clinical depression' but the effects are short lived and when the antibodies have left my brain I return to normal.

Hopefully others will also reply as I think 'brain fog' can mean different things to different people.

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...um.....

What exactly is "brain fog"? What does it feel like?

It feels like my thought processes are lost in a heavy pea-soup fog, so that the neurons can't find each other to communicate. I get what I call 'noun-phasic', can't find the nouns I need, and the wrong ones come out instead. Input doesn't process well, or very slowly. My brain doesn't know where the rest of my body is, so I am prone to injury if I am not very careful. very frustrating, annoying, and can be frightening, too. Don't give me even simple arithmetic problems to do, as I'll switch around the numbers, and forget what I'm doing partway through. :blink:

As to what exactly is brain fog, I don't know, in terms of biochemistry and neurobiology. Not sure anyone knows. It is exacerbated for me by fatigue, eating the wrong foods, stress, high pain levels, hormone cycles, and sometimes no particular reason at all. Perhaps it is related to inflammation in the body, as eating gluten free can decrease bodily inflammatory levels.

I do know I've had less of a problem with brain fog since I've been gluten free. It was a gradual fade away, realized one day that my thinking was more clear than it had been for a long time. I still have good days and less good days, but I also deal with fibromyalgia, which also has brain fog as a symptom.

I'd like never to deal with it again, but I can dream!

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I second ravenwoodglass about the memory-loss and the inability to think or talk. And the sensitivity. And the just wanting to stare at the walls. It actually sounds fun when everything else seems futile. A lot of times, I can think of what I need to do but I can't react quick enough, or can't the feeling of how to follow through.

I get a similar response from caffeine withdrawal, which is why I think it has something to do with dopamine, and the immune system trying to put the ability to eat to sleep. Also, it takes about five times the caffeine to bring me to alertness after gluten, so I know there is some correlation.

To the OP, one of my first major tools for that was activated charcoal. I had a friend whose grandma said it was good for hangovers - no there's a product for that. Also, seventh day adventists use it, and people who eat burnt toast. It seems to absorb whatever chemical messenger is from the immune system to the brain. I stopped using it because it adds a lot insoluble fiber, but I was happy with it for months using it after a reaction. Not all brands seemed the same, and I guess they could make it from wheat if they wanted to, but Nature's Way Activated Charcoal, seemed to be okay.

I think I also stopped because I worried about it absorbing important nutrients. But I was able to temporarily clear the fog. Now I caffeine or other stimulants, along with lots of protein or fats, because the stimulants used to give upset, I think because they naturally promote bowel movement. In my case that triggered "pulling the plug" until I got foods that were safe enough for my gut to want to hang on to. Btw, I think stimulants can mimic allergic reaction to a degree, with a similar nervous (sympathetic) excitation. But I think they can also moderate them when used in moderation.

Hope that helps!

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Sounds like you have Adrenal Exhaustion. I have it- the brain fog is horrible. Do you get super tired @ 2 pm? Do you crave salt? Do you have dark circles under your eyes?

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