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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Gluten-Free Diet Reduces Schizophrenia Symptoms in Some Patients

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Can a gluten-free diet fuel new schizophrenia treatments? New research shows that a gluten-free diet reduces schizophrenia  symptoms in certain patients.

    Caption: Female Warrior. Image: CC--CHRISTIAAN TONNIS

    04/22/2019 - A gluten-free diet can improve symptoms of schizophrenia in certain patients, new research suggests. In the small pilot study, Deanna L. Kelly, PharmD, professor of psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, and colleagues studied the effects a gluten-free diet in schizophrenia, especially in patients with elevated gluten antibodies.

    Kelly and her team set out to determine whether a gluten-free diet would improve psychiatric symptoms in this subgroup of patients with elevated AGA IgG.

    They found that schizophrenia patients with elevated gluten antibodies, specifically, elevated antigliadin antibodies (AGA IgG), who followed a gluten-free-diet for 5 weeks saw a greater reduction in negative symptoms compared counterparts on a non-gluten-free diet.

    "With a gluten-free diet, we do have the potential to improve psychiatric symptoms, particularly negative symptoms, which is a symptom domain with a high unmet clinical need," said lead investigator Deanna L. Kelly, PharmD, professor of psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.

    Currently, there are no good treatment options for negative symptoms of schizophrenia, "so this could be a treatment for people if they have these antigliadin antibodies," Kelly said.

    Nearly One-third of Schizophrenia Patients Gluten Intolerant

    Elevated AGA IgG may be present in about 30% of all patients with schizophrenia. The antigliadin antibody is not related to the antibodies seen in celiac disease, which affects roughly 1% of the overall population.

    Schizophrenia patients with elevated AGA IgG show substantially lower positive schizophrenia symptoms than those who test negative no AGA IgG. They also have higher levels of kynurenine, a metabolite of the amino acid L-tryptophan. Kynurenine has been linked to schizophrenia pathology, and to other conditions, Kelly noted. The tryptophan kynurenine pathway also has important links to neurotherapy.

    Strategies for treatment of schizophrenia are still largely "one-size-fits-all." The team's study began largely after a single 2-week gluten-free trial in two people with elevated AGA IgG and schizophrenia showed "robust symptom improvements, particularly in the domain of negative symptoms," so we wanted to do a feasibility study and enroll more patients," Kelly told reporters.

    The team's findings were presented at the first annual Congress of the Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS) 2019.

    Read more at Medscape Medical News

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    To All,

    This is good research!

    I had recently ran across the Kynurenine (KYN) pathway in my own research.

    It is now been shown as the pathogenic cause of IBS.


    And even earlier than that it was linked to Celiac disease Circa 2007.


    this research confirms that AGA IgG in Schizophrenia patients are linked conditions in Celiac disease.


    Maybe other's will run across this research and bee helped.

    I am never surprised when I find earlier research has been done on a topic but always surprised nobody seems to know about it....yet it has been a couple plus years since the earlier link to AGA IgG and Schizophrenia  symptom's in Celiac's has been established as related.

    This is not medical advice but I hope it is helpful.. .and it doesn't take another 10 + years (Circa 2007) for doctor's to recognize this connection... of the Kynurenine (KYN) pathway as a regulator of immune response in Celiac's.


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    This would be without a doubt for those who struggle with this issue. I was medicated for 27 years on psychiatric medications and never knew I had an intolerance to both gluten and dairy. My life may not be as others for sure with how I walk and carry out things but I can surely say changing the diet could definitely present some opportunities for a change in the mental health realm. I was misdiagnosed for years and on multiple medications until my kidney's started shutting down. Labeled Bi-Polar, severe Depression, Anxiety attacks, etc. I needed to make a desperate change to save my own life so I made the transition of coming off the meds and changing my diet and now I am three years drug free. Much more to the story than I can share right now but gluten has played a very large part within my mental health. Gluten affects many people in different ways, for me I struggled with re-flux for years being placed on different medications for it only to still battle it; my esophagus started eroding. I couldn't sleep to save my life either; only to discover that after making the change and getting off of all gluten did I see the difference. If I come in contact with it now I get seriously sick and it can last for days. The effects of gluten can be harsh on the body in general for anyone, it's just some people are more susceptible to it and it can cause a vast array of issues like "Leaky gut" and other things that really isn't good beside issues with the brain. Something else to keep in mind there is a difference with an "intolerance" compared to an "allergy" that's worth looking into. I am convinced although, that if one continues eating it and they have an intolerance, what are the chances of them possibly developing an allergy??? Just some food for thought!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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