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  • Jefferson Adams

    Higher Rates of Celiac Disease in People with Multiple Sclerosis

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 05/11/2011 - People with multiple sclerosis and their first-generation relatives have higher rates of celiac disease than the general population, according to a report by a research team in Spain.

    For the study, a research team led by Dr. Luis Rodrigo of University Hospital, Central Asturias, Spain looked at rates of serological, genetic, and histological disease markers in 72 multiple sclerosis patients and 126 of their first-degree relatives. They then compared the results against data from 123 healthy control subjects.



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    The team found rates of celiac disease among multiple sclerosis patients that are 5 to 10 times higher than rates for the general population worldwide, which average between 1% and 2%.

    The team found similar levels of  HLA-DQ2 markers in both multiple sclerosis patients (29%) and controls (26%) (NS). They found eight multiple sclerosis patients (11.1%) who showed mild or moderate villous atrophy (Marsh III type) on duodenal biopsy. Results also showed that 26 of 126 first-degree relatives (32%) had celiac disease.

    Multiple Sclerosis patients also displayed increased frequency of circulating auto-antibodies such as anti-TPO in 19 (26%), ANA in 11 (15%) and AMA in 2 (3%).

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    I had many beginning symptoms of MS myself, and after gluten free for 2 years...the muscle in my arm has built up again...no more pain, stiffness, atrophy....so I wonder if celiac is actually a CAUSE of MS? Just a thought.

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    Guest Janet Connors

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    I have both celiac disease and ms and have been wondering about this for years. Hank you so much for writing about this! I would love to hear about how others in this situation deal with this when it's so hard to cook. thank you again!

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    It seems more and more diseases are popping up relating to celiac and gluten. When will it be realized that its all interconnected.

    I couldn't agree more. It is high time we got answers, better diagnostic tools, and treatment. I have MS, my Mom has celiac disease, and I think there are a lot of food allergies that affect disease development. I can't get answers in the medical community. Seems no one wants to take that next step. Frustrating.

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    I wish this article went further. My mother, my sister and I have celiac disease. My 22 year old son was diagnosed with MS this summer. He refuses to eat gluten-free and it breaks my heart. I wonder if he could stabilize or even reverse some of his symptoms by changing his diet.

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    I was diagnosed with DH form of celiac disease one week ago.  My mother has MS.  Like many MS patients, she is Vitamin D deficient and of Scandinavian ancestry.  Since being put on a high dose Vitamin D regime, her MS has exacerbated less often and less severely than previously.  As celiac disease can cause malnutrition problems, I wonder if this is what could be causing or contributing to Vitamin D insufficiency in MS patients?  Thank you for all of the information on this site!   

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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 2,500 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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