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  • Scott Adams
    Scott Adams

    Multiple Sclerosis and Celiac Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    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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    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.

    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...

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    Guest rosalind thompson

    Posted

    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.

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    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!!!!

    Have you finished your thesis? Would I be able to read it?

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    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!

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    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.

    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.

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    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

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    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!

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    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!!!!

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

    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.

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    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.

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  • About Me

    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease  in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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