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All These Symptoms Can’T Be Celiac, Can They?

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I am a 37-year-old male.  For the past 4 or 5 years, I have been experiencing slow but progressive memory loss.  For the past 2 or 3 years, I have been experiencing a slow but progressive onset of what I can only describe as a haze or fog in my brain that prevents me from concentrating or understanding complex things.  Over the past month, I’ve noticed some mild problems with balance, equilibrium and vision, as well as feeling “hot spots” and weakness in my arms and legs.

 

To be perfectly honest, my symptoms have me terrified.

 

A recent blood test showed positive for endomysial antibodies and a t-Trasnglutaminase value exceeding 100 U/mL, and I was told that I have celiac disease and to go gluten-free.

 

I do not fully understand what my blood test results mean.  And, I have not yet seen the specialist and do not trust websites for medical information, so I don’t know all that much about celiac disease.  But, it’s hard for me to believe that my symptoms could be caused by celiac disease. 

 

I am hopeful that someone on this forum who is more educated than I can tell me which, if any, of my symptoms could be attributable to celiac disease, as that might ease my mind a bit.  Many thanks.

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Hi Integrous,

 

Celiac disease can cause damage to the gut lining, which impairs the ability to absorb nutrients from diet.  Without proper levels of vitamins and minerals in your body, it can't heal or maintain itself correctly.  That's called mal-abosorption.  As you can imagine, mal-absorption can affect all parts of the body, including the brain.  We usually refer to the memory and mental sharpness issues as brain fog on this forum.  If you stick around a while you will see that it is an issue brain fog affects many of us.  Our brains are mostly fat and nerves, and B-vitamins are needed to heal nerves grow.  Besides the mal-absorption issues, there is also something called gluten ataxia.  That is rarer though.  I used to have memory issues and mood issues also, getting angry for no reason, short temper.  But that went away after being gluten-free for a while.

 

i suggest you get  a written copy of you celiac test results from your doctor,  You should also get a blood test for mal-absorption to see if you are low on anything critical.  A bone density scan is also done sometimes as bones can be weakened also.

 

Coconut oil is supposed to be very good for our brains.  You might try some in your cooking.

 

http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/archives/faq/what-common-nutrient-deficiencies-might-an-adult-experience-prior-to-diagnosis

What common nutrient deficiencies might an adult experience prior to diagnosis?

Iron, calcium and Vitamin D are the most common deficiencies, but some present with deficiencies in B12, copper, folate, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin and/or zinc.

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Integrous - Welcome to the Forum!

I know sometimes it is hard to imagine that something as seemingly simple as gluten (which is supposed to be a food) could cause such extensive and serious problems.  But it can and it does.  As GFinDC explained, you are not getting nutrients out of your food because of the damage done to the villi by the antibodies that your body produced to try to kill the gluten.  I think of it as being a starvation victim.  If you had barely eaten enough to survive over the course of the last several years would you be surprised that it had started to affect your brain function?  Would you be surprised that your balance is off?  You have been eating food, but your body hasn't been using it - so your body has slowly been starving to death.

 

The good news is, once you stop eating all gluten your body starts to heal and all of those nasty symptoms will go away.  Sometimes it takes awhile, but you will heal.

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Welcome to the board.

 

Those symptoms can be gluten related. With a tTG test over 100 and a positive EMA, it's a sure thing that you have celiac disease.  Unfortunately nerve symptoms (pain or cognitive issues) tend to take the longest to change. Hang in there and give the gluten-free diet a few months or years and I am guessing you'll see improvements... hopefully sooner rather than later.

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You should research the neurological affects of celiac disease.  I think that is where the thinking impairment comes from.  It comes on too quickly when accidentally glutened for it to be due to nutritional deficiencies in my opinion.  There are celiac disease neurologist specialists who also hold that opinion.  It is an autoimmune reaction.  It doesn't only affect the gut.  

 

My 16 year old son is out of school right now for the same reason as he got accidentally glutened.   He goes from the top of his class to failing all his tests when he attends school glutened.   When I am glutened, I can't even read the newspaper.  I can't think more than one step ahead.  I am a highly educated person and it drives me crazy to not be able to think at all.  I hope you find quick improvement with the gluten free diet.

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You should research the neurological affects of celiac disease.  I think that is where the thinking impairment comes from.  It comes on too quickly when accidentally glutened for it to be due to nutritional deficiencies in my opinion.  There are celiac disease neurologist specialists who also hold that opinion.  It is an autoimmune reaction.  It doesn't only affect the gut.  

 

My 16 year old son is out of school right now for the same reason as he got accidentally glutened.   He goes from the top of his class to failing all his tests when he attends school glutened.   When I am glutened, I can't even read the newspaper.  I can't think more than one step ahead.  I am a highly educated person and it drives me crazy to not be able to think at all.  I hope you find quick improvement with the gluten free diet.

Thanks for the reply.  Am I correct that you and your son go back to thinking clearly once the gluten wears off?  I'm looking for a glimmer of hope that my neuroligical effects will go away, as it is starting to affect my work and interactions with family/friends.

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I am sorry that I didn't respond to this sooner.  I didn't see it until someone pointed it out to me.  You have a kind person watching out for you there.  Yes, he does go back to thinking clearly when we rid his diet of all gluten contamination.  He even goes on long runs.  Actually, he is recovering now.  He was back at school yesterday.  I also go back to thinking clearly when I have a good clean diet.  Celiac disease can cause these kinds of problems.  It is not well known and you are very lucky to have had a doctor who thought to test you for celiac disease.  Many of us go for many more years before someone finally thinks of it.

 

I have to admit that I haven't spend much time studying neurological effects of celiac disease.  Some names that you could look up are the neurologists Perlmutter and Hadjivassiliou.  I think that they deal with more physical neurological symptoms.  Green at Columbia has research papers about children with learning disabilities and celiac disease which may be more related to what are experiencing.

Another neurologist gave this talk at my local group: http://vimeo.com/21129556

 

A big problem with is that you need a clear thinking mind to figure this out, but you need to figure this out to get a clear thinking mind.  Just try to take steps in the positive direction and you will get there.

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