Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Gluten And Neuropathy: No Proof Of A Cause Effect Relationship

Today's short post from livingwithperipheralneuropathy.com (see link below) asks the question as to whether a high gluten diet can cause neuropathy. It was long-thought that there is a link between the two but proving it was always a problem, if only because of the nature of neuropathy as a disease and its multiple causes. Recent articles have tended to reject the theory linking gluten to nerve damage but over the course of time, both opinions seem to come to the fore. The fact is that we just don't know for sure. Certainly many people seem to gain benefit and a reduction in their neuropathic symptoms if they reduce or cut out gluten from their diet but even then, it can't be proved. This article rightly points then out that a cause-effect relationship cannot as yet be proved.

Does gluten cause peripheral neuropathy?
By |July 15th, 2017

 Peripheral neuropathy is a peripheral nerves disorder; these nerves take care of information going from/to the central nervous system. A nerve or a group can be affected. In fact, many groups of nerves can be affected. Damage can be unilateral or bilateral and symmetric. As the nerves perform many different functions, some or many can be affected. Basically, and to understand better the issue, it can be simplified considering the sensorial, sensitive and motor damage. In other words, it can range from pain to loss of sensibility, numbness or a burning sensation, loss of strength or movement. This allows us to understand the complexity of the issue. For a more detailed read, we highly recommend to visit:


Causes of peripheral neuropathy are varied as well. From diabetes, autoimmune diseases or infections; there are plenty of options to consider with each single patient. However, one of the most common causes nowadays is gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in many cereals, especially in wheat, oat, barley and rye. People who cannot tolerate gluten (celiac disease), not only suffer digestive symptoms, but several organs and systems can be affected.

In people with celiac disease there is, according to several publications, up to 49% of peripheral neuropathies of varying degrees. In fact, in a significant number of cases (which are increasing apparently), celiac disease is found from a peripheral neuropathy, which would be the initial manifestation.

While the percentage of celiac disease patients with some peripheral neuropathy manifestation is extremely high, there is no need to rush for conclusions, according to several studies. It could be a causal relationship (celiac disease causes peripheral neuropathy) or some lesional association (both events happen at once, with none of them causing the other). No conclusive studies in this direction yet, but it is a proven fact both events happen at once frequently. A very strong argument in regard to celiac disease as a cause and not as an associated disease is that there is no significant improvement in a high percentage of patients when a gluten free diet is introduced.

In conclusion is indisputable the relationship between both issues, but still cannot conclude a cause-effect relationship.


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