I know many of you have stated that you suffered from brain fog and that removing gluten from your diet caused it to go away. This is an article written by Celiac and Gluten Sensitivity expert, Jane Anderson, and reviewed by a medical review board. It was originally posted at about.com in their Health section. It is a very thorough piece delving into the connectivity between gluten and brain fog. Give it a read.
Most people focus on the digestive symptoms of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and with good reason: the diarrhea, constipation, cramping and abdominal pain that can accompany accidental gluten ingestion are pretty unpleasant.
But there’s another symptom that can be just as debilitating (or almost): brain fog.
There’s no official medical definition of brain fog, but you know it when you have it. People with brain fog often feel tired, even though they just got out of bed. They might fumble in conversations or suffer from writer’s block. Their thoughts seem to come slower than they would normally, and their creativity is sorely taxed.
Completing tasks — even simple tasks — can represent a challenge, and they might struggle in employment or in personal situations due to their brain fog, if it’s bad enough. In severe cases, someone with brain fog can even get lost on the way home from the store.
Brain Fog Symptoms Include Forgetfulness, Difficulty Concentrating
You may not find brain fog on the short list of common celiac symptoms, even though many people with celiac report it. Some newly-diagnosed celiacs have told me they suffered from brain fog for years, although they didn’t realize it until they started to eat gluten-free.
The problem appears even more common in those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity: Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Celiac Research, tells me brain fog affects about one-third of his gluten sensitivity patients.
In those of us who have been diagnosed for a while, brain fog seems to stem directly from gluten ingestion, and it usually dissipates as the other effects of a glutening wear off.
Brain fog is a condition that’s tricky to quantify, although my guess is you know when your brain isn’t functioning at its best. I get noticeable brain fog if I’m glutened moderately or severely, which fortunately doesn’t happen very frequently these days.
Symptoms of brain fog can appear together or separately, but often overlap. For example, I have trouble writing when I have brain fog since I can’t concentrate well. I’m far less creative and can’t keep my train of thought going.
Little Research Available on Brain Fog
You won’t find much written by medical professionals about brain fog in celiac disease, even though it can have an impact on your quality of life, especially when you’re first diagnosed.
In some cases, your fuzzy-headedness may be related to the fatigue and sleep problems that can occur with celiac; after all, if you’re exhausted but can’t get a good night’s sleep, you’re unlikely to function at your best level mentally or physically. It may also be related to nutritional deficiencies; several common deficiencies for new celiacs involve vitamins related to brain function.
There’s some evidence that celiac disease may be linked to long-term cognitive decline, but it’s not clear whether that possible risk is related to the short-term mental problems you might experience when you accidentally ingest gluten.
Remedy for Brain Fog: Stay Gluten-Free