Got Brain Fog? Could be a symptom of celiac disease


There are a variety of symptoms associated with celiac disease, and though commonly they are gastrointestinal related, other symptoms can occur which you might not immediately link to celiac or non-celiac gluten-sensitivity.  Ever feel like your head is just a little “off”? Have you had a difficult time concentrating, or an overwhelming feeling of sleepiness during the day even though you had 8 hours of restful sleep the night before?

According to a recent article by Jane Anderson of, Brain Fog, which can also be a symptom of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, is also a symptom of celiac. Brain fog can happen to the newly diagnosed as well as the seasoned celiac if gluten is ingested, and will usually go away when the gastrointestinal symptoms subside, within a day or two, says Anderson. Signs to watch out for include: “difficulty concentrating, problems being attentive, short term memory lapses, difficulty finding the right words, forgetfulness, temporary loss in mental acuity and creativity and confusion or disorientation”, and symptoms can even overlap.

Though “brain fog” is recognized by the medical community as a symptom of celiac and gluten-sensitivity, it is an area which requires further study.  In January of 2011 the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) launched a “Brain Fog and Gluten Exposure Survey”, for the purpose of gaining information which would assist celiac research centers in future studies.  Over 1,000 members of NFCA’s on-line community participated in the study and many reported experiencing similar symptoms as described above – forgetfulness, confusion, etc. The survey results were presented to the celiac research community and the celiac community awaits future study results.

Yep, gluten definitely has an effect on the brain. Research has shown that 75% of untreated celiac patients suffer from abnormal blood flow patterns to the brain, according to an article by Dr. Arjuna Veeravagu, ND, RAc. Though Brain “fog” is a short-term condition which eventually dissipates once gluten is eliminated, other neurological disorders such as Ataxia and Peripheral Neuropathy which are known to be complications of celiac are more debilitating.

So if you find yourself a little dazed and confused you may have very well been glutened. The only remedy is to remain 100% committed to eating gluten-free and eventually the fogginess will go away. You may want to avoid making any critical decisions until your mind is back to its normal functioning, otherwise you may have found you just bought a bridge in Brooklyn.


Jane Anderson, article:

NFCA survey contact person: Kristin Voorhees –

Further reading:

The Brain-Grain Connection –




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On December 5th, 2011, posted in: CeliacCorner Blogs by
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