Guide to Celiac neuropathy

Celiac Disease & neuropathy

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Neuropathy in Celiac Disease

 Antibodies to gangliosides and Purkinje cells have been reported in patients with celiac disease (CD) with neuropathy and ataxia, respectively. The response of neurological symptoms and antibody titers to a gluten-free diet is still controversial. The best treatment is by IVIG or Rituxan. The symptoms will not go away on a gluten free diet if there is large fiber involvement. In the cases were there is weakness numbness then most likely they are not going to improve on a Gluten free diet.

Those cases where there is facial numbnes sabdominal numbness, burning sensations , diarrhea, constipation most of thse cases will improve with a Gluten free diet. In these cases the samll nerve fiber

Celiac patients are low in B-12, B-6 , Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Iron once they start a Gluten free diet then absorption of vitamins will increase. People will feel much better with the Gluten free diet.

Some cases of Celiac neuropathy will just have ataxia and again they have to be tried on a Gluten free diet.

In conclusion, the preliminary results of this prospective study indicate that neuropathy, usually subclinical, may accompany CD. Antibody titers do not seem to correlate with neurological symptoms/signs or diet. Ongoing follow-up will help confirm these data and clarify the role, if any, of antibodies in neurological involvement in CD

CIDPUSA Concludes that other treatments are needed to help these patients rather then the usual Gluten free diet.


Peripheral Neuropathy, which affects up to 20 million people in the U.S., can cause pain, numbness and weakness in the arms and legs and, when left untreated, can progress to debilitation.

In an article published in todays neurology, five percent of all patients with neuropathy were found to also have celiac disease, which results from an allergy to gluten in bread and other wheat products, and is estimated to affect one out of every 150 people. Based on the diagnosis, we are now able to treat a substantial number of patients with neuropathy who previously could not be helped, said Dr. Russell Chin, the first author of the paper.

In addition, patients with celiac disease tended to have a type of neuropathy called small fiber neuropathy which often causes severe burning, stinging, and electric-shock like pains, but is often misdiagnosed as it is undetectable with routine tests used by neurologists to diagnose neuropathy. Approximately 16% of all patients with small fiber neuropathy were found to have celiac disease. Many of our patients were told that there was nothing physically wrong with them, and were advised to seek psychiatric care for presumed anxiety or depression, noted Dr. Norman Latov, Medical and Scientific Director of The Neuropathy Association, and senior author of the study. You too would be anxious and depressed if you were in constant pain, and no-one believed you or offered to help.

Celiac disease is known to run in families, and in several of the cases, other family members were affected. Some were erroneously diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, an inherited form of neuropathy due to genetic mutations. Not all familial cases of neuropathy are due to Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, noted Dr. Latov. Peripheral neuropathy can also occur in association with other causes for neuropathy that run in families, such as diabetes or autoimmunity, for example.

The article also notes that one third of the celiac neuropathy patients did not have any gastrointestinal symptoms such as malabsorption, abdominal pain or diarrhea, which are associated with celiac disease.

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