Section 5 of Part 2: Can Nutrient Deficiencies Contribute To ALS Symptoms And How Is This Associated With A Gluten intolerance?

March 23, 2011 · Filed Under ALS 

In individuals with celiac disease, the immune system reacts when gluten is ingested. The small intestinal villi, responsible for absorbing nutrients, become damaged, creating a flattened mucosal surface (villus flattening) that is less able to absorb nutrients. Autoimmune reactions to ingested gluten, cross-react with intestinal villi and this leads to the villi damage. Various nutrient deficiencies can occur, and this can affect every physiological system, including the neurological symptom.

With celiac disease (and in some with dermatitis herpetiformis), severity of nutrient loss and related symptoms are dependent on the location, length and severity of intestinal villi damage, which can be patchy in nature. As well, the presence of other factors such as diarrhea, vomiting, medications that affect nutrient absorption, a nutrient poor diet, other associated diseases, the presence of dysphasia, intestinal parasites, a poor diet, past stomach and intestinal surgery, smoking, or excessive alcohol intake could negatively affect nutrient levels. Nutrient deficiencies can also be present in non-celiac gluten intolerance if any of these influencing factors are present.

With nutrient deficiencies, many neurological symptoms can occur. Without treatment, the damage may become permanent. With gluten intolerance as a possible underlying cause of ALS, it is reasonable to suspect that low nutrient levels could add to the severity of ALS symptoms or lead to additional symptoms. Nutrient deficiencies contributing to neurological symptoms can include vitamins E, B complex, K, amino and fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, electrolytes, l-carnitine, and inositol.

People with ALS may want to discuss this possibility with their doctor. Testing for a gluten intolerance along with treatment of underlying nutrient deficiencies might help to alleviate the symptoms associated with ALS. For those who are suffering, it may be worth ruling this out.

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The rest of Part 2, along with parts, 3, 4, and 5 will follow in the next 6-8 weeks. Scroll down the right side of my blog until you find ALS. All of the ALS posts will be found in this category.

5 Part Series

Part 1 Of 5 Part Series : Could A Gluten Intolerance Cause Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Or Lou Gehrig’s Disease?

Part 2 Of 5 Part ALS Series: How Could A Gluten Intolerance Cause Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Or Lou Gehrig’s Disease? (see 8 sections of Part 2 below)

Section 1 of Part 2: How Could Antibody Reactions Against Transglutaminases Contribute To ALS

Section 2 of Part 2: Could IgA and IgG Mediated reactions To Foods Contribute To ALS Symptoms

Section 3 of Part 2: Could Glutamic Acid And Aspartic Acid Contribute To ALS Symptoms

Section 4 of Part 2: Abnormal Neurological Findings With A Gluten Intolerance

Section 5 of Part 2: Can Nutrient Deficiencies Contribute And How is This Associated With A Gluten intolerance?

Section 6 of Part 2: Are There studies Showing An Association Between Gluten And ALS?

Part 3 Of 5 Part Series: How Could A Gluten Intolerance Cause ALS In Various Age Groups

Part 4 Of 5 Part Series: How could A Lectin Intolerance Contribute To ALS

Part 5 Of 5 Part Series: Some Final Thoughts About ALS And Gluten

Scroll down the right side of my blog until you find ALS. All of the ALS posts will be found in this category.

References

1. Gibney MJ, Vorster HH, Kok FJ. Introduction to Human Nutrition. Blackwell Publishing 2002.

2. Gibney MJ, Marinos E, Olle L, Dowsett J. Clinical Nutrition. Blackwell Publishing 2005.

Comments

5 Responses to “Section 5 of Part 2: Can Nutrient Deficiencies Contribute To ALS Symptoms And How Is This Associated With A Gluten intolerance?”

  1. NoGluten on March 26th, 2011 10:52 am

    The ALS series has been really interesting. On the Gluten Free and Beyonf Forum there’s a discussion of Hidradenitis suppurativa and how many people seem to improve on the GF diet. Is this condition known to be linked to gluten?

  2. Kevin Baker on March 29th, 2011 10:33 am

    Connect the dots:
    1. My mother died of ALS.
    2. Before she received a correct diagnosis of ALS, she was incorrectly diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, another neurological condition.
    3. Myasthenia Gravis has ALREADY been shown to be connected to celiac disease.
    4. My mother had undiagnosed celiac disease, so she ate gluten all the way to the end. (I know she had CD because I have it, and I have been able to diagnose her posthumously. It was pretty obvious.)

  3. Shelly on March 29th, 2011 10:48 am

    Kevin,

    Thank you for your feedback and your personal story. It helps to highlight the possible connection between ALS and immune reactions to gluten:) My grandfather died from ALS as well. His daughter (my mother), my daughter and I all have celiac disease. I strongly suspect that my grandfather had undiagnosed celiac disease and this may have led to his ALS symptoms.

    Best regards,
    Shelly

  4. Shelly on March 29th, 2011 10:59 am

    Hi,

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a connection between Hidradenitis suppurativa and immune reactions to gluten. A gluten intolerance can present as a variety of skin conditions (ie. dermatitis herpetiformis and I have many other associated conditions listed in my book) so it is reasonable to suspect that this condition could be associated.

    As well as receiving testing for a gluten intolerance (celiac disease, dermatitis, herpetiformis, and non-celiac gluten intolerance), it may be worthwhile to be tested for other types of immune reactions (IgE, IgA, IgG) to other foods as well. Also, secondary skin infections (ie Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, etc) should be ruled out.

    Best regards,
    Shelly

  5. Becky on February 21st, 2012 3:29 pm

    I have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease 4 years ago and am Gluten Free now. I have a cousin on my father’s side that also has Celiac Disease. I am certain that my father also had Celiac and had the dermatitis with it. He died of ALS in 1985. I am now wondering about the connection between ALS and Celiac Disease.

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