Gluten Intolerance & Seizures – Confirmed by Neurologist

on May24
by Dr. Vikki Petersen | Print the article |

Child Suffers From Seizures When School Doesn’t Help

Many months ago I was contacted by an attorney who found me during an internet search. He was interested in having one of us testify on behalf of his client whose child suffered from what was believed to be gluten induced seizures. The mother was having issues with the child’s school not taking her child’s gluten intolerance seriously and allowing gluten exposure to occur. The result of this was dangerous seizures.

Experience regarding gluten causing seizures in patients was not what the attorney wanted. He wanted research studies and he thought we were a research facility. I felt badly about not being able to help this child personally but I recommended some researchers who could hopefully fit the bill.

We Have Seen Many Cases of Gluten-Induced Seizures

The reason I bring this up is that we have seen many patients with seizure related activity that resolved by removing gluten. But we haven’t had, until this week, success with the neurological community recognizing it.

A month ago the parents of an 8 year old contacted us for their daughter. She had only been on a gluten-free diet for a week after just having being diagnosed with celiac disease. Her seizures began after a hefty gluten exposure. Initially they only occurred at night (10 per night!) but were starting to occur during the day as well when we first saw her.

The neurologist put her on medication to control the seizures which helped with the intensity but not the frequency.

A Lab Test Reveals Foods that ‘Mimic’ Gluten

In addition to a strict gluten free diet we wanted to ensure that no cross-reactive foods were entering her system. In clinical nutrition we find that a cross-reactive food is typically a dairy product or grain/starch that has a protein structure similar enough to gluten that when a person eats it, their body’s immune system reacts as if they had eaten gluten.

In the case of someone who’s nervous system is very sensitive to gluten, enough to induce seizures, obviously any food that ‘mimics’ gluten must be identified.

The blood was drawn for the test but since the results can, unfortunately take 3 weeks to receive, the parents decided to remove all possible cross-reactive foods from their daughter’s diet immediately.

Seizures Gone With No Medication!

From that moment forward she began to improve steadily. Her seizure activity reduced so substantially that her parents wanted to look at removing her medication altogether.

Her pediatrician disagreed and wanted her to remain on the medication as a preventive agent, but the neurologist was willing to look into the possible association between gluten and the seizures.

They admitted her into the hospital to safely monitor her seizure activity while weaning her off her medication. The weaning successfully occurred without a single seizure occurring. It has now been three weeks with no seizures and no medication. The neurologist has deemed the seizures as food-related.

Now if he would only tell the rest of his profession that would be terrific!

In the meantime the laboratory tests we did for cross-reactive foods and the presence of a leaky gut have returned. Both were positive. She definitely has a leaky gut, which is not surprising considering her celiac disease and neurological symptoms. The test revealed several positive cross-reactive foods but others were fine such as rice, corn and tapioca, so that was a nice addition back into her diet.

Awareness Continues to Be Low

It’s extremely stressful to have an ill child. Watching a child of yours have a seizure, must be quite terrifying.  Unfortunately, awareness of gluten intolerance by laypersons as well as doctors is quite low in our country.  You could likely call ten neurologists in your city and 9 or 10 would adamantly tell you that gluten could never be the sole cause of seizures.

With several hundred symptoms and diseases associated with gluten, one could get the same erroneous information from general practitioners, gastroenterologists, pediatricians and gynecologists, just to name a few, as regards diseases in their field that we know can definitely occur as a result of a gluten intolerance.

We Shouldn’t Have to Beg to Get Tested

Our commitment to raising awareness is why I do what I do and so many researchers, fellow bloggers and organizations do what they do on a daily basis. We are committed to increasing awareness until the day arrives that when a person goes to see a doctor with any one of the 300 possible diseases and symptoms associated with gluten intolerance, a thorough examination and testing protocol includes finding out if a gluten intolerance is present. Ruling out the presence of a gluten intolerance needs to be the standard of care, not something you need to beg your doctor to look for.

That, my friends, will be a good day. Until then, I am here fighting the good fight and happy to help you in whatever way that I can. My medical center, HealthNOW, is a destination clinic and we see patients from across the country as well as internationally. We are here to assist you, your friends and family.

 

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Permission is granted to re-post this article in its entirety with credit to Dr Vikki Petersen & HealthNOW Medical Center and a clickable link back to this page. Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN is founder of HealthNOW Medical Center and the author of “The Gluten Effect”.  She has been featured in national magazines, international medical journals and is a frequent headlined speaker.


The Author

24 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Jessica Arambula

    1

    Great information, I only wish I would have had any clue about gluten intolerence several years ago. My daughter is now 31 yrs old. She started having seizures @8 yrs old. Her Neurologist
    informed us in 2009 that she could be a candidate for a new clinical trial called “Neuropace stimulator” and that it would probably help her to control her seizures. She has approx. 10-15 a day in a 24 hr period. She is also on so many antiseizure meds that she is very weak, no energy to even get out of bed. July 14, 2011 another surgery performed to replace the battery on the device and a cranioplasty to replace the prosthesis to the piece of bone that was removed 2009 due to infection from a previous surgery. Long story short she also developed depression and Paxil was added to the cocktail of drugs. No positive results after all of the several methods that have been tried to control the seizures. Due to osteoporosis she has broken several bones and the only suggestion by the Neurologist is to use a wheelchair for her safety. I am an emotional mess that it caused me my marriage to unfold in 2010 he just could not handle the fact that I decided to become her permanent caregiver. I need some assistance from anyone that can relate to my daugher and would love to hear that perhaps this gluten might me the cause.

    24 May
  2. donald l henslee

    2

    MY NAME IS DONALD L HENSLEE IVE BEEN SICK NOW FOR A LITTLE OVER THREE YEARS NOW I HAVE SEIZURES AND I STAY SICK A LOT. I PASS OUT ,I FANT, I AM WEAK IN THE LEGS ALL THE TIME I FELL A LOT . I BUST MY HEAD , IVE HURT MY TAIL BONE CAUSED ME TO HAVE PENCHED NERVE. HAVE A LOT OF PRESSURE IN MY LOWER BACK. I HAVE SEIZURES ALL SO. I AM GETTING WORSER WITH THESE THINGS. THESE DOCTORS REALLY UP SET ME BECAUSE I WANT TO GET BETTER. BUT KEEP BRUSHING ME OFF . I KNOW THINGS CAN BE SO MUCH BETTER IF I CAN FIND THE RIGHT DOCTOR.WHOS WILLING TO HELP ME.I CAN ENJOY LIFE .DONT LIKE TO GO TO PLACES MUCH DONT LIKE PEOPLE LOOKING AT ME.I FEEL OUT OF PLACE.I USE TO HAVE TWO JOBS .NOW I CANT WORK .I TRY DOING THINGS AROUND THE HOUSE. CANT DO IT GO INTO SEIZURES OR PASSING OUT SPELLS.THEY COME WITHOUT ME KNOWING THEY ARE GOING TO HAPPEN.I AM DIVORCED NOW HAVE TWO CHILDREN.19 AND 20.MY MOTHER TAKES CARE OF ME NOW.ID LIKE TO LIVE A BETTER LIFE.I THOUGHT I MIGHT HAVE CEILIC DISEASE WHICH IS GLUTEN DAIRY.THAT IS GLUTEN IN YOUR FOOD YOU EAT THAT CAUSES SEIZURES.MY DOCTORS HAVENT EVEN SAID ANYTHING TO ME ABOUT GLUTEN.I AM GOING TO LOOK INTO IT .I WANT TO BE MYSELF AGAIN.ABLE TO DO THINGS AND ABLE TO WALK ON AND DO STUFF WITHOUT WORRYING IF I AM GOING TO FALLOUT AND GET HURT. I NEED TO FIND OUT IF I HAVE THE DISEASE CEILIC. GLUTEN IS IN FOODS YOU EAT THAT CAUSE SEIZURES THATS CAUSING ALL MY PROBLEMS.I AM GOING ON THIS DIET AND SEE IF IT WORKS FOR ME. BUT WILL ASK FOR THE TEST TO SEE I DO HAVE CEILIC DISEASE.THE NUEROLOGIST HADNT EVEN OFFERED TO GIVE ME THIS TEST.CHECK ALL YOUR FOOD YOU EAT AND EAT FOODS THAT IS GLUTEN FREE FOR THOSE WHO HAVING SEIZURES AND HAS TRY DIFFERENT MEDICINES FOR SEIZURES. THIS MAY BE YOUR ANSWER TO YOUR PROBLEMS.GOD BLESS.

    24 May
  3. Naaz

    3

    Hello,

    Thank you for this article. Do you think a gluten free diet would help in the case of a 20 month baby who has been diagnosed with myoclonic seizures?

    24 May
  4. 4

    Hello Naaz,

    I think that a gluten-free and also dairy-free diet would be a fine trial. I cannot diagnose over the internet of course but there is certainly no danger in trying such dietary changes. Both gluten and dairy are known to affect the nervous system. There is more evidence associating gluten with seizures. We certainly have had much success here at HealthNOW treating seizures with a gluten-free diet as the main dietary change.

    Feel free to call us to get more information or sign up for a free health analysis – we are happy to help! Call 408-733-0400.

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    24 May
  5. 5

    Let me know how the test results come out Donald. Gluten has been seen to be related to seizures.

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    24 May
  6. kat

    6

    Can gluten induced seizures rabdomly start at the age of 17? I have had gluten my whole life butdeveloped extreme anxiety and seizure like episodes.

    24 May
  7. shelly

    7

    Have you seen gluten intolerance associated to milder cases of epilepsy such as absence (petit mal) or has this only been observed on cases of Grand Mal patients?

    24 May
  8. 8

    Yes this can happen. We have treated many patients of all ages with seizures. Are you looking for medical care for this?

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    24 May
  9. Elaine Sylvester

    9

    Dear Dr. Vikky Peterson,
    I have left gluten off of my diet for some time, because I feel I am gluten intolerant or have ceilic disease. My Dr. tested me for ceilic disease, and since I had eliminated gluten for several months before the test, it came up negative for ceilic disease. However, when I eat gluten, I have such tremendous stomach cramps, bloating, passing gas, ect and the worst of all ..loose bowel accidents. I have had these symptoms only since I had my second hip replaced. When I leave off the gluten, I don’t have the cramps bloating and gas. Just the loose bowel accidents, which are much worse when I consume gluten. So I can definitely see a pattern of with gluten and without the gluten.
    A month ago, I fell. The hospital found no reason, and called it a seizure.
    I told the Dr. in the emergency room that I had deliberately consumed a large amount of gluten. I could not resist Stoffers Macaroni and cheese. I asked the emergency room Drs. if consuming a large amount of gluten could have caused my “seizure” , They sort of seemed to think my idea was way out in left field!
    I went to my own Dr. and she too, sort of seemed to think what I eat would not have had such an impact as to cause a seizure!
    Then my daughter saw this site, about the relationship between gluten and seizures. So, here I am! I want to know more!
    So very sincerely, Elaine S

    24 May
  10. Becky

    10

    My now 8 yr old son began having seizures when he was 3. The seizure medication did not stop the seizures. His sister had horrible headache with hallucination episodes. Both children became completely normal once gluten was removed from their diet. Their neurologist, when I told him I was going remove gluten, told me that was a lot of trouble. But it worked. After a couple of years off gluten, they can now eat it without adverse effects.

    24 May
  11. 11

    That is awesome to hear! We have helped many children with seizures at our clinic.

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    24 May
  12. 12

    Dear Becky,

    My assistant wrote the response above. In non-technical, ‘sharing of good news’ type comments, my assistant is kind enough to assist me. The technical questions are, of course, handled by me. While I am delighted to hear that your children no longer have seizures, I am concerned that they are eating gluten again. My concern is that gluten can create effects ‘silently’ that are still quite deleterious. It’s akin to the person who had ear infections as a child from dairy foods and who later in life thought they ‘grew out of’ their dairy reaction because they stopped having the ear infections. We tend to find that the problem is still quite present, it is just affecting their health in a different manner.

    If I was related in any way to your children, knowing what I know, I would feel strongly about testing them to see if there is ANY reaction going on in their bodies as a result of gluten ingestion. If the test is negative, then that’s fine. But I would be remiss to not suggest it.

    If you would like further information or a free health analysis, consider calling us at 408-733-0400.

    All the best,
    Dr Vikki

    24 May
  13. 13

    Hello Elaine,

    We would be happy to get you more data. It certainly is interesting that you seizure occurred after your gluten ingestion. Gluten is known to cause seizures; sadly the doctors you consulted were unaware of that fact. I would like to invite you to call us for a free health analysis (408-733-0400) so that we can get a better idea of how best to assist you.

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    24 May
  14. 14

    Dear Shelly,

    Gluten intolerance can be related to all types of seizures – petit mal, Grand Mal, absent, etc. We have treated a vast variety of seizure types successfully by removing gluten and addressing the secondary effects of gluten.

    If you’d like assistance, cosider contacting us for a free health analysis – 408-733-0400.

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    24 May
  15. 15

    Hello Kat,
    Yes, seizures along with hundreds of other symptoms associated with gluten intolerance can develop at any point in life. I have mentioned why in some blogs and videos, but if you’d like more information, consider calling us for a free health analysis – 408-733-0400.

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    24 May
  16. Kalo

    16

    Had some questions about gluten, I’ve been having Partial Complex Seisures for a few years, I’m 25. Had many testings and scanning, everything came up negative towards gluten. They arent sure what the cause could be. The neurologist I have, noticed in the EEG and MRI that I have some white spots on the brain near the Left Temporal Lobe. They seem to appear and go away, same rotation over and over. I know stress causes quite a bit of my issue. I can sense right away, or even some point in the day if I will have a seisure, Its an off feeling. I can feel my heart rate increase or not able to get that full deep breath. Again the thought that comes to mind is feeling ‘Off’ I have it sometimes come towards a deja vu. I think it were gluten Id have more symptoms. I sense this mentally in some ways. I don’t know if gluten would or could be my cause??? My seisures, when I have one happen, I sense it a min or longer before it hits, when it does…I seem to blank out\space out from reality. It hits for about a couple mins, not long, when slowly coming back to reality, full concentration. I havent a clue what had happened within those few mins of the seisure at all. My concentration goes down a percentage so therefore common sense does. I happen to do things that are weird, uncontroled cause I’m asleep to reality. It bothers me, Not sure what your thoughts or advice would be. Hope to hear back back, thanks :)

    24 May
  17. Stephanie

    17

    This is a great article, thanks for writing it. I have had epilepsy since my mid 20′s and just became seizure free at 38 because I went on a gluten free diet. Unfortunately none of the 15 neurologists I have had over the years have ever suggested I could be intolerant so I continued to feed my body toxins. I was tested I am NOT allergic to Gluten. My father is allergic. I am Gluten Intolerant – that is hard to test for. The easiest way is to do the elimination way. I have had Gluten by mistake in BBQ sauce when I thought it was Gluten Free and I was sick for 5 days ending with a seizure. I also cannot have legumes or dairy at this point. It is possible after I heal that I may be able to start to introduce those back into my system. I tried to talk to my neurologist about it and he told me that he saw no connection and he asked me to send him my research. At this point I am going to see a functional doctor and I plan to take an immuno labs blood print so that I can see what other foods are toxic to my body. I also plan to give my kids that same test so that they don’t end up in their 20s with the same problem I did. Another interesting thing about all of this is that my Dad was going to a neurologist for years for TIAs and I kept telling him that I thought they were seizures and not TIAs and that there was something hereditary going on. My sister also has horrible Migraines. Now my Dad is on a Gluten Free diet and he has not had a TIA since. I hope this information helps people. I know how hard it has been to research this and to get people to believe me.

    24 May
  18. 18

    That’s great news Stephanie,
    Please keep in touch and let me know if there’s anything I can do to assist you.

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    24 May
  19. Kendra

    19

    Thank you for sharing this! I believe this is actually what happened to me a few times. I’ve very recently started going gluten free, it’s been about 8-9 months and I sometimes get “glutened” or purposely eat gluten, very rarely. (Sometimes I’m curious if I really am sensitive and then suffer the consequences, silly me.)

    I shouldn’t probably at all, just sometimes I really want to treat myself. But I have noticed that depending on what I eat and how much of it I eat I tend to get different symptoms. The most common is just a really upset stomach, bloating, cramping, and migraines. But sometimes I feel really horrible after I eat gluten. I get insomnia, really spaced out, agitated, nightmares, and even I get these strange auras. It was awhile ago when it first happened, but I had eaten Chinese food at a buffet. I was careful about what I ate, but that must have had MSG and gluten in it and it must have had a lot.

    Way later when I was getting ready for bed I started to feel really sick, I felt strange and out of it. I laid down and was trying to read my iPad screen when suddenly my thoughts were jumbled and I couldn’t think straight. It was like I was in a trance, I was frozen and staring at my screen and then I started thinking scary thoughts. I don’t know how long I was like that, but what really creeps me out is I can’t remember what I was thinking and it’s sort of like a blur. All I know is it was scary and I didn’t like being stuck. There were a few other times when I felt similar after eating gluten, my mom gave me some unknowingly. I was driving home from visiting my parents and suddenly a memory started playing in my head of something I watched on TV, but I couldn’t shake it and it became so distracting that I had to pull over. Freaked me out a lot.

    After reading this article I think I’m going it contact my Neurologist and see what he thinks. Before I was ever told to go in a Gluten Free diet, I had vertigo/dizziness and migraines for over a year and my neurologist was the first to mention gluten being a possibility.

    24 May
  20. 20

    Let me know how it goes with the neurologist Kendra. While it seems clear that you react to gluten and should avoid it (no more cheating!), it’s also very important that the secondary effects of gluten get addressed such that your leaky gut is completely healed and your nervous system can settle down again. This is a step that few doctors do, sadly.

    Treating the secondary effects is not difficult, nor does it involve any scary drugs nor surgery.

    If you’d like, you can contact us for a free health analysis – call 408-733-0400. We are a destination clinic and treat patients from across the country and internationally – you don’t need to live local to us.

    We are here to help!

    Best,
    Dr Vikki

    24 May
  21. 21

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    24 May
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    22

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    24 May
  23. Karen

    23

    My son is eight years old and has experienced seizures since the age of 6 months old. We have tried many things over the years including medication. He was on Depakote sprinkles for many years which reduced the number and duration but failed to control the seizures completely. He constantly complained of tummy aches or pains on a daily basis. We thought these pains were due to the medication but the neurologist continued to brush off our concerns and assured us they weren’t related. My son also experienced terrible mood swings and had many uncontrollable fits. The slightest thing would trigger him, it was almost like he became a different child. It was very frustrating and scary at times. His seizures were always triggered by pain (even the slightest bump) yet the neurologists assured us that this wasn’t possible even though we’d been a witness to this trigger for eight years now. He never received a diagnosis as they were perplexed due to the multiple types of seizures he experienced and the mostly clean EEGs.

    The good news:
    We completely weaned him off his medication and started him on a gluten-free diet a month and a half ago and the results are nothing short of amazing!!! He is almost like a different child. The mood swings are non-existent, he hasn’t had one meltdown or fit and he has completely mellowed out. His tummy aches/pains are a thing of the past and he is completely seizure free!!!! Everybody immediately notices the behavioral and character difference with my son and everyone is astounded that we’ve had such positive results.

    It saddens me that the neurological medical community refuses to back the connection between food allergies and seizures. This is such a substantial discovery!

    24 May
  24. 24

    I have been studying the link between gluten and seizures for over 14 years in my veterinary patients. In the year 2000 I read an article that stated celiac children with epilepsy often showed marked improvement when placed on gluten-free diets. I took this on as a project and have been studying the fine details of epilepsy and the relationship of diet to seizures ever since.

    As it turns out, gluten is but one of the culprits. Casein from cow’s milk, soy protein, and corn can all induce the leaky gut and be major players in seizures. The malabsorption syndrome caused by the leaky gut is a major factor in the disease of neurons and the development of epilepsy, which I believe is ultimately VIRAL in etiology. There are over 25 viruses known to cause seizures in people, most of which are ubiquitous in the population, latent in that population and “opportunistic” in nature, simply waiting to be triggered out of hiding by malnutrition, subsequent dysfunction of those neurons and their glial cells and specific triggers of seizures (e.g. “excitotoxins” – the glutamate and aspartate content of foods, chemicals/pollutants, fluoride, etc.). These conditions are then complicated by the hypothyroidism, liver disease, and deficiency of sex hormones (progesterone, testosterone) that FREQUENTLY occur in the food intolerant individual who is eating the standard American diet (SAD).

    I developed a diet 14 years ago called The GARD – The Glutamate & Aspartate Restricted Diet – which has yielded phenomenal results in dogs and cats as well as a rapidly growing number of people who have employed it.

    Hope this helps!
    DogtorJ

    24 May

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