A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is devastating, and the associated symptoms – difficulty walking, tremors, memory issues – are debilitating. But what if those symptoms aren’t necessarily indicative of Parkinson’s after all? What if a simple diet change could improve or even eliminate those symptoms?

Today Nadine explores anecdotal evidence suggesting that the symptoms of Parkinson’s and other demyelination syndromes might be actually be caused by celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. She argues that as Parkinson’s diagnoses become more and more common, it is imperative that we explore the potential connection between Parkinson’s and celiac disease.

Listen in to understand how gluten can affect the neurological system, why Parkinson’s patients should be tested for celiac disease, and how a gluten-free diet can heal neurological damage.

What’s Discussed: 

Nadine’s Parkinson’s patient

  • Diagnosed with celiac disease as a child in the 1940’s
  • Recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s
  • Symptoms included difficulty walking, falling, stooped gait, masked appearance, tremors, memory issues and confusion
  • Discovered unintentional gluten exposure in the home
  • Moved to adult foster home to ensure gluten-free diet
  • Many symptoms went away
  • Working with neurologist to wean off Parkinson’s meds

Why patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s, ALS and MS should get test for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity

  • Every nerve in the body is insulated with myelin
  • Myelin is made of fat
  • Gluten prevents the absorption of fats
  • Parkinson’s, ALS and MS are all demyelination syndromes

The need for research regarding the potential connection between Parkinson’s and celiac disease

  • The University of Chicago asserts there is ‘no published evidence of a connection between Parkinson’s and celiac disease’
  • Nadine argues that enough anecdotal evidence exists to suggest that a connection should be investigated

Nadine’s recommendation for a comprehensive celiac lab test

  • Cyrex Labs tests for 25 of the gluten intolerant antibodies, including tTG-2, tTG-3 and tTG-6
  • Ask for a total IgA and IgG in addition to the Cyrex Array 3
  • Insurance should cover the tests
  • Can be ordered by any practitioner

Celiac diagnoses in patients over 60

  • 30% of newly diagnosed celiac patients are over 60
  • Many have neurological issues
  • Neuropathy
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Seizure disorders
  • Difficulty walking
  • Falling
  • Balance issues
  • MS
  • Nadine’s patients improve on a Paleo diet

The Stanford idiopathic familial narcolepsy study

  • Entire family diagnosed with narcolepsy
  • Found that family members had celiac disease
  • Adopting a gluten-free diet eliminated the narcolepsy
  • Family now runs organic farm

The increasing number of Parkinson’s diagnoses

  • More and more common
  • UK neurological expert routinely tests for celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity

How your body heals neurological damage in the absence of gluten

  • Heal intestines
  • Eliminate inflammation
  • Repair immune system
  • Replete nutrient deficiencies

Vitamin D

  • Cancer preventative
  • Level should be between 60-80
  • Indicator of all fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K)
  • ‘Sunshine’ vitamin synthesized through skin
  • Must also be taken in dietarily
  • Little chance of overdosing on D3

What your nails can tell you about your health

  • Look for white spots, cracked nails, hangnails
  • May indicate lack of zinc, D3, or B vitamins

Dr. Terry Wahls’ MS misdiagnosis

  • Diagnosed with MS and required wheelchair
  • Healed with a gluten-free diet
  • Can ride her bike and walk without a cane

Nadine’s story

  • At 40, her symptoms suggested MS
  • Issues with clumsiness (falling, dragging feet, dropping things, difficulty with balance)
  • Problems went away on a gluten-free diet
  • Nutrient deficiencies were causing neurological issues

Celiac cerebellar ataxia

  • Caused by lesions on or inflammation of the brain
  • Results in inability to walk straight
  • Tissue can be healed on a gluten free diet

 Resources:

Cyrex Laboratories

Midway Farms

La Mancha Ranch and Orchard

Dr. Wahls’ TED Talk

Dr. Wahls’ YouTube Channel

The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles – by Terry Wahls, MD and Eve Adamson

Connect with Nadine: 

Instagram

Facebook

Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Books by Nadine:

Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease from Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism

Posted by Nadine Grzeskowiak, RN

Nadine is a 'food is medicine’ activist and is very proud of her work to educate all people about the power of food in health and wellness. Nadine is an expert consultant, professional speaker with over 1500 lectures to date, author of DOUGH NATION: A Nurse's Memoir of Celiac Disease From Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism, podcaster, mom and former emergency/trauma/critical care nurse. Nadine is co-authoring her next book on the science of celiac disease.

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