Neurological Diseases – Gluten & Glutamate

Gluten Intolerance is a known cause of neurological diseases in the cerebellum

50% of gluten intolerant patients have neurological complications and this intolerance initiates a chronically inflamed state in parts of the brain resulting in autoimmune diseases.

  • This is known as neuro-degeneration (degeneration of the nervous system).
  • One of the contributing products in food is glutamate. Glutamate is typically found in higher protein foods.
  • Gluten and glutamate share a common thread in the area of creating neurological complaints and there is strong belief that food with high glutamate, though gluten-free explains many neurological symptoms.

How does it do that?

If glutamate is processed or cooked for longer times it frees up the glutamate in the cooked food and creates problems with many people.Fast foods and takeaways for example use many highly processed foods with either added MSG or free glutamate to enhance flavouring.

First of all these substances create a state in the body called excitotoxicity.

Excitotoxicity is the pathological process by which nerve cells are damaged and killed by excessive stimulation by neurotransmitters such as glutamate and similar substances. Excitotoxicity often means the death sentence for certain cells of the nervous system and brain and those ongoing effect of excitotoxicity causes brain damage associated with stroke, autism, Alzheimer’s, spinal injuries, brain trauma.

Glutamate is a prime example of an excitotoxin in the brain and it is also the major excitatory neurotransmitter.

  • Excitotoxicity is a process where excess glutamate accumulates outside cells, resulting in damage and eventual death of cells in the nervous system.
  • Excitotoxicity due to glutamate can result in severely decreased blood flow and is associated thereby with such disorders as stroke, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and seizures.
  • Excitation occurs as a result of inflammation and glutamate is produced in the brain when it’s “excited”. It is “excited” when it’s inflamed and gluten is a major source of inflammation in those who are intolerant.
  • Gluten is ingested into the gut but it inflames the brain and adversely affects the immune system, even though they originate in the gut. This is because gut irritation activates immune cells in the brain initiating immune-excitotoxicity- (a process whereby the brain is subject to excitotoxin damage).
  • Once brain inflammation occurs subsequent attacks of inflammation are more damaging because the brain’s immune cells (microglia) secrete a number of inflammatory substances and the next attack the irritated immune cells pour out excitotoxin creating neurological symptoms.
  • Free radicals cause cellular damage in heart disease and cancers and many more of our modern diseases. One of these free radicals or excitotoxin amino acids that pour out is glutamate.

These amino acids suppress a transport system such that glutamate can’t be removed efficiently from the brain. Build-up thus occurs, increasing excitotoxicity and free radicals, unstable substances that will react with most tissues of the body creating destruction in their wake.

Immune cells of the brain are activated by chronic infections and toxins, including pesticides and herbicides.

Chronic inflammation is a bad thing and needs to be avoided particularly when people are sensitive to gluten a body can become inflamed in many areas, especially the gut and the nervous system.

The onset of neurological diseases such as stroke, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and seizures may very well be initiated by a negative reaction to gluten years earlier or related products like glutamate and foods high in free glutamate.


If you suffer from gluten intolerance, including celiac disease it’s important to determine if glutamate containing foods are going to be a problem for you.

Nutrients such as magnesium, quercetin, curcumin, ginseng, hesperidin, anthocyanidins (found in cranberries and many other brilliantly coloured fruits and vegetables that have potent antioxidant activity which may help fight heart disease and cancer), silymarin and DHA are all beneficial.

The brain uses only DHA which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It not only inhibits immune activation of brain cells, but it improves blood flow to the brain and blocks excitotoxicity – all very good things!

Lastly remove any additional sources of inflammation to the body like: infectious agents, heavy metals and other toxins.

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