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Multiple Sclerosis and Celiac Disease, Why I eat Gluten-Free

By Daryl H. Bryant (637 words)
Posted in Living with MS on February 22, 2012

There are (10) comments permalink

{#/pub/images/188349_169436653130291_155889647818325_400429_3877134_n.jpg}Both multiple sclerosis and celiac disease are autoimmune disorders; this means that both ailments cause a reaction in the human body where your system starts to fight itself. A direct connection between MS and CD has yet to be proven and the medical community is still a bit torn. But I will share what I do know, going gluten-free is a major part of why I can now live symptom free.

I want to share what I learned that led me to my decision to go gluten-free. Celiac disease or CD isn’t as ambiguous a disease as multiple sclerosis. CD can be diagnosed with a series of blood tests that identify antibodies that indicate your immune system’s response to gluten.

We all know that multiple sclerosis on the other hand, doesn’t offer a definitive etiology, sometimes it can take people a number of misdiagnoses before they learn that it was MS all along. There is still so much the medical community needs to learn about our disease.

One connection that has been made though is that there is a prevalence of celiac in people who also have multiple sclerosis. This suggests that there is a connection between both diseases. So wouldn’t it be safe to assume that the treatment of celiac disease will also have a positive effect on the symptom of those with multiple sclerosis?

I’ve read and gone through a lot of material and MS research. And I’ve read different opinions and conclusions. I’ve also read enough success stories and anecdotes to decide that regardless of what the medical community is saying, I am going to try this out. And for me, it made a huge difference.

A study was published in Spain in 2011 by BMC Neurology, “Prevalence of celiac disease in multiple sclerosis.” The test was conducted on 72 MS patients who like myself had Relapsing-Remitting, or RRMS.


The test found a relatively high percentage of MS participants also had celiac. The percentage would even have been higher if those with gluten sensitivity were also considered as a form of celiac. The 11- percent found to have celiac indicates that MS patients are 5 to 10 times more likely to have celiac.

“All the celiac patients were put on a gluten free diet and all of them improved considerably both with respect to the gastrointestinal and to the neurological symptomatology in the follow-up period,” stated the study.

So by putting these MS patients on a gluten-free diet, they found an improvement in their MS symptoms.

“A gluten-free diet should be considered for any RRMS patient,” concluded the study.

Gluten-free can be tough at first, but it is a lifestyle change. There are so many gluten-free alternatives out there, so you can still enjoy food that normally has gluten, like pastas, desserts and beer.

Here are some awesome gluten-free blogs that my wife and I follow for some recipe ideas that are friendly for my MS:

If you haven't read it yet, I explain in my book how I went gluten-free, dairy-free and legume-free. Living a happy life with multiple sclerosis was a process for me that required a lot of trial and error. And this is what works for me; I hope it works for you too.

Good luck! And definitely share recipes if you decide to go this route. For other recipe ideas, remember that I have a MS recipe of the month!

Comments (10)

patti boileau posted on: February 22, 2012

I have been eating gluten free off and on for the past 7 years. I definitely feel better eating this way and try so hard to stick to this diet. I have had MS for 20 yrs., and have been tested for celiac. With genetic testing they have concluded I carry one of the genes and my levels are elevated but actual biopsies are negative. My sister is positive celiac and must stick to a gluten free diet 100%. I do believe that with one autoimmune disease there will be another.

Daryl posted on: February 22, 2012

Hi Patti, I completely agree with you. I also eat gluten free and so does my family!

patricia murphy posted on: March 8, 2012

hi i have read your book and found it very interesting,i agree about the vitamins and i have recently changed my diet to a lot og greens ,sprouts .peppers ,and all these do work together.
i am on the drug called naltrexone ,i did not see it mentioned in your book ,i find it fantastic and its not expencive,low dose naltrexone .no side effects either.just one pill at bedtime.

patti boileau posted on: March 8, 2012

Patricia, I've never heard of this drug and I plan to look into it more but I am interested to know how long you have had MS and what are your symptoms if you don't mind me asking.

dave b. posted on: August 30, 2012

I've been gf for 1.5 years & I don't cheat, but a couple of months ago, just as a test, I had 2 large whole-wheat bagels, and I tried to feel them go thru me...


I didn't bloat, I felt good, my stools were unchanged...

I'm back on gf, but I wonder if I'm wasting my time!


Daryl posted on: August 30, 2012


You're definitely not wasting your time. Just because you don't feel anything from a couple bagels doesn't mean nothing is happening internally when you ingest gluten. Eating gluten for some could lead to problems that are undetected until they happen.

There's lectin proteins found in gluten and these proteins are not able to be broken down by our digestive system and at many times toxic to our bodies. They wreak havoc on the body and have been linked to potentially cause a molecular mimicry in which the immune cells mistake myelin for a foreign invader, causing an auto-immune effect in which our bodies attack itself.

I also, from time to time will have a slice of pizza or a cookie, but 99% of the time I am GF and will be for the rest of my life. My wife and son are also gf and she does not have an autoimmune disease, she knows it's just a healthier and cleaner way to eat and live her life.

I hope this helps!

denise mcnamara posted on: August 30, 2012

Thank you so much for this info. I have been on a gf, df. legume free diet for the last 2months. Not too long but was dx with ms in Oct. 2011. My neuro is more worried about me losing too much weight because I lost weight in july 2011 due to unfortunate circumstances and probably my ms. Gained wght back by consuming the wrong foods. Feel better doing the ms diet, have more energy. Sometimes it can be hard but I will continue with this diet.
Your info is deeply appreciated!

Daryl posted on: August 30, 2012

That's great to hear Denise. It sounds like you're starting off your diagnosis on the right foot. Keep it up!!!

Jennifer posted on: September 3, 2012

I just wanted to say thank you! I am so glad I found this! I wad dxd with MS in Nov of 03. I have had a lot of Ulcertive Colitis. Just recently deciding to quit my copaxone until next year when the new oral pill comes out. At one point I thought I should try going gluten free. Now I am for sure, and I am still going to stop the copaxone and try diet! I take too many pills!

Daryl posted on: September 4, 2012

Hi Jennifer,

I am very glad you found this too! I hope it can help you even in the smallest way possible. From my experiences with eating gluten-free, I highly recommend it. It has made me very healthy along with a dedicated exercise regimen.

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