Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Many autoimmune processes are fatal. ALS, also named Lou Gehrig's disease after the famous Baseball player who died due to ALS, is a progressive, fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling muscles. In ALS, both the brain and the spinal neurons degenerate and die. ALS is triggered by diverse antigens; some are toxic exposures, injuries and infections. One study in Guam looked at the pathogeneses of the disease revealed high aluminum in the water and a plant excitatory neurotoxin as possible causes. In Italy, an increasing number of soccer players have developed ALS; some have connected this with the use of illegal toxic substances or exposure to pesticides used on playing fields.
Symptoms of ALS include muscle weakening, muscles waste away and twitch. Patients with ALS lose their strength and the ability to move their arms, legs, and body. Muscles in the diaphragm and chest wall fail, and then patients lose the ability to breathe. In most cases the disease does not impair a person's mind, a small percentage of patients may experience problems with memory or decision-making, and there is growing evidence that some may even develop dementia.
While making the diagnosis of ALS is less confusing using modern MRI and CT scanning, the CAUSE is still considered idiopathic. This means that modern medicine simply doesn't know.
When one understands that there is a cause to everything and that an inflammatory process that devoirs neuronal sheaths may involve an autoimmune response, it doesn't take long to at least investigate Lyme as a possible culprit. Unfortunately, the medical community quickly dismisses Lyme if there is a negative blood test. However, in Stage THREE of Lyme, there we NOT be any positive blood tests since the spirochetes are NOT in the blood! One must dig deeper and rely on different, unique, and sophisticated testing. ALS ALWAYS has a cause and for one to simply believe the current medical model and surrender to their outcome is foolishness. Hosea said it well, "My people perish for lack of knowledge." -Hosea 4:6
Is Gluten Sensitivity Linked to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?
A recent research report identified an individual with progressive nerve damage findings mimicking the autoimmune neurological condition known as Lou Gehrig’s disease (AKA – ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). The condition manifests as progressive muscle weakness and loss, involuntary spasms and twitches, and eventually a degeneration of the muscles responsible for aiding in breathing. Many sufferers of ALS die as a result of suffocation once the muscles of respiration become paralyzed.
There are many theories on the causes of ALS. One prominent suspicion is in a defective antioxidant gene called SOD1(superoxide dismutase). This gene is a powerful antioxidant that is activated by the two essential minerals, copper and zinc. Patients with ALS often have this genetic variant that predisposes areas in the brain and spinal cord to free radical damage.
As ALS is an autoimmune condition, the next question becomes – does gluten play a role in the development or contribute to the disease?
Is There a Gluten – ALS Connection?
The following is the abstract published from the American Journal of Neuroradiology…
CD is an autoimmune-mediated disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. Initial symptom presentation is variable and can include neurological manifestations that may comprise ataxia, neuropathy, dizziness, epilepsy, and cortical calcifications rather than gastrointestinal-hindering diagnosis and management. We present a case of a young man with progressive neurologic symptoms and brain MR imaging findings worrisome for ALS. During the diagnostic work-up, endomysium antibodies were discovered, and CD was confirmed by upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with duodenal biopsies. MR imaging findings suggestive of ALS improved after gluten-free institution.
Source: AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2010 May;31(5):880-1. Epub 2009 Nov 12.
Yes, A Connection Exists
This group of clinicians found a strong correlation in one of their patients, and this is not the only time this connection has been made in medicine (see resources). Why is this an important connection? ALS is a terminal disease with no known cure. The medications being prescribed to treat it are not effective. The quality of life in these patients can deteriorate rapidly and they most often need 24 hour care. This case demonstrates that the hallmark signs of damage in the brain identified by MRI improved after a gluten free diet was implemented.
Gluten Induced Nerve Damage is not a New Discovery
Neurologic diseases linked with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease were initially reported in the medical literature in 1966. The most common manifestations are ataxia,vertigo (dizziness) and neuropathy, followed by epilepsy (seizures), ALS and multiple sclerosis-like symptoms. It is thought that these conditions result from two key components:
- Gluten induced intestinal damage leading to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Secondarily, these deficiencies cause neurological pathology.
- Gluten acts as a neurotoxin and induces an autoimmune process.
Additional Resources on gluten and neurological diseases:
- Cooke WT, Smith WT. Neurological disorders associated with adult celiac disease. Brain 1966;89:683–722
- Hadjivassiliou, M, Gibson A, Davies-Jones CA, et al. Does cryptic gluten sensitivity play a part in neurological illness? Lancet 1996;347:369 –71.
- Hadjivassiliou M, Gru¨newald RA, Lawden M, et al. Headache and CNS white matter abnormalities associated with gluten sensitivity. Neurology2001; 56:385–88
- Kieslich M, Erra´zuriz G, Posselt HG, et al. Brain white-matter lesions in celiac disease: a prospective study of 75 diet-treated patients. Pediatrics2001;108:E21
- Lea ME, Harbord M, Sage MR. Bilateral occipital calcification associated with celiac disease, folate deficiency, and epilepsy. AJNR Am J of Neuroradiology 1995;16:1498 –500
- Turner M, Chocan G, Quaghebeur G, et al. A case of celiac disease mimmicking amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Nat Clin Pract Neurol 2007;3:581–84
It should go without saying that patients inflicted with ALS should at the very least be screened for gluten sensitivity. Please share this article with a neurologist today.
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