Gluten and brain fog in children

Brain fog was one of my worst symptoms prior to my coeliac diagnosis. It remains my most dreaded symptom of being ‘glutened’— because it lingers for so long! Brain fog is common, and well-documented amongst adults with untreated coeliac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. Evidence also suggests that gluten can cause brain fog in children with these conditions.

But while adults can grasp the concept of brain fog and explain what they’re experiencing, it’s quite a difficult notion for children — especially if they’ve never known any different. Based on my own, and other’s experiences with brain fog, here are some ways in which it may present in children:

  • An inability to concentrate
  • Being slow to organise thoughts, activities, or to complete school work
  • Often seeming slightly confused, ‘spacy’, dozy or dreamy
  • Irritability
  • Getting tired quickly
  • Forgetfulness
  • Being very sensitive or emotional (quick to reach an overwhelmed or anxious state).

I’m glad to see researchers (including those based at the University of Sheffield) start to explore the effect that gluten can have on the brain (in coeliac patients). In time, better understanding of this could lead to shorter diagnosis times and fewer misdiagnoses.

If your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms, chat to your GP about ruling out coeliac disease (especially if combined with tummy pain, unsettled bowels, mouth ulcers, low iron, poor tooth enamel (a mottled appearance to the teeth) or poor growth). If you’re concerned that gluten-induced brain fog may be affecting you child, please get in touch.

To talk about coeliac disease, gluten intolerance or living a gluten-free life, feel free to book a consultation with me – or simply get in touch

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