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Connection Between Memory Loss and Gluten?

While most people are aware of the digestive symptoms that accompany gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, few are acquainted with how the inflammation affects other body systems. Studies indicate that the inflammatory effects also travel through the blood and may indeed affect brain function and create a condition known as brain fog. As a leading provider of dementia care in Annapolis, Home Care Assistance is hoping to educate caregivers and family members on the connection between gluten and memory loss in seniors.

In someone sensitive to gluten, the body’s antibodies rise in numbers in response to a compound known as gliadin. The antibodies bind with the compound when someone eats foods containing barley, rye, or wheat. When the bonding takes place, the antibodies trigger the release of inflammatory chemicals known as cytokines. These chemicals circulate throughout the body and enter the brain. The delicate communication network between neurons then becomes impaired and signals are altered. This action produces a variety of symptoms that are referred to as brain fog. Symptoms include:

• Difficulty paying attention or remaining focused
• Short-term memory loss
• Trouble finding the right words in verbal or written communication
• Forgetfulness
• Diminished cognitive acuity and creativity
• Disorientation

The symptoms may appear singly or in combination. In most instances, once the body eliminates gluten, the symptoms subside. However, Annapolis senior care experts note if someone continues consuming gluten-containing foods, the chemical reactions that erupt can damage neurons and cause long-term effects. Dr. Alessio Fasano serves as the director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital and shares that brain fog appears in roughly 33 percent of individuals having gluten sensitivity.

Research suggests that celiac disease and celiac sensitivity have increased by 400 percent in the last three decades, affecting approximately 10 percent of the population. For people affected by the disorder, a gluten-free diet is vital to protecting brain health.

For seniors, some of these symptoms are similar to those of dementia. Before jumping to conclusions, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your elderly loved one’s physician and rule out other possibilities, like celiac disease.

If your loved one could use help implementing healthier lifestyle choices, consider hourly care in Annapolis from Home Care Assistance. Every care plan includes the use of our holistic Balanced Care Method, which emphasizes a healthy diet, regular physical activity, a sense of purpose, and maintaining important social connections to promote overall wellbeing. For more information, call a friendly Care Manager at 443-302-2771 and request a free in-home consultation.