Does gluten (in bread, pasta and biscuits) cause dementia?

A few years ago, the gluten-free diet suddenly became very popular. Books appeared that gluten was the cause of many different complaints. From complaints such as diarrhea and feeling bloated to many other complaints and illnesses. In America David Perlmutter’s “Grain Brain”, a book published in the Netherlands under the name “The Danger of Gluten”, was published. In this book, the link between gluten and the development of dementia is made.

gluten and health

Obviously, gluten is bad for health for some people. They have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. (See also So these people should avoid grain products that contain gluten, such as bread, pasta and crackers. A few years ago, the theory that gluten is bad for everyone came out. Our bodies are not built to process gluten.

Research into gluten and dementia

When the theory arose about ten years ago that gluten could also cause dementia, it was hard to refute. It seemed highly unlikely for many different reasons, but hard scientific evidence was missing. Scientific research takes years and the people involved want the answer – today. A number of large studies have already been carried out.

  • A 2015 Swedish study compared 8,800 people with celiac disease (in short, people who had followed a gluten-free diet for years) and more than 43,000 people without celiac disease. The researchers found no difference in dementia risk between these groups
  • A 2021 US study of more than 13,000 women without celiac disease, but with significant differences in gluten intake, found no difference in cases of dementia between people who ate the highest and the last.
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Cereals contain many healthy substances

Cereals containing gluten according to Nutrition Center A source of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, iron, vitamin B1 and folic acid. Bread is also an important source of iodine. Therefore, experts say it is unwise to start on a gluten-free diet. The chance of developing a nutrient deficiency is high. This effect is so significant that researchers in the Swedish study mentioned above were actually afraid that people with celiac disease were at greater risk of developing dementia. Fortunately, that turned out to be incorrect. With good guidance, a diet can be developed in which people with celiac disease also get all the important nutrients.


The theory is born easily, but is often difficult to refute. A smart businessman can easily make a profit from this. After all, it takes years before science can disprove your claims. The author of the book we mentioned above, Dr. David Perlmutter, made a lot of money selling books and supplements including a six-day Brain Detox Retreat worth $8,500. Now that the gluten hype is over? no problem. Then a smart businessman advises something else. His latest book is already full of new advice!

Get a free brochure “Reducing the risk of dementia”

Would you like to learn more about risk factors for dementia and practical tips for reducing your risk? Order the free brochure “Reducing the risk of dementia” which contains:

  • Information about dementia risk factors
  • Tips for a healthy life
  • Tips to keep your brain active

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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