Objective: Schizophrenia affects roughly 1% of the population and is considered one of the top 10 causes of disability worldwide. Given the immense cost to society, successful treatment options are imperative. Based on initial findings, gluten withdrawal may serve as a safe and economical alternative for the reduction of symptoms in a subset of patients.
Method: A review of the literature relevant to the association between schizophrenia and celiac disease (gluten intolerance) was conducted.
Results: A drastic reduction, if not full remission, of schizophrenic symptoms after initiation of gluten withdrawal has been noted in a variety of studies. However, this occurs only in a subset of schizophrenic patients.
Conclusion: Large-scale epidemiological studies and clinical trials are needed to confirm the association between gluten and schizophrenia, and address the underlying mechanisms by which this association occurs.