Gluten Psychosis: Confirmation of a New Clinical Entity

Nutrients. 2015 Jul 8;7(7):5532-9. doi: 10.3390/nu7075235.


Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a syndrome diagnosed in patients with symptoms that respond to removal of gluten from the diet, after celiac disease and wheat allergy have been excluded. NCGS has been related to neuro-psychiatric disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia and depression. A singular report of NCGS presenting with hallucinations has been described in an adult patient. We report a pediatric case of a psychotic disorder clearly related to NCGS and investigate the causes by a review of literature. The pathogenesis of neuro-psychiatric manifestations of NCGS is unclear. It has been hypothesized that: (a) a "leaky gut" allows some gluten peptides to cross the intestinal membrane and the blood brain barrier, affecting the endogenous opiate system and neurotransmission; or (b) gluten peptides may set up an innate immune response in the brain similar to that described in the gut mucosa, causing exposure from neuronal cells of a transglutaminase primarily expressed in the brain. The present case-report confirms that psychosis may be a manifestation of NCGS, and may also involve children; the diagnosis is difficult with many cases remaining undiagnosed. Well-designed prospective studies are needed to establish the real role of gluten as a triggering factor in neuro-psychiatric disorders.

Keywords: gluten; hallucinations; non celiac gluten sensitivity; psycosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity
  • Glutens / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / blood
  • Psychotic Disorders / diet therapy*
  • Psychotic Disorders / etiology*


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex
  • Glutens