Gluten related illnesses and severe mental disorders: a comprehensive review

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HighlightsEpidemiological studies indicate the existence of an association between coeliac disease and severe mental disorders.The immune response to gluten could be different in individuals with schizophrenia and mood disorders.There are few evidence that gluten-free diets could be beneficial for individuals with severe mental disorders.The putative role of gluten in the pathophysiology of severe mental illnesses remains uncertain and there is doubt about the possible benefit of gluten-free diets for individuals affected by psychosis and mood disorders. The objective of this review was to summarize the findings linking gluten related conditions to pathophysiological substrates implicated in schizophrenia and mood disorders and review the evidences of potential benefits of glute-free diets in these populations. A literature search was conducted within PubMed and Scielo databases including references from inception until March 1st 2017. The strategy search was to use the key words “gluten”, “celiac disease”, “wheat”, “bipolar disorder”, “mood disorders”, “psychosis”, “schizophrenia”, “depression”. In the review about the potential efficacy of gluten-free diets in severe mental illnesses, we included only studies with original data, including cross sectional and longitudinal studies and clinical trials. Book chapters, review articles and meta-analysis and republished data were excluded. Although the current available evidences suggest that people with celiac disease or gluten allergy could have a slightly higher risk of schizophrenia and mood disorders compared to the general population, the literature review reveals significant inaccuracies in the data. There is insufficient evidence to recommend gluten-free diets for populations with psychosis and mood disorders.

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