Gluten intake not tied to cognition in women without celiac disease

Yiqing Wang, Ph.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined whether gluten intake is associated with cognitive function in women without celiac disease. The analysis included 13,494 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study II with dietary assessments from 1991 to 2015 and cognitive assessments from 2014 to 2019.

The researchers found that after controlling for demographic and lifestyle risk factors, there were no significant differences in standardized cognitive scores by quintile of gluten intake when comparing the highest and lowest quintiles (psychomotor speed and attention: P for trend = 0.22; learning and working memory: P for trend = 0.30; global cognition: P for trend = 0.78). Even when further adjusting for major sources of dietary gluten (e.g., refined grains or whole grains), comparing decile categories of gluten intake, using gluten intake updated at each previous questionnaire cycle, or modeling changes in gluten intake, the null associations persisted.

“Our results do not support recommendations to restrict dietary gluten to maintain cognitive function in the absence of celiac disease or established gluten sensitivity,” conclude the authors.