Gluten Grain Brain and Candida Brain Fog: What's The Difference?

There is a lot of attention in health magazines and in scientific literature pointing to the connection between our diet and our brain health. The notorious offender these days is wheat.

This food we were all brought up eating was once considered wholesome and nutritious. What happened?

Gluten and Candida

Processed foods is what happened. The bread our ancestors ate thousands of years ago bears no resemblance to the processed bread we have available today. The strain of wheat is even different.

The wheat today is high in gluten and in yeast. This presents problems to my patients that have either Candida hypersensitivity or Gluten sensitivity. The biggest revelation of late is that these foods can affect your brain health.

In his book, Grain Brain , Dr. David Perlmutter , a Florida neurologist and frequent guest on The Dr. Oz Show, lays out the case that wheat causes brain problems ranging from Alzheimers to strokes. The premise of this is that wheat is inflammatory by affecting your blood sugar and insulin response. He advocates removing wheat completely from your diet to protect your brain.

I agree with him because an even more compelling book, Wheat Belly , by William Davis , cites numerous studies where wheat causes increase in belly fat, obesity and diabetes. After reading his book, I could never look at a piece of bread the same way. I have seen in my own practice that patients feel better avoiding wheat and gluten products(barley, rye) with more energy and they seem to be more alert and energetic.

candida brain fog

Candida Brain Fog

Candida Brain Fog appears similar in some ways but different in others from “Grain Brain”. Candida patients can have a myriad of symptoms: stomach pains, cramping, gas along with low energy and poor concentration. There are many times I’m listening to a patient describe their Candida story and they get very upset because they have lost their train of thought or forgot what they wanted to say. The Candida Brain Fog is believed to be due to the mycotoxins released by the Candida fungus that actually reach the brain. The treatment for Candida symptoms involves more than just avoiding yeasty foods such as bread, sugar and dairy. In many cases, I need to use antifungal medications for a short period to rebalance the immune system.

The testing for Gluten hypersensitivity and Candida sensitivity are different. I do a special mouth swab to analyze a patient’s genetic susceptibility to Gluten intolerance; and then if necessary order blood tests to confirm full-blown Celiac disease. With Candida, the only reliable test I have found is a simple, skin test that tells me within 10 minutes if someone is hypersensitive to Candida.

Ask a Candida Doctor: ” What is there left to eat?”


I’m a huge advocate for what I call “The Biblical Diet”. If it was around 2,000 years ago you can have it. They had all the delicious nuts and berries for snacks. Fresh fish and wild meats were the sources of protein. Grains didn’t come into common use until many years later.

It’s been a real question whether grains were meant to be an integral part of our diet. And just remember, if you try and make the case that Moses and Jesus were known to “break bread” with their followers- just remember it wasn’t the same type of bread you and I would find in today’s supermarket!

- Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC


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