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Date: Fri, 08 Mar 1996
From: Ron Hoggan

Hi Don,
I have been thinking about AIDS too. I suspect gluten/alpha casein to be the missing cofactor, for a number of reasons:

  1. Among the group of African prostitutes that doesn't seem to contract AIDS, millet is the regional dietary staple.
  2. the stage of progression of aids is reflected in the antigliadin antibody levels
  3. other primates (who don't eat cereal) don't seem to progress to AIDS after deliberate infection with HIV
  4. We know that gliadin attacks the ICAM (intercellular adhesion molecule), thus causing rents in the mucosal (protective) lining of the intestine.
  5. Because virtually everyone who eats wheat has some serum antibodies against it, we may reasonably assume small patches of crypt hyperplasia in the intestine. 4) and 5) provide a plausible explanation for these other wise inexplicable phenomena
  6. This is hearsay: The longest living AIDS patient in Canada (16 years) was initially diagnosed with celiac disease in error. Because he felt better on it, he continued a very low gluten diet
  7. the group in Mexico, Quinones-Galvan, Lifschitz, & Ruiz-Arguelles, ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE, 113(10): 806-7, Nov 15, 1990 got some pretty dramatic results in 28 of 30 AIDS patients with the g-f diet
  8. AIDS onset is shares many symptoms with celiac disease: thrush-like gum infection, chronic diarrhea, night sweats, etc. etc.
Sorry, I do go on. My point is that this is just the tip of the iceburg.

Best Wishes,
Ron Hoggan
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 1996
Sender: Celiac/Coeliac Wheat/Gluten-Free List
From: Ron Hoggan
Subject: Re: Celiac/AIDS

Susan@VVIC.ORG wrote:

> I hope this isn't a naive question, but if Celiac disease is an
> autoimmune disorder and AIDS is as well, what could be the relationship
> between the two?

Hi Susan,
One way that doctors have been able to track the progression of AIDS has been to measure levels of anti-gliadin antibodies(6,5). There are a variety of interpretations of this phenomena. None of the interpretations I have read put the same spin on it that I do. My suspicion is that the search for a cofactor in AIDS might pause at gluten, and some mysteries might be unlocked. Some investigators have concluded: "...there is a human immunologic cofactor (HIC) that causes AIDS when certain other conditions are satisfied, and the most common of these conditions (but not the only one) is HIV infection"(7).

Two groups have published very encouraging reports of startling improvements in the majority of AIDS patients who have followed a strict gluten-free diet. One group followed five AIDS patients on a gluten-free diet (3) and the other reports on 30 AIDS patients who followed a gluten-free diet(4).

I do not have the expertise to speculate on the disease process that occurs in AIDS. Nor am I sufficiently well informed to evaluate the quality of these studies. Clearly, others, who are sufficiently well informed about such matters, have also examined this issue (1).

The conclusion I draw from all this is that if I, or someone I cared about had AIDS, I would urge adherence to a gluten-free diet, in the absence of a concensus on the matter.

I hope this is helpful.
Best Wishes,
Ron Hoggan


  1. Keating et. al. "Intestinal absorptive capacity, intestinal permeability and jejunal histology in HIV and their relation to diarrhoea" Gut 1995; 37: 623-629
  2. Ott et. al. "Intestinal permeability in patients with immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)" Klinische Wochenschrift 1991; 69(15): 715-721 (This article is written in German, but the constellation of attendant symptoms look amazingly similar to those associated with celiac disease)
  3. Quinones et. al. "Treatment of enteropathy in AIDS with a gluten-free diet. Preliminary Communication" Rev-Invest-Clin 1989; 41(3): 223-226
  4. Quinones & Lifshitz-Guinzberg "Gluten-Free Diet for AIDS-associated Enteropathy" Ann Intern Med 1990; 113(10): 806-807
  5. Quesnel et.al. "Early impairment of gut mucosal immunity in HIV-1 infected children" Clin Exp Immunol 1994; 97: 380-385
  6. Quesnel et al "Is there IgA of gut mucosal origin in the serum of HIV1 infected patients?" Gut 1994; 35: 803-808
  7. Allen et al "Leukocyte Adhesion Molecules as a Cofactor in AIDS: Basic Science and Pilot Study" Med Hypothes 1995; 45: 164-168