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Depression And Celiac
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Does anyone know if celiac damage is linked to serotonin imbalance? I have heard that serotonin is produced in our intestines and I'm wondering if everything is supposed to get ironed out after eliminating gluten or does the lingering intestinal damage mess with serotonin levels? Am I making sense? My endo showed a lot of damage apparently. 

 

I have been gluten free for a couple years but I'm very depressed. I'm really not thrilled about the prospect of taking antidepressants (because of side effects, etc.)

 

Anyone here still suffering from depression despite being gluten free? What meds work/didn't work for you? Thanks in advance. 

 

 

 

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Have you been tested lately? Where do your antibody levels currently stand? I've seen some people have symptoms for upwards of a couple years it just depends on how fast the body is healing. What does your doc say?

 

I've found that exercise and breathing exercises work for me when I start to get really depressed. It's still there but I'm focusing my energy in other areas. I can't help with the meds as I have been trying to avoid that for now. Who knows in the future?

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Yes, Marie. There is a link. I prolly gonna say this wrong but people with "gut" issues loose alot of the serotonin producing stuff because the majority is in our gut. (ok, so that wasn't technical, but it's kinda on target) so I would (if it were me) take a supplement like 5HTP or find something that your comfortable taking it will help, I would try natural before prescription, imho. I love my 5HTP. It helps me alot because I still suffer from chronic D from my colitis. So everything is in a constant..flush...pun intended. lol

 

Good luck :)

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Marie,

The serotonin produced in the small intestine does not cross the blood brain barrier. However,the serotonin in our brain  requires tryptophan from our diet as part of this synthesis.  Serotonin levels in our brain does effect mood among other things.

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About the only thing that happens to my husband when he gets into gluten is depression.  He is only just starting to make that connection, which has been obvious to our children and me for a long time.  Could it be diet related?

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Yes, the two are definitely linked - at least in my body.  My worst symptom after being glutened is the lingering depression.  When I first went gluten free it only lasted a week or two.  Now, after two years of being gluten-free, I'm depressed for about 4-5 weeks afterward.  I already take an anti-depressant (Prozac), so this is getting depressed despite being on medicine.  I was taking the anti-depressants before I went gluten-free, but I had to change medicines about the time my Celiac was discovered because my old medicine (Zoloft) wasn't working.  At the time I didn't link the two, but now I suspect the two issues are linked.

 

Many times I've thought I'd rather have the digestion issues instead of the depression (not to minimize what others go through with GI problems).  The depression from the glutening has a huge effect on my life.  It drains my energy and makes me apathetic.  It affects my performance at work.  It makes it difficult for me to function on an everyday level.  I do a bad job taking care of myself in terms of my diet and exercise during my depressions, which only compounds the problem.  When the depression finally lifts and the gluten is totally out of my system, I feel wonderful.  I have tons of energy. I sleep better at night. I  eat better. My head feels clear. 

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From my understanding, gluten can also be related to depression due to nutritional deficiencies.  If we are Celiac or NCGI and have problems absorbing nutrients, then we may not be getting the B vitamins the way we should be.  B vitamins are essential for brain and nerve functioning, and if the body is deficient in these vitamins, then the serotonin levels in the brain can get a bit out of whack.  

 

There is a great article in the May issue of the "Living Without" magazine, which is a magazine specifically related to gluten and other allergies.  The article is called "Gluten and Depression" and there's a deeper explanation of this linkage.  I am a mental health therapist (as well as a Celiac) and I was actually interviewed and quoted in this article.  :)   I would post a link to the article, but I'm not able to access it online unfortunately.  

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Good point about the B vitamins.  When I complained to my doctor about the problem she ran a full blood panel and noticed that my iron was low, as well as Vitamin D.  Fixing those problems seemed to help too.  OP - have you had blood work done lately?  You might want to look for vitamin deficiencies.  Correcting those may help without the need for mediciation.

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Yes, the two are definitely linked - at least in my body.  My worst symptom after being glutened is the lingering depression.  When I first went gluten free it only lasted a week or two.  Now, after two years of being gluten-free, I'm depressed for about 4-5 weeks afterward.  I already take an anti-depressant (Prozac), so this is getting depressed despite being on medicine.  I was taking the anti-depressants before I went gluten-free, but I had to change medicines about the time my Celiac was discovered because my old medicine (Zoloft) wasn't working.  At the time I didn't link the two, but now I suspect the two issues are linked.

 

Many times I've thought I'd rather have the digestion issues instead of the depression (not to minimize what others go through with GI problems).  The depression from the glutening has a huge effect on my life.  It drains my energy and makes me apathetic.  It affects my performance at work.  It makes it difficult for me to function on an everyday level.  I do a bad job taking care of myself in terms of my diet and exercise during my depressions, which only compounds the problem.  When the depression finally lifts and the gluten is totally out of my system, I feel wonderful.  I have tons of energy. I sleep better at night. I  eat better. My head feels clear. 

A factor that exacerbates depression in folks with  Celiac, is one of the most frequent symptom is diarrhea. Chronic or acute it does play havoc with the body's electrolytes and can interfere with the absorption  and efficacy of certain medications. Gatorade is said to help  restore some of the depleted electrolytes. Inflammation of the small intestine can  also have a deleterious effect on the absorption of medications.Most SSRI's require a therapeutic level to be attained and maintained to be effective in the treatment of depression.

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Thank you everyone for your responses. My doc that did the endo had me in a year after the endo and did a blood test and said it looks like I'm still getting glutened and that I need to make sure that I don't eat ANY gluten -- even stuff that says "made in a facility that processes wheat" blah blah blah. So I have been more careful since then. I am finding out that I am REALLY sensitive to it. I get panic attacks/diarrhea/depression along with several other symptoms whenever I get glutened. It's quite a nightmare as I'm sure you are all well aware! Anyway, I never heard from him again after that. Maybe I should go back and get another blood test. 

 

I haven't had vitamin deficiencies checked in the past year but the last time, I was told it's all good. I saw a psych the other day who prescribed 10mgs of Prozac but I really don't want to take it. The thought of my symptoms worsening before they get better, or side effects, or what have you, just not something I want to deal with right now. 

 

Might try some 5HTP or St. Johns Wort. ... 

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Thank you everyone for your responses. My doc that did the endo had me in a year after the endo and did a blood test and said it looks like I'm still getting glutened and that I need to make sure that I don't eat ANY gluten -- even stuff that says "made in a facility that processes wheat" blah blah blah. So I have been more careful since then. I am finding out that I am REALLY sensitive to it. I get panic attacks/diarrhea/depression along with several other symptoms whenever I get glutened. It's quite a nightmare as I'm sure you are all well aware! Anyway, I never heard from him again after that. Maybe I should go back and get another blood test. 

 

I haven't had vitamin deficiencies checked in the past year but the last time, I was told it's all good. I saw a psych the other day who prescribed 10mgs of Prozac but I really don't want to take it. The thought of my symptoms worsening before they get better, or side effects, or what have you, just not something I want to deal with right now. 

Marie, Are you eating out a lot or do you have a non-celiac at home? Could you be having problems with cross-contamination?

 

Might try some 5HTP or St. Johns Wort. ...

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Marie, have you been eating out a lot or do you have a non-celiac at home that keeps their food in the same areas? Even my mom almost glutened me a couple of weeks ago. She invited me for dinner and didn't think just a tiny bit of flour on the roast would matter. I gave it to my honey instead.

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I am another one who is very sensitive.  I stick to whole foods, and I even grow what I can.  Your doctor was great to point that out to you.  Many are not informed about some of us being sensitive to lower levels than others.  It is a bit more challenging than just grabbing gluten-free labels off the shelf, but it can be done.

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Hi Marie, are you as close to 100% sure as you can be that you aren't accidentally getting glutened by something?

 

 My symptoms of getting glutened are primarily neurological, and one of my most primary ones is what I call "the doom." Basically, very soon after getting glutened, I am overwhelmed by a sense of intense hopelessness. Sometimes it passes within a day, and sometimes it lingers for a while. During these episodes, I feel intensely depressed, hopeless, and I tend to have very dark thoughts. The thing that gets me through them is that I intellectually know that they are caused by gluten, so I just try to ride them out. It sucks, because when I'm healthy, I am really positive, happy, and outgoing. 

 

Dealing with gluten-induced depression has been really eye-opening to me in the necessary precautions that I have to take to avoid being cross contaminated. 

 

Before putting this all together, I was prescribed anti-depressants by my doctor and contemplated taking them for a long time, but, like you, I was worried about side effects and I didn't want to be reliant upon medication for maintaining a healthy state of mind. (Don't get me wrong, I know that some people really do need anti-depressants to help them through rough times.) 

 

You might also look into spirulina. It's really a miracle food. When I'm feeling down, I mix a couple of tablespoons in with some juice or kombucha and drink it and I tend to feel a little bit better shortly thereafter. I'm not sure of the science behind it, but I think it has something to do with the chlorophyl in the spirulina, and it being water-soluable and so very quickly available for use by the body. 

 

Here is a link to the brand that I really like: http://www.iherb.com/HealthForce-Nutritionals-Spirulina-Azteca-500-g/20524

 

I really hope you feel better soon. Depression is such a horrible demon to have to fight with. Lots of love. 

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It's depressing to be so bloated, it sucks the life out of you.

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Depression?  Me?  Never...  (sarcasm)  I like to say I'm moody. :-)  I probably have more ups and downs than the average person and they come and go without rhyme or reason.  

 

For a time it was all just down though.  Someone close to me said the following and it snapped me back to better days...  "I feel so sorry for you that because you don't know what the future holds for you now, that you now choose to waste the days you have now that God has given you."

 

I wasn't going out.  I was turning down invites.  I wasn't proactively planning future events.  I kinda sucked as a person, really.  I became quite self-absorbed.  I was googling symptoms multiple times per day.  B-L-A-H!

 

My normal now is that I'm not normal.  I don't need to google everything that doesn't feel right because I expect to have weird sensations.  I'm living my life now and will worry about whats to come when it arrives.  I hang out with friends.  I take food everywhere.  I make fun of people for eating gluten as though they are smoking a cigarette.  Coming from me, my friends just laugh because they know I'm poking fun and keeping it light.  If someone coughs, I tell them they need a Celiac panel.  :-)

 

I came VERY close to going on an anti-depressant and fought it tooth and nail.  What helped me... 1. The words I previously shared  2. I went to church  3. I started saying yes to a lot more offers that came my way just for the sake of getting out EVEN when I really didn't want to 4. I set a calorie goal to gain weight and never missed that calorie goal.  As I gained weight, I felt better.  If I couldn't eat those calories (at first I couldn't) I would drink them.  I would make a shake or a smoothie and make it disgustingly calorie rich.  I did everything that every diet/health book would say not to do because my immediate problem was malnourishment.  Forget about cholesterol, forget about sugar, forget about fat...  (Thats what I did/it worked for ME)  May not be the same for you...

 

Anyhow, you are NOT alone in feeling down.  If you can find it in you to force yourself to be busy and out more than you are, if forces your mind to think about and focus on other things than your immediate perceived circumstance.  Its not easy.  It was hard for me, has to be even harder for you.  START LIVING!

 

Oh yeah, and I drink caffeine :-)  I probably shouldn't but hey, I gave up gluten...  The coffee stays :-)

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Oh yeah, and I drink caffeine :-)  I probably shouldn't but hey, I gave up gluten...  The coffee stays :-)

 
Oh, Amen to that!!! Yesterday I was thinking about how incredibly peeved I would have been had I found out that coffee had gluten. I shudder at the thought... :wacko:
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