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Could Depression/anxiety Issues Be Due To Gluten?


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#1 EmilyH

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 10:57 AM

Hi,

I've had mild depression/anxiety issues most of my life and I wonder if it could possibly be due to gluten? I just started a gluten-free diet to see if that solves my problems and I feel really crappy today. It was so similar to when I've tried giving up caffeine that I'm 99% positive it's withdrawal symptoms. In addition, I have had insomnia issues since at least high school. Could they be linked to gluten addiction? And about how long into the diet should I expect to see improvement?
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#2 Ursa Major

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 11:14 AM

Yes, not only can gluten cause all kinds of mental health problems (depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia and others), it certainly is addictive. And I expect you are right in believing that you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Please persevere with the diet, those symptoms should clear up within about two weeks, after which I expect you'll start feeling much better than ever before.

And yes, insomnia can also be due to gluten intolerance.
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I am a German citizen, married to a Canadian 29 years, four daughters, one son, seven granddaughters and four grandsons, with one more grandchild on the way in July 2009.

Intolerant to all lectins (including gluten), nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant) and salicylates.

Asperger Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, Addison's disease (adrenal insufficiency), hypothyroidism, fatigue syndrome, asthma

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#3 buffettbride

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 11:18 AM

I ask this question a lot. I know my daughter gets depressed. Way more depressed than you think a 10 year old should be and she has a very stable and supportive family, etc. so it's not like there are other traumas or issues she has to deal with.

She just has complete emotional meltdown and sadness that she has a hard time describing--even not following a glutening.
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#4 EmilyH

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:00 PM

Thanks. I just went to a doctor and got some prescription sleeping pills. I will give the diet a try. If nothing else, at least I'll be eating less crappy carbs.
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#5 jerseyangel

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:08 PM

I began to have symptoms of Celiac over 20 years ago--of course at the time no one knew what the problem was. It was at this time that my panic attacks started. I had those, along with anemia and nausea for years.

When the disease kicked into high gear after a nasty case of the flu, the anxiety worsened and I began to be depressed. I would stay in bed for hours at a time during the day. I din't want to go anywhere or see anyone outside my husband and sons.

When I began the gluten-free diet, it got worse before it got better--and it took around 18 months for me to really come out completely from under the anxiety. It's been over 2 years now, and I haven't had a panic attack since I went gluten-free and except for when I get accidently glutened, the depression and anxiety are gone.

It's so nice to wake up and actually look forward to the day again! I was sick for many years, so I think that's why it took so long for me to really feel better.

It's something that gradually improves.
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#6 DingoGirl

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 02:48 PM

In addition, I have had insomnia issues since at least high school. Could they be linked to gluten addiction? And about how long into the diet should I expect to see improvement?

\
oh Lord yes, girl! You have no idea. I"ll spare you the gory details at this time....I was mildly to deeply depressed my ENTIRE life, and spent much of it in a fog - or the alternate - MANIA. Was diagnosed bipolar in 1997, after nearly 20 years of seeing psychiatrists and other doctors.

Removing gluten, at the age of 44, has nearly TOTALLY eliminated my depression adn anxiety. It's been nearly two years, and it gets better all the time. :) I do get sad occasionally, but they are usually over genuine life issues and concerns, as opposed to the black cloud of darkness taht was with me nearly all of the time....

Stick with it! You should notice changes fairly soon - I did right away, but was VERY sick when I finally got diagnosed. Fell into a couple of pits in my recovery period, but they were short-lived.

My life's crusade, in fact, is to spread the word about gluten removal and mental health.

Welcome to the forum. :)
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#7 Ursa Major

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 03:10 PM

I ask this question a lot. I know my daughter gets depressed. Way more depressed than you think a 10 year old should be and she has a very stable and supportive family, etc. so it's not like there are other traumas or issues she has to deal with.

She just has complete emotional meltdown and sadness that she has a hard time describing--even not following a glutening.


Is your daughter still consuming dairy? It can cause severe depression as well. My husband's cousin has a severe intolerance to dairy. Before they figured it out, she was in a deep black pit of depression, which even antidepressants wouldn't help.

When she eliminated dairy, the black cloud lifted, and she fully recovered. Now, if she dares drink milk or eat yoghourt, she will without fail be back in that pit of depression by the next day.

Please eliminate all dairy (and I mean every little bit of it) from your daughter's diet, and the depression may lift. And the same goes for soy, by the way.
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I am a German citizen, married to a Canadian 29 years, four daughters, one son, seven granddaughters and four grandsons, with one more grandchild on the way in July 2009.

Intolerant to all lectins (including gluten), nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant) and salicylates.

Asperger Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, Addison's disease (adrenal insufficiency), hypothyroidism, fatigue syndrome, asthma

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#8 buffettbride

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 05:52 PM

Is your daughter still consuming dairy? It can cause severe depression as well. My husband's cousin has a severe intolerance to dairy. Before they figured it out, she was in a deep black pit of depression, which even antidepressants wouldn't help.

When she eliminated dairy, the black cloud lifted, and she fully recovered. Now, if she dares drink milk or eat yoghourt, she will without fail be back in that pit of depression by the next day.

Please eliminate all dairy (and I mean every little bit of it) from your daughter's diet, and the depression may lift. And the same goes for soy, by the way.


My husband and I are very seriously considering it. We've talked about it a lot lately. She has also had a lot of other stressors lately so we're trying to do a few things, mainly help her cope with stress which has never been her strong point. One thing we have done is supplement calcium with Viactiv which has helped in many ways (leg pains, etc) but I know that has dairy in it (which is a mega bummer because she enjoys taking it).

However, when I think back to her Celiac dx, she really avoided things like pizza and spaghetti because they didn't make her feel good and loved to eat rice dishes and gravitated toward them (we just thought it was reflux, etc). Fast forward one year, we're getting our grips on gluten-free and she begins to show a disdain toward drinking her milk. Unless it's practically frozen cold, she wants nothing to do with it. Now, her dad of old-school thinking would "force" her to drink the milk (I never liked milk anyway so I could care less if she ever drank her milk). With the advent of Celiac, though, his understanding is increasing about the relationships between food/brain/wellness, etc. and we've discussed pulling dairy for her. She certainly wouldn't miss it (she's not a fan of cheese much either).

More than anything, removing dairy (at minimum for her which would mean probably dairy-lite for the rest of the house which I am practically already) would make cooking interesting for sure. She would miss ice cream terribly and probably curse me for it! Just thinking about getting a little more stability for her would be very, very nice and if it meant pulling dairy I would absolutely do it.

Then there's soy....I don't think I could even get my arms around that it this point, especially with all the label reading I do now and how much soy is in everything. Granted, for the most part we focus on whole foods rather than processed ones, but there's definitely some staples in our house that would have to go.

And thanks so much Ursa for your very thoughtful points of view!
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#9 Ursa Major

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 06:17 PM

You know, you don't need dairy for calcium at all. When people say you need dairy for calcium, I ask them, "Where do you think cows get their calcium for those strong bones?" Well, the answer is, of course, green grass!

Green leafy vegetables have way more calcium than dairy has ever had, and our bodies can actually use it. The calcium in dairy can't be used by the human body, because the enzyme needed for that is killed by pasteurization.

And of course, the leg pain might be caused by dairy as well (or soy, or both). It sure makes my joints and muscles ache! And I do know, because sometimes I am being 'bad' and eat ice cream or whipped cream. And I will pay for it afterwards.

There are nice rice ice creams and sherbets out there that your daughter could have.
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I am a German citizen, married to a Canadian 29 years, four daughters, one son, seven granddaughters and four grandsons, with one more grandchild on the way in July 2009.

Intolerant to all lectins (including gluten), nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant) and salicylates.

Asperger Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, Addison's disease (adrenal insufficiency), hypothyroidism, fatigue syndrome, asthma

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

#10 frec

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 09:43 PM

Why don't mainstream doctors KNOW these things?! I struggled with depression and anxiety for about four years; nobody told me it was associated with celiac disease. I found out for myself online. My new doctor told me that serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters that are low in depressed people, is generated mostly by your intestines, not your brain. So undiagnosed celiacs have the double whammy of not absorbing the nutrients necessary to manufacture neurotransmitters and inflamed intestines that can't generate serotonin. They also can't absorb vitamin D3, which is also associated with depression. A gluten free diet and dietary supplements have pretty much cleared up my depression; my antidepressant certainly didn't. It did take a while, and I had to figure out some other food intolerance problems first. Good luck!
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#11 bakingbarb

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 06:17 AM

However, when I think back to her Celiac dx, she really avoided things like pizza and spaghetti because they didn't make her feel good and loved to eat rice dishes and gravitated toward them (we just thought it was reflux, etc). Fast forward one year, we're getting our grips on gluten-free and she begins to show a disdain toward drinking her milk. Unless it's practically frozen cold, she wants nothing to do with it. Now, her dad of old-school thinking would "force" her to drink the milk (I never liked milk anyway so I could care less if she ever drank her milk). With the advent of Celiac, though, his understanding is increasing about the relationships between food/brain/wellness, etc. and we've discussed pulling dairy for her. She certainly wouldn't miss it (she's not a fan of cheese much either).

More than anything, removing dairy (at minimum for her which would mean probably dairy-lite for the rest of the house which I am practically already) would make cooking interesting for sure. She would miss ice cream terribly and probably curse me for it! Just thinking about getting a little more stability for her would be very, very nice and if it meant pulling dairy I would absolutely do it.

Then there's soy....I don't think I could even get my arms around that it this point, especially with all the label reading I do now and how much soy is in everything. Granted, for the most part we focus on whole foods rather than processed ones, but there's definitely some staples in our house that would have to go.

And thanks so much Ursa for your very thoughtful points of view!




Please give sorbets and smoothies a try. I have not been able to tolerate dairy but yogurt in small amounts is fine. I bought a vitamix a few years back and it is the best thing for this. Use frozen fruit, or fresh fruit and ice cubes along with some juice, orange or cranberry is good. I add a small amount of plain yogurt for creaminess especially when I make it for my daughter who is a poor eater.
These make you forget there is such a thing as no ice cream. Chocolate is the only thing I haven't figured out, I love choc ice cream but it doesn't love me and I don't know how to make a smoothie taste like it! I hate soy so I haven't tired it. Homemade almond milk is supposed to be good but I don't like the store bought milk replacers. Soy silk was pretty good but I haven't used it in years so I don't know if its a brand we can have.
There are a lot of blenders out there that can make smoothies but I don't think they can do the frozen fruit ice cream replacement like the vita mix can.
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#12 Savoir Faire

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 06:54 PM

I've had depression on and off for several years. I started going gluten free several months ago and WOW, the depression has been much better. Even my husband has commented that I seem happier now.

I started eating gluten for my celiac test recently and the depression/irritability has definitely come back.
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#13 HouseKat

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 04:32 PM

Why don't mainstream doctors KNOW these things?! I struggled with depression and anxiety for about four years; nobody told me it was associated with celiac disease. I found out for myself online. My new doctor told me that serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters that are low in depressed people, is generated mostly by your intestines, not your brain. So undiagnosed celiacs have the double whammy of not absorbing the nutrients necessary to manufacture neurotransmitters and inflamed intestines that can't generate serotonin. They also can't absorb vitamin D3, which is also associated with depression. A gluten free diet and dietary supplements have pretty much cleared up my depression; my antidepressant certainly didn't. It did take a while, and I had to figure out some other food intolerance problems first. Good luck!


Right before I found out that my aunt had celiac and I decided to go gluten-free I was reading The second brain : the scientific basis of gut instinct and a groundbreaking new understanding of stomach and bowel disorders by Michael Gershon. Finding out from that book that my neurological symptoms might be related to my GI symptoms made me all the more determined to find out what was wrong with me. I had been asking doctors for 15 years about celiac disease, but it wasn't until my aunt was diagnosed that I decided to go gluten-free on my own. BTW, my aunt didn't have GI symptoms with her celiac, depression and anxiety were her major symptoms.

Kate
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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#14 meli

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 07:28 PM

I felt inspired to join and reply today as I felt gladdened that I am not the only person to feel this way. I made the mistake of thinking I would be ok if I ate that icecream cone and boy am I sorry now.....I said to myself last year after hitting a low that if I ate something with wheat/gluten in it and I felt this way again then I will be convinced that my mood swings are directly linked to an intolerance to both wheat and gluten. I am only new to this but since I left w/g out of my diet, I have lost 10kilos, gained more energy and now realise that Im not as bad as I thought I was - I have been depressed all this time. I only suffered this after two pregnancies and two serious bouts of Post Natal Depression. I could never feel well. I am also interested to note that some writers report an inability to sleep well - I cannot maintain a full nights sleep and rarely wake refreshed, even after a brand new mattress!. so, thanks for sharing, it has helped me greatly to know that I am not alone
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#15 Caletara

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 04:39 AM

I've been a very anxious girl ever since childhood. But since I eliminated gluten from my diet and started getting my vitamin D levels back up to normal, I've really improved. I wish mainstream doctors new food intolerances could be a problem/cause of anxiety/depression, rather than just prescribe drugs for boost your seratonin levels. I tried to get my vitamin D levels tested before I even knew gluten could be a factor. I was laughed out of the doctors office.
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Diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel/Thoracic Outlet Syndrome 01/06
Diagnosed with TMJ/07
Diagnosed with blood test to gluten, wheat and brewer's yeast delayed food allergy 01/08.
Gluten free since 01/08.
Diagnosed with Vitamin D insufficiency 01/08
Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel/Thoracic Outlet Syndrome repealed and attributed to gluten allergy 1/08
Diagnosed with Candida 03/25/08


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