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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Could My Bipolar Be Caused By Celiac?
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I have bipolar disorder and was wondering if maybe it could be because of celiac? anyone have any experience with this?

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I had a seizure disorder whose symptoms closely resembled Bipolar. Long lasting 'highs' and horrible crushing lows. No issues with either since I have been gluten free but if glutened the depression hits hard, fast and is over within 24 hours. I was on a very strong antiseizure med for a long time but don't need it now. Celiac doesn't cause everything, I still have an anxiety disorder and PTSD but the bipolar aspect of my brain impact has resolved. Don't know if it will be the same for you. One thing that has to be mentioned is that if you are on meds and you think you may not need them any longer DO NOT stop them on your own suddenly. Talk to your doctor and get his help weaning off of them.

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Most research points to bipolar being an inherited condition - not 'caused' by anything else including celiac's. (It's not terribly common, yet if one identical twin has bipolar there's a 70% chance the other twin has it. Even though a person is born with bipolar, it usually manifests in late teens or early adulthood.) However celiac disease can cause mood swings and some people may confuse the two on the surface.

Also, a person could have legitimate bipolar that could be worsened if they have celiac's and eat gluten.

Some ways to differentiate between the two: Do the mood swings totally go away on a gluten-free diet - then it may be just celiac. Do the mood swings even out with mood stabilizing medication, regardless of diet - then it may be bipolar. Are there other family members with bipolar - then it may be bipolar.

If you're unsure - get second or even third opinions from people who are familiar with both celiac's and bipolar. Bipolar disorder is often overdiagnosed and often underdiagnosed. If someone truly has bipolar then medication is necessary and very helpful - true bipolar is biochemically caused - not something you can control with willpower or a gluten-free diet.

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Some ways to differentiate between the two: Do the mood swings totally go away on a gluten-free diet - then it may be just celiac. Do the mood swings even out with mood stabilizing medication, regardless of diet - then it may be bipolar.

For me the symptoms did thankfully totally resolve on the diet. And they resolved pretty quickly. I should note that any antidepressant meds or meds for bipolar made me much worse, because I wasn't really bipolar I was celiac.

I am very thankful that the diet took care of those issues. It does make me wonder how often some of us are diagnosed with a mental illness and medicated when a change in diet is what is really needed.

If the diet doesn't have any effect on your symptoms of bipolar then it is likely your bipolar. If you are don't feel defeated but do seek out help whether it is through talk therapy, medication or a combo of both.

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I have bipolar disorder and was wondering if maybe it could be because of celiac? anyone have any experience with this?

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I have bipolar disorder and was wondering if maybe it could be because of celiac? anyone have any experience with this?

Hi Fitbunni,

I was diagnosed Bipolar when I was 21 and went through years and years of a litany of medications, counseling and so on with no real relief. Fast forward to age 42 - I began to notice a real correlation between my wicked mood swings and those yummy chocolate donuts with the great icing I loved to eat with everybody at work. I bought a glucose meter an found out about 20 minutes after eating "yummy chocolate donut", nasty mood and panic attack would start - the glucose meter would read 40. I know now that is when I would experience a complex partial seizure. By that point in my "bipolar" illness my doc had thankfully put me on a anti-convulscent drug called Lomotrigine - which helped greatly. After discovering the weird deal with my blood sugar, my GP sent me to see a Endocrinologist who made my Celiac disease diagnosis.

No longer experience the mood swings, but still take Lomotrigine. My Endocrinologist put me on a completely grain-free, sugar free diet. I am so very grateful that I found out. Some of the meds for bipolar are actually worse than the disease. If there is any chance that a diet switch will help, I encourage you to try it out.

Guess many of we Celiacs have had our turn with psychological and neurological problems.

Best of luck!

ElitaSue

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I think no one can answer for certain if your bipolar might be caused by (or related to) being gluten-intolerant or having celiac unless you actually try the diet (UNDER STRICT SUPERVISION BY YOUR PSYCHIATRIST AND FAMILY DOCTOR). However, recent research I've seen has found a higher percentage of celiac disease and gluten intolerance in several groups of people with mental and physical ailment compared to the general population: autistics, schizophrenics, people with rheumatoid arthritis, and those suffering from depression. "Google" some of this yourself so you get a good sense of whether you want to believe the research or if you feel it is all just coincidence - it is very interesting, but check into carefully for yourself and come to your own conclusions. Again, if you decide you want to modify your diet or your current treatment regime, make sure it is done with your doctors' supervision.

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Again, if you decide you want to modify your diet or your current treatment regime, make sure it is done with your doctors' supervision.

I would agree that the doctor needs to be kept in the loop as far as the diet changes go but you really don't need a doctors supervision to try it and see if it helps. If it does help you may need to modify meds that you are on and that should be done in close contact with your doctor but IMHO you don't need a doctors permission to try the diet.

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I have bipolar disorder and was wondering if maybe it could be because of celiac? anyone have any experience with this?

They're completely separate illnesses, but because celiac can affect moods (and people with it can be lacking in certain vitamins/minerals necessary for proper brain functioning), celiac might exacerbate bipolar symptoms.

A gluten free diet might clear up some intermediate mood swings, some mild depression, and some other symptoms you may be associating with bipolar disorder, but it's not going to stop a full on manic or depressive episode.

Also, if I remember right, they're both illnesses that *can* be triggered by an environmental stimulus (emotional trauma, severe physical illness) in a genetically susceptible person...so they may have been triggered by the same thing. It doesn't mean they share any genes in common or one causes the other.

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I guess I should elaborate, but I didn't want to sound long winded.

Yes, it could cause you to "seem" Bipolar. If it is Celiac, you would have to stop the gluten and address the deficiency that has caused your brain chemistry to become unbalanced. The main one is usually a B-vitamin deficiency... Calcium and magnesium could be lacking as well.

Talk to a GOOD doctor who wants to get to the bottom of this and not somebody who just wants to keep you on medication for the sake of being able to write a prescription.

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I had depression and anxiety caused by what I know now was gluten. I was treated with Prozac, which gave me manic episodes and ended up diagnosed as bipolar and on lithium and depakote.

Six months after going gluten-free the fatigue and depressive episodes stopped. With the help of my psychiatrist I tried going off the meds that were barely working anyway and onto EMPowerPlus and fish oil. I started feeling better after my body adjusted for a couple months and after six months of the regimen I was in the best mental health I had enjoyed in over a decade. My doctor declared me in remission over three years ago.

So in my case celiac -> depression -> SSRIs -> bipolar.

You may have totally different chemistry and physiology and untreated bipolar can wreck your life, so please take my story with a grain of salt.

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I am very thankful that the diet took care of those issues. It does make me wonder how often some of us are diagnosed with a mental illness and medicated when a change in diet is what is really needed.

I have often wondered the same thing.

But in regards to historical mental illness or how it was labelled.

I once had a friend that suffered from very extreme type 1 diabetes and had very extreme highs and lows.

Her highs were so high that people called the psych ward at times because they thought she was very unstable. Once you knew her or were around her, you could tell when one of these was approaching and could suggest to her that she needed to check her sugar levels and correct them.

But it does make me wonder how many people in psych wards, even in the very near past, were put there because of extreme hyperglycemia or reactions to food allergies.

Food is a form of medication, it may be the best form of medication, once you know what your own body requires, that is!!

~Allison

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    • Gluten ataxia...?
      I was explaining that some people have other trouble that is immune related and caused by eating gluten, but doesn't effect the gut in a noticeable way. According to the paper that I quoted there are some people which have different types of brain problems but don't have inflammation when tested by a biopsy.  The author used the term "non-Celiac gluten sensitivity" to refer to anyone who has any brain trouble that can be traced to gluten but without obvious gut inflammation.  There are a lot of different possible ways gluten can effect the brain some may not be related to the gut.  It could still be an immune system problem.  Normally "non-Celiac gluten sensitivity" refers to just a food intolerance.  Withdrawal symptoms are not normal and could be indicative of an immune system response of some sort, but I don't know for sure.        
    • Weird Reaction
      Hi Richie I've put the above in quotes as you have described in the first and second sentence how I felt six months prior to my DX.   In my own case, in the end I concluded it was anxiety after consulting Dr Google!  It was such an alien feeling to me, I couldn't even think what it was, particularly as life was pretty good at the time.  Anxiety is a problem for a lot of celiacs prior to diagnosis, and often after glutening after going gluten-free. You mention breathlessness, this of course can be for reasons such as anaemia (again a common celiac problem, I had this prior to DX) but of course also can arise if you are anxious.   Re 'gluten free' - Flowerqueen is right, from what I have read on this forum some people really do seem to react with less than 20ppm.    But perhaps some other things to consider...  could there be something wrong with the batch you have consumed?  Might it be worth contacting the manufacturers?   That said, you could , as Flowerqueen suggests, have a problem with another ingredient, in the product or something else you consumed. In the past I have had a terrible reaction - fever, trembling, diarrhea, stomach cramps that lasted up to three hours the last three times I ate..... broccoli, of all things.    Who would have thought that possible?  I have often thought I should try it again, just to be sure it was the broccoli, as it is a 'super food' that I ought to have in my diet, that I like very much, but the thought of having such a reaction again has put me off. I do hope you will find some answers soon.  
    • Weird Reaction
      Hi Richie,  I've not heard of this drink before, as I live in the UK, but any drink made from barley is something you should avoid.  There's a brand in the UK that makes lemon and barley water and orange and barley water and Coeliac UK say it is not safe for people with Coeliac disease.  (Our labelling laws in the UK changed a couple of years ago).  You say the drink you had was under 20 ppm, which is acceptable (usually) for coeliacs, but a lot of people are super-sensitive to gluten even in very small amounts.  I recently had a similar problem with something which was supposed to be okay for coeliacs, but when I checked the website of the product, for all it said there were no gluten containing ingredients, it was produced in an area where gluten was present, which was enough to put me off and must admit, the symptoms you describe sound very much like I experienced at the time.  (Personally I'd be avoiding that particular drink like the plague from now on). One other thing though,  have you checked the ingredients to see if there could be anything else in it which you may be intolerant to? 
    • Confused
      I have not. I'll talk to my doctor about it
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