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Serotonin & Celiac & Depression
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2 posts in this topic

I had am ah-ha moment this week and want to share & maybe learn more from others.

Do I have low serotonin levels?

In May I had a huge reaction to Synthroid that put me in bed for days and I haven't bounced back completely. I suspect it set off a reaction of some sort that totally messed with my absorption and hormone levels. Besides all the physical things, it also has effected my moods, sleep and energy levels and I started to think maybe I am "depressed". I took zoloft about a decade ago and it did nothing for me besides upsetting my stomach and making me have no zest for life so I didn't want to go back on medicine. So I started digging into things thinking maybe I had become deficient in something again (I have a past history of vitamin deficiencies and anemia).

I hadn't been sleeping and tried various things to help over the last few months and nothing really worked consistently to get me to sleep and keep me asleep. I think I have my answer, I suspect I am not absorbing the B group well and perhaps not tryptophan. I started taking sub-lingual B-complex and at night a low dose of tryptophan or 5-htp and I have been sleeping and feeling so much better. I also have to avoid carbs/sugars for a few hours before bedtime or it disrupts my sleep (think it is an insulin issue there) but I am sleeping.

So here's my theory, 80% of our serotonin is in our GI tract (in enterochromaffin cells) and the rest is in our platelets and central nervous system. Our GI serotonin is used to regulate the movement of our intestines, now I know when I have been glutened my intestines do a marathon of movements so perhaps that simple act depletes a significant store of serotonin. Then it is followed up by inflammation which may impede the absorption of the nutrients necessary to replenish it. The enterochromaffin cells also release it to platelets which use it to help with clotting (which explains some of my issues with wounds taking longer to stop bleeding maybe). Stress also will deplete serotonin levels so I wonder if this "stress" of being glutened triggers a depletion and we just don't bounce back quickly. Serotonin also plays a role in the communication of the nervous systems with the immune system. Since we are suffering from an autoimmune disease it makes me wonder if there is more of a key here to the causes of gluten ataxia and other neurological issues we experience after being glutened.

Serotonin is made from Vitamin B6 and Tryptophan (well really 5-Hydroxytryptophan, 5-htp). You cannot take Serotonin as it will not cross the brain barrier but the metabolites will, but I wonder if your GI system is deficient if it uses up most of it and less is available for the brain. I know after I am glutened and get over the initial misery I tend to have a sweet tooth and crave carbs and this is a good sign of being low in Serotonin and my body trying to replenish it (which is not good, I've gained 10lbs since May, ughh).

Antidepressants in the SSRI class (zoloft, prozac...etc) do not make more serotonin, they just try to use it more efficiently. I wonder if those who have tried SSRI's and had a bad experience if it was because there wasn't a sufficient amount of serotonin.

Here are some links to foods with higher levels of tryptophan and B6 (just get past the first page on the tryptophan link, some of it made me go ewwwww and I suspect I won't be alone with that.)

http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000079000000000000000.html

http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000111000000000000000.html

I've been taking supplements but I would like to get to the point where I can consume what I need in my diet and maybe only occasionally need a supplement for say when I've been glutened.

I wish I knew what all I needed to take to counteract the effects of an accidental glutening. I know there is no way to prevent it totally but I would love to be prepared to do what I can so I can bounce back as quick as possible. I just want to feel normal again, whatever that might be these days.

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I love getting into the chemical aspects of this disease as I know from personal experience it is not just "a change in diet" and what one eats. I reaad an interesting article on alcohol and GABA receptors and how glutimate is a primary up-regulation In the production of excitetory nuerotransmitters, and seratonin, all which further a drinkers tolerance to alcohol. Chronic consumption of alcoholic beverages, and the consequent chronic sedation causes a counter regulatory response in the brain to maintain balance..

Google dilirium tremens amd read the wikipedia article

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    • Thankyou both! I was wondering if my high levels left much doubt on the diagnosis. I don't see the GI until the 15th Sep and I don't think I can stand to eat gluten in that time. If he tells me to I will do so after then. After 25 years of symptoms I don't think there is much chance of healing my bowel In a couple of weeks. I'm actually terrified of the damage they might find. But I think I will need the endo since there may be other things going on with me. So great they didn't put your son through the biopsy! Once I have a formal diagnosis I have my kids to worry about also. I can't even stand the thought of my daughter having a blood test. I think she would need to be sedated as she is so fearful and pain sensitive. My son is not yet 2 so I don't think they will test him. I'm feeling so off at the moment. I think I have some anxiety and reflux going on complicating things quite a bit.
    • My son's antibodies were 300. Based on his extremely high levels, his pediatric GI suggested genetic testing instead of the biopsy. Genetic testing can't diagnose celiac on its own but combined with such high levels, the gi dr was confident a positive genetic test would confidently diagnose celiac. He warned that biopsies are small snapshots of the intestine and can miss damage. He said this is an approach used very often in Europe but not as much in the US. What sold me on that approach was the ability to put my son directly on a gluten free diet instead of waiting three weeks for the biopsy, during which time he would continue to eat gluten and feel terrible. I'm not sure if this is more common with younger patients though (our son is two), based on the idea that he's had less time to inflict damage that would show in a biopsy? We are very happy that we immediately started the gluten free diet and chose the genetic testing. Our son got the proper diagnosis and his recent number shows a drop to 71 after only 4.5 months gluten free! Not sure if this helps. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon!
    • We have been off gluten for a while now, and symptoms return when I've allowed gluten full meals… so something still isn't sitting right with me.  Checking with her doc about seeing a pediactric GI although I'm not sure how long that will take since we live in small town America. I know she didn't get at least one of the recommended full panel tests but maybe two, can someone help clarify, or is she missing two? DGP for sure and possibly EMA? And if I understand what I'm reading in other posts that the DGP can be more accurate? Thanks Her blood panel results: Ttg ab iga <.5u/ml ttg igg <.8u/ml aga ab iga <.2 u/ml aga an igg <.7u/ml iga 61mg/dL  
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