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Persistent Depression, Irritability, Lack Of Focus
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I've been gluten-free for quite some time, after being undiagnosed for many years. While seemingly all of my symptoms went away, I still never felt all the way healthy. More importantly, I was dealing with persistent depression, brain fog, anxiety, etc. I had assumed that these were just issues I had, that were not necessarily Celiac-related, but recent events have made me question that.

For the last year, I've been dealing with some major cross-contamination issues (it's a long story, but basically I moved overseas and have had persistent problems finding all gluten sources), and all of my symptoms have re-appeared. It's now very obvious to me how clearly linked depression, lack of focus, crankiness, etc., are to eating gluten.

Which makes me wonder, maybe I've been eating very small amounts of gluten all along? Would it make sense that my primary symptoms would be the emotional ones, and then this year with larger amounts of gluten, the other symptoms re-appeared?

My whole life I've lived under this cloud, and while part of me tries to accept that and deal with it as anybody else without Celiac would, another part of me is questioning if I should dig deeper with my diet. Maybe it's actually tiny amounts of gluten causing it? Part of me is scared to even hope that changing my diet could really help.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Thank you for providing this space to share.

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Hi jumpingjuniper,

I am not celiac but have crazy DH. I didn't realise what gluten was doing to my head/brain/emotions until I went strictly gluten-free. In hindsight I wonder how it could get so bad without someone inquiring. Anyways...

I went gluten-free in June/July but so many mistakes etc that by early October I realised I had to get really really serious about my diet and habits. My DH had been sorta responding but not enough to get any more than about an hour or two sleep a night. Pretty much messed up mentally from the sleep deprivation.

When I cut out gluten-free products I was pretty amazed how quickly things turned around. I stuck to meat/veg/fruit and started introducing products one at a time. If a brand gets me bad I blacklist it. If a product works I give three goes and if no problems I don't blacklist. I have found xanthan gum (E415) a nightmare. I'm going to somehow test guar gum in the new year just so I might have some baking options in future.

Sorry lots of detail there but I thought you'd like to know that my brain fog and lethargy only became apparent to me after I got into this routine in October.

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Would it make sense that my primary symptoms would be the emotional ones, and then this year with larger amounts of gluten, the other symptoms re-appeared?

That has been my experience. Symptoms from higher level contaminations are different from symptoms from lower level contaminations. That was also the finding of the recent FDA analysis of gluten challenge studies.

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/RiskAssessmentSafetyAssessment/UCM264152.pdf

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My spouse would agree with your assessment; gluten is a big factor in his mood.

I can almost date when he started having trouble with gluten, because he became anxious and I had never seen him that way (known him 3 decades). He was a volunteer firefighter, so definitely not the anxious sort!

He also saw improvement after removing eggs. He added them back after 1 year.

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For me, I think there is a few factors involved. For many years, without knowing (just accepted it as it was), I could feel this anxiety over issues building inside me. I worked out and did alot of talking to myself to clear my head. I was under alot of pressure but I was having trouble dealing with it, and I do beleive the pressure was that which most would have probably simply walked away from. It would build in my and then erupt and when it came out I had no control. Lots of boughts of depression. Counselors blamed my family sitaution.

Now that I have been gluten-free for 7 months I can say that gluten was part of what was affecting me all along, I now believe. I have had a much calmer brain. However, for the longest time it seemed I was taking 2 steps fwd and 1 step back. I found that the gluten was the big one but I also was being influenced by other foods such as the gums, not good at all! Vits were another. I almost can feel when something is out of whack. My calcium went high before I went off gluten, was tested linked my very emotional feelings to the high calcium levels and he looked at me like I was crazy. They then went back down and I stabilized and then then went back up, was tested and sure enough, high again. Went off gluten, started feeling that feeling again, was tested and this time my D had gone over. Docs look at me like I have lost my mind if I tell them this though. Besides my vit levels and the other foods (especially the additives), I find if I do not get enough sun or exercise I will be ina bottomless pit emotionally.

I have been on antidepressants which I do not recommend unless you really need them. They did help with the emotions but they can also kill the senses in other ways the body is trying to tell you that something is wrong. I guess I see it that I have become very intuned to what my body to try to tell me.

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My doc and I have a very symbiotic relationship. She knows that I know what is probably going on. She trusts me, trusts my knowledge of my body, and will proceed along any lines I suggest. (so long as they are not off the wall, which they never are :P ) It is so wonderful not to have to fight the medical profession. :D Of course, we are limited by my medical knowledge.....

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Steph, do you remember which pages they had the differing symptoms summarized on, by any chance?

I think that it was towards the beginning. The whole thing is a good read anyway. It is only 46 or so pages of text. The rest is references, tables and stuff.

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Hi, thank you for your replies. I typed a longer post but apparently it didn't make it through moderation (no idea why!). I am trying to go through my diet with a fine toothed comb and eat as simply as I can so that I can identify possible triggers.

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