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Help! Major Social Anxiety And Feeling Weird After Going Gluten-free Casein-free
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I've been gluten and casein free for about 5 weeks now and while my sleep has gotten somewhat better and my gi problems a lot better I'm still having some pretty wicked mental symptoms. While I have gotten a lot calmer (I used to be really irritable and sometimes aggressive) and the brain fog lifted, my social anxiety has gone way up, my confidence down, and basically I feel weird and like a new person.

The mood swings are crazy, while one moment I can be feeling almost euphoric, on the next I'm heading into a pit of depression. One day I might be feeling somewhat good and talkative but some other day I just want to avoid most human contact. I guess I've been "medicating" with food all my life (I'm 27 now) and it's normal to go through a long withdrawal phase, but I'm also suspecting secondary allergies like eggs and nuts.

With nuts I don't get any stomach upset, even after eating a solid bag of raw almonds, but I wonder if it's possible to get only mental symptoms from a secondary food allergy? I haven't noticed much "classic" allergy symptoms like itching and the like, other than excess mucus production, but I seem to get that no matter what I eat (had to constantly clear my throat since I was a child). I have occasional headaches and fatigue and those might be related to. What do you think? Any help much appreciated!

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Ugh, I know those mood swings all too well. I was bipolar on gluten. I had to take some pretty hard-core vitamins and lots of fish oil to get my mind to work normally again.

There is intolerance and classic allergy. Intolerance can cause all sorts of symptoms including mostly mental. There aren't the classic allergy symptoms like hives or itching with intolerance and there can be a considerably longer delay in the symptoms, like a day or two. Dairy was making me exhausted but no allergy symptoms, plus inconsistent GI trouble that would come after a 24 hour delay.

I'm looking at the possibility my brain fog and memory problems are being caused by intolerance to natural food chemicals. This website is pretty interesting. It summarizes a bunch of stuff worked out at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital allergy unit in Australia. Australia is way ahead of the US as far as understanding allergies. http://failsafediet.wordpress.com/ Also Sue Dengate's site. http://fedup.com.au/

I'd recommend keeping a diet diary and writing down everything you eat and your symptoms. The delay in reactions can make it really hard to track down what is bothering you without some sort of record. Look for single foods like dairy, fish, or soy, and food groups like citrus or nightshades.

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So you rid yourself of depression using supplements and casein, gluten-free or? I do a multivitamin, probiotic and some iron right now. Just ran out of Omega 3. All these things are crazy expensive where I live. Which are the most important supplements you think if you're suspecting depression caused by malabsorption?

So this delay thing really makes it complicated. I would like to do a lab test for IgG-antibodies but I don't think the health care system here in Sweden provides that =/ Anyway, I suspect eggs which wouldn't be a big problem to remove from my diet. Removing all nuts and seeds however, would be a huge blow to my diet. I'm a tall guy so I recon I would need at least like 2500 kcal/day.

However, if you have malabsorption maybe you need more than this? Anyway I guess I could survive on mostly rice, potatoes and fish, maybe some chicken. I also eat avocados and carrots and I don't think they cause me any problems. I half-heartedly tried to remove some nuts and test against others but I guess if you're allergic to one kind of tree nut you would be allergic to all?

Anyway if I remove all kinds of nuts and seeds I suspect I wouldn't notice any change anyway the first few days?

Thanks a lot for your help

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Hello Seifer-

It does sound like food intolerance. Upon going gluten free you change to other grains, legumes and nuts to replace the gluten items. My digestive symptoms improved a great deal during my first year gluten free, but other symptoms got much worse. It took me a long time of trying to remove one item at a time before I decided to remove all possible food intolerances -- I added only one item back at a time to get a reaction to each food and boy were there some surprises....

One of the biggest surprises was peanut trial day. I ate 1/2 cup of peanuts and had a severe mental reaction. Within a half hour I was VERY angry at my sons...I don't usually get ANGRY and this was off the charts...at an hour I was reduced to tears and was crying uncontrolably when my husband got home he thought someone had died...they he stopped and thought and said "what did you trial today?" I was in a funk for about three days after that and will never touch peanuts again - scared me even more than gluten!

One of my celiac children was snacking on A LOT of peanuts and even spoonfuls of peanut butter after removing gluten -- he battled major depression and anxiety for about a year...he gave up peanuts after my trial and has been feeling much stronger and less anxious -- was even able to get back on stage with his band.

Full elimination is not easy...especially since you are relatively new to gluten-free. Perhaps you could try one group at a time legumes (peanuts, soy, beans) or nuts and seeds?

Good Luck :)

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I take an expensive includes-everything supplement called EmpowerPlus. It's available at http://www.truehope.com. I also take a good fish oil.

It's common to cross react across tree nuts (almond, walnut, pecan, hazelnut, brazil nut). You'd have to look up which seeds are botanically similar enough for cross-reactions.

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Hello Seifer-

It does sound like food intolerance. Upon going gluten free you change to other grains, legumes and nuts to replace the gluten items. My digestive symptoms improved a great deal during my first year gluten free, but other symptoms got much worse. It took me a long time of trying to remove one item at a time before I decided to remove all possible food intolerances -- I added only one item back at a time to get a reaction to each food and boy were there some surprises....

One of the biggest surprises was peanut trial day. I ate 1/2 cup of peanuts and had a severe mental reaction. Within a half hour I was VERY angry at my sons...I don't usually get ANGRY and this was off the charts...at an hour I was reduced to tears and was crying uncontrolably when my husband got home he thought someone had died...they he stopped and thought and said "what did you trial today?" I was in a funk for about three days after that and will never touch peanuts again - scared me even more than gluten!

One of my celiac children was snacking on A LOT of peanuts and even spoonfuls of peanut butter after removing gluten -- he battled major depression and anxiety for about a year...he gave up peanuts after my trial and has been feeling much stronger and less anxious -- was even able to get back on stage with his band.

Full elimination is not easy...especially since you are relatively new to gluten-free. Perhaps you could try one group at a time legumes (peanuts, soy, beans) or nuts and seeds?

Good Luck :)

Wow, that's crazy you could get a reaction like that from peanuts. That's definitely one of the foods I suspected. I really love peanuts and peanut butter but I'm probably going to trial that one first. Beans and lentils will not be a problem since I don't particulary like them anyway. Do you think you would get the same reaction from beans for example?

Are you also caseine free? How long after going gluten free did you trial other foods? I've been gluten and caseine and mostly soy free during about 6 weeks, but I have accidentaly ingested smaller amounts of all three probably at social gatherings, and got stomach upset, cravings and foggy brain.

Maybe I should wait for a longer time before I start trialing secondary so the gluten goes out from the system?

How about additives like aspartam, sodium nitrite and msg, did you trial those to? I'm pretty sure I get a bad reaction and stomach upset from sodium nitrite (E250)

How about additives like aspartam, mgs

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Wow, that's crazy you could get a reaction like that from peanuts. That's definitely one of the foods I suspected. I really love peanuts and peanut butter but I'm probably going to trial that one first. Beans and lentils will not be a problem since I don't particulary like them anyway. Do you think you would get the same reaction from beans for example?

I did not get the same reaction for any one food -- most of the other legumes (including peas and green beans) just made me extremely tired -- I joke that if I can't sleep I should just pop a sugar snap pea that I started growing before I figured out that intolerance.

Are you also caseine free? How long after going gluten free did you trial other foods? I've been gluten and caseine and mostly soy free during about 6 weeks, but I have accidentaly ingested smaller amounts of all three probably at social gatherings, and got stomach upset, cravings and foggy brain.

I am not caseine, nor dairy free - those passed trial with the exception of yogurt. I trialed other foods individually over the first year gluten free when I was not improving on gluten-free diet -- never pin pointed any other problems that route. I do try to limit cheese too -- once I put the foods back in my diet after the trials...cheese seemed to make me feel a bit bloated so I limit it.

Maybe I should wait for a longer time before I start trialing secondary so the gluten goes out from the system?

I re-read your post -- I thought you had been gluten-free 5 months. 5 weeks is still very new -- at 5 weeks we were still finding minute amounts of gluten in surprising locations. If you stick to whole foods these first months it should help your healing. Can't tell you when to trial more foods...but can tell you I did hit and miss trialing my first two years gluten-free with no improvement.

How about additives like aspartam, sodium nitrite and msg, did you trial those to? I'm pretty sure I get a bad reaction and stomach upset from sodium nitrite (E250)

I can't do any additives -- removed artificial sweeteners and msg years ago because I thought these were my problem. During the full elimination trialing found out I can't have dextrose by accident and my sensitivity to any processed foods got much worse -- so I try to eat only whole foods and nothing that has ingredients ending in -ite -ate and -ose.

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Okey cool, I've been having green peas with my fish and potatoes, but maybe I'll just drop those too then. I'm gonna have a gastroscopy tomorrow, so let's see what that shows. I'm just curious, what kind of reaction would you get from tomatoes, peppers, citrus and avocado? and have you really dropped ALL grains including buckwheat, quinoa, millet and rice?

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Yep...all grains...I have the occasional small portion of brown rice as I don't have bad reaction...just feel a bit bloated.

Below are entries from my food log....keep in mind EVERYONE has different reactions to different foods -- even my kids don't have the same reactions to these foods although they have similar intolerances.

Tomato: Mouth felt numb after 5 min, bloat, joints, brain fog, severe pain upper right abdomin (new pain to me) - better next day but joints still hurt - got worse all day - out cold by 6pm; remained very sore for three days.

Bell Pepper: Breakfast - had red bell pepper with onion and eggs - 30 minutes later every joint hurt (I mean even fingers and toes), slight bloat and minor fog -- got better about 5 hours later. Each meal - lunch (salmon, zucchini, peppers & dinner (peppers in salad) got worse. 3/6/12 NOTE: peppers was the last food that I tried three times...from then on I trialed foods after lunch or dinner so reactions didn't take me out for the entire day!

Avocado: within two hours upset somach, by bedtime my stomach was bloated to 9months preg! 3/6/12 NOTE: I had not removed avocado for the elimination diet...happened to be my first very bad reaction when I layered them on my salad at day 8 or 9 of detoxing -- was very bummed to lose them. I did trial them again at 6 months...same reaction...major bloat within minutes. will trial them again in another six months -- i love avocado and live in southern california where they are plentiful!

Citrus: I barely had eaten any citrus since about the time I was dx'd celiac...just hurt when I drank oj/lemonade or ate oranges/tangerine -- hope I get citrus back when gut heals.

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I'm suspecting nuts and potatoes. Are you also allergic to potatoes since I thought you would be allergic to all nightshades? I got a really weird reaction eating potatoes yesterday, like aggressive, depressed, and stomach upset. I've read stuff about craving the foods you are allergic to. I thought that would make sense with cows milk and gluten since they metabolize into opiates, but how about stuff like potatoes and nuts? I definitely have cravings for both of them, so that's also a reason they make me suspicious. I was definitely addicted to potato chips for most of my life, and since removing cows milk and gluten i definitely upped the potato consumption. Could it be some sort of addiction to some neurological, adrenal response or histamin response?

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Potato chips or potatoes? Potato chips are supposedly high in natural MSG that forms when they fry. MSG would give you a neurological response - do you react to other sources of MSG?

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Oh right that's interesting, I was thinking about glutamate, doesn't nuts also contain lots of that? Now when I think about it I guess I would have cravings for potato chips and fries, and not so much boiled or baked potato. However, yesterday I ate boiled potatoes which I thought I reacted to.

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Dry-roasted nuts are usually flavored with yeast extract or some other hidden form of MSG. Natural nuts are mostly low, except pecans and peanuts.

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Alright. I dropped all nuts except macadam since I saw they have heinous amounts of omega 6. I'm trying to eats lots of fish now (non farmed) and limit grains to rice, buckwheat and quinoa. Did omega 3 rid you of depression and anxiety? I also stopped using vegetable oils, and now only use butter for frying. I'm taking about 2 capsules of krill oil per day, and I guess you shouldn't overdo the omega 3 either?

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