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Member Since 04 Jan 2005
Offline Last Active Jun 05 2005 07:26 PM

Topics I've Started

Two Effects On Sleep

04 January 2005 - 08:02 PM

I have noticed that gluten and celiac produce two distinct sleep disorders for me. In one case, I cannot stay awake, and in the second situation, I cannot stay asleep. Here is what I have noticed:
First, I notice that when I get a gluten challenge that I get extremely sleepy. If the gluten challenge comes at lunch or dinner, I find that by 8:00 PM I can barely keep my eyes open. Come to think of it, this reaction was the one that made my doctor think that I had celiac disease in the first place. I had described to him that after a good night’s sleep and a breakfast of pancakes I took two shovel fulls of dirt in my garden and felt like I needed a nap. I then started a gluten-free diet.
Secondly, I have observed that non-soluble fiber additives in foods make me wake up around 3AM and keep me awake for around 1.5 to 2 hours. I do not get a gluten reaction to them, however I get what my gastronenterlogist calls digerosis(sp?). My intestines do not gripe as they do in diarrhea, they feel like they are running a marathon and I can feel my vena cava pumping vigorously. The whole thing generally keeps me awake for around 2 hours. Then I can sleep again. My intestines apparently work over actively on these fiber additives. When I am awakened I feel rather irritated and restless, leggy twitchy.
I have gotten this non-gluten reaction from non-soluble fiber additives such as methyl cellulose, gum arabic, xanthum gum. I find them in all sorts of salad dressings, ice cream, and here is the kicker, methyl cellulose and/or xanthum gum is used in some gluten free breads to give it the texture it lacks because they are made without gluten. At a time in the past, before I learned what foods had “hidden gluten” and I was precipitously losing weight, I tried eating a lot of gluten free bread and experienced such severe insomnia, I remember getting around 2 hours of sleep a night for a period and could barely keep my eyes open during the day. When I am strict about my gluten-free diet and am not slipped a hidden shot of gluten by food from a well-meaning friend or unknowing restaurant I sleep well.
So, if you are a Celiac sufferer and are having trouble sleeping, eliminate from your diet all and I mean all gluten. Then additionally, eliminate methyl cellulose, gum arabic, xanthum gum. How? No salad dressing unless you make it yourself. Get gluten-free bread and food without these additives. Tell me if this helps you too.

Alex Miller

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