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    Scott Adams

    Gluten-Free Diet May Alleviate Depressive and Behavioral Symptoms in Adolescents with Celiac Disease

    Scott Adams


    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    BMC Psychiatry 2005, 5:14

    Celiac.com 05/09/2005 – Past studies have linked depression and behavioral disorders in teenagers with untreated celiac disease. Researchers in Finland conducted a study that was designed to determine what effect a gluten-free diet has on the psychiatric symptoms of adolescents with celiac disease, and specifically on the hormone prolactin (thyroid function) and on large neutral amino acid serum concentrations. Nine 12 to 16 –year-old adolescents with celiac disease were evaluated using the semi-structured K-SADS-Present and Lifetime Diagnostic interview, and seven were followed up after 1-2, 3 and 6 months on a gluten-free diet.



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    The researchers found that pre-gluten-free diet adolescents with celiac disease and depression had significantly lower tryptophan competing amino-acid ratios and free tryptophan concentrations, and had significantly higher biopsy morning prolactin levels compared to those without depression. After three months on a gluten-free diet the researchers noted a significant decrease in the patients psychiatric symptoms that coincided with a decrease in celiac disease symptoms and prolactin levels, and a sharp increase in serum concentrations of tryptophan competing amino-acid ratios.

    The researchers conclude that their findings support the idea that untreated celiac disease in adolescents can create serotonergic dysfunction due to the impaired availability of tryptophan, and this may play a role in depressive and behavioral disorders.


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    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease  in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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