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Anna1990

Anxiety (also question about gluten free experience)

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Hi all, 

I'll post this here as I don't want to pollute the celiac forums. You see I went gluten free and dairy free to find relief from anxiety.

I am not very careful about cross contamination with bread crumbs and the like, although I do use clean knives and such to cook. 

Since going gluten and dairy free three months ago, I can function in the morning. I'm not starving to eat anymore, I'm not exhausted when I get out of bed. I don't have to poop during or immediately after a meal. I have less anxiety, but it's not gone yet.

My stool used to be very hard. That changed, but not exactly at the time I went gluten free. A bit before that. After which I started to look at my diet. 

Do you have any experience or tips to share? Should I be looking at other food Intolerances? Should I reintroduce gluten? Sorry if this is irrelevant to the forums, I feel a bit guilty to post since I'm not celiac. But I'm hoping you may have some advice or experience to share. 

Also, a week ago, three months in on the gluten free dairy free diet, my appetite just up and left. I am not hungry at all for the past eight days. Obviously I also lost weight on this diet. Since I struggle with anxiety, my doctor is obviously less receptive to the things I report. I tend to think I'm dying from cancer. I haven't reported this to them yet, as I feel it will be chalked up to the anxiety again. Who knows. My body doesn't feel tired or faint. I'm just not hungry. I force myself to eat. This week, I just can't... 

Can anyone relate? 

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Not everyone here on the forum has celiac disease, so you are free to post.  😊

It sounds like you have seen improvement with the diet. Maybe your anxiety will completely resolve if you really avoid cross contamination.  That is something to consider. 

I am concerned about your lack of appetite.  That does not seem normal.  Even when I am glutened I am still hungry.  I just know that digesting food is going to hurt no matter what.  I then try to consume easy to digest foods.  

You did not say if you were being treated in anyway for your anxiety.  Are you seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist?  Changing your diet like you did can lead to eating disorders.  That is concerning to me.  Maybe a visit to a dietitian.  From what you post, I am not sure how much or what you are eating.  This seems to important of an issue to deal with on a forum.  

I hope this helps.  Keep posting.  I am not trying to discourage you,  I want to insure you are getting the help you need.  

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Thank you for your careful reply. 

I am seeing a therapist. So far I have avoided medication, but I'm wondering if I shouldn't give it a try after all... 

My GP encouraged me to try the diet change when I suggested it.

I don't think no appetite is normal either. I lost some weight over the past three months, no biggie I had some reserves, but no appetite at all for the past 9 days... It kinda scares me. But then, I have anxiety... My husband thinks I have a stomach bug.

I had a real bad 4 day anxiety attack. After that my appetite dropped. Haven't really recovered in the anxiety department either. 

I did not know a diet change can lead to eating disorders. 

Note: I have at times severe health anxiety. So on hindsight changing my diet may not have been wise, no. It caused bodily changes which I don't tolerate well... 

Edit: I can't keep calling my GP. It only fuels my anxiety. And should I ever be really sick, it diminishes my chances of adequate health care. I'm thinking about carefully reintroducing gluten but leaving dairy out. I suspect the dairy more than the gluten. Let's see if my appetite picks back up when I slowly revert some of the changes. 

Edited by Anna1990

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I did decide to contact my GP this morning. He referred me to a dietician.

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if you had improvement with the diet, you may well be a celiac.  drop the dairy, retry the wheat etc, and get tested.  BUT be prepared that reintroducing gluten (wheat) may produce unwanted effects.

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1 hour ago, Anna1990 said:

I did decide to contact my GP this morning. He referred me to a dietician.

Hi, Anna!

Wheat containing products are required to be fortified with vitamins and minerals.  Cutting wheat containing products out of your diet  may result in an inadequate intake of nutrients your body needs, especially the B vitamins.  Your body can't make the eight B vitamins, so they need to be replenished every day.  Your body can't store them long, only two or three weeks, so you can get an insufficiency quickly.

Thiamine (B1) insufficiency or deficiency can cause loss of appetite and anxiety. Here are a couple of articles that you might want to share with your dietitian.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/thiamine-deficiency-symptoms

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046018/#__sec4title

I agree with freeze.  You may want to consider getting tested for Celiac Disease which has over two hundred symptoms, including anxiety, lactose intolerance, constipation, weight loss, malabsorption and resulting malnutrition, and eating disorders.   

I dislike recommending doing a gluten challenge if your anxiety will get worse, like mine did.  Perhaps you can get a genetic test for Celiac Disease.  Although not all phenotypes for celiac disease are known, a genetic test may show whether you have any of the most common Celiac genes. 

Hope this helps!  Keep us posted! 

 

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Hi Anna,

I too had anxiety as a symptom of gluten/dairy. I had so much relief after ditching them but it didn't go completely too. My anxiety stopped me to the point of not be able to get out of the house. After 3 years I am still in shock that food is to blame, doctors would tell me I had an anxiety disorder and recommend all sorts of medication, but now it makes sense that what you consume affects your physical and emotional wellbeing.  Don't know why I didn't see it before being diagnosed with celiac, and question how many people out there would find relief whether celiac or not by looking into their diets.

I only found 100% relief once I focused on 'healthy eating'. I looked into leaky gut and how to how to heal your gut. I focused on vitamins and healing. I lost around 3 stone within two months as I was just so nauseated and just felt lost, and overwhelmed, but after about a month on a candida diet I started to feel an improved appetite, energy and overall happier.The candida diet really helped me as it focuses on healing and getting rid of inflammation causing foods, getting rid of toxins in your body and just restarting you body. I found sugar was a huge problem; I find it changes my mood completely I feel agitated, anxious, depressed, it gives me headaches and ear aches. I didn't get tested for candida as I had enough of doctors if I'm honest and just listened to my gut. Through the diet I was also able to discover other milder intolerances such as potatoes and oats. I did find full relief after a couple of months and kept at it, I do eat sugar now and then now and feel fine. But I don't ever want to go back to eating a poor diet again. 

 

I hope you find your answer. But definitely look into healing your gut. Ever heard that your gut is your second brain? 

Good luck and take care of yourself

Katie

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3 hours ago, Anna1990 said:

I did decide to contact my GP this morning. He referred me to a dietician.

This can be a good thing.  Often times, we change our diets and not for the better.  Many celiacs trade junk food for gluten free junk food (e.g. processed chips, candy, cakes, etc) when they should probably choose foods that contain the most nutrients like vegetables, fruit, nuts, meats, fish, and fats.  

The dietician can help insure you are getting a properly balanced diet.  When you are not feeling well this can really help having another person to guide you.  Make sure you carry safe snacks with you to avoid making a hasty decision about what to eat or being afraid to eat.  Planning is key.

If you think you might have celiac disease, consider asking for the blood tests now or consider doing a gluten challenge in the future.  You know your situation best.  

While I was diagnosed with celiac disease, my husband was not.  He went gluten free 12 years before me.  His doctors did not think to test for celiac disease.  They did suggest giving up gluten.  It made a huge difference.  The first year was trial and error.  But eventually, we go the diet down.  He never cheats.  Gluten makes him ill and that is obvious.  Years later, it was a shock when it was suggested that I might have celiac disease.  I have two other extended family members who are gluten free.  Like my hubby, they were not tested, but both (and they are in the medical field) have been gluten free for so long, they will not get tested.  I can not blame them.  I have seen them get exposure to gluten by accident.  Now, knowing that I have celiac disease, we encourage family to get tested before trialing the diet.  

I am glad you are working with a therapist, that and a healthy diet might yield the results you are seeking!  

Anxiety is very common with celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders.  It sounds like you are on the right path.  I strongly believe that diet is critical to good health.   Make sure you are active too.  I savor my time running or walking on a dirt trail located in my city.  Nature heals too.  

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Thank you for your helpful replies. 

I've lost a lot of weight over the past three months. Note, I've been eating mostly whole foods. But my calorie intake surely dropped. My weight was fine and still is within healthy limits (bmi 20.7), but I don't want to lose more as this is the lowest weight I've ever had. Since I am prone to health anxiety, I cannot afford to lose more weight as this is already setting off my "OMG cancer" alarms. 

I'm glad I contacted the dietician, I'm hoping for a structured approach. I've noticed a few things that make me feel that food Intolerances are a thing for me: the past three months I didn't stink. Stinky body odor was a thing. It disappeared. I had bowel cramps, which are gone and before I went gluten free I had the occasional migraine which I haven't had. Unfortunately, PMS seems to have gotten worse, which includes severe anxiety for me. 

I understand the hesitation to recommend a gluten challenge but I've neglected to mention that I've been having really loose stools. I really, really, really don't want to lose more weight and I need the fiber. So I did start eating some gluten yesterday. Interestingly, I had a really hard stool just now. I've been having some stomach upset this week, notably left abdomen feels bloated. There's definitely something going on here... 

Going to a dietician on Monday, will keep you posted. 

I appreciate your advice and concerns. I don't recognize thiamine deficiency, except the appetite loss. I did read that there are other deficiencies that could be at play. 

I empathize with the sentiment of not having a lot of faith in doctors. In my case everything is chalked up to anxiety. Of course I have work to do in therapy, I'm the first to acknowledge that. But I'm disappointed that I have to do all the searching myself. How I wish there was a structured approach to find things that may cause or exacerbate anxiety. 

Did you know my previous GP suggested I have a hormonal imbalance and then suggested acupuncture? Look lady, don't give me hunches. Measure my hormone levels for a month or get out of here. 

Same with food. She just said to go for it. Didn't recommend a dietician or anything. I basically have to go to my new GP myself, mention that beans make me depressed and that I notice other stuff, only to finally hear acknowledgement from him (new GP) that food certainly plays a role in mood. 

If only they'd said that five years ago... 

 

Anyway, sorry for the rant, thank you for listening. I'll post back here soon after meeting with the dietician 

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Anna1990,

The previous posters gave some informative posts. There is a strong link between digestive problems and anxiety. There has been some research on anxiety and diet but there isn't one diet that everyone agrees upon. On this website people talk about different diets that they have personally have found helpful. It is also difficult to get the necessary nutrients without eating anything that contains wheat. 

Celiac disease involves peptide breaking off from wheat and confusing the immune system. Here is a video which explains celiac disease. 

 Oats are known to be problematic for some people with celiac disease. The AIP diet is based on the idea of eliminating all possible foods that can be inflammatory. Gain, dairy, seeds, nuts, coffee, eggs, soy and lots of processed foods all contain seed storage proteins. These proteins cannot be digested in the stomach. For some people these fragments can activate the immune system and make autoimmune disorders worse. 

The autoimmune potocol is very restrictive. Some people on this forum react to nightshades but I don't think it is very common. 

The AIP has been shown to be successful in treating IBS and Crohns. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5647120/

Also vitamins and minerals can help with depression as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/

Another thing is that there is evidence that what people think of as lactose intolerance is actually probably a reaction to opium like peptides within casein and gluten. These slow down the digestive system and  cause inflation. Both dairy and wheat have these peptides. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586534/

Here is a link about NAC. It is a supplement that is available over the counter and it acts as an antioxidant.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3044191/

It may be a good idea to talk over this information with your doctor. I can't give any medical advice as I am not a doctor (so none of this is medical advise). I can however say that tons, and tons and tons of people (I measure them in tons normally) have anxiety disorders without having cancer. You should talk to your doctor about that. He/she could tell you if that is something you should be concerned about or not. I hope this helps. 

You can also search on this site for gluten withdrawal symptoms. That is also a real thing for some people. 

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You sound a lot like me! I no longer have cravings after going gluten and dairy free. My stools are not as hard or large, I don’t eat as much either. Don’t feel bad. Im currently I’m the middle of being diagnosed so I’m not sure if I am celiac or not, I know for sure I am atleast intolerant though. Gluten intolerance is a thing too, they still suffer although not as much as a full blown celiac. My doctor explained to me that gluten intolerance may not get an immediate horrible reaction to gluten like a celiac would, but if they eat the same thing containing gluten consistly day after day, they will notice symptoms. So while it’s not as dangerous to be “glutened” it’s still important as someone who is intolerant to follow a gluten free diet, although if you do have an accident it’s not the end of the world. 

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I appreciate all your replies, your stories and thorough information offered. Thank you.

The priorities for me:

- Wait for the abdominal discomfort (and anxiety that is tied in with it) to settle. I've had some good bowel movements yesterday and today. Hubby suggested that I might have contracted a stomach bug. (My anxiety is difficult to convince, so I guess it's a matter of waiting it out over the weekend.) 

- Stabilize my weight

- Figure out if I'm intolerant to foods with help of a dietician. I'm glad I called to be referred to a dietician. That way someone can help monitor my health and weight, comfort me that what I'm experiencing is common, and if we do find something in terms of intolerances or digestive issues, help me make my case to my doctor to see a specialist.

Again, thank you for your responses.

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Hi Anna,

Lots of good advice/comments so far.  It seems to me that anxiety or not, you have your head screwed on pretty well.  You are taking a thoughtful approach to the symptoms you have, and trying to find a reasonable diet approach to improve them.  That's good! :)

I used to have anxiety, but it did go away after a while on the gluten-free diet.  It wasn't gone in a few weeks though.  It took months to taper off.  I am guessing mine was related to vitamin deficiencies.  It takes time for the gut to heal and begin absorbing vitamins and minerals efficiently again.  Researchers found that it can take 18 months or more in some cases.  There are a lot of threads about anxiety on this forum.  You can find them by using the little microscope search tool.

I don't think your not being hungry is a strange thing.  You could be gassy or your digestive flora could be out of whack and make you not feel like eating.  Celiac damages the gut lining and upsets the bacterial balance in our guts.  That can cause all  kinds of symptoms including low seratonin, a chemical that helps us relax.

Having a stool change after going gluten-free means there is something digestive happening.  Someone who doesn't have a digestive problem with gluten shouldn't notice any big change when stopping eating gluten.  NCGI (non-celiac gluten intolerance) is the term for people who have gluten reactions but don't have the gut damage from celiac disease.  There are more people with NCGI than people with celiac.  And we are glad to help them also.

I think it's more likely you have celiac than NCGI though.  If you don't want to be tested for celiac and do the gluten challenge that's ok.  But to get the full benefit of the gluten-free diet you have to stick to it 100% all the time.  Once a celiac eats even a tiny amount of gluten the celiac reaction kicks off and can stay active for weeks or months.

I do agree with you that dairy may be causing some of your symptoms too.  You can try lactaid milk or pills to see if they help any.  Celiac damages the villi that produce the enzyme (lactase) that digests dairy sugar.  You can also develop a reaction to casein, protein in cow dairy.

Welcome to the forum Anna, i hope you feel better soon! 😍

Edited by GFinDC

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Gluten and anxiety can be a way more complex and subtle issue than you may realize. The only "anxiety" issues it gave me were "Will I always be in range of a toilet?" not knowing at that point exactly what kept poisoning me. However, in the last ten years there has been a lot of research into the gut flora, the microbiome, and that is now being called "the third nervous system" because the chemicals generated by the gut microbiome can significantly interfere with SSRI medications (serotonin uptake, etc.) and that entire "communications and control" path to the brain. So yes, real physical cause-and-effect between what's in your gut and how your brain is running, has been established. The details are way fuzzy at this point, but the overall topic has been confirmed as real.

 Your GP's advice to see a dietician is, frankly, lame. Yes, it might help. But if you truly are having an allergic reaction to wheat and dairy? It is only in the last few years that blood tests have been available to get fast and accurate objective data that gives some indications about this. And it is only the last ten years that GP's have really learned to spell "celiac", let alone how to refer patients to a gastroenterologist who specializes in the diseases. If your medical coverage allows for a referral, or if you can arrange it, I would urge you to take advantage of the recent "wealth" of knowledgeable specialists. A large part of "anxiety" comes from not knowing WTF is happening, because if you don't know what the real problem is...how can you fix it? Or at least, minimize it?

 Take the bull by the horns, and meantime, if avoiding gluten (it sneaks into the most unlikely things, like commercial tuna salad and chopped liver and ice creams) and dairy makes you feel better, continue doing that. The dietician may also suggest probiotics, which are getting acknowledged as important to maintain the microbiome for some people--but no one is really sure which probiotics work best for who, so if you take them, you may want to try several brands, give each one at least two weeks to see if it improves things.

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16 minutes ago, lyfan said:

 

 The dietician may also suggest probiotics, which are getting acknowledged as important to maintain the microbiome for some people--but no one is really sure which probiotics work best for who, so if you take them, you may want to try several brands, give each one at least two weeks to see if it improves things.

A big chunk of probiotics were discovered to have gluten contamination.  Remember, supplements are largely unregulated in the US.  

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150515083232.htm

https://www.thepatientceliac.com/tag/celiac-disease-and-probiotics/

Just something to consider. 

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Given that gluten has been food in instant coffee and paprika...

The only reliably safe gluten-free diet may be the Ted Nugent Diet. You know, if you didn't dig it out of the ground, and it doesn't have a face, you probably shouldn't eat it. (sigh)

Big racks of stuff from GNC and other chains, not trustworthy. Established brands that say GLUTEN FREE at Whole Foods, probably safe.

Last month I bought "the same" product at Costco that I usually have bought on Amazon, only to find when I got home that "the same" packing as in fact hiding pills only half the dose--and WITH WHEAT FLOUR in them, while the "identical" pill in the larger dose had none.

There's always something.

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