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AmF

Anxiety And Gluten

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I HAVE RECENTLY STARTED A GLUTEN FREE DIET, SUGGESTED BY MY CURRENT DOCTOR, IN AN ATTEMPT TO FIGURE OUT MY LONG TERM DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS AND POSSIBLY RELATED IRRATIONAL BOUTS OF ANXIETY, PANIC, AND PARANOIA-LIKE THOUGHTS. HAS ANYONE ON THE FORUM NOTICED A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN MENTAL HEALTH AFTER DISCONTINUING GLUTEN?

3 1/2 YEARS AGO I WAS TESTED FOR CELIAC DISEASE AFTER A PERIOD OF STRESS (BREAK-UP/MOVE, GRADUATING COLLEGE, ACCIDENTAL DOSE OF HALLUCINOGEN) AND TRAVEL (GOT VERY SICK-SINUS-TOOK HEAVY ANTIBIOTICS THERE). THE TEST CAME BACK NEGATIVE, DESPITE PREVIOUS SUSPICION. I HAD NOTICED FEELING TIRED AND SLUGGISH AFTER MEALS WITH WHEAT AND PASTA FOR SOME TIME. DURING THIS TIME OF STRESS AND TRAVEL, I STARTED HAVING CHRONIC DIARRHEA (UPON RETURN). NUMEROUS TESTS WERE DONE FOR PARASITES BUT NOTHING SHOWED UP. I LOST 30 POUNDS IN 2 MONTHS AND WOULD GO DAYS WITHOUT SLEEPING DUE TO SEVERE ANXIETY. I BEGAN HAVING PANIC ATTACKS AND MANY IRRIATIONAL FEARFUL THOUGHTS. I KNEW I WAS NOT MYSELF DESPITE THE STRESS I WAS UNDER. I HAD DEALT WITH NUMEROUS STRESSFUL PERIODS IN MY LIFE AND MILD ANXIETY~THIS WAS DIFFERENT. (I DID TAKE A 10-DAY PRESCRIPTION FOR PARASITES AS A 'JUST IN CASE' MEASURE SUGGESTED BY A NATUROPATH)

SINCE THEN MY SYMPTOMS TURNED INTO BURNING GUT SENSATIONS AND I NOTICED A MARKED CHANGE IN WHAT MY BODY COULD HANDLE. I USED TO EAT SPICY FOODS ON A REGULAR BASIS BUT NOW MY BODY NO LONGER COULD TAKE IT. MY TASTE BUDS AND STOMACH SEEMED TO CHANGE OVERNIGHT. I WAS IN AND OUT OF SEEING DOCTORS FOR TESTS THAT CAME UP INCONCLUSIVE. THEY WOULD ONLY OFFER ANTI-DEPRESSANTS FOR THE ANXIETY. I WASN'T SATISFIED WITH THEIR RESPONSE BECAUSE I FELT/FEEL THAT THERE IS SOMETHING CONNECTED TO MY DIGESTIVE SYSTEM AND I DIDN'T WANT TO MASK IT! ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO I BEGAN HAVING SEVERE PAIN IN MY STOMACH THAT TOOK ME TO URGENT CARE AND THE EMERGENCY ROOM WHERE THEY DETECTED GALLSTONES. I CHOSE TO KEEP MY GALLBLADDER AND WENT OFF DAIRY AND KEPT MY DIET SIMPLE. I HAVE NOT HAD THE EXCRUCIATING PAIN SINCE BUT I DO STILL HAVE BOUTS OF DIARRHEA, OCCASIONAL HEADACHES (CHRONIC MIGRAINES WHILE IN SCHOOL 4 YEARS AGO), AND THIS STRANGE DISTORTED ANXIETY.

MY MOTHER HAS DONE ALLERGY TESTING AND HAS A HANDFUL THAT SHE DOESN'T ALWAYS ACKNOWLEDGE. SHE ALSO TAKES A LOW DOSE OF AN OLDER ANTI-DEPRESSANT THAT IS ALSO PRESCRIBED FOR ALLERGIES SO THIS COULD BE WHY SHE ISN'T AS READILY AFFECTED BY FOODS.

I AM VERY INTERESTED TO HEAR ANY POSITIVE "MENTAL HEALTH" IMPROVEMENTS YOU'VE HAD WITH A GLUTEN-FREE DIET. AND ANY GOOD SUGGESTIONS ON NOURISHING A DAMAGED GUT...

THANKS!

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Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

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I HAVE RECENTLY STARTED A GLUTEN FREE DIET, SUGGESTED BY MY CURRENT DOCTOR, IN AN ATTEMPT TO FIGURE OUT MY LONG TERM DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS AND POSSIBLY RELATED IRRATIONAL BOUTS OF ANXIETY, PANIC, AND PARANOIA-LIKE THOUGHTS. HAS ANYONE ON THE FORUM NOTICED A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN MENTAL HEALTH AFTER DISCONTINUING GLUTEN?

3 1/2 YEARS AGO I WAS TESTED FOR CELIAC DISEASE AFTER A PERIOD OF STRESS (BREAK-UP/MOVE, GRADUATING COLLEGE, ACCIDENTAL DOSE OF HALLUCINOGEN) AND TRAVEL (GOT VERY SICK-SINUS-TOOK HEAVY ANTIBIOTICS THERE). THE TEST CAME BACK NEGATIVE, DESPITE PREVIOUS SUSPICION. I HAD NOTICED FEELING TIRED AND SLUGGISH AFTER MEALS WITH WHEAT AND PASTA FOR SOME TIME. DURING THIS TIME OF STRESS AND TRAVEL, I STARTED HAVING CHRONIC DIARRHEA (UPON RETURN). NUMEROUS TESTS WERE DONE FOR PARASITES BUT NOTHING SHOWED UP. I LOST 30 POUNDS IN 2 MONTHS AND WOULD GO DAYS WITHOUT SLEEPING DUE TO SEVERE ANXIETY. I BEGAN HAVING PANIC ATTACKS AND MANY IRRIATIONAL FEARFUL THOUGHTS. I KNEW I WAS NOT MYSELF DESPITE THE STRESS I WAS UNDER. I HAD DEALT WITH NUMEROUS STRESSFUL PERIODS IN MY LIFE AND MILD ANXIETY~THIS WAS DIFFERENT. (I DID TAKE A 10-DAY PRESCRIPTION FOR PARASITES AS A 'JUST IN CASE' MEASURE SUGGESTED BY A NATUROPATH)

SINCE THEN MY SYMPTOMS TURNED INTO BURNING GUT SENSATIONS AND I NOTICED A MARKED CHANGE IN WHAT MY BODY COULD HANDLE. I USED TO EAT SPICY FOODS ON A REGULAR BASIS BUT NOW MY BODY NO LONGER COULD TAKE IT. MY TASTE BUDS AND STOMACH SEEMED TO CHANGE OVERNIGHT. I WAS IN AND OUT OF SEEING DOCTORS FOR TESTS THAT CAME UP INCONCLUSIVE. THEY WOULD ONLY OFFER ANTI-DEPRESSANTS FOR THE ANXIETY. I WASN'T SATISFIED WITH THEIR RESPONSE BECAUSE I FELT/FEEL THAT THERE IS SOMETHING CONNECTED TO MY DIGESTIVE SYSTEM AND I DIDN'T WANT TO MASK IT! ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO I BEGAN HAVING SEVERE PAIN IN MY STOMACH THAT TOOK ME TO URGENT CARE AND THE EMERGENCY ROOM WHERE THEY DETECTED GALLSTONES. I CHOSE TO KEEP MY GALLBLADDER AND WENT OFF DAIRY AND KEPT MY DIET SIMPLE. I HAVE NOT HAD THE EXCRUCIATING PAIN SINCE BUT I DO STILL HAVE BOUTS OF DIARRHEA, OCCASIONAL HEADACHES (CHRONIC MIGRAINES WHILE IN SCHOOL 4 YEARS AGO), AND THIS STRANGE DISTORTED ANXIETY.

MY MOTHER HAS DONE ALLERGY TESTING AND HAS A HANDFUL THAT SHE DOESN'T ALWAYS ACKNOWLEDGE. SHE ALSO TAKES A LOW DOSE OF AN OLDER ANTI-DEPRESSANT THAT IS ALSO PRESCRIBED FOR ALLERGIES SO THIS COULD BE WHY SHE ISN'T AS READILY AFFECTED BY FOODS.

I AM VERY INTERESTED TO HEAR ANY POSITIVE "MENTAL HEALTH" IMPROVEMENTS YOU'VE HAD WITH A GLUTEN-FREE DIET. AND ANY GOOD SUGGESTIONS ON NOURISHING A DAMAGED GUT...

THANKS!

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Hi,

Wow, your story sounds very familiar to mine. I have dealt with anxiety, panic, strange headaches, and intestinal problems for the last 7 years. I think my intolerance to gluten started at this time because all of the sudden I started feeling very different and couldn't quite pinpoint it. They say something will trigger celiac or intolerance to gluten and you will know exactly when it starts. Mine I believe was my second pregnancy and a very stressful life situtation.

Anyhow, after seeing many doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc.... and fed up with their answers (I had always dealt with stressful situation fairly easily as a child and in college, etc.) It was always a pill I should try which only made me worse, or that I had IBS and should eat more fiber, or that I needed to exercise to relieve my anxiety. The anxiety I had always felt like a doom and gloom feeling and seemed to come from my bowels. Very hard to describe to anyone. Sometimes it would happen after I had eaten and sometimes not. It got to the point that I became depressed and suicidal. My dear sister finally convinced me to go to a naturopathic clinic. They ran all sorts of tests, IgG and IgA tests, mineral, amino acid, and stress hormones.

A week later I found out I was highly intolerant to gluten and casein. Very low in minerals, vitamins, amino acids and my stress hormones were way out of whack. I immediately went on a Gluten-free Casein-free diet, started B12 shots, dhea, amino acids, and several other vitamins. I cannot tell you in words how much better I feel. The doom and gloom stopped. I have daily regular bowel movements for the first time in years. My depression is gone. It has been 2 months now and I tell everyone I meet to stop eating gluten for a week and see how they feel. Amazing, really like a miracle for me.

As to the healing process. I cannot drink coffee or eat spicy foods yet. If I do, I don't get anxiety I just get burpy and my bowels hurt. I drink warm chai with soy milk instead of coffee or straight tea. Bananas seem to be very healing to the gut. I haven't really tried a lot of gluten-free breads yet. I am mainly sticking to fresh fruits, vegies, brown rice, fish and lean meats.

I hope you have the same experience I have had. I will never touch gluten again. In fact I'm scared to death of it.

Take care,

Leslie

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I have noticed a big improvement in anxiety since going on the gluten-free diet 3 weeks ago. I'm much calmer, even a friend of mine who is a Psychologist (she does not treat me, though) has noticed the change in me. I realize that the length of time it takes people to improve after being on a g.f. diet varies significantly due to the damage they have already sustained, but keep at it - I'm betting you will see an improvement in anxiety. In fact, I just read somewhere (I wish I could remember exactly where it was!!! It might even have been on this very website) that there are serotonin receptors in your gut. I had always thought that they were only in your brain. Guess I was wrong. Anyway, if your villi are damaged, I suppose it might stand to reason that your absorption of seratonin (the "feel good" chemical) is compromised. I can tell you that if I accidentally "get glutened" the anxiety is the first thing to return for me.

Have patience and keep at the diet. It's worth it!

Kritter

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I have only been doing this for a few weeks and I keep making mistakes! Anyway one thing that I notice is tension when I've been really gluten free for even just a few days I sleep better even if its less hours, and don't feel exhausted the next day. I have severe problems with night anxiety... I will lay awake all night worrying. If there is nothing to worry about then I will invent something, like oh I'm not getting enough sleep I have to wake up in x hours... its really frustrating. But I think part of the reason I sleep better when I haven't had gluten is that those thoughts aren't so strong on those nights. I don't know. I guess time will tell for me what all improves. I'm hoping to see some improvements in both my emotional health as well as physical!

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LONG TERM DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS AND POSSIBLY RELATED IRRATIONAL BOUTS OF ANXIETY, PANIC, AND PARANOIA-LIKE THOUGHTS. HAS ANYONE ON THE FORUM NOTICED A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN MENTAL HEALTH AFTER DISCONTINUING GLUTEN?

Yes ... Yes and Yes. = Short answer....

Long answer is follow aikiducky's advice above....


Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. (JC, De Bello Gallico Liber III/XVIII)

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Thank you everyone for responding so far. I was really excited that people had responded to my post! It has been a long, mysterious, scary road at times and to have your support and, in some cases, people sharing a similar experience is incredibly comforting. No one I know has been able to relate to me and my symptoms.

Thanks Paulina for the suggestion, I will check out the link.

Leslie~ Do you drink caffeinated Chai w/soy? I have been staying away from caffeine since my first panic attack 3+ years ago, ever since then caffeine brought on immediate heart palpitations. Do you also take Omega 3/6 supplements?

I wonder the effectiveness of my gut in absorbing vitamins/nutrients at this time. (Makes sense what you said Kritter) When I had my last stool test done it showed no trace of the lactobicillus "good" bacteria and I had been taking an acidophillus supplement on a daily basis for the past 3 years! I've now switched brands but have yet to be retested. Also because of chronic diarrhea, my food doesn't seem digested that well. I drink Aloe juice and that seems to sooth burning sensations.

How have others helped heal their gut in addition to a gluten free diet?

I'm looking forward to a balanced body again!

Thanks,

Amy

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AmF,

My Pharmacist recommended an acidophilus pearl. It is made by the "Leader" company. The reason he says the "pearl" is best is because it doesn't disolve in your stomach, like the capsules do. It stays intact and disolves only after it hits your intestinal tract - which is exactly where you actually need to good stuff (pro-biotics) to go. The box says their website is www.myleader.com. I just ended up calling my pharmacist and he looked into whether or not it was gluten-free it for me. Of course, it is, or I wouldn't still be taking it. Anyway, I highly recommend the pearls - they really work wonders!!!! If you can't locate the stuff, try asking a Pharmacist. They should be familiar with the brand. Good luck!

Kritter

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I HAVE RECENTLY STARTED A GLUTEN FREE DIET, SUGGESTED BY MY CURRENT DOCTOR, IN AN ATTEMPT TO FIGURE OUT MY LONG TERM DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS AND POSSIBLY RELATED IRRATIONAL BOUTS OF ANXIETY, PANIC, AND PARANOIA-LIKE THOUGHTS. HAS ANYONE ON THE FORUM NOTICED A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN MENTAL HEALTH AFTER DISCONTINUING GLUTEN?"

Interesting. I was just thinking about this yesterday. I have suffered from anxiety and depression for many years and take medication for it. Aside from the occasional episodes of depression re: celiac disease and food limitations, I have noticed a significant change as has my family. Not as many high and low moments, I have been gluten-free since November. During my last visit in September my doctor suggested that I might try to wean myself from the medication. Because I was having such dietary problems and winter months are traditionally hard (SAD) for me I hesitated but I have been doing so well since going gluten-free that I have decided to wean myself from the medication and see how it goes. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed.

If you see the words "KILL DOROTHY" written in smoke over the general direction of Nebraska, you'll know it was not successful. :D

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Kritter, thank you for the recommendation for acidophilus 'pearls'. I will look into that. I like the sound of it moving into the intestines, beyond the stomach, where it is truly needed. I am not that educated on how dis-ease or digestive issues keep foods and nutrients from being properly digested and absorbed but that sounds good.

Silk, I hope and wish the best for you weening off your medication and am glad to hear that you have been feeling noticeably better mood-wise on a gluten-free diet! Always encouraging to hear. :)

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Kritter, thank you for the recommendation for acidophilus 'pearls'. I will look into that. I like the sound of it moving into the intestines, beyond the stomach, where it is truly needed. I am not that educated on how dis-ease or digestive issues keep foods and nutrients from being properly digested and absorbed but that sounds good.

Silk, I hope and wish the best for you weening off your medication and am glad to hear that you have been feeling noticeably better mood-wise on a gluten-free diet! Always encouraging to hear. :)

Just wanted to add my bit. I had schizophrenic like visions as a child and young adult caused no doubt by my gluten intolerances plus a need to have B vitamins that my body just couldn't make or absorb very well on its own. After I went off the gluten and started taking B vitamins (due to starting to progressively lose my kidneys--I decided to try my grandmother's advice to make dietary changes despite my doctor saying I should be on antibiotics forever) the visions and crankiness and inability to concentrate for the most part went away. The visions left completely when I went off all (observable) gluten--and the inability to concentrate and easily get stressed left when I started to take the (non-sorbitol) co-enzyme B's from Country Life two years ago.

Apparently undigested gluten gives off opiates into the body. I found that being off wheat and rye made me much less anxious and irritable. As time went on and I went off all gluten I now discover I actually have a very even disposition and am able to deal with the stresses of life better than most, that is if I don't get CC'd!! (like I did recently...)

I read that when this one doctor back East experimented with a hospital full of schizophrenics by taking them off all common allergens (wheat, rye, barley and oats being on top--as well as dairy), 80% went into remission... Enough said? There are other studies that show that if the school children go off sugar and common allergens they are much less likely to act out and be violent.

More mental health workers need to get clued into this as well as the general public. There is so much suffering out there that could easily be prevented by diet alone that its incredible. Institutional food as well as what they server in most school cafeterias is a crime in my humble opinion.


Diagnosed celiac sprue as infant: failure to thrive & pneumonia-back on grains age 4. Began herbs 1971 combating chronic kidney disease/general ill health 1973. Avoid wheat family and "allergens" by 1980. Late 80's doc. diagnosed candida: cave-man diet. Diagnosed degraded myelin sheath 2006; need co-enzyme B vitamins. Discovered celiac fall 2007; finally told diagnosis as infant. Recently found I am salicylic acid intolerant. Ironically can't tolerate most herbs now. Can now eat brown rice & other gluten-free grains (except corn) & even maple syrup & now homeopathic medicine works! Am still exploring the shape of this elephant but I've made progress!

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thanks for the additional advice. I am still in my first week gluten-free. I suspect I may have a sensitivity to corn as well. I have been taking Twin Labs Stress-Liquid B vitamins for over a year now. I notice a difference in my energy level from taking them. I think my gut has been so damaged by stress, antibiotics, and toxins (wheat/gluten) allergens that hopefully by taking those factors out I will start to absorb nutrients more efficiently again and the chronic diarrhea will subside.

my youngest sister has bipolar disorder with 'schizophrenic tendancies'. I would love if she would go on a gluten-free diet! It would be so amazing if institutions (including schools) would take this serious allergy/sensitivity into account when meal planning. The change it would bring....

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