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Erin80

Gluten And My Depression Experience

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Hi, everyone! I am new here. I have been a different person mentally and physically I believe simply because I consumed gluten. Whole grains are supposed to be good for you, right? What a scam.

I have had digestive issues for as long as I can remember. I am 32 years old. I have always been bloated, grouchy, extremely fatigued all day long, unable to function in social situations, unable to make new friendships, irritable, and the list goes on. I don't know why I didn't think to cut out gluten before. My mom was tested recently for food sensitivities and was sensitive to gluten. I decided to stop eating it three days ago and feel better than I have my entire life! I am elated and have new hope for myself and my future. I cannot express how grateful I am to finally have an answer.

I have been diagnosed with depression, bipolar, anxiety, delayed phase sleep disorder, and was given medications for these illnesses. All the pills did was drive me crazy (crazier than I already felt). I wish I had known that my behavioral and physical issues were related to consumption of gluten. I really messed up my life in a lot of ways due to feeling bad all the time. So I felt depressed and continued scarfing bread and pasta. The question is, which came first, the depression or the gluten intolerance...

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Since by nature I am neither depressive nor do I have any clinical psychological or mental health issues (or so I am told),

I was perplexed and frustrated and damn scared when I fell into depressive thinking and developed anxiety and had bouts of real fear and frantic or obsessive thinking. I was an insomniac to the point of real sleep deprivation and had a sleep study done. This went on for 3 years --along with many other symptoms---before my DX.

It was the celiac. I call it "Gluten head" and I was very ill and had cognitive issues and ataxia as well. It affected my brain in various ways.

I have NONE of these symptoms now that my gut is healing and I have been gluten-free for 18 months. I am "me" again. :)

There are many medical articles written about this correlation between gluten, celiac and depression, arising from nutritional deficiencies, the effect of malabsorption on amino acids and neurotransmitters, etc.

You may find these articles of interest. Go to this site and look on the right hand side for articles related to psych issues:

http://sites.google.com/site/jccglutenfree/

You may wish to remain on gluten and have a celiac panel done.

The test will not be valid if you are not actively consuming gluten. Since you feel markedly better off it, I am thinking you are gluten sensitive at least, but you may want to cover your bases and see if celiac is the underlying cause.

I know at least one member on here whose bipolar symptoms are resolved. (I am sure there are others) Maybe she will see this and post.

Best wishes to you!

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My worst symptom is anxiety. It built up and built up until I had what I assume is a nervous breakdown even though I don't know for sure. I had this sense of doom that I was going to die. I focused on it day and night and was scared to fall asleep because I thought I wouldn't wake up. Every time I looked at my young kids I would tear up thinking they would grow up without me. When I finally got diagnosed with a gluten allergy in my mind I had brain tumors, diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, you name it I had it. I finally just lost it one day and cried uncontrolably, I was apologizing to my wife for leaving her to raise two young kids without me, and cried when I saw my 5 year old. About 2 weeks after I went gluten free I was laying in bed and just started breathing deeply and realized how calm I was. It never occured to me that my gluten intolerance would cure my anxiety. Most people say that it is due to malabsorption of vitamins, but the weird thing is that if I accidentally gluten myself now, the first symptom I feel is I get really anxious. It will get better, but 1 year later it still isn't perfect. Hang in there.

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My worst symptom is anxiety. It built up and built up until I had what I assume is a nervous breakdown even though I don't know for sure. I had this sense of doom that I was going to die. I focused on it day and night and was scared to fall asleep because I thought I wouldn't wake up. Every time I looked at my young kids I would tear up thinking they would grow up without me. When I finally got diagnosed with a gluten allergy in my mind I had brain tumors, diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, you name it I had it. I finally just lost it one day and cried uncontrolably, I was apologizing to my wife for leaving her to raise two young kids without me, and cried when I saw my 5 year old. About 2 weeks after I went gluten free I was laying in bed and just started breathing deeply and realized how calm I was. It never occured to me that my gluten intolerance would cure my anxiety. Most people say that it is due to malabsorption of vitamins, but the weird thing is that if I accidentally gluten myself now, the first symptom I feel is I get really anxious. It will get better, but 1 year later it still isn't perfect. Hang in there.

what you describe is very similar to what I went through. My anxiety manifested as an intense social anxiet/shyness and I lost alot of weight and would not leave my house except at night. Having never experienced anything like that before, I began to fear that I was dying because I had lost so much weight. I got through the first episode with the use of ssri medication and recovered. but the next episode a year later was as bad and then I was dx'd. The second treatment was prozac and it 's what saved me. I felt completely normal after taking it a few weeks.

The problem now is that since I don't take the ssri to boost my serotonin, I still struggle in the mornings; getting going, feeling happy to face the world. Its still not easy even though I am gluten free. could it be that I was exposed to gluten for my whole life that the serotonin deficit might always be a problem? any thoughts or comment are greatly encouraged and appreciated...

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I believe that my biggest symptom is anxiety, just like the other posters on this thread. I have been an anxious and worried personality my whole life, but I had gotten it under control and was really doiing well, emotionally and mentally. Then about two years ago I started to feel not quite right, after 6-8 months it developed into a full blown panic/anixety disorder, then it got even worse, and then about 8 months ago I was finally tested for celiac.

It has been 5 months since i started the diet and I have to say that I am feeling quite a bit better, and the anxiety level has gone down from an 11 to maybe a 5-6, but it is still somewhat high. I would love to get it back down to a 2 or 3 (which i feel would be a normal amount, like when I was in good shape a few years ago).

I have to remind myself that this is a major process of healing a very damamged body. It doesn't happen overnight. The problem with an anxiety disorder is that your brain wants to see it fixed right now! if it doesn't get fixed instantly, its just more fodder for the anxiety monster to use against you.

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Welcome Erin!

While I have no idea whether the chicken or the egg came first, I am confident that gluten intolerance / celiac comes before depression and other psychological issues.

It frustrates me to no end that doctors automatically jump to prescribing anti-depressants/mood stabilizers without ever considering food intolerance. Psychological disorders are commonly said to be caused by chemical imbalance - so where is someone supposed to get the neurotransmitters for proper brain function if they are not absorbing essential nutrients from their food in the first place?

It took me decades to figure out that I got depressed after being ill and never got ill because I was depressed! It seems simple but when docs were repeatedly telling me that I was healthy and that my symptoms must be caused by depression, stress, hormones, overworking or simply being a Mom -- eventually part of me believed it...I know that I went several years without going to doctors because I didn't want to hear it - in my gut I knew they were wrong -- and guess what? -- the problem was in my gut all along.

Sorry for the rant, but I know how frustrating it is to know that your life could have taken a different path had you only known that the "healthy" food you were ingesting was causing serious health problems.

I try to focus on the blessings I do have, keep hope for health and all other good things, but some days the frustration cancels all that out.

I am hopeful that you will continue to improve and glad that you found gluten was causing you problems...but please know that it can be a long road to healing so grab onto all the good stuff you can along the way and be good to yourself while you heal.

Hang in there :)

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It took me decades to figure out that I got depressed after being ill and never got ill because I was depressed! It seems simple but when docs were repeatedly telling me that I was healthy and that my symptoms must be caused by depression, stress, hormones, overworking or simply being a Mom -- eventually part of me believed it...I know that I went several years without going to doctors because I didn't want to hear it - in my gut I knew they were wrong -- and guess what? -- the problem was in my gut all along.

This is a great statement. I have been struggling with this a lot. It boils down to the notion of whether or not one believes that the mind can cause such severe psychosomatic pain. I mean, can a fear or worry have such a profound effect on the physical state as to cause damage to the intestines and make us feel all the symptoms of celiac? Or does one believe that the symptoms originate with celiac and the psychological issues are conflated and confused by them?

the theory that the simplest answer is usually the best shows me that it most likely is that celiac is causing the problem, and the psychology is being dragged along for a ride.

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This is a great statement. I have been struggling with this a lot. It boils down to the notion of whether or not one believes that the mind can cause such severe psychosomatic pain. I mean, can a fear or worry have such a profound effect on the physical state as to cause damage to the intestines and make us feel all the symptoms of celiac? Or does one believe that the symptoms originate with celiac and the psychological issues are conflated and confused by them?

the theory that the simplest answer is usually the best shows me that it most likely is that celiac is causing the problem, and the psychology is being dragged along for a ride.

That reminds me of the guff they used to say about stomach ulcers being caused by stress and worry and spicy foods. Totally false as it turns to be a bacteria that causes 90% of them.

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I think you guys might want to walk into a psychiatric ward and ask that question to the residents. Maybe that guy sitting there on the couch? Oh wait, he won't know because he lost most of his memories from ECT. What about that girl in the corner? She looks normal, opps, she still feels the fire burning her from 5 years ago. The list goes on.

Psychiatric disorders have enough stigma attached to them as it is. It is not a "I have Celiac so I got anxiety too"

Celiac and thyroid disease often come together but not always. You still have thyroid disease and still take a med for it. At any rate you don't say, now that I'm celiac everything gets better. But it all doesn't does it?

Mental Illness can be horrific how it presents, or can be abused by a person who has no idea what it is.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor do I portray one in a commercial. I do not intend for you to actually walk in to a psych ward as they may keep you. My intention is never to offend but to inform.

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When i get glutened, I get very gloomy and then will often have times of anxiety and aimless anger and irritability. It is a very strange feeling because I am naturally a really layed back and comical person, yet most of my life people thought I was very negative and introverted. The feelings I get are just that, "feelings". I cannot help it. It is almost extrinsic. Even when I am thinking things are good and I just have more learning to do and it will get better and better and I am proud of my progress, somehow I simultaneously have this gut sickening sadness. I just feel gloomy as if there is no reason in the world to be happy and i get helpless feelings like my "flight" hormones are at full force.

Exercise always helps tremendously for me it doesn't matter if it is walking up and down the stairs or even just stretching.

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Colleen-

I guess I mis-typed as I should have wrote that I believe celiac/gluten MAY come before psychological issues.

Unfortunately, I have had to visit two friends, one sister and one brother-in-law in the psychological hospital over the years. My sister has suffered from major depressive disorder which has nearly taken her life 4 times. Bi-polar did take my brother-in-law (my husband's closest brother, my nephew's dad and my kid's uncle) from us. So when I said in my case I knew in my gut that depression was not causing my physical illness I was talking about what was going on with me - not others that may have depression or other physiological issues.

I in no way intended to dismiss any psychological disorders by my beliefs that the lack of nutrition due to mal-absorption CAN lead to a disruption of the neurotransmitters in the brain OR that being stuck in bed for weeks on end with undiagnosed disease/chronic illness can cause depressed mood.

-Lisa

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Colleen-

I guess I mis-typed as I should have wrote that I believe celiac/gluten MAY come before psychological issues.

Unfortunately, I have had to visit two friends, one sister and one brother-in-law in the psychological hospital over the years. My sister has suffered from major depressive disorder which has nearly taken her life 4 times. Bi-polar did take my brother-in-law (my husband's closest brother, my nephew's dad and my kid's uncle) from us. So when I said in my case I knew in my gut that depression was not causing my physical illness I was talking about what was going on with me - not others that may have depression or other physiological issues.

I in no way intended to dismiss any psychological disorders by my beliefs that the lack of nutrition due to mal-absorption CAN lead to a disruption of the neurotransmitters in the brain OR that being stuck in bed for weeks on end with undiagnosed disease/chronic illness can cause depressed mood.

-Lisa

Hi Lisa,

I promise, I didn't mean to get in anyone's face about this. It's a sensitive issue for me as it sounds like for you too. I can appreciate that.

Sometimes I'll read something to my husband while I'm ranting and he calmly takes my playbook from me. It's okay because I do it to him to lol. I met my husband in a psych ward 5 years ago. I was there for a month after a suicide attempt. I was getting a course of ECT treatments and he was outpatient getting ECT's too. We are quite the pair, as you can imagine.

These issues are very difficult whether it's you, your family or friends.

And now I'm off to scarf down some Betty Crocker Brownies :D

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It is SO relieving to hear about these stories of other celiac/gluten intolerance folks who have also struggled with anxiety. Thank you so much for sharing them!

I remember having anxiety attacks as young as 4 years old, as well as hyperactivity and severe temper tantrums. The doctor suggested it was food-related (yay!) but said the cause was actually food coloring additives. Oh well, at least he was on the right track (back in the mid-80's) which it more than I can say for any doctor since. I wondered for years what was wrong with me, and when I was in high school would check out books from the library on all kinds of mental disorders to try and match symptoms with what I felt.

It started out as social anxiety. I couldn't stand being in public places or around strangers. Then it became intense anxiety over every little thing, along with panic attacks. They were always worse during stressful situations, but would sometimes pop up out of nowhere.

When all the other gluten issues got worse as I got older a doctor told me it was all just an manifestation of anxiety, and mostly in my head. So I asked her what could possibly be causing the anxiety, and she just looked at me funny like "You're not supposed to ask that question" and gave me a Xanax prescription. No effort to find a cause, just a pill.

My husband, who isn't gluten intolerant, was once diagnosed with bipolar disorder because he had been feeling out of sorts. He was put on three medications for it, and was so messed up that he was institutionalized twice attempted suicide once. The pills made him feel MORE depressed and MORE disconnected. He finally stopped taking them, saw another doctor, and was diagnosed with PTSD from childhood trauma instead. He was given a small SSRI dose, and now he feels fine almost all the time. I swear these doctors are guessing 99% of the time. They turned a man with mild psychiatric problems into a total wreck.

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I can really appreciate this post from all angles, as I have Celiac (obviously), have struggled with mild anxiety for most of my adolescence and young adult life, and ironically enough am a mental health therapist for children and adolescents. Its interesting, when we're in school doing our clinical training, they ALWAYS teach you that the FIRST rule of diagnosing is RULE OUT MEDICAL CONDITIONS FIRST. If its not an underlying medical condition, then proceed with psychiatric diagnosing. In working with many social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists, I rarely see them looking towards medical conditions when a client comes in with mood or anxiety issues.

Being diagnosed with Celiac has been a fantastic life lesson for me, especially when it comes to my work with clients. In fact, a coworker of mine called me last week to get some advice about a 17 year old female in one of our residential programs who is displaying significant anxiety and is starting to refuse certain meals. My first response? "Have you tested her for food intolerances?" There was a long pause followed by "Huh?" from my coworker. I explained that it might not just be for "attention" but maybe this young lady has some food intolerances which is making her feel sick and causing her to avoid certain foods. After we rule this stuff out, then we can look at what might be behind her behaviors. And the kicker was the response, "So does this mean that I should get nursing staff involved??" "YES!!!!"

Whether the Celiac or the anxiety came first, both are very real, and very frustrating. Hang in there! I hope it gets better!!!

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I'm really happy for you Erin. I am a completely different person on gluten also. I attribute a lot of it to nervous system inflammation.. that "gluten head" that was mentioned. When I eat gluten i'm transported into a nearly psychotic type of world. Perception disturbances, a feeling that all visual and auditory things are going to morph at any second along with paranoia, panic attacks, motor skill problems, memory loss, random crying, sense of doom, a complete inability to relate to the energy of other people. It's like the energy of other people look more like monsters coming out of the object of a body, than a human being. I also become rather mute, i'm not sure why, it's like something that happens in my brain allows me to have dark emotions but no thoughts. So throughout childhood, I was rather mute. That changed amazingly when I cut out gluten and suddenly I talk too much at times and have opinions. I still have depression, but the world around me doesn't look dark and scary, and there is no intensity of panic attached to my depression.

I would really love if there was more research done on the effects of gluten on the brain and nervous system. also adrenal glands.

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Of all the doctors I talked to about being diagnosed for celiac, all of them said I should see a mental health professional first, before testing.

Then I got my positive blood test results back and they changed their tune.

Erin80, everything you've written is also my experience. I turned 35 a few days after diagnosis. So my youth was spent with gluten; the rest is my time.

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    • Aya, GFinDC has given you good advice.  Watch your CARBS they ferment and can cause bloating. This can be more pronounced after starting PPIs in some people because you have temporarily lowered your stomach acid which can make things worse for some people.  It is called Acid Rebound when people try to stop PPIs and why (at least) for short period of a couple weeks to a month your body begins to produce it's own stomach acid again.. ..things seem to get much worse. Here is a research link about it entitled "Gastric hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) is associated with an exacerbation of dyspeptic symptoms in female patients" Dyspectic (dyspepsia) is the medical term for indigestion commonly known as acid reflux/bloating etc. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00535-012-0634-8 In fact if stomach acid was not the cause your heartburn  and instead say from stress then taking PPIs can make it worse. 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They are also about 20 percent to 30 percent less likely to get relief from acid-blocking drugs. But their episodes of heartburn are just as frequent, just as severe and just as disruptive of their quality of life, studies show." Ground braking research really but we have a long memory when it comes to treatment regimens.  And it will take a while for the medical field to catch up to this new research. even though this new research recognizes this is real phenomena doctor's are stumped about how to treat it. quoting again. "New research suggests that in many people, heartburn may be caused by something other than acid reflux. But gastroenterologists are often stumped as to what it is and how to treat it." Because they think it is too high to  begin with it doesn't fit their paradigm to think stress or low stomach acid could really be the trigger and never test your stomach acid before beginning you on PPIs. If you were tested you would of remembered because it traditionally involved swallowing a pill retrieved with  string know as Heidelberg Gastric acid test or similar test like the EpH test where a thin tube is inserted through your nose for 24 hours. here is a medline article about the esophageal pH test. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003401.htm because it makes or effects our gag reflex most people feel uncomfortable doing it. so this step (test) is typically bypassed. . . .and the real pH of your stomach is never tested/measured. But we know it is low stomach acid (being misdiagnosed I think) really because we have studied this phenom before see early link posted  here again for convenience sake entitled "Gastric hypochlorhydria (Low Stomach Acid) is associated with an exacerbation of dyspeptic symptoms in . . . patients" https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00535-012-0634-8 the article focuses on the results for women (I am/was not sure (can't remember) if you are women or not but men were also studied in this research. I hope this is helpful. ***this is not medical advice but I have found often when your stomach acid is truly NOT high enough is when we have most of our/your GI problems. I just try and encourage others to get tested. . . because if you don't test you'll never know. We have the endoscopy test for many of our other GI problems we also need to test our pH as well to rule out if is contributing to our other GI problems. ***this is not medical advice but I hope it is helpful. ******Maybe someone else can answer this??? Can you do pH testing with an Endoscopy and if so why is not typically done?? when an Endoscopy is performed thus killing two birds (proverbially with one stone (test). 2 Tim 2:7 “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” this included. Posterboy by the grace of God,  
    • Yeah you have to eat it til they are done with all the testing, backward part of this disease is the dia.

      There are 100s of symptoms with this disease, you probably have a few you have considered "Normal" for years, and after a year or so you will like a new you.

      Go ahead and read over the newbie 101 thread for now and prehaps start cleaning out the cabinets, tossing the CCed condiment jars, scratched pans, and getting some new ones.
      https://www.celiac.com/forums/topic/91878-newbie-info-101/

      A whole foods diet starting off is best, avoiding dairy, oats, for awhile, but I do have a list of gluten free products I update a few times a year with a new one.
      https://www.celiac.com/forums/topic/121802-gluten-free-food-alternative-list-2018-q3/  
    • Aya, I think your PPIs are triggering your dyspepsia medical term for indigestion etc. Often when our stomach acid get's too low we will have issues with CARBS. They ferment and cause bloating. Here is a couple article/links about it. You need to get off the PPIs if at all possible.  Try taking a H2 blocker for two weeks and then stepping off it two weeks between reduction in dosages all the while watching your trigger foods. Here is a link about "Gastric hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) is associated with an exacerbation of dyspeptic symptoms in female patients" https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00535-012-0634-8 taking betaineHCL can also help your digestion if your stomach acid is already too low from taking lansoprazol. see this topic in the pharmaceutical journal about it. https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/learning/learning-article/question-from-practice-management-of-hypochlorhydria/11120379.article?firstPass=false as to whether you have Celiac disease or not . ..you might not yet but if you keep taking PPIs you might develop it if you keep taking them for years and years. PPI's increase your risk of developing celiac disease in the future. that is over 4 years old that studied this topic of PPIs use and subsequent Celiac disease diagnosis. https://www.celiac.com/articles.html/celiac-disease-gluten-intolerance-research/do-proton-pump-inhibitors-increase-risk-of-celiac-disease-r2860/ they (the researchers) concluded  quoting "The data clearly show that patients who use anti-secretory medications are at much greater risk for developing celiac disease following the use of these medicines. The fact that this connection persisted even after the team excluded prescriptions for anti-secretory medicines in the year preceding the celiac disease diagnosis suggests a causal relationship." and why this is novel research we didn't know why this was so too recently. see this article as reported by Jefferson Adams on celiacdotcom.  It is good research. https://www.celiac.com/articles.html/celiac-disease-gluten-intolerance-research/could-drinking-baking-soda-fight-celiac-and-other-autoimmune-diseases-r4479/ I am also including the medical news today article link on this topic because I think it summarizes these findings well. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321624.php the articles about about what controls (switches on) inflammation (autoimmune reactions) in the body. we have microvilli (not villi) that line our organs (especially  the spleen) that alarm our body when proteins are in the body and not in the GI tract. the spleen is critical is here because it acts like a general of sorts directing our immune system and when gluten or other proteins tricks it --- it attacks our body (villi) by mistake. And this new research explains why this happens. quoting from the the summary on celiacdotcom ( again I think the MNT article) goes into more details. " A type of cell called mesothelial cells line our body cavities, like the digestive tract. They have little fingers, called microvilli, that sense the environment, and warn the organs they cover that there is an invader and an immune response is needed." to continue quoting "The team’s data shows that when rats or healthy people drink a solution of baking soda, the stomach makes more acid, which causes mesothelial cells on the outside of the spleen to tell the spleen to go easy on the immune response." Which explains perfectly how PPI's could cause someone to develop Celiac disease because it lowers our stomach acid.  And this study points out how raising our pH (lowering the pH) cause the spleen to settle down and stop attacking the bodies own organs (villi) in the case of Celiacs'. And it 's not just the Villi the body attacks they note it happens in other organs too when the "general" the spleen gets confused the whole body suffers inflammation. quoting again from the article Jefferson Adams "That message, which is transmitted with help from a chemical messenger called acetylcholine, seems to encourage the gut to shift against inflammation, say the scientists. In patients who drank water with baking soda for two weeks, immune cells called macrophages, shifted from primarily those that promote inflammation, called M1, to those that reduce it, called M2. "The shift from inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory profile is happening everywhere," O'Connor says. "We saw it in the kidneys, we saw it in the spleen, now we see it in the peripheral blood." so getting off the PPI by taking BetaineHCL or if you can believe this research baking soda to raise your stomach acid to natural healthy levels of a pH of 3.0 or less should help your indigestion and help control you GI inflammation from too low a stomach acid. you can have this tested by doing an Esophageal pH Test or just take betaineHCL and go low CARB and try the Baking Soda in the meantime to see if it helps your indigestion (if it is going to be a while before you can see the doctor again.) https://www.healthline.com/health/esophageal-ph-monitoring If it is truly low stomach acid (from taking PPI's) and too many CARBS in your diet then taken BetaineHCL will improve your digestion.  Be sure to always take BetaineHCL wtih food and plenty of water.  Water activates the stomach acid and the food dilutes the Stomach acid to ensure you don't get too much. If you get a "warm sensation" in your abdomen it is working. ******this is not medical advice but I hope this is helpful. I had a similar problem with my low stomach acid being misdiagnosed. Sorry the explanation is so long but you got a lot going on inside.. . and it takes some time to try and explain it. 2 Tim 2:7 “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” this included. Posterboy by the Grace of God,
    • The news bot in on crack again. VERY messed up....celiac site telling us to use barley for weight loss.....YEP will work as we will be married to the porcelain god for a night or two.
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