Can Gluten Cause Depression?

If you are depressed, gluten intolerance or celiac disease can be one of the culprits. Yes, gluten can cause depression!

I conducted some of my own research on the subject, and here is what I found:

  • The intestinal damage wrought by celiac disease prevents absorption of essential nutrients that keep the brain healthy, especially zinc, tryptophan, and the B vitamins. These nutrients are necessary for the production of essential chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, a deficiency of which has been linked to depression.
    Is Gluten Making You Depressed? by James M. Greenblatt, M.D.
  • How gluten causes depression anxiety is by producing inflammation in the gastrointestinal Can Gluten Cause Depressiontract, triggering an autoimmune response to the gluten protein which releases cytokines, which then enter the brain and produce inflammation in the brain, leading to depression anxiety.
    How Gluten Causes Depression Anxiety
  • …. Dr. Rodney Ford, author of The Gluten Syndrome — have hypothesized that gluten exerts a direct depressive influence on your brain chemistry, independent of malabsorption resulting from intestinal damage. Dr. Ford believes gluten is responsible for depression both in people with celiac and in people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In fact, his hypothesis of a direct effect would explain why so many people — both celiac and gluten-sensitive — experience short, predictable bouts of depression whenever they’ve been glutened, even if they didn’t ingest enough gluten to cause lasting intestinal damage.
    Are Gluten and Depression Related? by Jane Anderson

So what can you do to deal with depression?  First, of course, is to stop eating gluten and if you are already on a gluten free diet, stop ‘cheating’ on your diet.

–Dr.Greenblatt suggested checking your zinc levels and make sure you take B12 supplements (especially good if you are vegan).

–Jane Anderson suggested adding the vitamins folic acid and B-6 to your vitamin regiment.

And of course, eating a good diet and exercising regularly is a universal ‘cure’ for depression.

Personally, when I was being treated for Alzheimers (before discovering I was gluten intolerant), I was prescribed anti-depressants.   Now, nearly 5 years later, I am still on them, but need to take them only 2-3 times a week rather than the 7 days a week per the original dosage.

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