16 thoughts on “Does Gluten Cause Mental Illness?

  • September 11, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    There’s very little in the “benefit” column for gluten when it comes to health, that’s for sure! BUT, it sure is a part of many tasty foods… XO, Katherine.

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  • September 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    So many reasons to go gluten-free…..I’m doing it now, and it’s much easier than I anticipated!

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  • September 12, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I can say without a doubt, that gluten caused my depression! For nine years I fought depression with various anti-depressants, but it only continued to get worse. Two years ago, a new doctor ran tests that indicated I had celiac disease. I went cold turkey, and within one month was able to stop taking all anti-depressants. I honestly credit this doctor with saving my life. I never told anyone about my depression back then, but since I have been gluten free, I tell everyone my story. Sometimes it is difficult to watch other people eat, but I know just one bite WILL put me in bed for days. The best cake in the world is just not worth it.

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    • September 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      @Varoyer
      We hear you and believe you and know that this message is not really so popular. We’ve faced some disbelieve over this.
      Yes, not everyone responds purely to dietary change when it comes to mental illness, but many do (though not everyone has as dramatic an improvement as you do). Please keep up the good work! And keep reading Therapy Soup (you can subscribe)–in October we’ve got a surprise planned–we’ll be working with a fantastic nutritional professional to bring you new ideas for eating right for your mental health.
      Richard and C.R.

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  • September 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Would someone post a *simple* guide (book or website) to doing this? Seems impossible for this whole grain, pasta, comfort food (depressed!) fan! Thanks.

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    • September 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      @BabettesFeast
      It should be simple, shouldn’t it? But it isn’t. Check out some of the recipes on my blog (you have to scroll through the archives, sorry, I’m working on a table of contents with links). There are a lot of gluten-free and fermented recipe ideas. Many gluten-free packaged products are loaded with sugar, chemicals and stabilizers and all kinds of stuff your body also doesn’t need. Try switching to quinoa as a grain, quinoa pasta (it contains corn) as wildninja and we recommend, and other grains like buckwheat (kasha), amaranth. Try sprouted rice, even sprouted grains containing gluten may not be a problem though if you have serious reactions, stay away. Make sure you read the original link in the post to the news story. It is the gliadin that is a problem for many. Good luck.

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  • September 12, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Rich, thank you. Lately it seems like there’s been an outpouring of “expert” advice in the news saying that gluten’s not that bad and other items I question. I have celiac disease and found that within a week of cutting gluten out of my diet, my anxiety diminished dramatically. A few years later when I found I was allergic to other foods as well, I noticed even more benefits when I cut those out. The fog cleared, so to speak.

    Gluten is actually a neurotoxin to some people– it’s a big deal and you can be intolerant instead of having celiac disease, which is a genetic autoimmune condition. Don’t despair if you have to cut gluten out– that doesn’t mean you lose pizza, bread, beer, etc.– there are many delicious substitutes, and many, like quinoa pasta, actually taste better. You’ll also eat healthier and get more variety in your diet.

    A great resource is Dr. Steve Wangen’s website, http://ibstreatmentcenter.com/, and my story is at http://wildninja.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/from-the-gut/.

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    • September 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      @wildninja (and everyone)
      Thanks for your comments and for the links. Your blog is really interesting and you are clearly an independent thinker. (Everybody, check out wildninja.wordpress.com–I did and now I’m following.)

      Richard is offline for a few days, but I do want to mention that he and I have cut way back on gluten-containing foods (limited, but not totally eliminated). Our pasta is pretty much quinoa pasta (which unfortunately contains corn, often an allergen) although buckwheat soba works, too. For us it was because of bloating, exhaustion, and digestive issues (minor and occasional but still tied to un-fermented gluten-containing products). Gluten (and the gliadin) can be dangerous to the health, mental and/or physical for many people. However, others can eat gluten-containing foods, but I still think sprouted, sourdough and long, slow ferments for baked goods are pretty much the best.

      C.R.

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  • September 13, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Any pointers to peer-reviewed research on this? Is this evidence-based?

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  • September 14, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    The problem with going low gluten is that your problems might actually be caused by celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that affects about 1% of the population, world wide. It can affect any system of the body, including the neurological system. If you go gluten free, you can’t be tested for it without eating gluten again. Not a pleasant experience.Maximum safe gluten consumption for someone with celiac disease is about 5 milligrams per day – about 1/200th of a slice of bread – so a hit or miss gluten-free diet will lead to ongoing problems.You can get a blood test to screen for celiac disease before you go gluten-free (IgA-tTG). It is worth checking out the possibility.

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  • September 15, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Some people have celiac disease; a few % more may have some level of intolerance. As for gluten causing a laundry list of mental health illnesses, this is wu – or woo – not science, and does a disservice to people whose serious issues are not going to be controlled by giving up grains.

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    • September 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      Good advice from SueN: 1. If there is any likelihood (and perhaps, even if you don’t think there is, but you see some kind of improvement being off gluten) get tested for celiac. 2. Giving up grains is not a cure for mental illness. However, there can be symptom reduction in some people who do give up grains, and sometimes the symptom reduction can be profound.

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  • September 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I am workingon going gluten-free – I know it makes me very foggy, achey joints and many other issues! But, it’s a little tough for this Italian girl!

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  • September 16, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    My wife and I have been slowly moving in the less gluten way of life. We both notice the difference.It is all positive.

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  • September 17, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I had the occasion to work with Trudy Scott for a while last year. Not only did she add some aminos to my diet, we did a gluten elimination diet and discovered that I was in fact intolerant. Going gluten free has made a huge difference in my health and energy. Yes, I miss pizza, but when I really want some I order up a gluten free crust and make my own.

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