Can gluten cause depression?

Will a gluten-free diet cure your depression?

Gluten is the primary protein contained in rye, wheat, barley and it enables bread to have its enjoyable consistency.  The problem with gluten is that as a chemical structure it is highly tangled, and this contributes to how difficult it is for some individuals to digest. 

It is thought that its difficult digestibility can damage your gut and provoke negative immune and allergic responses.

So, can going gluten-free alleviate depression?

This question is somewhat controversial and many experts resist endorsing a gluten-free diet as a solution for depression. Many experts, including Dr. Manevitz, suggest in the Journal of Mental Illness that fish oil, and its Omega-3 fatty acids, are a potentially better alternative to treat and reduce symptoms of major depressive disorder.

Support for the notion that a gluten-free diet can decrease feelings of depression come from the hypothesized relationship between bacteria in the gut and an individual’s mood and behavior. Dr. David Johnson, a professor of medicine and gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, believes that consuming gluten can certainly influence gut bacteria, but to what extent and exactly how it is not yet scientifically known.

There have been common sense reports that gluten-free diets in people with celiac disorder, an autoimmune disorder related to gluten sensitivity, experienced reductions of depression when they eliminated gluten. This obviously makes sense, as people that suffer from extreme gluten sensitivity would likely feel happier if they eliminate the cause of their painful symptoms.

Final thoughts

 Because the medical research is so conflicted on this topic, the best way to assess whether going gluten-free can have a positive effect on your mood is to take a food elimination challenge.  The way this dietary experiment works is that you eliminate certain foods from your diet for a certain amount of time, and then you gradually reduce those foods back into your diet while monitoring your body for its responses.

It’s usually helpful to keep a journal during this time which will allow you to reflect on your progress as well as to document any important changes that you were looking to identify. Some people would suggest just getting food allergy test. However, food allergy tests are frequently expensive and sometimes unreliable. Click here to read how to conduct a proper food elimination diet.

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