Is gluten making you depressed?

Is gluten making you depressed? Researchers finds it can for some.

Could gluten cause some to feel depressed? If you feel better emotionally after going gluten-free, you're not alone. An exploratory clinical study published last year investigated the notion that gluten may cause depression in individuals with self-reported non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). According the study, “current evidence suggests that many patients with self-reported non-coeliac gluten sensitivity retain gastrointestinal symptoms on a gluten-free diet but continue to restrict gluten as they report 'feeling better.'” The aim of the study, published in the Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, was to investigate if consumption of gluten for those with NCGS negatively affected their “mental state and not necessarily [their]  gastrointestinal symptoms.”

To do this, researchers studied the effects on gluten in a double-blind cross-over study of 22 participants with irritable bowel syndrome who controlled their symptoms by adhering to a gluten-free diet but did not celiac disease. The participants were randomly assigned three dietary challenges for three days, followed by a three day wash out. They were then assigned to the next diet. Each diet contained one of the following daily: 16 grams of gluten, 16 grams of whey (16 g/day) or a placebo (no gluten). Following the diets, participants mental states were assessed by the Spielberger StateTrait Personality Inventory (STPI). Patients were also assessed for cortisol secretion and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Researchers found that STPI state depression scores increased when ingesting gluten compared to the placebo (no gluten). Interestingly, depression scores between gluten and whey diets were comparable. Cortisol secretion and gastrointestinal symptoms were similar across all diets. Researchers concluded that “short-term exposure to gluten specifically induced current feelings of depression... Such findings might explain why patients with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity feel better on a gluten-free diet despite the continuation of gastrointestinal symptoms.”

According to Psychology Today, “if you feel better in body or mind not eating gluten, by all means, don’t eat it. At Kay’s Naturals, we know first-hand that an increasing number of individuals are becoming sensitive to gluten. To cater to those who are intolerant to gluten, our entire brand is made in a completely gluten-free facility, so cross-contamination is impossible. If you would like to learn more about our gluten-free, high-protein and low-sugar snacks and cereals head over to our website.

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