How Gluten Can Affect Your Mood

By Bridget

Literally, one of the most upsetting symptoms of gluten intolerance for some people can be how it affects our moods. For me, personally, one of the biggest changes I saw about myself (and my friends and families can attest to this…) is that my mood completely evened out after I cut out the gluten. After doing a fair amount of poking around in the gluten-free discussion boards and research studies, I have found that I am not alone in noticing a personality change along with my changing dietary choices.

With gluten sensitivities comes the ability (or lack thereof) to process the foods that fuel our everyday lives. So while this means that gluten can’t be digested by our systems (leading to some painful digestive consequences), it also means that essential nutrients are not being absorbed. Without these essential nutrients, our mind and ability to use cognitive reasoning is often one of the first functions to suffer (it’s as if you haven’t been eating in a while – of course you’d get irritable!). Interestingly, many psychiatric disorders have been found to be prevalent in untreated Celiac Disease patients. One study found that 21% of patients in a psychiatric clinic were being treated for depression, when their true problem was suffering from Celiac Disease!

A lot of people think that dietary issues are solely related to the ability to digest foods, but that just isn’t true. Nutritional value of the food we consume plays a huge part in how our whole bodies are affected. Just as a diet solely consisting of ice cream and french fries would be detrimental to a person’s overall health, so too is trace amounts of gluten in a person who suffers from gluten sensitivity. Our bodies are simply unable to process certain foods, and that lack of ability can even block our body from absorbing other essential nutrients!

I recently saw my personality reverting back into my old ways, filled with anxiety and irritability, only to discover I’d been unknowingly eating trace amounts of gluten. Living a gluten-free life is no easy task. But by tossing the processed foods and ensuring no wheat enters our systems, we can keep our whole selves, mind and body, clear and efficient.

9 thoughts on “How Gluten Can Affect Your Mood”

  1. I just wrote an entire post about this last week – I found out that last summer someone I trusted was slipping gluten into my food for months! With it came unexplained borderline bipolar behavior. Pre diagnosis, I was chronically depressed.

    And without gluten, my emotions level out!

    Thanks for this post – hope it encourages others!!!!!

  2. This explains a lot! It’s hard for others to understand the impact of the neurological symptoms when cross contamination occurs. Thanks for making it clear how diligent we all must be!

  3. What relief to hear that I am not alone in having psychological symptons from eating gluten! For me, almost the first sign of “gluten pollution” is depression. That sympton offen shows up before the arthritis in my thumbs, my symptom that I offen speak about as it is easier to talk about physical pain than about depression.

  4. I went GF after my daughter was diagnosed with NCGS. I saw such an immediate improvement in my moods that I made an appointment to be tested. Sure enough I have Celiac’s. Of course, now I also have an excuse when I get really cranky…it’s not my fault, someone must have “glutened” me. LOL

  5. I suffered from depression for 9 years or more, taking anti-depressants for most of that time. Even after I got rid of an ongoing and major source of stress (my ex-husband), I still couldn’t shake the depression and thought I would be stuck on anti-depressants for the rest of my life. After my dad was diagnosed with Celiac disease, I learned about its link with depression. Sure enough, I was diagnosed with Celiac and after 8 months of being gluten free I was finally able to ditch the anti-depressants. I’ve only had one minor depressed period in the last 17 months and I’m sure it’s possible that I was “glutenized” during that time.

  6. In the first couple of years after I began the diet, I had a few accidents where I poisoned myself with gluten. These events caused me a few days of severe irratability where I would fly off the handle at the slighted irritation. This doesn’t happen anymore, but I’ll never forget it.

  7. When I accidentally ingest gluten, the next day I get not only depression; but also extreme brain fog. I feel awful and am cranky and irritated, too. It’s as though I have a completely different personality! So it’s just not worth it to ingest any gluten: the side effects are terrible for me.

  8. Thanks so much for this article. I ate chocolate last nite and also had gluten in a restaurant (cream soup and cheesy cream sauce) and i’m depressed and in a total fog. I’m supposed to go to Toastmasters tonite…..and don’t want to because 1. I’m depressed and 2. my digestive system is wreaking havoc on me and i’d be lethal to sit next to if you know what i mean. I’ll be more vigilant in sticking to the gluten free diet!

    Cheers, Violette

  9. Friday evening I ate gluten. Terrible mistake, no more than 2 hours later, I was reverting to a past me I do not like. We were entertaining friends at our house and I was overly sensitve and almost to the defensive point. The next day the big “D” set in & has not let up. Can gluten/lactose affect a person’s mind that quickly? From now on there will be no qualms from me saying, “I cannot eat that.”

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