There has long been controversy over whether gluten intolerance is a real condition.
There’s no doubt that people with celiac disease cannot tolerate the grain protein. They typically have a swift and severe reaction to wheat products. They may suffer intestinal cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, overwhelming fatigue, and even bone loss.
About 1% of people suffer from celiac disease. It’s an autoimmune disorder. People who are genetically predisposed to the illness often have a reaction to gluten that can result in debilitating symptoms and painful damage to the small intestine. There’s no debate about that!
Much more complicated is the issue of gluten intolerance. It’s also called gluten sensitivity.
It’s when gluten causes milder symptoms than seen in celiac disease. Sufferers report bloating, tiredness, rashes, and stomach aches.
For a long time, mainstream medicine was skeptical about gluten intolerance. Some doctors thought the symptoms were psychosomatic.
But new research has found that the condition is indeed genuine. In fact, gluten seems to have mental effects that had not been previously documented.
Gluten Harms Mental Health
Dr. Jessica Biesiekierski led the study at La Trobe University in Australia. She and her colleagues looked at 14 people who said they had gluten sensitivity.
For one experiment, subjects ate yogurt with gluten. Two weeks later, they ate the same type of yogurt without gluten.
For the other experiment, subjects ate muffins with gluten. Then they ate gluten-free muffins a few weeks later. Both types of muffins and yogurts tasted the same. Participants had no clue which was which.
After eating the foods, the subjects’ mental state was analyzed with detailed testing.
Subjects reported feeling more tired after eating the gluten yogurt. They also felt more depressed with fewer positive emotions after eating the gluten muffins.
Dr. Biesiekierski thinks this may show why people often report feeling mentally better after they stop eating gluten.
The results back up previous research by Dr. Biesiekierski. That study found that gluten caused more depression symptoms in people with gluten sensitivity.
Dr. Michael Potter of the University of Newcastle in Australia said: “These studies suggest there are definitely people who have reproducible mental health responses to gluten when they undergo blinded challenges.”
Should You Go Gluten-Free?
Maybe you’re tired even when you get enough sleep. Or you feel mildly depressed. If so, try removing gluten from your diet!
Grains you should not eat:
- Oats (unless labeled “gluten free”)
- Triticale (it’s a hybrid of wheat and rye)
Grains you can eat include:
You’ll want to give yourself a week without gluten to see if you feel better.
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