Individuals with celiac disease (CD) have a higher risk of depression than non-celiac individuals. And being on a gluten-free diet doesn’t appear to change that. In fact, several research studies have examined and confirmed the link between CD and depression.
Scientists believe the link between CD and depression is likely due to multiple factors such as:
- Some individuals with CD view their gluten-free lifestyle and diet as restrictive and feel they have reduced quality of life.
- Individuals with mood disorders like depression may be more likely to be screened for diseases like CD than the general population.
- The production of certain brain chemicals important in regulating mood, like serotonin (sometimes referred to as the “feel good” hormone), may be affected due to poor nutrient absorption in individuals with CD.
- Inflammation of the small intestine lining caused by CD may reduce certain amino acid levels because of specific vitamin and mineral deficiencies. For example, reduced levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that serves as a precursor to serotonin, tends to be reduced in patients with CD. Tryptophan levels also tend to be low in those with depression.
Vitamin D increases brain levels of serotonin. Excellent sources of vitamin D are Omega-3 rich cold-water fish like mackerel and salmon, egg yolks, and mushrooms.
The B-Complex vitamins, vitamin B12 and folate, are also associated with increasing a positive mood. Studies show these vitamins work along with the amino acids in protein to produce all three neurochemicals that regulate mood. Foods like meat, turkey, fish, potatoes, bananas, lentils, beans, molasses, and nutritional yeast are great sources of B-complex vitamins.
It’s easy to see from these examples how the foods we eat play a significant role in how we feel. Even a slight change in the level of any of these three chemicals in our brains alters our mood.
By consuming a wide range of seasonal produce, high-quality proteins (either from animal products or non-animal complete proteins like amaranth and quinoa), and Omega 3-rich fats (from foods like wild-caught cold water fish, sea vegetables, walnuts, flaxseed, and chia) we can usually get an adequate amount of the nutrients we need.
However, sometimes, for those who have medically diagnosed nutrient deficiencies, which is common among newly diagnosed celiac patients, supplements may be necessary.
Do not feel ashamed if you are suffering from depression. Depression is a very serious health condition that requires qualified medical attention. And keep in mind, while no single food or nutrient can eliminate depression, proper nutrition – from food and quality supplements – supports the production of key neurochemicals, and in turn, how we feel.
Reblogged from Guten Free Gigi.
Devil-bird was back today! I tried to sniff it through the window but I couldn’t smell it. Maizy doesn’t like it when I leave NOSE ART on the window, but that devil-bird is driving me CRAZY!