There is a lot of hype surrounding the gluten free diet. For some, it is truly a necessity, but for others it is the latest fad diet. However, for somethere may be more than "fashion" to this diet craze. Studies report that gluten may have an impact on your mental health, making this diet plan about more than a smaller waistline.
Although a gluten-free diet has become crash diet for many, it is a necessary diet plan for those afflicted with the autoimmune disorder known as Celiac Disease. For these individuals, consumption of gluten results in inflammation of the small intestine. This inflammation may lead to damage to the small intestine that ultimately inhibits nutrient absorption, therefore significantly impacting the health of the individual.
While most Americans are familiar with the phrase, "gluten-free," few realize the great impact this diet may have on your lifestyle. Going gluten-free, whether by choice or medical necessity, means giving up many foods, especially convenience foods like energy bars, processed lunch meats, and boxed cereal. All forms of wheat, rye, barley — even beer — are forbidden on a gluten-free diet. The sacrifice is intense, but the results may be equally powerful.
Impact of Gluten-free Diet on Mental Health
Studies reported in 2002 by "The Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine" and "The Current Opinion of Neurology Journal" report that roughly 30 percent of individuals suffering from Celiac disease exhibited depressive, obsessive, or similiar mental disorders prior to treatment. These individuals symptoms of "mental disorder" were not significant enough to be clinically diagnosed, but the patients who switched to a gluten-free diet, due to Celiac disease, saw improvement in their mental health. Many studies, past and present, seek to understand the impact gluten has on an altered mental state even in individuals who do not exhibit symptoms of Celiac disease.
Celiac disease and weight-loss tend to be the most common reasons individuals seek a gluten-free diet. As studies reveal how gluten impacts mental health, that may become another reason for the dietary sacrifice. It is important to note that this research is still in the very early stages; no significant enough number of individuals have been tracked. Nonetheless, scientists are working hard to understand the link this protein has to the human brain.
- "The Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine "; Untreated Celiac Disease and Development of Mental Disorders in Children and Adolescents ; Päivi A. Pynnönen, M.D., Erkki T. Isometsä, M.D., Ph.D., Matti A. Verkasalo, M.D., Erkki Savilahti, M.D., Ph.D., and Veikko A. Aalberg, M.D., Ph.D. ; August 2002
- "Current Opinion in Neurology"; The neurology of gluten sensitivity: separating the wheat from the chaff; Wills AJ, Unsworth DJ; October 2002
- PubMed; Obsessive-compulsive disorder; February 2010
- MayoClinic.com; Gluten-free diet; Mayo Clinic staff; January 2010
- Celiac Disease Foundation; Gluten-free Diet; Medical Board for Celiac Disease; 2011