Gluten and mental health

You don’t have to have Celiac Disease to be sensitive to gluten. The below study shows how often it plays a part in the picture of people labeled “schizophrenic.”

There are lots of people who find cutting out gluten helps all sorts of mental health issues, from rumination, to irritability to autism to bipolar disorder. Whatever you want to call your distress, lots of people find at least some relief by cutting out gluten and I always recommend trying to go without it and dairy at least for an extended trial to see if it makes a difference. It doesn’t for everyone but for many it does. Trial elimination periods of other common foods that cause food sensitivities is wise as well.

Sue Westwind is sharing her successes in Kansas. She is the author of the Nutrient Path and someone I call friend.

For me diet is only part of the picture, but it’s proven an extremely important part.

Here is a clinical study showing a connection between gluten and that which gets labeled schizophrenia.

Gluten intolerance tied to schizophrenia

A team of researchers at Inverness, Scotland’s UHI have confirmed a connection between gluten and schizophrenia. The team’s work is part of two projects designed to assess what role gluten might play in the development of schizophrenia and diabetes.

Findings from their latest research demonstrate that about 30% of people who suffer from schizophrenia cannot properly break down the proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley gluten. When these people eat gluten, they suffer from intestinal damage similar to that found in people with untreated celiac disease. Such patients “might also benefit from a gluten-free diet,” according to senior researcher and genetics reader, Dr Jun Wei.

9 thoughts on “Gluten and mental health

  1. spelt may be okay for someone with just a wheat sensitivity but it definitely has gluten in it and is not okay for a gluten free diet.

    it’s an ancient form of wheat so people with wheat sensitivities may or may not be sensitive to spelt…it’s not as often a source of sensitivity as wheat is…so some can eat it okay.

    but if one is to be gluten free it does have to be avoided.


  2. thanks Bonnie,
    I have to say, even before I went gluten free I cut out most FLOUR because it’s highly refined and not good for blood sugar levels anyway…

    so I rarely ate bread in any case…and yes, many people do better with no grains at all…

    some find they need a paleolithic diet. you can google that.


  3. Who doesn’t love the smell of bread baking? If you’re contemplating trying a gluten-free diet, I highly recommend baking your own. I’ve found the frozen/refrigerated, and ready made loaves of gluten-free breads available on shelves in most health food stores, just don’t measure up. Frankly the consistency is awful and the taste is pretty bland. If you want to increase your chances of successfully going gluten-free, there are quite a few options out there, including several mixes you can quickly throw into a bread making machine. (Bob’s Red Mill makes several very good mixes). Another point to be aware of when shopping gluten-free, there are many gluten-free products out now that are extremely yummy but what makes many of them so tasty is they are loaded with sugar so if you’re trying to improve your overall nutritional status be aware that even though you may be removing gluten, if you are compensating by upping the amount of refined sugar you consume, you probably won’t feel much better and you may mistakenly think the gluten-free diet isn’t helping. Consuming excessive amounts of sugar probably won’t benefit your digestive system, mood, concentration, etc. . Many people who are intolerant of gluten are intolerant of all grains. If you don’t see some positive results after removing gluten from wheat sources, don’t lose heart, you may need to take a few additional steps to balance your system, but it can still be done. Lots of people achieve great results by removing all grains from their diet and still there are options for baked goods using flours made from nuts. Give yourself time, it can take awhile to unlearn a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits but it can be well worth the effort!
    Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!


  4. I started eating my first two slices of toast from a loaf of gluten-free flaxseed bread I bought for first time yesterday, and came to this site to do have something to read while I eat. So wow, Gianna, this is awfully affirming in a timely way.


  5. I keep thinking I want to giving going gluten free a shot to see how I feel. A couple of my cousins stopped eating gluten and are very happy with the results.
    I’m already a very picky eater, cutting more foods out of my diet would be tricky. I keep wanting to try though. Those delicious muffins and noodles are so tempting.


  6. yeah Emma,
    it’s old news in nutritionally oriented circles…tons of anecdotal stories of people being completely cured…

    but it takes longer and sometimes never reaches scientists as there is no money in feeding people properly as there is in drugs.

    eating well and right for one’s own body goes a very long way in taking care of not just mental but many physical problems as well.

    that means eating well does not look exactly the same for everyone!! but there are some generalizations that can be made…

    I have a post on basic good nutrition on my about page.

    I’ll put it here as well


  7. I attended a lecture given by Dr Bill Walsh of the Walsh Research Institute USA yesterday afternoon. He is one of the guests of an Outreach program and clinic in Sydney. He also commented on the link between gluten intolerance and schizophrenia. A very interesting man, and I applaud any approach that is looking to nutrition rather than medication as the answer to helping individuals.


  8. at last year’s Alternative’s Conference this and/or other compelling research was presented by people who had lived the experience and totally recovered from several diagnosed mental illnesses. i can’t help but support the research findings and recommend that more people consider looking into the glutton issue if they are receiving services as should professionals. good stuff and thank you for the information.


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