What's Gluten Got To Do With My Mood?
The Gluten Depression Link
Here in the Fit Kitchen we always use high quality, complex carbohydrates like brown and wild rice, quinoa and gluten-free oats, chickpeas, etc. In case you haven’t noticed, wheat is not a part of our lifestyle. Roughly 1 in 100 people have documented cases of celiac dis-ease, an autoimmune disorder. Donna Gates explains celiac disease beautifully in her blog at www.bodyecology.com.
"Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. Those with celiac disease have an immune system that attacks the cells in their small intestine, destroying them. The trigger? Different proteins found in wheat and its relatives, and usually wheat gluten. There are no drugs to effectively treat celiac disease, but physicians do recommend a gluten-free diet. Further confirming how gluten can affect the gut and the brain in sequence, a 2014 study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics confirmed that a gluten-free diet could help to relieve brain fog, a common symptom in patients with celiac disease."
Even if you and I aren’t in the 1% here, our bodies are not equipped to handle large quantities of wheat (especially the way it’s being prepared for mass consumption!)
The 168 Hour No-Wheat Challenge
I challenge you to remove wheat from your diet completely for one week. That’s it, just 168 hours. Pay close attention to your digestion. Yes, I’m asking you to take note of your poop! Digestion is the key that locks and unlocks health in almost all areas of our bodies. Your poop has a lot to say about what’s going on inside!
Taking the 168 Hour Gluten Free Challenge will give you a window into how your insides would feel if you significantly reduced your wheat intake. Please! Drop me a line (email@example.com) if you take this challenge! We would love to hear the results.
As is a theme in the world of health, wellness, digestion and the microbiome, new research is constantly emerging. This craze for gluten-free everything from bread to toilet paper has produced a genuine interest in finding out the exact mechanisms powering gluten tolerance or intolerance.
Not so breaking news...Scientists are beginning to find a link between gluten and depression. One of the most well accepted findings about gluten is that it can inflame the gut, thus impeding the process of digesting your delicious FKD meals! We also know that there is a distinct link between the gut and the brain. That phrase that people use, “I have a gut feeling” is most likely a true result of that link.
The chairman of the department of anatomy and cell biology at Columbia University, Dr. Michael Gershon, was part of a project that found an interconnected network of nerve tissue that make up both the gut and the brain. He coined the term “gut-brain axis” as a result. In his book The Second Brain: The Scientific Basis of Gut Instinct he writes “the gut contains over 100 million neurons and more nerve tissue than the brain.”
The link between gluten and depression is in the hormone response that is shared by the gut and the brain. If too much inflammatory gluten enters the system, it clogs the system of hormones like serotonin - responsible for feelings of wellbeing, confidence and belonging. Insta-depression. This phenomenon is also responsible for things like migraines and brain fog.
It is important to remember that every one of us has a different, specific ecology happening inside (and on) your body. Your microbiome, gene expressions, diet and lifestyle are each unique and require you to find what’s right for you. There is no blanket statement or prescription that works for everyone.
That said...there are a few tips that a lot of people have tried and have had positive results. Check it out...
- Reduce or eliminate your gluten intake
- Eat a probiotic rich diet - fermented foods like sauerkraut, real pickled pickles, water kefir, kombucha, etc.
- Reduce your sugar intake - your body does need a little of the stuff for survival so be sure to eat high glycemic index sweeteners and fruits.
- Eat foods that keep your body on the alkaline side. An overly-acidic system can cause major problems. (More on that in future blog articles!)
As always, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! Check out these cool resources: