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Gluten Intolerance & Bipolar Disorder (Page 1)

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Do you know what bipolar is exactly? And what types of bipolar do doctors classify and diagnose? Learn more basics about bipolar disorder here....
Can stress put you at risk of developing bipolar disorder? Read here for information on risk factors which increase the likelihood that someone becomes bipolar....
Bipolar is difficult to diagnose as an illness ... but bipolar symptoms are usually accompanied by extreme changes. What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?...
I recently read that gluten (found in wheat, oats, other common grains) has been linked to bipolar disorder. Does anyone out there know about this? Has anyone tried to go gluten-free to see if that helps symptoms?
Please let me know. Thanks! :d
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First Helper ontheboat
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replied November 30th, 2004
Wheat
I sure am interested in this...

I am allergic to wheat and have one heck of a time staying off wheat foods. I notice that when I can eliminate wheat from my diet I have less mood swings.

Heard today that a woman that eliminated wheat from her diet was able to get off or reduce her mood stabilizing drugs.....I don't know wether to believe that....

To be eating only fish and vegetables? Can I do it? Ahhhhhhh Shocked
ruby of the water
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replied June 29th, 2011
I am bipolar and went wheat & gluten free for several weeks and it didn't help - went raw vegan for 3 months and didn't help -- see a psychologist or pyschiatrist but I KNOW that caffeine is a definite no-no for bipolar disorder or mood swings -- as is junk food.
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replied December 26th, 2011
Gluten Intolerence
Becky, you must be off of gluten for much longer than several weeks before you notice a change in your symptoms. Gluten toxicity in your system can take months to clear and heal. If you are gluten intolerant (and a surprisingly high percentage of the population is)and you remove the gluten completely, many people will experience significant relief from depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, and many other mental imbalances. Gluten can wreak absolute havok on one's levels of neurotransmitters if the individual is intolerant. Make sure you give your body a chance to heal before you dismiss what can be a critically important piece of the treatment puzzle (if not the most important one) for many, many people.
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Users who thank Jessie123 for this post: Lorenac5 

replied December 26th, 2011
Gluten Intolerence
Becky, you must be off of gluten for much longer than several weeks before you notice a change in your symptoms. Gluten toxicity in your system can take months to clear and heal. If you are gluten intolerant (and a surprisingly high percentage of the population is)and you remove the gluten completely, many people will experience significant relief from depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, and many other mental imbalances. Gluten can wreak absolute havok on one's levels of neurotransmitters if the individual is intolerant. Make sure you give your body a chance to heal before you dismiss what can be a critically important piece of the treatment puzzle (if not the most important one) for many, many people.
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replied August 23rd, 2011
Hi! My daughter is gluten sensitive and it caused her to be diagnosed with bi-polar. The bi-polar meds made her worse! We started her on a gluten free diet and she has returned to normal with no bi-polar symptoms! Go to Pamelasproducts.com and you will see all the great things available to help live your life gluten free. Also the bread flour and baking mix are available in bulk thru Amazon.com for much cheaper! My daughter eats pizza, hoagie sandwiches, pancakes, cookies, cakes, you name it! All made with the help of these gluten free flour and baking mixes from Pamela's.
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replied October 23rd, 2011
If you have a gluten sensitivity, yes, your bipolar or depressive tendencies may be linked. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2005 and was put on Lamictal to control the symptoms. I became allergic to the Lamictal in 2008 and simultaneously was diagnosed with celiac disease via a positive blood test. I eliminated both gluten and Lamictal at the same time. I immediately noticed a difference on elimination of gluten from my diet. Within three days I saw a huge improvement in my ability to think clearly. I have not need medication for the bipolar since. My doctor recently had me reintroduce gluten into my diet to do a biopsy of my intestines to confirm the blood work I had taken three years ago. I ate gluten products for one month, then had the biopsy done. She did not find evidence of celiac disease, but diagnosed me with a gluten sensitivity because I started to have wild mood swings again and very fuzzy thinking. The bottom line is, bipolar can exist without a gluten intolerance, but if you are gluten intolerant, your symptoms could very well be managed exclusively by the elimination of gluten from your diet.
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replied November 30th, 2004
Experienced User
Mshanson
Hi,
I have suffered from bi-polar doisorder for 59 years. Generally you are born with it. I was diagnosed with celiac disease about 6 years ago. Being allergic to wheat is different than having a specific enzyne that is missing in your intestines in order to breakdown the nutrients in wheat. Specifically gluten-gliadin. It is called the intrinsic factor. I think personally that they are linked, as having pernicious anemia is and other disorders. I also believe that there is a specific gene that causes this factor to be absent. Interesint subject, no doubt. I have been on the diet since being diagnosed and it is expensive and involves eating no processed food, rye, wheat, barley,flavorings, dyes, and lots of other stuff. Eliac disease has it's own web site. Try it.
take care, les(f-59)
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replied December 1st, 2004
Celiac's Disease
I remember celiac's disease because my young daughter had a bout with that. I turned the whole house into a gluten free zone. If the family wanted to eat the grain foods they bought it and ate it away from home.

Yes I remember it was tough to learn to use the rice flour, to bake. Our society does not support non-traditional diets of any kind!

But I was the mother of patient and she had the diagnosis reversed 2 years later...Now at age 18...I am seeing signs of ....Well I am very concerned. I am bipolar type ii and have struggled for aboot, 30 years with this disorder.

My heart goes out to ye!

Ruby
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replied March 16th, 2009
bipolar and gluten
there is a connection here. i am on a total gluten-free diet, in addition to soy and dairy. i notice that when i eat gluten, in about half a day for the next 2-3 days, my moods are unpredictable and extreme. soy brings out my irritability. as soy metaboizes, it mimcks estrogen, which messes up your whole hormone process. as lithium had killed my thyroid, soy was just the poison icing on the cake. dairy makes me sluggish.

i went from on meds for close to 6 years to not having a one by changing my diet. doesn't mean it will work for you. there is a connection. maybe not for everyone.

maybe, just MAYBE bipolar is a series of symptoms brought out be (1) genetic material leading to meurochemical imbalance (2) and extreme and socially-unaccepted allergic reaction or (3) a combination thereof.

i went from close to 10 antipsychotics, antidepressents, mood stabilizers a day to maintaing my mood with this diet modificiation. i have never been healthier. it's been about 2 years now. maybe the reason the drugs never worked for me was because the bipolar i had stemmed more from the diet side, and if i watch the diet, then all is well.

my GP wrote me off as complaining about too many side effects. after shopping aroud for a new MD who didn't subscribe to the, 'mental health patients need to suck it up and stop whining so much' school, i found out i was clinically anemic, B-vitamin deficient, D-vitamin deficient, poor liver function, and low in a few other minerals/vitamins as well. after letting my digestive tract heal with avoiding gluten, i have been able to absorb nutrients from food again, and the deficiences have cleared up. my lithium haze has lifted, the extrra antidepressant weight is slowing peeling off.

maybe, wihtout going off meds, trying gluten-free for 4-6 weeks might be an interesting option to consider. then, under supervision of a GOOD MD, weaning off meds may be an option.

best of luck. this stuff isn't easy.
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replied November 8th, 2009
beautiful results
I know this is an older topic, but don't think that GF/CF means you eat meat/fruit/veggies...boring food. My kids and I eat pizza/calzones, brownies, & other treats..you know- FUN foods! It takes time and lots of experimentation but there is so much more out there to eat. The way I feel is wonderful, I have celiac & milk protein allergy + soy intolerance. My kids , well I was worried for one of them, her dad is bipolar and I saw some of the same behaviour. Well she is a different child, noticing now that all my kids have more energy and less anxiety and general frustration everyday. I want my kids to have a fun childhood without being deprived so I experiment everyday with food. We make it a family thing and its fun. We eat the good stuff and laugh and the flops. But I just wanted to inform any parent out there thats overwhelmed, it takes time but the diet is so worth it.
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replied May 13th, 2013
Experienced User
thanks so much for sharing:-)
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replied December 18th, 2009
Gluten-free doesn't have to be boring!
I just wanted to say that "only fish and vegetables" are hardly the limits for going gluten free. Learn how to cook and bake and the SKY is the limit! My son, who is 5, and gluten-free for about 2 months now, enjoys many of the same foods as before, just home-made with gluten-free ingredients. Figuring out which ingredients were OK was the hardest part...
Even if you can't cook or bake to save your life, there are mixes and prepared food that are gluten-free, largely because "gluten-free" has become a bit of a "trend"...thank goodness!! ;o)
Being gluten-free has really helped my son who has ADHD, and even his teacher noticed a difference (we didn't tell her we were changing anything). Now I'm looking into getting my daughter on the diet as well as she has a psychiatric assessment in January due to bipolar symptoms...if I can get her stabilized with food, maybe we won't have to give her psychotropic medications... In fact I'm thinking of putting the whole family on the diet as we all have some kind of mental disorder!!...*cross my fingers*
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replied February 9th, 2010
Medication free thanks to eating Gluten free.
Same here. I went from Lithium plus Xanax, to just occasional Xanax, to nothing... all by giving up gluten. Chronic malabsorbtion has neurological effects, it seems pretty simple and logical to me. I've also lost 20 lbs! And I never eat fish. Haha. Best of luck. The first few months are hard while you learn how to eat again but there are a lot of resources out there. Chili's and Outback have gluten free menus, and any health food store can help you out with cooking.
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replied September 28th, 2010
Gluten-Free Diet doesn't have to be difficult
Try my #1 homemade baking mix: two parts brown rice flour, 1 part sorghum flour, 1 part tapioca starch, and 1/2 part potato starch. Make up any amount you want and store in a tupper-ware container. This is a generally useful all-purpose mix, but I also often bake adding a bit of amaranth or quinoa flour, or ground almonds or walnuts or even coconut flour. There are many, many good gluten-free cookbooks out now. Check out your local library, then buy the book you like best on Amazon. Your mental health is so worth the extra time it takes!

Wendy
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replied March 3rd, 2011
Getting around gluten
I developed gluten-intolerance when I was 21 studying in college. I had developed skin lesions and a simple skin biopsy revealed that I had the more rarer form of gluten intolerance: dermitis herpetiformis. It is sometimes referred to a "sprue of the skin" because it is related to celiac sprue in that gluten damages the intestinal villi, but instead of bloating, bad looking stools, etc. are not present, but the blistering of the skin is intense.
As for the restricted diet, I discovered that focusing on certain ethnic food that is corn and bean based is your best bet (e.g. genuine Mexican, Asian food, etc. where the ingredients are well delineated ).As an example, Panda Express is fake Chinese food, and so they use flour instead of corn starch in their sauces. Yes, certain restaurants and food labels are getting better in revealing what are in their ingredients, but in the 80's I had a hard time avoiding all gluten so even to this day I still have to take an occasional tablet of Dapsone because I'm never always careful enough. I ALSO developed manic-depression in my late 30's but it's hard to determine how much of it can be attributed to my gluten-intolerance since the causes of bipolar are so complex. The only thing I make myself that is expressly gluten-free is beer (buy sorghum malt online and a simple brew making kit). The commercial gluten-free beer Red Bridge is expensive and blah tasting. Interestingly, there are a lot of people in the British Isles who are gluten-intolerant (1 in every 200 Irish people). While living in Austria in the 80's ,I quickly found gluten-free products at the health food stores there. So yes, gluten-intolerance is a more prevalent northern European trait. Got Irish? Yes, I have that too!
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replied March 15th, 2011
Bipolar II and gluten-free diet
Hey,
This is the first time I've read a blog, muchless responed to a blog. I am 51 yo and started having mental illness at puberty. Dx was depression, then MDD, then chronic treatment-resistent MDD, and ~ 1year my Dx was changed to Bipolar II. My shrink and I have exhausted all the meds and treatments out there (ECT, SSRI, SNRI, bupropion, CBT,DBT, and individual therapy). I have always been very compliant. I have had 2 failed suicide attempts and have had many hospitalizations. BPII is chronic and progressive disorder for me now. Life is now longer and deeper depression, with less hypomanic episodes. I have recently, once again, am experiencing daily suicidal ideation. I don't know what to do anymore or if it is even worth trying one more thing.
So, now I have starting hearing about a connection between gluten intolerance & BP II. I am following a vegan diet. I am currently obese, which is greatly due to the many "mood stabilizers" I have been on. I have 2 questions.
1)Can anyone recommend scientific researched based studies supporting this claim? (Not blogs or forums, rather medical journals or reference books)
2)Can anybody recommend a cookbook for both vegan and gluten-free diet?
Help
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replied September 6th, 2011
Diet cured mental illness
Yes, Very much research by a medical doctor (neurologist) Dr. Natasha Campbell Mcbride wrote the Gut Psychology Syndrome and has cured thousands with varying mental disorders I was on all the things you described above and after three weeks of eating gluten and casein free my mental health problems vanished by 90%
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replied March 15th, 2011
Bipolar II and gluten-free diet
Hey,
This is the first time I've read a blog, muchless responed to a blog. I am 51 yo and started having mental illness at puberty. Dx was depression, then MDD, then chronic treatment-resistent MDD, and ~ 1year my Dx was changed to Bipolar II. My shrink and I have exhausted all the meds and treatments out there (ECT, SSRI, SNRI, bupropion, CBT,DBT, and individual therapy). I have always been very compliant. I have had 2 failed suicide attempts and have had many hospitalizations. BPII is chronic and progressive disorder for me now. Life is now longer and deeper depression, with less hypomanic episodes. I have recently, once again, am experiencing daily suicidal ideation. I don't know what to do anymore or if it is even worth trying one more thing.
So, now I have starting hearing about a connection between gluten intolerance & BP II. I am following a vegan diet. I am currently obese, which is greatly due to the many "mood stabilizers" I have been on. I have 2 questions.
1)Can anyone recommend scientific researched based studies supporting this claim? (Not blogs or forums, rather medical journals or reference books)
2)Can anybody recommend a cookbook for both vegan and gluten-free diet?
SDM
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replied April 21st, 2011
wheat consumption is related to mood disorders
smorris: I read your post, and I hear your plight. Modifying your diet may not be a panacea or a complete cure, but it may have a significant effect and is certainly worth a try.

I will share a story from my experience which I think is similar to your situation. My mom was diagnosed with a wheat allergy as well as bipolar disorder (and various other mood disorders). She found a strong correlation between her phychiatric health and her diet, and while on a wheat-free diet, she was significantly better. Regrettably, after many years of struggle and many unsuccessful drug treatments and failed suicide attempts, she did ultimately commit suicide at the age of 36. But, I can tell you that during her last couple of years, she was not nearly as careful about her diet (for example, she would eat the topping off of regular pizza, even though it had been in contact with the wheat crust, reasoning that is was 'okay' and 'just a little wheat').

I am doing some research now to hopefully help myself. I have MDD now, but I have always had depression/mood swings to varying degrees of severity. I tried a couple of different drugs, and they either don't help or I can't tolerate the side-effects or both. I am drawing a correlation between wheat in my diet and increased severity of my symptoms. Specifically, I didn't eat wheat (bread, pasta, crackers, etc) for about 2-3 years as a weight management strategy. During that time, I felt pretty good, worked-out all the time, and I made it all the way through graduate school. Soon after graduation, I started to eat wheat again and continued to eat wheat up until a couple of weeks ago. I have been quite a mess during those interim years. In the past couple of weeks, I am feeling better -- enough to get out of bed everyday, be somewhat productive, and have a fairly good ability to function. Hmmm... could be a coincidence? I'll gladly give-up bread and pasta forever if it will give me the ability to function "normally" (I hate the concept of some generic "normal", but you know what I mean) and drug-free.

So, to sum it up, I think that modifying your diet to exclude wheat (and perhaps other gluten-containing starches) is definitely worth a try!! You should seek out a book that teaches you how to diagnose your food sensativity by first restricting your diet severely, then slowly adding in additional foods and watching for a reaction. I am positive that there must be hundreds of books out there on the topic because this is no longer an unknown concept (as it was during my mom's day).

I hope you can find some relief!
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replied May 5th, 2011
Bipolar and Gluten
There is one research study on Bipolar and gluten, you can find it by going to www.pubmed.com and entering "bipolar gluten" in the search engine. It found an increase in IgG antibodies to gliadin (a fraction of the gluten protein and not the IgA antibodies (used in testing for celiac) in those with Bipolar. It was just published in Feb. 2011. The conclusion was that more studies were needed. Quite interesting. Being gluten free is not easy, but more and more people are finding it so helpful. If there are nutritional deficiencies, they may not resolve so easily and would require some testing and supplementation to see what was needed.

Good luck.
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replied September 12th, 2011
Gluten and Bipolar
I am bipolar and have just recently met someone who is also bipolar and on a gluten free diet. He says that if he stays away from gluten completely, he is symptom free and has been able to go off all medications. If he eats anything with gluten then he starts experiencing the horrible mood swings that go along with bipolar. I was allergy tested and found out I am allergic to wheat so........maybe there is a link. I am definitely going to try to go gluten free. It is definitely expensive but hopefully as this kind of eating becomes more prevalent, the price of eating gluten free will come down.
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replied November 6th, 2011
Gluten Intolerance Is Not The Cure To Treating Bi-Polar
I am bi-polar plus am gluten-intolerant. I do not know where you heard that information nor can I attest to its accuracy. However, speaking as one who is both bi-polar and gluten intolerant, I can assure you that after ridding my food cupboards of all my favorite foods and snacks, I actually noticed symptoms of mania began to increase, such as increased sensitivity, frustration in dealing with daily tasks, dizziness, and increased fatigue. Over a period of time, most of these symptoms tapered off, with fatigue still hanging around, as wheat bread is much more higher in proteins than gluten-free bread. However, I still do not believe that there is a link between the two as I still am dependent upon my medications to cope with bi-polar symptoms and to function from day to day. I have been off gluten for over 1 year now. The only symptoms I have seen disappear from removing gluten from my diet are sore joints, stomach cramps, itching, gas, and occasional rashes. Not seeing a real correlation between the two here at all.
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replied June 1st, 2012
bipolar disorder, gluten free and living well!
I have been diagnosed as bipolar 1 for about ten years, I am also an alcoholic who has been sober for 5.5 years. Prior to sobriety I contemplated suicide many times and I experienced symptoms of schizophrenia. I have been on lamictal since I was diagnosed and it has helped, but not enough. I am not willing to go on a cocktail of medications. I am also really sick of psychiatrists and medical doctors who look at my body and mind as separate entities, needing treatment and analyses by different specialists. My body and mind are parts of the same unit and need to be treated as such. I have undergone so much therapy and though its been positive it hasn't been enough. Recently I started working with a naturalpathic doctor who believes in the link between bipolar disorder and gluten. I am now on a gluten free diet and my symptoms have decreased significantly. My mental fog is gone. Mental fog has been one of my biggest complaints since long before my dianosis. Also, I have had no symptoms of mania or depression for a few months now, which is significant for me. I don't care if anyone has proven a link, I just care that it's working for me. And the chicken and the egg questions- that's in the past. What I want is an outstanding present and future. It's not enough for me to just get by, I want to really LIVE!!! I think I'm on the right path. Trying healthy alternatives should be our number one focus in our treatment.
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replied September 23rd, 2012
I suspect that my ex is Bipolar. I think he does not know it himself. Anyways he is avoiding gluten and caffeine.
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