Can gluten sensitivity cause mood swings?

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Everyone experiences mood swings from time to time. But if they’re happening frequently, there could be an underlying issue.

What causes mood swings?
Most commonly, mood swings are triggered by changes in our lives that cause stress. However, other causes can include:

  • Diseases or injures which affect the brain, such as a stroke, or neurological disorders such as diabetes
  • Allergies can also impact mood, particularly seasonal allergies, which can interfere with sleep
  • Digestive disorders that affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), have also been associated with mood swings. They have even been linked to specific mental health conditions, such as depression.

How does gluten sensitivity affect the mind?
Gluten sensitivity is a digestive disorder. Studies on its impact on the mind are not conclusive. However, there are three possible ways in which gluten sensitivity can have an impact on mental

  • In people with gluten-related disorders, gluten can cause inflammation, as the body attacks its own tissues. This is known as an autoimmune response. This inflammation can affect any part of the body, including the brain. This can present as changes to mood, behaviour, or cognitive issues
  • In people with gluten sensitivities, gluten interferes with protein absorption. One protein which sufferers can be deficient in is tryptophan, the protein which is responsible for feelings of wellbeing. This can result in feelings of low mood.
  • Gluten sensitivity itself can also cause stress and anxiety, simply from dealing with the challenges that come with living with the condition.

An American website reports research that showed patients who struggled with gluten-caused
mood issues such as anxiety and depression only had digestive system symptoms 13 percent of
the time. This may be why mood disorders related to gluten sensitivity are significantly under-

How can people with gluten sensitivities reduce mood swings?
A recent study confirmed that gluten elimination may be an effective treatment strategy
for mood disorders in individuals with gluten-related disorders.

  • Drink plenty of water to flush out the system and keep hydration levels high
  • Get plenty of sleep. Healthy sleep habits can enhance wellbeing
  • Maintain an active lifestyle, try to spend some time walking, outdoors, every day, if possible
  • Most importantly, speak to your GP if you think you could be suffering from any of the issues raised in this article

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for advice from your GP.