A health clinic in California is using a unique approach to helping people stop taking antidepressants. Their gluten intolerance treatment might have some potential for helping depressed people. Gluten sensitivity could cause depression-like signs such as low energy, irritability and insomnia. Dr. Vikki Petersen, also a clinical nutritionist, wrote a book called The Gluten Effect to explain the potential connection between the consumption of gluten, which is the protein in wheat products, and depression.
On the clinic’s website there is a quote from Dr. Mark Hyman, MD about the book, “The Gluten Effect is a remarkable window into the innumerable ways in which gluten – that sticky little molecule found in bread and hidden in so many other places – can cause everything from autism to dementia, from depression to psoriasis and so much more. If you have nagging symptoms that just don’t go away, and you have no idea where they come from, you may be suffering from the gluten effect.” Some research seems to indicate there could be a connection between gluten and mental health, such as a research study conducted in Finland that found youth on a gluten-free diet showed fewer psychiatric symptoms after three months.
Of course, not all cases of depression will show an improvement on a gluten-free diet, because most people who are depressed are not experiencing sensitivity to gluten, or allergic reactions. Some percentage of depressed people might benefit from trying a gluten-free diet, however. The Gluten-Free Society has published information indicating gluten could be linked to a number of health problems.
Image Credit: USDA