Monday, May 2, 2011

Celiac Disease Prevents Recovery from Depression

"Undiagnosed celiac disease could be getting in the way of your recovery from depression".
So says Dr. James Greenblatt, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Walden Behavioral Care in Waltham Massachusetts, a psychiatrest and Assistant Clinical Professor at Tufts University Medical School, Department of Psychiatry.He goes on to write in his blog called The Malnourished Mind:

The health consequences of celiac disease, however, extend beyond gastrointestinal issues and may affect every organ system, including the brain.
Other consequences of celiac disease include:
  • Anemia
  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Behavioral changes
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Joint pain and inflammation
  • Migraine headaches
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
  • Osteoporosis
  • Seizures and other neurological problems
  • Skin lesions
  • Tooth decay and discoloration
  • Weakness
  • Weightloss
Researchers have long observed an overlap between patients with celiac disease and patients who are depressed. Adolescents with celiac disease have a 31% risk of major depressive disorder, while only 7% of healthy adolescents face this risk.
But what does a disease that directly affects the small intestine have to do with a lingering sadness or listless mood? The answer is plenty. The intestinal damage wrought by celiac disease prevents absorption of essential nutrients that keep the brain healthy, especially zinc, tryptophan, and the B vitamins.

I encourage my patients with depression to be tested for celiac/gluten sensitivity disease with either a blood test or the stool tests and genetics offered at

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