Gluten Sensitivity Symptoms Can Look Like Depression and ADHD

Gluten sensitivity can look like
depression and ADD, that’s what I’m going to talk about in this video. I’m
Dr. Tracey Marks a psychiatrist and this channel is about mental health education
and self-improvement. I publish videos weekly on Wednesdays so if you don’t
want to miss one just click Subscribe. Gluten sensitivity can look like
depression and ADHD and in this case the gluten sensitivity is the non-celiac
form. So if you don’t have celiac disease you can have a sensitivity to gluten
that may or may not affect your gastrointestinal system but can also
produce mental symptoms and other physical symptoms.
So what’s gluten? Gluten is a protein that’s naturally found in grains such as
wheat barley and rye. Those are the three main sources. Oats are gluten free
provided that they’re grown and processed in a gluten free environment.
Sometimes they’re processed with other grains and so you can get
cross-contamination. But in general as far as their makeup is concerned, they
are gluten free. Some other gluten free examples would be amaranth, millet and
quinoa. Gluten is like a glue that helps, it’s a protein but like a glue that
helps keep helps the grain keep its shape. And sometimes bakers will add
gluten to a recipe to enhance the shape and texture of a bread. So first let me
tell you what celiac disease is about and then I’ll tell you what non-celiac
gluten sensitivity is. Celiac disease is a form of gluten intolerance where
people who are affected have an autoimmune reaction to the gluten
protein. So this means that you form antibodies to the gluten protein and in
general antibodies are your body’s army to fight off bacteria and virus. So
antibodies are good except if they’re attacking your body and that’s what we
call autoimmunity. So with celiac disease antibodies form
against the gluten and these antibodies attack similar proteins in the small
intestines. And when this happens, you have trouble absorbing the nutrients
from your food. So celiac disease is, it’s not that common it’s about happens about
one in a hundred and forty people in the US have full-blown celiac disease.
And if you have it, it’s the kind of thing that it’s disruptive enough to
your life that you’d know it starting in childhood. But then there’s
this whole group of people who don’t have full-blown celiac disease but they
do have a gluten sensitivity whereby they could have symptoms that may or may
not affect their intestines but and they’ll they may have abdominal pain,
joint pain, fatigue, headaches and even skin rashes, And in addition to all of
that they can also get symptoms that look like depression and thinking
problems that people will describe as a brain fog. So how can you tell the
difference between a regular depression and a depression that will come from
gluten sensitivity? It’s not always that straightforward, but one clue may be that
along with your depression symptoms that you’ve got other physical symptoms such
as joint pain and headaches and you find yourself having multiple doctors
addressing all these different problems. Unfortunately we don’t have a straight
forward way to diagnose non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Some – there is some
gluten sensitivity testing, but you can get false negatives with these and then
more sophisticated testing is expensive. But if you suspect that you have gluten
sensitivity because you have some of the problems that I have mentioned and the
standard treatments for these problems don’t seem to take care of all of the
different problems, you can try a gluten elimination diet where you remove gluten
from your diet and see how you feel. Now you would have to be gluten free for
four to six weeks and then what is normally done is then you reintroduce
gluten back into your diet to see if your body how your body reacts. So here’s
a tricky part: going gluten free is not that easy and it’s not something you
want to do just because. Gluten free is trendy now so there’s lots of options to
get gluten free foods but many of these are processed with hydrogenated oils and
high fructose corn syrup and so they’re pretty unhealthy and low in nutrients.
The real way to go gluten-free is to avoid the the foods that are made with
these grains and because grain-based foods are so abundant, you’ve really got
to do some work to figure out how to change your die. So you can try eating
other grain free foods such as quinoa, oats and rice. Another reason you don’t
want to whimsically go gluten free is that the whole grains contain B vitamins,
folic acid, fiber and other nutrients and some diets like the Mediterranean diet
have shown to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. And this
diet includes whole grains. So if you’re gonna do this, you need to weigh the
risks the benefits, the pros, the cons. Also you need to be all in on the
gluten-free thing which means paying close attention to hidden sources of
gluten like in soups that use wheat starch or barley containing foods. I have
seen it make a big difference for some people if you’re gonna do it though, you
do need to give the trial of good four to six weeks. In the studies talking
about non-celiac gluten sensitivity, that was a timeframe that they used for the
gluten free elimination diet. And it’s not a good idea to fill up on those
gluten free prepackaged snacks. They may be gluten free, but they’re full of other
stuff. I hope this was helpful for you. Thanks for watching

About the author


  1. Hi Doctor,

    I believe I have gluten sensitivity because it does cause me gastrointestinal issues like bloating and constipation. I have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and adhd.

    I am on my 6th week of fluoxetine and I am feeling full of energy. I want to do things -so far just cleaning, ironing, laundry… I have so much to catch up with.

    My question is: The depression you are addressing in this video, is it a mild depression? Because I don’t think that gluten sensitivity can cause suicidal thoughts. Is that right?

    I absolutely loooooove all your videos and 👍🏻 them. I am so thankful for them.

  2. Good video doc! It's too bad that the pseudo-scientific/quantifiable self movement has such an affinity for gluten. As if it's the solution for everything.

  3. docter am from pakistan and i suffered from dysthemia and then after one year of therapy i hit the full blown mania and now i am suffering from cyclothamia. i also suffer from ocd. but the major and genetic problem of mine is bipolar. i used sertraline hcl and antidepressent with anti pshycotic. but no good response. can you help me please.

  4. Hello, Doctor!
    I went here wondering around youtube and I stayed for every video! I honestly hope you would do anything related to ADHD, cuz it's topic in which people have very little knowledge. Also, subbed and waiting for new vids!
    Cheers from Poland!

  5. Now this is interesting, I never knew that a sensitivity to gluten and having depression can be related. I have a sensitivity to gluten where if I eat past a certain amount such as if I eat too much bread or rice in a day or it can be within a period of a few days, I will get extreme abdominal pain. Sometimes the abdominal pain can be so bad that in the past I have had to just lie in bed because I cannot move with the pain. And painkillers don’t get rid of the pain.I also suffer on and off from depression and I get headaches quite a lot. So maybe it could all be linked. I don’t always get the depression symptoms though if I eat too much gluten, but I do very often get the abdominal pain

  6. This is research based on the microbiota- gut brain axis? What other foods affect symptoms of depression or anxiety? Could omega fatty acids improve brain health for example and increase inhibitory neurotransmitters for anxiety?

  7. I have gluten sensitivity issues as well. I have been gluten free for 8 years now and it makes a huge difference. The last couple of years though I have been experiencing severe joint pain and all the other symptoms mentioned in your video. Turns out that corn is the new evil for me and it’s worse than gluten because corn is in everything. This includes medications (corn starch, sorbitol etc). I now have to get my medications compounded. Corn is hidden in foods (flavors, spices, maltodextrin, sorbitol etc.) There is no laws that require corn to be listed, therefore they can hide it.

  8. Thanks for the video! I have removed gluten out of my diet completely and I feel amazing, no more battling inflammation and depression.

  9. I was on a keto diet for quite some time and felt great. After losing the weight, I decided to reintroduce some carbs, including bread. Two days later, I had this sudden sadness that I used to have before, feeling blue for no reason. I instantly recognized that old familiar feeling and now I think it was the gluten. I will continue to reintroduce carbs, but gluten free only. Thank you!!!

  10. Impressive. Seriously impressive diagnostic information there, and it likely change many people's lives who come into your office wondering what's wrong with their memory.

    I had to go to many, many (11) different GPs and ENTs (over 3-4 years) trying to figure out why my white blood cell count was so elevated, why I was extremely fatigued, with a constantly sore throat, incredibly painful lymph nodes, cystic acne (no family history of skin problems), memory loss, and recurrent yeast and sinus infections. One day I was on the subway going from Manhattan to Queens to the regular nail salon I'd been to dozens of times before over the previous 2 years. Once I was on the train, I could no longer remember what the correct stop was. I actually got off one stop BEFORE I was supposed to get off, and finally realized I had to get back on the train and go further. I realized how it must feel to have Alzheimer's. I was 25 years old when that happened, and I was about to give up hope of ever having a healthy, normative life.

    I got lucky a few days later when an acquaintance told me about a doctor who believed in preventative medicine that was just down the street from where we lived. She was the only physician able to connect the many dots. She read the questionnaire I filled out, listened as I answered her questions in her office, and in the exam room she asked me to open my mouth as wide as possible, and she looked inside, turning my head up toward the light and from left to right. Without doing any other tests she said, "You have food allergies, but let's do some blood tests to confirm my hypothesis." All the other physicians and specialists that had previously looked into my mouth at the inflamed red spots on either side of my epiglottis never made the connection. Nicolette Francey, MD quit practicing a few years later due to her own health issues, but she is still an author on health-related issues

    My blood work showed I had allergies to wheat, yeast, corn, barley, eggs, tomatoes, avocado, potato, watermelon, cantaloupe, and that was just the food allergies. My white blood cell count was so elevated they referred to it as an autoimmune response saying that my immune system was attacking my body and killing off red blood cells, causing anemia.

    I would have to immediately begin a radical change in diet that was just the first part of the healing process. It was the foods I ate daily that were causing an immune response. The next step was to kill off the overgrowth of yeast in my intestines, and that took much longer. I not only took one tablet of Diflucan daily, but also Nystatin from a compounding pharmacy. This was hundreds of dollars of prescriptions a month, which was a lot of money back in the mid-90s…a lot more than that is today. The worst part of this 3-prong change was giving up all forms of sugar, including fruit of any kind. I did not embrace these changes but rather understood that if I wanted to live, I was going to have to spend at least 6 months being physically miserable, while all that yeast died off, and allowed my immune system to cease its attack, and then another year plus for the lining of my intestinal wall to regain at least some of its integrity so that things weren't permeating the paper thin walls into my body causing yet another immune battle to commence.

    I realize you are an MD, but you're also a psychologist. The psychologist Dr. Francey recommended was a nice man, but he never made the connection, either, even with complete access to all my medical records. The fact that you have this information in your head and know it so well that you can effectively communicate it to others will be life-changing for people.

    This is why I say your knowledge is impressive.

    Had the 1st, 2nd or 3rd physician been a knowledgeable diagnostician, it could've saved me thousands of dollars and possibly prevented the full downward spiral of my health to the point that my own company's corporate physician told me I was too sick to work. I ended up losing 2 full years of my life recovering, thousands and thousands of dollars…on my income alone…in one of the most expensive cities on the planet, and I had comprehensive 80/20 coverage. It's no wonder I didn't become homeless. I had very little savings being so young, and my company's disability coverage barely covered my wildly inexpensive rent-stabilized studio apartment. What I did have was large credit card limits, and it was credit that allowed me to cover the prescriptions that killed of the yeast that was sucking the life out of me.

    Thank you for the time you invested to learn this information. It's one of the things that differentiates an ordinary MD from an extraordinary diagnostician. Some physicians seem to forget that their primary purpose is as an effective diagnostician. If the diagnosis is inaccurate, everything else is unlikely to be helpful and may even be more damaging than doing nothing at all.

  11. Did she really just recite government health propaganda 😂😂😂 like grains is the only way to get B vitamins. Maybe eat some veggies. Typical sheep, grains are full of pesticides-and heavy metals. Then people wonder why everyone has cancer 😁 smh lol

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