celiac brainIt does take a masters degree in psychology to figure out that if you are diagnosed as celiac (or any other chronic disease) you might become despondent or depressed.  However, I wanted to know how your brain would react to untreated celiac disease.

Notice that I didn’t specify undiagnosed.  A percentage of those diagnosed with celiac will refuse to change to a gluten free diet.  What happens to those people not treating their celiac, whether they know they have it or not?

What is the Medical Reason for Celiacs Having Psychological Problems

Many diagnosed celiacs, including me, will tell you our mental acuity sharpened when they went on a gluten free diet, but there is more.  Because those with celiac are typically malnourished they frequently have more serious mental disorders.

A poorly functioning intestinal system means that brain friendly vitamins like B6, B12, & Folate, Calcium, Vitamin D, K and iron are not in sufficient supply

“…The body becomes unable to produce enough tryptophan and other monoamine precursors needed for the production of key neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

This is the medical explanation of why untreated celiacs have a trouble thinking clearly and have emotional problems.

What Psychological Problems Are Celiacs Prone To?

Those with serious gluten insensitivity, including celiacs have an increase incidence of:

1 – Behavioral Problems

  • Attention Deficit Disorder or ADHD
  • Imbalance and clumsiness
  • Fatigue

2 – Emotional Problems

  • Phobias and Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability

3 – Cognitive Problems

  • Headaches – serious headaches occur in more than 50% of those with celiac disease
  • Memory lapses
  • Lack of interest

Is There Any Hope?

Definitely yes.  The negative effects on a celiacs brain can be undone with proper diet.  Of course the most notable change must be the elimination of gluten from meals and snacks.  Once the intestines can properly digest foods nutrients the brain will respond.

If psychological issues persist, or you are at the start of your gluten free life, a doctor may prescribe vitamins or medications to assist in your brains recovery.

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