09 Oct 2015
can celiac disease cause depression

Today, Celiac disease affects over two million people in the United States.  There are a number of symptoms associated with Celiac disease, including constipation, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, but many people do not know that Celiac can also cause joint pain, iron deficiency, fatigue and depression.

Learn more about the symptoms of celiac disease in this post.


The number of people who are clinically depressed continues to grow each year, as does the number of people diagnosed with Celiac disease. If you have both, it’s possible they may be linked. Studies have shown that there is an association between Celiac and depression, but the direct cause is not known.  It seems that people with Celiac have an increased risk; most possibly from living with the stress of the chronic disorder and all of the lifestyle changes they must endure that go along with Celiac disease.

Neurological Symptoms

However, there are also a number of other neurological symptoms seen in celiac disease, which may suggest that gluten sensitivity does have a direct effect on the nervous system.  These symptoms include things like tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, lack of coordination and even seizures.  If Celiac disease affects the nervous system, this could be the root cause of depression.

Nutritional Deficiency

We know that proper nutrition keeps the body on an even keel. With proper nutrition comes tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is converted to serotonin helps to regulate moods.  If you have Celiac disease, you may not be absorbing enough tryptophan.  Without tryptophan, you won’t have enough serotonin, and low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.

Diet and Depression

If you are depressed, it’s tough to maintain a special diet.  However, those with Celiac disease need to watch what they eat, especially if they want their depression to improve.  It is doubly important for you to stick to your gluten-free diet if you want your mood to improve.  Make sure you speak with your doctor if you feel that your Celiac disease is causing your depression, or, if you feel that you are depressed and you think you may have Celiac disease.


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