Instead of taking an anti-depressant or grabbing another cup of coffee, try eliminating gluten from your diet. The University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research states that 18 million people, or 6 percent of the U.S. population, has a gluten sensitivity. For these people, eating gluten adversely impacts health. If you test positive for celiac disease, it’s imperative to follow a gluten-free diet to avoid becoming malnourished and to prevent chronic disease. For others, eliminating gluten may improve conditions ranging from digestion to thinking.
If you suffer from digestive issues, completely eliminating gluten may help. In those with celiac disease, eating gluten causes inflammation in the small intestine as well as a flattening of the intestinal villi, which reduces the amount of nutrients that can be absorbed and may result in malnutrition. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness states that eliminating gluten reduces stomach upset, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, gas, bloating and constipation in those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Many people who have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome may actually have a gluten intolerance.
The path to an improved mood, better focus and clearer thinking may be eliminating gluten. According the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, people with gluten sensitivities report that eating gluten causes headaches, foggy thinking, ADHD-like symptoms and even depression. These side effects occurring in the brain are attributed to an inflammatory molecule called cytokines, which are released when a sensitive person eats gluten. These cytokines are detrimental to brain function and high levels have been linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and autism.
Cytokines cause inflammation in other body tissues as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, people with a gluten intolerance may experience joint pain, muscle cramping and numb legs as a result of eating gluten. Chronic inflammation can cause pain, disease and even cancer. Inflammation of skin tissues and itchy rashes may also be a sign of gluten intolerance. If you have a skin condition such as eczema, you may see an improvement by eliminating gluten.
If you are sensitive to gluten, it’s likely you are not digesting and absorbing vitamins and minerals as well as you could be. This slight malnutrition can cause a drop in energy levels and leave you feeling fatigued. Many people with gluten intolerance report a feeling of overall weakness and tiredness. In addition, anemia, which also causes a person to feel tired, is attributed to a malabsorption of iron that occurs due to inflammation in the intestines. Instead of grabbing another cup of coffee, try eliminating gluten to improve energy levels.