More on Gluten Withdrawal

I recently saw a few more items on gluten withdrawal you may find useful.

Check out this Livestrong article. Note it mentions the Dangerous Grains book, which I am just re-reading. In the Life After Gluten chapter, Braly and Hoggan say that:

“for some, the first days and weeks of following a gluten free diet are characterised by food cravings, disorientation, irritability, sleepiness, depression, mental fogginess, fatigue, and/or shortness of breath.”

In fact many of the same symptoms I see every day when people are coming off any suspect allergen. If it makes you feel like that when you are coming off it, what the heck was it doing to your body? It is a well-known fact that gluten contains opoid-type substances and it should be no surprise that they commonly are the reason we get addicted to it in the first place and find it hard to come off, like any drug our body has become used to having.

They continue that about 70% of diagnosed coeliacs are thought to suffer some sort of withdrawal.

Next, look at this true-life account of a person coming off gluten in Living Without magazine. What I find fascinating about this one is that all the usual coeliac tests were negative yet she responded immediately to a gluten free diet. In other words, gluten sensitive, although she clearly didn’t know the term and neither did her doctor. Her symptoms were dizzyness and strange neurological goings-on.

Finally, there are quite a few bloggers out there on this subject. Here’s one by a lady talking about severe headaches as part of withdrawal from gluten.

Ooer. Better out than in, but take it slowly if it affects you maybe and withdraw more slowly. Thankfully, most of the stuff I have read implies it lasts about 6 weeks or so max, so bear with it, rest your body, keep hydrated and let it come out. If you have a really hard time, there are enzyme and detox support products to help. Good luck.

PS. In fact, very few people so far have had any problems and actually I have started receiving emails from people already feeling like life has changed for them so much for the better. So, worth it!

 

 

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8 thoughts on “More on Gluten Withdrawal

  1. […] I am currently helping a particular chap who, we assume, is suffering with ‘gluten withdrawal’. This is a pretty common phenomenon when you remove what are essentially very addictive (and opoid-like) substances from your body. I wrote about this here and here too. […]

  2. I must be one of the few. I cannot wake up, I can barely move, I keep getting low blood sugar attacks and am feeling suicidal for the first time since I went on the antidepressants that saved my life. If I go much more like this, I truly feel I won’t make it. I have a hard time believing that this is so bad for my body when I wasn’t feeling that bad to begin with. I am gluten free at the suggestion of my doctor, I was having fibro and CFS symptoms. I don’t know what to do. My doctor wants me to try for a month, its been three weeks and I have not gotten better. But the return of suicidal thoughts it too much for me to bear. How do you slowly cut out gluten? What enzymes help? Should I just go back to eating normally? Any help would be appreciated. Sometimes, because I started seeing my doctor after going on depression meds, I don’t think he quite believes me as to how bad my depression was. He just wants me to power through it.

    • Hey, Kelly. I feel the same way, only ssris or anti depressants, well, I don’t and never have taken them and never will. They are known to actually CAUSE suicidal thoughts, so ween off of those if you’re on them. Keep it up for 3 more weeks for the gluten free. I hope you’re ok…please email if you need to talk. I still get suicidal thoughts but it’s caused by low blood sugar.

      • Thanks Caila for your supportive message there and I hope you are keeping in touch with your doctor too if you are having such nasty feelings. Be well.

      • Hi, I just read this and have to say that this black-and-white view of antidepressants can be quite damaging. You do not have all the facts. When SSRIs cause suicidal thoughts, the person is experiencing a rare side effect (called akathisia). If she’d had that side effect, she would have DEFINITELY already known. It hits you within the first week or two. I experienced that side effect from two different SSRIs and immediately went off them. (And I am the only person to experience this side effect out all the people I’ve met who take anti-depressants–that’s how rare it is.)
        But if I hadn’t stuck with it and explored with my doctor other meds (such as tricyclics) to find the anti-depressant I’m on now, I don’t think I would still be alive. Yes, people get depressed feelings from low blood sugar, but serious depression is far more than that. It could be that her dosage or even the medication doesn’t work as well, now that this key ingredient is out of her system. (I went gluten free and had a crash, but I rebounded and feel great, and my anti-depressants work just as well as they did before. This might not be the case for her, however.) It pains me to see people make sweeping statements about anti-depressants and declare that depression is something that can be handled without drugs. This is true for many people, but in the case of severe, major depressive disorder, not taking meds just won’t cut it. (My depression is genetic, and my grandfather committed suicide before today’s anti-depressants had come out.) I tried going meds free several times, and the fact is, I can’t. There is a chemical imbalance in my brain, and if I don’t treat it, I will not be able to function. Saying that a diet change can cure this is belittling all the people who truly suffer from this illness. The advice can be dangerous, in fact. (And yes, I’ve done the diet change thing. Obviously, sugar crashes are horrible and make you really sad. But trust me, that is not depression.)

      • Hi Kat, some useful points there, thank you, and I am glad you have found your route to wellness. As you say, it is not the same for everyone; that’s what makes things hard. I can only say clinically that we are talking here about gluten withdrawal type depression, not the severe clinical depression you are referring to. Of course, that requires a whole different view including meds as necessary. One thing I will say, though, is that the meds route does not work for everyone and that’s I suppose why people are seeking other answers. There is a lot of research around so-called ‘brain allergy’ and I have seen many times people use food elimination to improve symptoms that were being either primarily caused or exacerbated by what they were reacting to. That’s not to say that meds can’t help – they are vital in some cases as you have found and that’s why people must talk to their doctors about how they are feeling. Minefield, as usual!

  3. Poor you, that sounds horrid and you really need to tell your doctor how you’re feeling. Have a look at the Which gluten illness? page and see the enzymes there that could help you. if you have already been off gluten for 3 weeks there is no slower withdrawal as you would have to add it back in and start again which would probably make you feel worse. Might not, but can do so I am sounding that warning. Try the enzymes and make sure no hidden gluten is going in as that could easily be causing you more severe mood problems. Good luck and let us know how you’re doing. Fingers crossed for you.

    If you are unsure by the way whether you need to do the gluten thing or not, do the gene test; it helps to see it on paper and you may find you don’t have the gene pattern and therefore don’t need the TGF diet.

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