Posted on Wed, 16 Apr 14
Research has found that gluten may be linked to feelings of depression in people without celiac disease, explaining why some people feel better on a gluten free diet.
To see if gluten influenced mood a study of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity involved giving participants a gluten or placebo challenge for 3-days. During the study mental state, cortisol secretion and gastrointestinal symptoms were assessed.
Compared to placebo, gluten ingestion was associated with higher overall depression scores. There were no difference in cortisol secretion and gastrointestinal symptoms were induced similarly increased with gluten and the placebo.
The study investigators propose that gluten induced mood changes could be due to gluten induced alterations of brain serotonin, gluten derived ‘ exorphins’ (opioid peptides), or gluten-mediated changes in gut microbiota.
In any case, these findings “might explain why patients with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity feel better on a gluten-free diet despite the continuation of gastrointestinal symptoms” conclude the investigators.
Peters SL, Biesiekierski JR, Yelland GW, et al. Randomised clinical trial: gluten may cause depression in subjects with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity - an exploratory clinical study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 May;39(10):1104-12. - link to abstract