Depression in Celiac Patients


Depression is common in patients with Celiac Disease. Depression and celiac disease are two separate entities in the same patient. Depression may be a reaction to the illness and/ or to the restrictive lifestyle of the disease. Depression may be due to nutrients not being well absorbed such as B12 deficiency or folic acid deficiency. Depression may also be related to hypothyroidism or adrenal dysfunction secondary to elevated cytokines. Gluten free eating does help with some of these symptoms however some patients feel depressed being on a restrictive diet. Skin conditions associated with Celiac include a rash with blisters and itching called Dematitis Herpetiformis. There is a 2:1 male to female ratio and age of onset is 25-40 years of age. Patients need to use gluten free skin care products and stress may increase symptoms. Patients may also exhibit bruising due to Vitamin K malabsorption, eczema, psoriasis and vitiligo.

8-10% of patients with type 1 diabetes develop Celiac within 10 years of their diagnosis of diabetes. Having recurrent hypoglycemic attacks is a reason to test a patient with type 1 diabetes for Celiac. 20% of people with infertility of no known cause may have Celiac. Celiac also is associated with early menopause, irregular cycles and spontaneous miscarriages. Men with celiac may here fertility problems also. 30% of patients with Celiac have another autoimmune disease if they are diagnosed after the age of 20 and consequently have had a long exposure to gluten. These include diabetes, thyroid disease, Addison’s Disease, cardiomyopathy, alopecia areata and rheumatoid arthritis.

Ingredients not safe to use in people with Celiac include dextrin, barley malt, malt extract, soy sauces and brewer’s yeast. Avoid wheat, rye, bulgur, couscous, spelt, semolina, barley, triticale, einkorn and kamut. Grains that are safe include rice, corn, millet, teff, sorghum, wild rice, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth. This is a serious disease with serious consequences and gluten free eating must be maintained to avoid these consequences.

See the Previous Post in this Series: Testing for Celiac 

See the First Post in this Series: Exploring Celiac Disease

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