Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Depression and Gluten; Is a Dietary Change Just Too Easy?

FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE UPDATE
-->
If you ever watch TV you’ve probably seen ads for a new drug called Abilify. I found several aspects of the commercial interesting, not the least of which was the opening statement that: “2 out of 3 patients taking antidepressants were still depressed”. The commercial goes on to “explain” that the reason for this is that a patient needs more drugs. Abilify is an add-on to an anti-depressant, supposedly making it more effective.

Really? Could it be that the actual problem is that antidepressants don’t work and are factually very dangerous? There have certainly been enough studies to validate my opinion.

But no, this ad campaign asks you to suspend such logical thinking. Well keep it suspended so that you won’t hear all the side effects they then list out. Such things as suicidal thoughts, large weight gain, diabetes symptoms, restlessness or jitteriness and last but not least, abnormal muscle movements (these movements can become permanent if Abilify is not stopped quickly)!!

Wow, sounds terrific! (Sorry, I’m becoming sarcastic).

What about this approach? Why don’t we get to the underlying root cause of the depressive symptoms and address that? And in 25 years that root cause has never been a deficiency of an antidepressant drug?

But there has certainly been a strong cause and effect association between gluten and depression. Am I suggesting that all depression is caused by a reaction to gluten? Of course not. However it is definitely an issue that should be ruled out.

Can I support these statements? You bet!
The American Journal of Medicine in 2004 studied how well brains of celiacs were perfused with blood. They found a strong association between celiacs eating gluten and brains starved for bloodflow. And the area of the brain most affected was the frontal lobe, most associated with depression.

The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry in 1997 stated:
“The immune response triggered by sensitivity to gluten may find expression in organs other than the gut; and the central and peripheral nervous systems are particularly susceptible.”
Digestive Disorders in 2008 had an article entitled: “Affective and Psychiatric Disorders in Celiac Disease” where the association was clearly delineated.

And lastly, Practical Neurology in 2004 stated: “Neurological manifestations of gluten sensitivity are a scientific fact, not a theological issue. Whilst the debate continues, we owe it to our patients to screen them effectively for gluten sensitivity with the simple, widely available antigliadin antibody test so that we do not in the meantime deprive them of a harmless but potentially effective treatment in the form of a gluten-free diet.”

I couldn’t say it better myself!

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect

3 comments:

AKLAP said...

"And lastly, Practical Neurology in 2004 stated: “Neurological manifestations of gluten sensitivity are a scientific fact, not a theological issue. Whilst the debate continues, we owe it to our patients to screen them effectively for gluten sensitivity with the simple, widely available antigliadin antibody test so that we do not in the meantime deprive them of a harmless but potentially effective treatment in the form of a gluten-free diet.”

Hmmm, if memory serves me correctly, Dr. Hadjivassiliou said that. Very wise words that more doctors need to hear or read!

Anne said...

I had a lifelong depression I never knew about until I went gluten free. It was when I gave up gluten that I found how I was really supposed to feel. My mood lifted and I have described this feeling as "music in my brain". Yup, I really do hear music and it is good. Oh yes, all my headaches disappeared too. The slightest amount of gluten fogs my brain and takes away the music.

Too bad doctors don't screen for gluten sensitivity before handing out antidepressants. I had been given antidepressants 3 times, but since I did not know I was depressed, I did not take them.

My doctors never figured out the connection to gluten. I used Enterolab.

Another great blog post - thanks.

Anonymous said...

Ah, This is spot on! Dispells
a few contradictions I've heard