Those on specialty diets avoid certain foods because they were reacting negatively to them. In the process of figuring that out, which can be decades in the making, there’s usually gut damage involved. Unhappy gut = Unhappy brain.

Glutenis the worst offender and has been linked to depression and other neuroissues in more studies than can possibly be listed in this article. In one study(1)researchers found a whopping 73% higher level of anxiety and 67% depression in untreated Celiac patients.

“Depression is reported to be a feature of coeliac disease and is ranked as its most common neuropsychiatric disturbance.”(2)

Two-thirds of the time the cause of neurodamage goes under the radar because there are no gastro symptoms(3)to point doctor or patient to Celiac Disease… one of many factors leading to undiagnosed patients who suffer co-morbidity (other illnesses, like depression, due to the untreated one).

When you look at the data between gluten and depression in large scale, the numbers are alarming, and they’re consistent.


1) Eliminate Root Cause

If the culprit isn’t strictly eliminated, treatment becomes the equivalent of driving a convertible with the A/C on. Cheating is not an option.

2) Repair the Damage

Damage control, a.k.a. deep cleanse, a.k.a. gut re-balance protocols are usually needed. This step often gets skipped, thinking the body will repair on its own once the allergen / autoimmune trigger is removed.

This may be true in some cases, a lot depends on the level of damage. The odds are better when sticking to 100% raw and plant-based for 3-12 months, but how many do that? Almost none.

When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, the specialist told me to avoid gluten and I never saw him again. Two-minute appointment, no mention of gut repair. Even going 100% raw at that time, I still took such repair measures as consuming aloe vera juice daily, blue green algae, chlorophyll water, and more.

If you know the food in question causes intestinal damage (Celiac=yes, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity=not necessarily, dairy=mucus forming, etc), always suggest a cleanse/repair protocol for at least 90 days. There’s never anything to lose but toxins, which we all have on some level just from the air we breathe, never mind toxic food supply.

3) Supplements That May Help
  • Pre and Probiotics: Quality counts and intake must be consistent. Popping a pill once in awhile and continuing McHabits won’t create a happy outcome.
  • B Complex: Choose one that includes 100mg B6, 100mcg B12 (Methylcobalamin), as well as folic acid.
  • Magnesium: 300mg
  • Vitamin D: 1000 I.U.
  • DHA/EPA: 2500-3000mg
  • SAMe*: An amino acid that promotes healthy neurotransmitter processes.
  • 5-HTP*: Also an amino acid. The tryptophan in 5-HTP also helps the body naturally generate melatonin, which helps maintain regular sleep patterns. Usually effective, though it leaves some people feeling tired or groggy the next morning.
*SAMe and 5-HTP should be an either/or and not taken at the same time. The balance can all be taken simultaneously.

By taking the whole subject matter more seriouslyand looking at a comprehensive treatment plan, we can decrease or completely eliminate the side effect of depression on those who suffer food borne illnesses.

IMPORTANT: Always have your client work with their doctor (hopefully a holistic one), particularly for those on medications. These dosages are general guidelines, there is no one-size-fits-all. Suggest starting light and increase dosages very gradually. Lethargy is a sign of too much.


(1) AM J Med March 1, 2004; 312-7

(2) Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2002; 16:1333-1339

(3) J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 2002;72:560-563

 Jaqui Karr, CGP, CSN, CVD, is a best-selling author, speaker, and corporate consultantJaqui Karr who specializes in educating about gluten, celiac disease, specialty diets, and health through nutrition. Her popular “NakedFood” brand has helped thousands include more power raw and healing greens in their diet. Ms. Karr is a certified gluten practitioner, certified sports nutritionist, and certified vegan/vegetarian educator to dietitians.

Note: The statements presented in this column should not be considered medical advice or a way to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before altering your daily dietary regimen. The opinions presented here are those of the writer, not necessarily those of the publisher. 

Published on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 11/27/2017