Does gluten-free diet help in reducing anxiety?
Research on the connection between a gluten-free diet and the reduction of symptoms of anxiety has mixed results. Many evidence shows that carrying out a gluten-free diet may help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety in those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Hence while a gluten-free diet could help in reducing the symptoms of anxiety in some it could make no difference in the levels of anxiety or even contribute to stress and anxiety in others.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a family of proteins found in wheat, grains, spelt, and barley. Wheat is one of the most common.
Gluten contains two main proteins that are glutenin and gliadin. Out of the two, the second one is responsible for the adverse health effect of gluten.
Though many people can tolerate gluten without any harmful effects some people might experience health concerns like celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, and some other diseases.
What is Anxiety?
Problems and resulting stress are a part of every individual’s life, which are usually accompanied by some common emotions like confusion, feeling at the edge, a sense of helplessness, and recurrent negative thoughts which can collectively be seen as an individual experiencing what’s commonly called as Anxiety.
Every human has their unique ways of dealing with these difficult situations and the following emotions, some try to adapt to the circumstances and find the best and most comfortable solution while others try to find an escape route for the same, in both cases the main aim is usually to get over the uncomfortable emotions of anxiety.
What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety?
Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Sense of choking
- Complaints of chest pain
- Shaking or trembling
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or Lightheadedness
- Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
- Fear of impending doom
- Hot or cold flashes
- Tingling or numbness
- Increased heart rate
These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. However, it is noted that many people experience anxiety attacks that are not significantly displayed.
What are some ways to manage gluten-induced anxiety?
Some people might be more prone to experiencing gluten-induced anxiety than others due to certain factors. Being able to identify and manage those factors can help in reducing symptoms of anxiety.
Some ways to reduce anxiety could be :
Identify and acknowledge the triggers
The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.
Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.
Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.
These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.
A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.
The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.
Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.
Set realistic goals
When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.
Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.
Take up new challenges
Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.
Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.
An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.
A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.
These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.
lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.
Making journal entries
Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.
Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.
In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
What are the therapy options for anxiety?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.
As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.
It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.
Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.
Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief.
In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium.
In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation.
Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time
Anxiety is often related to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. research in these areas has shown mixed results where it is indicated that following a gluten-free diet may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety in some while in others it does not make any difference.
If people feel that gluten is causing excessive anxiety in people it is best suggested that they consult their health care professional to determine whether a gluten-free diet may be beneficial for them to reduce the symptoms of anxiety or identify the other triggers that are leading to the symptoms.
What we recommend for curbing Anxiety
Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety
- Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.
- Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.
- Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night. An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.
Frequently asked questions
Can gluten cause panic attacks?
Gluten Sensitivity is presently being recognized as a special disorder. This implies that a few cases of sadness, panic, or other temperament disorders may be caused by an undiscovered gluten-related disorder
How long after going gluten-free do symptoms go away?
It is found that once a person starts following a gluten-free diet the symptoms of anxiety must improve within a few weeks. Many people feel better just in a few days as well.
Does gluten affect serotonin?
Evidence indicates that gluten can affect amounts of serotonin which are the neurotransmitters present in the brain, regulating the feelings of happiness. this is done by limiting the availability of its amino acid called tryptophan.
What are gluten ataxia symptoms?
Some characteristic signs and symptoms of gluten ataxia are:
- Trouble speaking
- Trouble moving one’s eyes
- Tingling in extremities
- Damage to the cerebellum
- Trouble using fingers, hands, arms, and legs
- Poor coordination or balance
Can you reverse gluten intolerance?
Research has found an enzyme that can reduce symptoms of gluten sensitivity in people. This can be done by taking a tablet containing an enzyme that can stop the gluten from reaching the small intestines and reducing the symptoms of the intolerance