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Can Gluten Cause Sleep Problems

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Wheat Stimulates Insulin Production

Does Eating Gluten Cause Insomnia?

According to Dr. Davis, eating wheat stimulates your body to produce very high levels of insulin, the hormone that moves sugar from your bloodstream into your body’s cells. High insulin levels cause your body to accumulate fat around your abdomen.

When your body has lots of insulin circulating, it also can lead to feelings of low blood sugar, which makes you hungry. You grab a quick snack and the cycle starts all over again.

Dr. Davis believes that taking the wheat out of your diet can calm the cycle involving high insulin and low blood sugar, and almost always leads to the person consuming fewer calories, which in turn results in weight loss.

“Typically, you’ll see a 15-to-20-pound weight loss within a month,” said Dr. Davis in an interview. “The largest drop is in the first month. Some of that is edema . It seems to be a selective loss in the abdomen, and there’s a marked reduction in waist size.”

Dr. Davis says that patients who lose the most weight are the ones who do not replace gluten-containing foods with lots of gluten-free food products, which tend to be high in calories and low in nutrients.

Instead, the people who lose the most weight drop most or all grain-based products plus sugar-based processed foods, he says. In his experience, those people also do the best from a heart disease risk point of view .

Shocking Symptoms Of Gluten Sensitivity

Gluten sensitivity and intolerance can manifest as much more than just IBS-like symptoms and stomach problems. Thats why doctors are more likely to dismiss the idea that you even have this because if they dont hear about digestive problems as your chief complaint, then it must be something else.

It can be an exclusively neurological disease for many. In 2013, an in-depth study by a team of researchers including renowned Dr. Alessio Fasano stated that, Both Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity may present with a variety of neurologic and psychiatric co-morbidities, however, extraintestinal symptoms may be the prime presentation in those with gluten sensitivity. However, gluten sensitivity remains under-treated and under-recognized as a contributing factor to psychiatric and neurologic manifestations.

Its very important to note that not all cases of neurological symptoms are caused by gluten. However, issues like depression and anxiety which are not typically linked directly to gluten consumption CAN be signs of gluten sensitivity for some. Too often, pain killers and prescriptions are thrown at patients when no clear diagnosis is made, missing the real cause behind the symptoms bubbling up on the surface.

And for all the doubters out there,gluten sensitivity is oh so very real.

Heres a checklist of some of the surprising symptoms and signs that have been linked to gluten sensitivity and make sure to work with a qualified health professional to get tested.

How Celiac Affects Sleep

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is frequently linked to poor sleep and other chronic issues. Following an uptick in research over the past few years, we know more about the connection between celiac and sleep than ever and it seems that sleep apnea is a primary symptom rather than a result of discomfort from the symptoms of celiac disease . Research shows that removing gluten from the diet does not necessarily improve the sleep apnea symptoms, either. A professional intervention will be required instead.

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Symptoms Of Celiac Disease And Gluten Sensitivity

Symptoms of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivityor just, gluten sensitivityclosely overlap. You cant tell from just talking to someone if they have celiac disease versus gluten sensitivity, says Atlanta-based gastroenterologist Cynthia Rudert, MD. You will be wrong as often as right. Some of the sickest patients Ive seen were gluten sensitive.

Common symptoms of both Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity include:

Chronic fatigue

Can Gluten Intolerance Cause Insomnia

Can Gluten Disrupt Sleep?

Fact Checked

Insomnia, or the inability to sleep, is a disruptive and often life-altering sleep disorder that can be attributed to several different factors, including your diet. Many people who suffer from gluten intolerance also suffer from insomnia 1. The connection between gluten intolerance and insomnia can be made by investigating some secondary symptoms of gluten intolerance, such as vitamin B-12 deficiency and androgen fatigue, which may alter sleep 1.

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Reason : Blood Sugar Imbalances

If your blood sugar spikes and then drops again while you are sleeping, it will quite likely wake you up. This can happen when you eat a high carbohydrate snack before bed . If you have insulin resistance or diabetes, you are more likely to be woken by disruptions in your breathing and decreased oxygen getting to your blood7.

Chronic Or Extreme Fatigue

Fatigue, especially after eating your meal can be a sign of gluten intolerance. In gluten sensitive people, gluten can prevent the proper absorption of nutrients.

Furthermore, people who are not aware of their condition and continue to eat gluten. This causes irritation to the intestinal lining which in turn hinders proper nutrient absorption.

Due to lack of proper absorption of nutrients, the different body organs of the body are deprived of the nourishment they need. Moreover, eating too much simple carbohydrate at one time can also make one tired and lethargic.

Even hormonal changes in the body due to gluten sensitivity can make one tired and fatigued.

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Manage Your Stress Levels

One of the fastest ways to improve sleeplessness or insomnia is to manage stress levels. Anxiety and stress are known culprits for a drop in melatonin, and according to research, there seems to be a connection between those with celiac disease and anxiety. Discussing treatment with a healthcare professional is a step towards managing the anxiety, as its still unclear at this stage whether the anxiety is a result of the celiac diagnosis, or whether celiac is due to the anxiety.

While managing gluten intake is a step towards a good nights sleep purely from a comfort perspective, its not the only element that needs to be addressed for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Learn more about the health and medical experts who who provide you with the cutting-edge resources, tools, news, and more on Gluten-Free Living.

Changes In Your Bowels

Milk and Gluten- How Milk Can Cause Autoimmunity

There are over 300 known symptoms of gluten intolerance so obviously symptoms vary from person to person.

Then it probably comes as no surprise to learn that some people develop constipation while others experience loose, foul-smelling diarrhea .

However, several other conditions can also cause changes in your bowel habits. For this reason, your doctor may need to run a few tests to rule out other causes.

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Get Gluten Out Of Your Diet

Glutenin barley, rye, spelt, and wheatis known to cause leaky gut whether you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, or not2. It does this by increasing a protein called zonulin that opens up spaces between the cells lining the intestines, making it easier for food molecules to leak through into the blood stream. This means gluten starts a cascade toward ever-increasing numbers of food sensitivities . For this reason alone, its better to avoid gluten, but gluten is also known to increase inflammation in the nervous system3. Put simply, avoiding gluten allows leaky gut to heal. .

Why Gluten Is Linked To Sleep Apnea

Researchers and doctors have identified several reasons for this link between celiac disease and obstructive sleep apnea .

For one thing, people with celiac disease essentially have an allergic reaction when they ingest gluten.

It can cause a persons tonsils to enlarge, their neck and throat muscles to swell, and which can lead to difficulty breathing. Added pressure to the neck and throat, and narrowed air passageways, are all huge contributors to OSA.

OSA is a condition where you are unable to breathe properly when you sleep.

Another way that celiac disease can contribute to OSA is through the gut.

People with celiac disease often report fairly frequent episodes of acid reflux and heartburn, which can cause stomach acids to float up into the esophagus, damaging the lining. When this occurs on a regular basis, it can cause serious damage to the bronchial tissues. This then in turn leads to more severe OSA.

Finally, folks with celiac disease have other mood and mental symptoms that tie in with OSA, such as fatigue, anxiety, and depression. All of these conditions have been shown to intensify OSA. And they can even lead to a myriad of problems down the road, as well as an overall lack of energy and a greater risk for weight gain.

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Incredibly Itchy Rash On Certain Parts Of The Body

Approximately one in four people with celiac disease develop an intensely itchy rash usually on their elbows, knees, buttocks, back, and back of neck.

The medical term for this rash is Dermatitis Herpetiformis and it is characterized by clusters of small blisters. Interestingly, people with this rash typically have no digestive symptoms of celiac disease.

Avoid Dairy Products And/or Any Other Food You Are Sensitive To

Hashimotoâs &  Fatigue

For help with avoiding the foods you react to, you may want to consider following one of my Stress Remedy Programs to support you in making these diet changes. It is designed to be modified to your individual needs.

Changing your diet so you avoid those foods you react to has the potential to lower the amount of inflammation in your body as well as to optimize your cortisol and blood sugar levels, all of which leads to a better nights sleep. Now this is not a quick fixit takes time to make changes to what you eatbut it does have the potential to not only help you sleep better, but also to put your health on a much better path. Remember, the better you sleep, the healthier youll be.

Have you noticed that certain foods throw off your sleep? Please share your experiences and questions in the comments box. Next time we will be looking at the role neurotransmitters play in sleep. Please subscribe to be sure you receive it direct to your inbox.

Dr Doni

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Why I Love This Recipe


I Work as a counselor and mental health nurse, and often encounter people with depressive symptoms and related anxiety. I often see people wanting a natural cure for their depressive symptoms, without taking medication. My role is to help people with alternate or adjunct solutions with to this problem. Symptoms of depression include tiredness, lethargy and problems with sleep and appetite, motivation, and being unhappy. As a part of assessing a persons mental health, diet is considered but not before other factors such as stressors in a persons life, the use of drugs and alcohol and ones ability to cope amongst others.

Gluten-Free Food has been proven to improve mood and reduce depressive symptoms especially in people suffering from coeliac disease or C.D. C.D. causes toxicity to the body. From this I assume that the greater the food sensitivities or effects on the body, the greater the influence that food can have on mental state. Many people may not have C.D. and only be sensitive to gluten or not at all yet their mood may be affected by their diet. Therefore should people who are depressed always be tested for food sensitivities in particular Gluten? And should people who are depressed be trialed with gluten free recipes ?

Gluten And Sleep Disturbance

By Alison

Someone asked me recently if there is a connection between gluten intolerance and restless sleep or other sleep disturbances. Yes, was my immediate answer, based on my own experience and that of my friends husband. I then did a search to see if there were any studies related to celiac and sleep I came up with no medical studies. I did however come up with a slew of personal stories about sleep disturbances and gluten, and even dairy and soy.

First, my story I used to be a restless sleeper. I moved around a lot throughout the night. I had too-vivid dreams. I did this strange thing where I would rub my feet together in a certain way before I could settle down to sleep. I had leg cramps. I also had tingling and shooting pain at times in my toes and legs. Sometimes I was nauseous during the night. I was often congested. I snored . I even had sleep paralysis a couple of times if you have never experienced this, it is an awful state in which your mind wakes before your body and you are unable to move although you are awake. I actually didnt even remember this until I began reading about other peoples sleep problems as related to gluten and found a number of people who suffered from sleep paralysis until going gluten-free. Amazing. And my sleep since being gluten-free? I sleep calmly. I hardly move. I can breathe!

Want to hear more? Here are a couple of articles that link restless leg syndrome to celiac disease :

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Ease Acid Reflux Symptoms

If acid reflux bothers you at night, one thing you can do is raise the head of your bed to reduce symptoms, says Traxler. You can raise the head of your bead by stacking up pillows, using a wedge pillow, or investing in an adjustable base.

Other ways to prevent acid reflux at night: avoid eating and drinking caffeinated or carbonated beverages before bedtime. Proton pump inhibitors or histamine-2 blockers also help curb symptoms, so check with your doc to see if either of those medications is right for you. Mobley, meanwhile, recommends trying to make lunch your largest meal of the day.

Sleep Disorders As A Primary Symptom Of Celiac Disease

Can Gluten Cause Anxiety?

Remarkably, results published in a 2010 study at the University of Naples found that sleep disorders experienced by people diagnosed with, but not receiving treatment for, celiac disease were unrelated to GI distress.

Afterward, when restrictive dietary measures were taken to treat celiac disease in these subjects, their sleep problems did not improve. Meanwhile other symptoms of celiac were found to improve or disappear entirely.

In fact, for the study subjects, the sleep disorders they experienced were still not fully controlled after 6 years following a gluten-free diet. This, even though their digestive tracts were shown to improve and even heal during the same time.

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Unexplained Weight Loss Or Weight Gain

Cant keep your weight in check? A sudden or even gradual change in weight while eating habits remain more or less unchanged can be an indicator of a bigger health problem.

For some with malabsorption and gut permeability due to gluten intolerance or sensitivity, unwanted weight loss despite regular calorie intake can have dangerous effects. On the other hand, gluten can trigger systemic inflammation in the body that mimics stubborn weight gain. Removing gluten for good and healing the gut with a healthy diet can restore weight to healthy normal levels.

Another point to consider is that the type of gut bacteria living in your digestive system can play a direct role in your bodys ability to stay at a healthy weight. Brendas Watson, CNC shares that a even just a 7-day round of antibiotics can negatively alter gut bacteria for up to two years. Keep in mind that chronic candida infections can also play a role in weight gain and loss.

Symptoms Of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.

It is an autoimmune disease that affects about 1% of the population and may lead to damage in the digestive system .

It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including skin problems, gastrointestinal issues, mood changes, and more.

Here are a few of the most common symptoms of celiac disease.

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Sleep And Gluten Sensitivity

Mood disorders arent to blame for all sleep troubles, however. Experts say everything from physical ailments and chronic pain to lifestyle factors like work stress and changes in routine can influence sleep.

Sleep is one of the first things to be sacrificed but good sleep is vital to proper immune function and healing, as well as for coping with emotions and tolerating stress, says Nevin Arora, MD, a sleep medicine doctor near San Diego, California. Its not far-fetched that removing gluten or any food substance or toxin thats having a negative impact on the body could improve sleep as well as other symptoms, he says.

But sleep problems may be overlooked, cautions Rudert. Sleep issues may be glossed over in a typical 15-minute doctors appointment, she says. And patients may only realize in hindsight that their sleep has been negatively affected. Patients often say to me, Since Ive been gluten-free, I no longer take naps or Im less tired or I wake up refreshed.

Based on her research, Zingone recommends that sleep problems be added to the list of signs and symptoms of celiac disease. And she calls for more sleep research.

We need a large study of celiac individuals before and after diagnosis to gain a considerably better understanding of any direct links between celiac disease and sleep disturbances and to help identify possible therapies, she says.

How To Make: Gluten

People with celiac disease have sleep problems unrelieved ...
  • Mix the chestnut flour and the dry fruit with the hot almond milk and let it cook for a few minutes.
  • Then, mix the fruit with the almond paste.
  • Use a blender to make something similar to a marmalade with the berries, dates and orange juice. Then, pour the blend of the chestnut flour until and mix everything until it is well combined.
  • Season with cinnamon, vanilla or ginger.
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    Take The Right Vitamins And Supplements

    Once your diet is in good shape, it’s time to start thinking about vitamins and supplements. Because people with celiac disease have a harder time absorbing nutrients, they’re often deficient in key nutrients, including vitamin B, vitamin D, and magnesium, all of which play a role in energy levels and sleep.

    Mobley prefers IV therapy to a multivitamin tablet for celiac patients. “It delivers nutrients straight to where the body needs it,” she says. If you don’t have access to a medical professional who offers IV therapy, your next best option is a liquid multivitamin, she says.

    Another nutrient to consider: iron. If you’re anemic and have RLS, supplementing with iron should help ease those symptoms, says Traxler.

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