TAG | Population
According to a recent study published in the journal Chronic Illness, women with celiac disease are more likely to report stress, depression and disordered eating, even if they are following a gluten-free diet.
The researchers found that women adhering to a gluten-free diet did experience greater vitality, lower stress, decreased depressive symptoms, and greater overall emotional health than those women not following the diet, but even so, they still experienced more stress, depression, and body dissatisfaction when compared to the general population.
Eating gluten-free, even in today’s world of readily available gluten-free fare, is a big adjustment, even when you have been eating gluten-free for years. Food becomes a central focus, rather than an afterthought. Everyday meal planning is required to be sure you have access to the right foods. Shopping at multiple grocery stores becomes the norm. Eating gluten-free creates a whole new way of life. This has the possibility of becoming stressful—and even alienating, depending on the company you keep.
But eating gluten-free—especially in those with celiac, but even in those who are gluten sensitive—is also a ticket to freedom for many people. Freedom from constant digestive issues with seemingly no solution, freedom from wondering, “What the heck is wrong with me?” and freedom from a downward health spiral that itself can cause more stress, dis-ease, and depression.
If you have celiac and you tend to get down about it, take a moment to think about what a gluten-free diet has given you, rather than what it has taken away. Sometimes a shift in perspective is all you need.
Anxiety, or worry, is experienced by just about everyone at some point. Some people have anxiety disorders, which are more serious conditions, but it’s safe to say that most people experience at least occasional anxiety. That’s why a new study on omega-3s found in fish oil is so exciting. It’s the first study to look at the effects of fish oil on anxiety in a healthy population—meaning, in people who don’t already have an anxiety disorder. It’s already known that fish oil can be helpful for those people. But what about people who only experience anxiety here and there?
The researchers took a group of medical students and gave them omega-3 supplements for three months. The supplements contained 2,085 mg of EPA and 348 mg of DHA. Another group got a placebo. After three months, the group taking the fish oil showed a 20 percent reduction in anxiety scores and a 14 percent reduction in the production of the inflammatory marker interleukin-6 (IL-6) over the placebo group.
IL-6 is an inflammatory cytokine. Depression and anxiety are both known to involve the production of inflammatory cytokines. This is one of the gut-brain connections, actually, since the inflammation can originate in the gut. Omega-3s were able to reduce these inflammatory compounds, highlighting just one way they may be helping mood disorders like depression and anxiety.