How Gluten Depressed
My Type-1 Diabetic Brain

I have known many type 1 diabetics over the years. One thing we all had in common was depression. I was definitely depressed – to the point of wanting to take my life. I couldn’t remember what life was like without depression.

Now I do. In the last year my depression has disappeared. I attribute it mostly too going gluten-free. Another friend also went gluten-free and their depression has also been lifted.

The Sticky Protein

Dr. Perlmutter writes in his book Brain Grain, Chapter 2: The Sticky Protein,  about three patients.  The first patient put up with migraines. The second suffered from depression and mental issues. The last one endured tremors that were increasing in severity. All symptoms cleared up after going gluten-free.

Is cutting out the gluten an easy cure that many doctors are missing? “These cases are not outliers,” writes Dr. Perlmutter. “They reflect patterns that I’ve witnessed in so many patients. They all might come to me with vastly different medical complaints, but they share a common thread: gluten sensitivity.” (Page 49 of Grain Brain.)

“But I’m Not Celiac…”

Many say they don’t have celiac disease, so they don’t need to avoid gluten. But as Dr. Perlmutter writes (Page 50 of Grain Brain): “Celiac is an extreme manifestation of gluten sensitivity.” It’s not the only manifestation. So just because you haven’t been diagnosed with celiac doesn’t mean you’re not gluten intolerant.

What Exactly is Gluten?

Gluten is a combinations of specific proteins found in grains like wheat. Gluten makes bread elastic. Many people just love these doughy carbs (e.g. bagels). Especially when we are stressed. They produce a tranquillizing effect.

Gluten , believe or not, is even used in our shampoos, conditioners and other products we use on our bodies.

Gluten Can Strike Any Organ

Dr. Perlmutter goes on to say that a sensitivity to gluten can affect any organ. At great risk is the brain (and you wouldn’t even know). (Page  of Grain Brain

Sometimes people are just sensitive to a particular protein in gluten. Two proteins — glutenins and gliadins — are the main proteins found in gluten.

How to Know if You’re Gluten Sensitive

Blood work can determine whether you are gluten sensitive or not. Of course this is expensive. Another foolproof and inexpensive option is to simply go without gluten for a couple of months. See if you experience a difference. Avoiding all grains (not just wheat) is the way I tested this.

Gluten Withdrawal

Dr. Perlmutter talks of how doughnuts and bagels give a pleasant high feeling. He says it’s like an opiate addiction (page 63 of Brain Grain). This addiction to gluten was discovered in the 1970s.

Nonetheless, one small step like giving up gluten helped heal my depression. And I can’t say that I really miss those doughy carbs. I have been gluten-free for over a year now. YAH! Why not give it a try and see if it helps you feel better?

You can purchase a copy of Dr. Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, from,, or

About the Author: John C. A. Manley researches and writes about alternative treatments for type-1 diabetes and its many complications. His wife, Nicole, of 15 years has had type-1 diabetes for four decades. Together they have lowered her HgbA1c below 5.5%, regained thyroid function, increased kidney function and reversed gastroparesis. Read more about their journey out of the T1D matrix or subscribe to their Diabetic Dharma blog..