Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Is it possible that a gluten intolerance can cause anxiety attack?

i am in the early stages of becoming GF in my diet but have noticed in the last few days that if i accidentally eat something with gluten in that may be hidden (as im still learning) then i can have an anxiety attack which starts with a fuzzy feeling in my head - not achy but heavy/tinglong, plus tingling in my legs and arms and then the anxiety sets in. Can last anywhere from 2-3 hours in total and is horrible. Anyone else had this?

6 Replies

Tingling in your legs and arms can be caused by trapped nerves, low B12 and gluten ataxia. It's always best to get odd symptoms like this checked out my a Dr to rule out anything else causing it. We often all look to blame gluten for problems but often it's something else altogether causing issues.


hi i have been a celiec for 18months and at first had foggy head and tingling but after a short while well bout 4months all this went away even now if i have been glutened witch isnt very often get it back good luck


Hi Poshbird - yes, I think it's possible to feel all sorts of strange things when you are glutened, and I think they can get stronger the longer you go between exposure.

One of the things I realised after going gf was that what I thought was 'normal' for me (ie periods of anxiety, depression, mood swings, lack of energy/lifezest, and all sorts of headaches, finger tingling, leg cramps, fuzzy headedness etc etc etc) was NOT normal and largely eased if not completely went away after about 6-8months going gf. A lot of things cleared right away, but like you, as a newbie, it was a learning curve and so I'd get intermittent glutenings and the weird symptoms would come back. It still happens now (usually at well-meaning friends' homes) but now I'm prepared, I know what it is, that it's temporary and I can move on much faster.

Good luck! It's hard work being truly gf - unless you have total and utter control of WHERE your food comes from and HOW it's handled/packaged, which I'm afraid none of us do! But you can be almost 99% gf to your best ability by eating only fresh food as much as you can, and only rarely having food that you have to buy in packaging (ie pulses, rice, gf pasta, millet, quinoa, gf flours etc as you can NEVER be sure of their sources and handling...sorry but it's true!). Take one step at a time, and accept that you will make mistakes. I find drinking lots of water, and trying to relax both help a bit when I've been glutened. I also try to do other things to take my mind off it - difficult if you are sent running to the loo a lot, but I'm fortunate in not having that particular symptom (it's the opposite for me, TMI, sorry!).


I found depression and anxiety could set in after eating something....i think preservatives, never pinned it down but i had long bouts of this pre-diagnosis, and then would be fine for months. Then after ingestion of whetver it was..bam! Depressed for a few days


In my personal experience, the answer is yes to both. Of course it may not be the cause in your case and it's obviously advisable to talk to your GP about this. I wonder if the tingling in my arms and legs are due to more blood going to the stomach as it is suffering due to ingesting wheat and gluten. I also experience the same as Windymillersue as well. I hope this helps.


One of my big surprises about going gluten free was that the vaguely anxious, intermittently depressed person that I thought I was receded into the distance and I was relaxed and happy again - as I used to be, but had forgotten. Everything stopped being quite so difficult.

Of course, when I have some gluten all that stuff comes back in a big way, but only over a couple of days. One of the main ways I know I've been glutened is because I suddenly get low-level mental health stuff - not anxiety attacks, but negativity and slight paranoia and running through things in an emotional loop in my head. I suddenly get fixated about things that weren't bothering me before and don't after. So I think anxiety can definitely be in the mix!

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