Psychological problems and possible thyroid link? All attributable to food intolerance and IBS?

Hi. I've struggled with depression and more recently a cycling mood that has been identified as probably bipolar for many years. I'm desperately trying to piece all the parts of a rather complex jigsaw together because I disagree with this disagnosis. I'm not a psychiatrist and the psychiatrist I've seen says my bipolar symptoms are very unusual, although it didn't stop him prescribing lithium which has done nothing.

I know I definitely have IBS. I have a fructan intolerance identified through a FODMAP elimination diet and now I've stopped eating wheat, onion and garlic among other foods I feel incredible. I don't have celiac as I had the full endoscopy test (yuck). There have been no signs of the psychiatric illnesses and I have lots of energy since starting the diet. My trousers are also falling down as the bloating has gone!

What I'm trying to find out is if there is a root cause to everything. At present the psychiatrist, GP, nutritionist and Endocrinologist all treat one part of the symptoms without really talking to each other. Could it be as simple as a food intolerance causing IBS and a leaky gut? A leaky gut can lead to an auto immune response which can destroy the thyroid. An autoimmune thyroiditis illness can mimic bipolar...! Anyone got any ideas? I've posted over on the thyroid forums and the response has been overwhelmingly positive that the thyroid issue is likely to be a major factor but what I've not found out is whether my food problem could be the root cause. I intend to go fructan free for life now so maybe the question will answer itself in the coming months.

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  • In my opinion, the food intolerance is more likely an exacerbating factor rather than a direct cause of IBS. I think that in many cases, the 'cause' of IBS makes the gut more sensitive and therefore far less able to tolerate the bacterial decomposition of foods like FODMAPs. For instance, I think my IBS is caused by anxiety and depression. When my mood is low and I am anxious, foods high in FODMAPs have a negative effect. However, when I'm relaxed, happy and in a good mood, I can eat pizza for three days straight without a problem. Another friend has found the same.

    However, I think there are also other factors at play. If a patient suffers from SIBO, bacteria prematurely digest food in the gut perhaps creating more gas and metabolites than they would otherwise. I also have a theory that, by the vagaries of chance, some colonies of bacteria in the gut may evolve a mutation that makes them more successful, and they may more efficiently break down food in the gut releasing more by-products. For instance, overnight one friend acquired an intolerance to garlic; couldn't touch the stuff without becoming bloated, gassy and diarrhoeary.

    Yet another factor could be damage to the gut as a result of infection, but even in this case, the food intolerance is a secondary factor. A damaged gut may be more sensitive and therefore some foods will be more likely to trigger symptoms.

  • I agree that my food intolerances ( lactose and FM ) have caused loads of issues .

    Also a few rounds of antibiotics the did not help at all and made things worse .

    My theory is the serotonin in food is not absorbed properly when the small intestine and the gut is affected hence leading to depression . I got to very bad stages ( bad mood, crying, super irritable etc.. ) so decided to try anti depressants and discussed with my GP who agreed. .

    Took a couple of weeks on fluoxetine 29 one tablet a night to feel the difference . So I decided to stay on it . At least brain wise I think I am definitely coping better. Also get tested for vitamin D defficiency as I think this goes hand in hand with our situation .

    I am on low FODMAP now

    No fructans

    Gluten and lactose free

    And really careful with what I eat and things are improving thank god .