Gluten free completely cured and saved me from suicide

Hello, I want to share my story because after many years I’m finally free of that debilitating brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, joint pain and lots of other problems that made me seriously suicidal. It all started back in 2013 when I took finasteride for hair loss. I was on it for 6 months and then had to stop because my brain fog got so severe I had to drop out of college and go back living with my family because I couldn’t function. My main problems were difficulty in finding the right word, short term memory problems, total inability to concentrate on anything, mental fatigue, very slow processing speed when reading and in everything else, anxiety and lots of other things. Going off finasteride didn’t help with this problems. I tried everything but the situation only got worse. A couple years later I also developed joint pain, migraines, some numbness, GERD and a host of other problems. I was really suicidal. Nothing helped and I tried everything.

I read hundreds of books and papers, tried every supplement on the market, steroids, diets…nothing helped.
Until one day I came across an article that linked gluten to brain fog and a host of other symptoms. I felt it was impossible that gluten could be the problem because I didn’t have gut problems but I was willing to try since I already tried anything. So I got tested for celiac and the result was negative. I wasn’t celiac but still I gave it a try to a gluten free diet. And thank god I did because it literally cured me.
I want to say something here: I was extremely strict, not eating even a small bit. The thing is that even a small bit of gluten made me feel like shit.
I also believe in eating a healthy diet with lots of veggies, fruits and cutting-out all processed food and junk food. Also, greatly reducing sugars.

I now believe gluten is behind all the symptoms I have had and could be the hidden link of all of us who experience these symptoms despite coming from different background in terms of medications taken.

I know it may sound complete bullshit to you (or at least it sounded like that to me) or you may have done a celiac test that was negative but please consider a strict gluten free diet to see if it helps you. I believe we have a thing called non celiac gluten sensitivity. Almost no doctor are aware of this and is extremely tough to diagnose but all my symptoms correspond and personally it cured me.

If you try this, please report back. I think it’s important to be extremely strict for at least 3 months. It took time to notice improvements but already after a week I noticed some slight improvements and kept getting better little by little.

Nowadays I live symptoms free but if I ingest gluten, even a very very small amount, I will get brain fog, migraines and joint pain again that lasts for 24h/48h until it clears (of course it clears if I don’t eat gluten). I believe finasteride activate some genes in us that made us sensitive to gluten and if true we can then sue Mecks. So please report back if you try this diet.

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Your member story has been heavily edited to remove treatment recommendations and speculation about what this syndrome is/isn’t according to the community guidelines.

Please consider filling out the entire member-story template so that others can better understand your range of persistent symptoms that you believe were triggered by finasteride.

I’m glad you were able to find a solution.

I’m on a gluten-free diet, but not sure if it’s making me worse or better.

Thank you very much for bringing us your recovery story. I actually have a close relative who was also in a similar situation (not from drug but just generally) and had incredible recovery from going gluten free. Maybe I’ve been dumb not giving it a shot for at least 3 months. In my case, I don’t really have things like brain fog and joint pain, but I do have the numbness and I’m figuring there’s certainly nothing to lose in trying.

Can you give us some info about yourself so we have some undertanding about why it may or may not work.

Here are the answers to the questionaire

Where are you from (country)? Italy

How did you find this forum (Google search – if so, what search terms? Via link from a forum or website – if so, what page? Other?) : I found it many years ago after suffering from side effects related to Finasteride. I found it from Google

What is your current age, height, weight? 28yo, 182cm (6ft), 73kg

What specific drug did you use (finasteride, dutasteride, saw palmetto, isotretinoin/Accutane, fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, leuprorelin, etc…)? I used finasteride and before that Isotretinoin for my cystic acne. I already had some symptoms with Isotretinoin use (I had to take it twice with very high doses up to 80mg/day) but my symptoms greatly got worse with Finasteride.

What dose did you take (eg. 1 mg/day, 1 mg every other day etc.)? 1mg daily

What condition was being treated with the drug? Hair loss

For how long did you take the drug (weeks/months/years)? 6 months then had to stop because of side effects

How old were you, and WHEN (date) did you start the drug? started when I was 21yo

How old were you when you quit, and WHEN (date) did you quit? I quit after 6 months of use

How did you quit (cold turkey or taper off)? Cold turkey

How long into your usage did you notice the onset of side effects? Almost immediately…after a couple of days I’d say but then they kept getting worse to the point I couldn’t function anymore. It took me time to figure out they were related to finasteride

What side effects did you experience that have yet to resolve since discontinuation? After I stopped finasteride I had brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, depression, joint pain, difficulty swallowing food, weird numbness and tingling in my body, migraines, restless leg syndrome, GERD, insomnia, muscle spasms, frequent UTI, some tremors and many other things. Pretty much everything resolved after going very strictly gluten free…some after one week, some others like brain fog took 3 months to notice solid improvements and almost 1 year to fully lift. I want to stress that I also took two celiac tests and both were negative. Nothing else worked and I tried literally everything

Hmmmm. You’re like me. I noticed a lot of your symptoms almost immediately. I also had swelling in my abdomen, face and throat.

I’m starting to suspect the lactose in finasteride.

Sorry for the request for more intimate info, but did you also have genital numbness and anorgasmia?

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How about lactose? Do you eat normal dairy or only lactose free?

No, I didn’t get that. I got lots of symptoms from finasteride (or maybe even the accutane I got before the finasteride) but were never sexual related. They affected almost anything else though. I personally believe you should also give it a try for sexual symptoms especially if nothing else worked. If the problems are neurological or affects the joints then you can absolutely try going gluten free because nowadays I’m almost sure gluten is the hidden culprit (3 months was enough to see solid improvements for me but I believe to be symptoms free may take a year or more especially if the symptoms persisted for many years)

I’m going to go dairy-free tomorrow. Might as well give it a shot.

I still eat dairy so I don’t think it’s lactose, I believe is the gluten and I do have a theory but before sharing it I want to see if people get cured or notice solid improvements after going strictly gluten free. Personally I think we will get cured, I especially advise it for people who suffer from neurological symptoms. Please try it for 3 months and share the results.

Yeah. I’ve been gluten-free for a few weeks now. I’m gonna get rid of dairy, too, starting tomorrow.

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hi, thank you my friend. Can you write a detailed list of forbidden foods and free foods? for example what did you eat at breakfasts ?

I still eat dairy and lactose but the thing is kind of complex. I may not be sensible to dairy but some other people may be. The thing is kinda complex and is also related to a mutation of cow…cows in Southern Europe where I live have a A2 gene, whereas cows in Northern Europe and US have the A1 gene which cause problems for many people.
Anyway if you can go both gluten free and dairy free for 3 months. If you have to choose definitely go gluten free, it’s much more important

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I eat lots of things except everything related to gluten.
Mainly I eat chicken, turkey, some pork, fish (especially salmon and sardines), fruits (everything but especially avocado…I eat at least one avocado per day and blueberries), veggies (especially broccoli, but I eat almost all of them…lettuce, celery, carrots, kale, cucumbers, radicchio ecc), rice, dairy foods like cheese and milk, lots of extravirgin olive oil, olives, walnuts, some bacon, some eggs, raw ham, lots of spices. Sometimes I also eat gluten free pasta with tomato sauce and some dessert like ice creams (gluten free of course), gluten free cookies, chocolate ecc. I try to reduce sugar intake but don’t cut it out entirely. I think it’s not needed. Only be extremely strict with gluten.
I also eat lots of fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, kombucha.

As for drinks…water. One coffee per day only (used to drink 3-4). In the weekend I drink a cocktail or two (but no beer of course since it has gluten) or a coca cola. Just try to eat balanced…but really avoid gluten like the plague.

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Did you have diarrhea or other digestive issues?

Not much that’s why I didn’t suspect gluten initially. I did get some GERD and the bloating after eating but nothing serious. Most of my problems were neurological related and after some time they also affected my joints, my throat and some other things.
I also forgot to mention my anxiety and panic attacks. I used to get those panic attacks, I was jittery and anxious other than very depressed (as I said I was suicidal). Thank God now I don’t have those anymore but it took time. Most of my symptoms improved after just a couple of weeks of going strictly gluten free but the brain fog for example took 3 months to notice good improvements and one year to fully lift. I think there was lots of inflammation there

The first thing I noticed clearing were the migraines…I used to get lots of migraines and basically I was dependent on NSAID drugs, after like 10 days gluten free I basically didn’t get any more migraine. In the last 10 months I only got it twice that didn’t require any medication. My restless leg syndrome also cleared very fast. Same for the urticaria (forgot to mention I also got this itchness everywhere in my body). After one month the sensation I had of food getting stuck in my throat also vanished and my joints started to feel a lot better to the point I could resume physical activity (I basically couldn’t walk before and couldn’t even go in the push up position or opening the elevator door with my palms because my wrists were in so much pain). Of course they kept getting better with time. My skin and hair also started to appear less greasy and more healthy. Then the insomnia started to get better and at around the 3 months mark I realised my brain fog was improving because I could concentrate more and I could find the right word to say more easily. Of course still had problems though…it very slowly got better…only after one year my brain fog fully lifted but I still get brain fog even now if I accidentally eat a small bit of gluten or get glutened in a restaurant but only last for 24h

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How about emotional flatness? Did you have it?

Absolutely yes, I think I pretty much got everything brain/psychological related