It's all too common for many of us with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity : we get that "uh-oh" feeling that we've been glutened , and then we get slammed with what feels like a brick wall of fatigue.

    Caiaimage / Agnieszka Wozniak / Getty Images

    In fact, fatigue is one of the most frequent symptoms mentioned by those with celiac or gluten sensitivity, and it's a symptom that seems to stick around (or recur all too often) long after you adopt the gluten-free diet.  

    And gluten-related fatigue can be debilitating—in some cases, even more debilitating than diarrhea and other digestive symptoms more commonly associated with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Therefore, figuring out how to cope with it is a high priority, especially if you experience symptoms frequently.

    Malnutrition, Anemia May Cause Fatigue in Celiac Disease

    It's not entirely clear what causes fatigue in celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity , but it's one of the top symptoms mentioned, both prior to initial diagnosis and when people are accidentally exposed to gluten following that diagnosis.

    One study found that 82% of those newly diagnosed with celiac disease complained of fatigue.   Some researchers speculate that fatigue may be caused by malnutrition , at least in those with celiac disease—celiac-induced intestinal damage can mean your body doesn't absorb nutrients well.

    Fatigue also can be caused by anemia , which frequently appears in people with celiac disease who haven't yet been diagnosed or who aren't following the gluten-free diet.   However, malnutrition and anemia probably don't explain the sudden fatigue people with celiac disease can experience if they've inadvertently ingested gluten, so there may be some other process at play.

    Since people with gluten sensitivity don't have the same intestinal damage as those with celiac disease, malnutrition and anemia don't explain why non-celiac gluten-sensitive people experience fatigue, too—but they definitely do experience it.

    In addition to fatigue, brain fog and sleep problems are common effects of accidental gluten ingestion. Both obviously have an impact on fatigue, as well—brain fog makes it even more difficult to function,   and insomnia makes you even more tired.

    It's depressing to say that there's no magic bullet to relieve fatigue once you've been "glutened." Therefore, most recommendations involve common-sense measures you can take to ease your tiredness while your body is recovering:

    • Slow down. Clear your schedule to the extent that you can and try to do as little as possible when you can afford it.
    • Stay organized. Fatigue plus brain fog can make you careless and forgetful. When suffering from gluten-related tiredness, make lists of things you need to do and then follow those lists. A little structure can help.
    • Get some exercise. It seems counterintuitive—exercising when you're already tired? But a short walk or some yoga can increase your energy level, not decrease it.   Don't overdo it (now is not the time to start marathon training), but even a few minutes of mild physical exertion can help with your fatigue and may help you sleep better.
    • Get to bed early. If you also suffer from gluten-induced insomnia , you may feel as if you want to avoid bed, since hitting your pillow may wind up being an exercise in futility. But going to bed early, closing your eyes, and resting (even if you don't actually sleep) does help improve fatigue the next day.

    Possible Help in Supplement Form?

    There's some evidence that supplements of L-carnitine, an amino acid, can help with fatigue in people with celiac disease. L-carnitine helps your cells produce energy by breaking down fat, and may help your brain more efficiently utilize the neurotransmitters serotonin and glutamate. Studies have shown that L-carnitine reduces fatigue in people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia .

    In a small study performed in Italy, 30 people with celiac disease took 2 grams of L-carnitine daily for six months while another 30 took a placebo, and researchers then compared the fatigue levels in the two groups. They found fatigue, as measured by a validated scientific scale, was significantly reduced in the L-carnitine group when compared with the placebo group.

    Keep in mind that this study hasn't been duplicated—you definitely should talk about the benefits and risks with your healthcare provider before trying L-carnitine for gluten-related fatigue. Side effects can include a rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, nausea, headache and even difficulty sleeping (not what you want when you're suffering from fatigue!). People with thyroid disease or liver disease may need to steer clear of L-carnitine supplements altogether.

    A Word From Verywell

    There's no doubt that fatigue is a major problem for those with celiac and gluten sensitivity—and it's a problem that has no easy solution. There's no magic bullet or pill to make you instantly not tired. However, trying a few strategies for recovering from an accidental glutening may help you feel slightly better, or even possibly a little more energetic.

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    Does gluten make you tired?
    Gluten-intolerant individuals are very prone to fatigue and tiredness, especially after eating foods that contain gluten ( 50 , 51 ). According to one study in 486 people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, 64% reported experiencing tiredness and fatigue ( 44 ). more
    Do burgers have gluten?
    Pure beef that you buy in a package from the store is safe to consume if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Burgers that you make out of that 100% ground beef also will be gluten-free, assuming you don't add gluten-containing ingredients or subject patties to gluten cross-contamination. more
    Are marshmallows gluten?
    Many marshmallows produced in the United States only consist of sugar, water, and gelatin. This makes them dairy-free, and in most cases, gluten-free. more
    Are bananas gluten-free?
    Bananas (in their natural form) are 100% gluten-free. If you experience issues with eating bananas it may be because of a couple of proteins present in bananas – Marlow over at has an excellent and detailed post on this issue so please head on over to her blog to read more. more
    Does gluten cause depression?
    In some cases, those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity may also experience psychological symptoms, such as depression or anxiety ( 7 ). While more high quality studies are needed, some research suggests that eliminating gluten from the diet may be beneficial for these conditions. more
    Is Velveeta gluten-free?
    Kraft reliably discloses any gluten ingredients in their products. Velveeta has no gluten ingredients, and is widely considered gluten-free by the gluten-free and celiac community. more
    Are pickles gluten-free?
    Pickles are naturally gluten free, as they contain cucumbers and a mixture of brine, vinegar, spices and additives. However, if pickles include rice vinegars, or malt vinegars they are typically not gluten free. Some of the best certified gluten free pickles brands include McClure's, Mt. more
    Is bolani gluten free?
    Fresh produce. A thin, flaky & gluten free flatbread, filled with delicious spinach and leeks. more
    Is gluten halal?
    Wheat Gluten is a protein composite extracted from wheat flour. As a plant derived ingredients, Wheat Gluten and Vital Wheat Gluten are general recognized as halal. more
    Is Twizzlers gluten-free?
    TWIZZLERS products are not gluten-free because they include wheat as an ingredient. While these particular products are not gluten-free, we do offer other gluten-free products. Click here for a list of our gluten-free products. more
    Is gluten vegan?
    Can vegans eat gluten? Yes, gluten is vegan because it isn't derived from animals. more


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