How PTSD was actually a food intolerance

Dealing with health issues can be isolating, and finding people whose stories mirror your own can inspire comfort, encouragement and hope.

Ascent Rotary Wing Training Systems Manager, Robbie, has been dealing with his own health issues for the past decade, and recently got a chance to collaborate with workplace wellbeing platform Unmind to share his personal journey.

“In October 2023 I attended the Unmind studios in London to share the story of how an unknown food intolerance led to me being diagnosed with mental health issues for over 10 years,” said Robbie.

” A rare instance where gluten travels through the gut lining, into the bloodstream and therefore affects brain function, left me with the symptoms of fatigue, mood swings, short-term memory loss and brain fog. Due to my then recent departure from many years of overseas operations on Chinook helicopters, it seemed more than acceptable when these symptoms were diagnosed as PTSD.

“I took on years of counselling to try to shake off the symptoms that I struggled to cope with, but unsurprisingly there was no improvement in my symptoms until 2021, when I accidentally stumbled upon the cause of the problem – gluten. An off-the-cuff comment by a doctor led to the realisation that skipping breakfast left me feeling better by lunchtime. And that the subsequent lunchtime sandwich knocking me for six, made it clear that it was all down to food.

“Initial recovery took less than 48 hrs. However, I did also discover that the damage caused to my stomach due to continued intake of gluten also brought on intolerances to many other elements of food, such as fructose and lactose.

“The story I tell to Unmind truly emphasises the phrase ‘we are what we eat!’. I hope telling my story helps others who were also suffering similar, although usually milder symptoms, to improve their lives.”