Of all of the Fodmaps, fructose is my strongest intolerance and so when I saw a reference to fructose malabsorption and depression in my latest read “The Paleo Approach” by Dr Sarah Ballantyne, I sat up and paid attention.
This small comment carries extra weight as Dr Ballantyne is a scientist and researches everything with precision, so this wasn’t just a throwaway comment. I got on google (as you do) and within a micro-second I found a published research paper from Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology Journal (I’ve referenced the link below if you’d like to check it out for yourself).
This research from 1999 was initiated as the researchers had found that fructose malabsorption is associated with signs of depression. The research went on to find that “Fructose malabsorption is associated with lower tryptophan levels which may play a role in the development of depressive disorders.”
L-tryptophan is an amino acid that is synthesised by the body to make serotonin and melatonin – both very powerful and important hormones in the body. I won’t go into details because I am not an expert, but it is important to note that most anti-depressant medication is classified as SSRI’s or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors which are aimed at increasing serotonin levels.
So it appears that there is indeed sufficient evidence to link depressive disorders with fructose malabsorption.
I have in the past suffered from depression and have also taken medication for a period of time to help treat the illness – cheerfully I can say that I am currently free of depression, but not everyone is as lucky. Given this disturbing evidence, those of us that do suffer from fructose malabsorption really cannot afford to re-lapse and over-consume fructose as our mental health is at stake.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially if you have more expertise in this area than I do!