Foods to Avoid, Foods to Enjoy
Much of this information has been on the site for years but has been buried deep in the sections that have required tedious scrolling to find them. Thankfully, a Website upgrade has changed all of that. So, here are the lists of foods rich in glutamate/aspartate and those that are lower in these two non-essential, neurostimulating amino acids that we are restricting in the excitotoxin-related conditions.
First of all, Here are a couple of great sites for looking up the nutritional profiles of food, including their glutamate and aspartate content. The newest and most comprehensive that I have found to date is http://www.foodcomp.dk/fcdb_alphlist.asp. Another is http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php . In the latter, simply click on the food you are inquiring about, then scroll down toward the bottom of the page until you see the chart in the Nutritional Profile section. There is a click-on link after that chart (just above the References section) that reads “In Depth Nutritional Profile for (chosen food)” . Click on that link and then just scroll done to the aspartate and glutamate listings. Make note of the serving size at the top of the chart so that you’ll be making an accurate comparison. You will quickly see the huge difference between the glutamate/aspartate content of healthy fruits/vegetables versus items such soy, wheat, barley, and the bean family (with the exception of green beans).
For example, recently my wife started eating peanuts and raisins as a late night television snack. Almost immediately, she started having very restless sleep and was complaining about soreness in her muscles and back. A quick trip to the chart showed very high levels of glutamate and asparate in peanuts.
I’m just glad that my canine patients don’t eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and down it with a big glass of milk like our ADHD kids do. Let’s see: wheat bread (with gliadorphins and plenty of glutamate and aspartate), peanut butter (LOTS more glutamate and asparate), jelly (“sugar gel”), and all of it washed down with cow milk (casomorphins and plenty of glutamate. Oh yeah. Don’t forget the arachadonic acid for you pain sufferers).
Hmmm….. It does all make sense, doesn’t it?
Foods rich in glutamate and aspartate:
1) Grains: Wheat, barley, and oats are highest. Corn and rice are lower than the previous three but higher than potatoes.
2) Dairy Products: All Cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, PARMESAN) are very high. Casein is very concentrated in cheese and is 20% glutamic acid by composition.
3) Beans: Soy, Pinto, lima, black, navy, and lentils
4) Seeds: Sunflower, pumpkin, etc.
5) Peanuts: Very high, as are cashews, pistachios, and almonds. I have more detailed charts on the site to show exact values for the various nuts. Everything in moderation applies when eating nuts of any kind. So, I do not recommend you reach for nuts when you are really hungry unless you can stop after a few. Nuts are very good for you..in moderation. For example, seven almonds a day gives you what you need .
6) Diet drinks: Primary source of aspartate (aspartame/NutraSweet)
7) Prepared foods, soups: 70% of prepared foods and many soups have MSG
8) Meats: Note: All meats are naturally rich in glutamate and aspartate. Lamb (and eggs) are the lowest, while rabbit and turkey are the highest.
However, I believe that the amount in a normal serving of meat should not be enough to cause problems. I think that it is all of the other “unnatural” sources when combined with the meats that are causing the problems. Again, the main reasons why the “big 4”- gluten (wheat, barley, rye), dairy, soy and corn- are so harmful are, not only are they rich in glutamate, but they do harm to intestinal villi inducing malabsorption of nutrients and then shower the body with their inflammatory lectins once absorbed by the body. It is the combination of these effects that make the “big 4” so detrimental in seizures.
Meats (and tree nuts) do not have these other harmful effects. But there are individuals whose neurons are so diseased and overly-sensitized to glutamate that their meat protein intake should be restricted to some degree until they and their brains are healthier. I have now had cases of canine epilepsy that required some restriction of animal protein in order to halt their seizures. But this should be a temporary requirement, with a return to normal levels being accomplished once an individual is off the “big 4” long enough.
One of my newest concerns is the presence of glutamate in the flesh of grain-fed animals, especially chickens, turkeys, and cattle. This is a topic of discussion on the celiac forums and we are now believing that this is a real concern and could explain why some celiacs are not responding to elimination diets. Catfish are also grain fed.
The fact is that 60-70% of the American Diet is wheat and dairy (with heavy emphasis on cheese). This combined with the amount of artificial sweeteners being consumed and the addition of SOY has led this country into an epidemic of pain syndromes, including fibromyalgia. Epilepsy is definitely on the rise in pets and the combination of wheat and soy in pet foods is playing a huge role. I am seeing first time epileptic dogs within three weeks of starting such diets.
Food low in glutamate and asparate:
4) Lamb and eggs are relatively low.
5) Tree nuts (e.g. pecans, walnuts). NOTE: These are relatively low when compared to peanuts and cashews. I have more detailed charts on the site to show exact values. Pecans, for example, have half the amount of glutamate that peanuts have but that is still quite a bit. Again, everything in moderation applies when eating nuts of any kind. I do not recommend you reach for nuts when you are really hungry unless you can stop after a few. Nuts are very good for you..in moderation. 7 almonds a day gives you what you need.
Now, for the GOOD news:
On these dietary restrictions, I just want to make one thing very clear. We are restricting the level of glutamate and aspartate in the diet because the neurons of the brain (and their associated supportive cells called glial cells, or astrocytes) are diseased and cannot handle the high levels of this non-essential, neurostimulating amino acid in our typical diet. By eating what has become the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), we are absolutely bombarding our brain with these “excitotoxins” in the form of grains, dairy, soy, and the rest.
But, it is the fact that the brain is unhealthy that explains why we are seeing the syndromes such as epilepsy, ADHD, insomnia, fibromyalgia, and various neurodegenerative diseases. I need to reemphasize this point for a number of reasons but mainly to establish why a person would develop one of these conditions and another not while eating the same foods. There must be something that distinguishes that person from the other…and there is…there always is. These things are covered elsewhere on the Website, but this might be a good time to check out my newest section, Viruses-Friend or Foe?
Here’s the point: When we are in the throws of one of the excitotoxin-related disorders, we need to reduce our consumption of the foods rich in these amino acids as much as possible. Doing so places a big Band-Aid on the situation and yields notable and often remarkable results in a short period of time. Dogs have stopped seizing in 24 hours. I felt noticeably better in four days. My fibromyalgia was improved in less than a week and gone in a month.
The phenomenal thing is that the long-term recovery also comes from the same diet. The principle reason this disease-producing cycle was set into motion to begin with was the damage effects of the “big 4” (gluten, casein, soy, and corn) on the intestinal villi and their ability to absorb vital nutrients. This combined with the showering of the body with exctotoxins, allergens, lectins, estrogens, and other substances from these same foods sets us up for the disease states that follow. Once the immune system starts to suffer from the same process, we are pretty much done.
The good news (yes, there is some good news) is that once we are off the “big 4” long enough, the process does reverse. Imagine the benefits of your body properly absorbing the calcium, iron, iodine, B complex, vitamin C, and trace minerals it so desperately needs. Imagine a brain, liver, and entire body that is getting what it needs to repair and thrive and in an environment free of the top four human, dog, and cat food allergens (cow milk, wheat, soy, and corn), which are also providing major quantities of allergens, damaging lectins, estrogens, depressants (casomorphins/gliadomorphins), and excitotoxins. Do you think you might just start feeling better??? (Smile)
But there’s more good news (and this is the main reason for placing this information here on this page). Once you have recovered…your brain, liver, and immune system are back to normal or close to it…then you can go back to eating some of those sources of glutamate and aspartate that are not one of the “big 4”. Again, the reason for the more severe restriction of these other foods was to place a Band-Aid on the situation- to provide relief for your ailing brain and liver (which regulates the glutamate in the bloodstream) by reducing the load of these potentially harmful neuroactive amino acids on these unhealthy organs. Once the nervous system and liver have recovered, most of us can go back to eating the nuts, seeds, beans, and meats that we were limiting in the beginning.
Just remember- “Everything in moderation”. Some individuals will recover to such a degree that they could go back to eating all of the peanuts, lima beans, and steak they want without experiencing a seizure, pain episode, or bad night’s sleep. BUT, most will fall into a category somewhere in between this level of recovery and where they were to start with, depending on several secondary factors, such how much we cheat with the “big 4”, our age, local pollution, and more. And after all, loading up on peanuts is not good for anyone. (All you need is about 6 peanuts or almonds to get all that you need from them for the day. BUT, who does that???) Similarly, we do not need the cowboy-sized serving of steak they throw at us at your favorite restaurant. (I have to keep telling myself that.)
So, please do not think that I am saying you cannot eat any of the foods on the glutamate-rich list ever again. The formal name of the diet is the glutamate-aspartate restricted diet. That is a relative term, with some individuals requiring a more severe restriction than others. But when it comes to the “big 4”, I use the term elimination. If you are gluten, casein, soy, and/or corn intolerant, elimination is the key to your optimal recovery. These are the guys that set us up for all of this mess. That is why I now “lovingly” call them the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The effects they can have on man and animals is potentially catastrophic and hopefully the reader now has a much better idea of why I have dedicated my life to this mission.
As always, I hope this help you.