In this section, I will be placing links to the latest breaking news in the food world. I will do my best to balance the bad with the good, but try to remember: Much of this will seem like bad news but at least we know about it now…and can change it!
With some of these stories, I will include a link to a blog entry so that you can comment on the article. This idea came to me after reading the first entry, which is a news flash that made my blood boil.
Study: Gluten-free diets do not improve autism behavior
By Trisha Henry
CNN Medical Producer
Keeping the proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and dairy out of the diets of children with autism does not lead to behavior improvements, new research has found.
While many doctors do not recommend a special diet as an autism therapy, there are widespread reports from families on the internet lauding the success of keeping foods containing gluten and casein out of an autistic child’s diet. Currently, nearly one in three children with autism is given a gluten- and casein-free diet in an effort to reduce symptoms of the neurodevelopmental disease, study authors say.
Actress and activist Jenny McCarthy is one the most vocal parents who claims her son’s autism symptoms improved when she switched his diet.
Read the article…
Dogtor J’s Comment: Why Gluten-free diets should and do improve autistic behavior
As many of you know, I am a big advocate of gluten-free, casein-free diets for any neurological disorder. Celiac research has shown that the brain is the most negatively affected organ in our body – other than the lining of the intestinal tract – when it comes to the damage that gluten can do to our tissues. Neurons (and the microorganisms they contain) are clearly adverse to today’s man-made gluten, which was first created 1500 years ago by our northern Germanic ancestors. This “common wheat” contains lectins from other grasses that were not in original wheat (Einkorn wheat).
These tiny glycoproteins can create inflammation and cellular dysfunction in any cell with which they come in contact, including the neurons and their supportive cells known as “glia” or glial cells. The first evidence of this came in my study of epilepsy. Celiac children who suffered from idiopathic epilepsy often experienced profound improvements in their seizure activity once placed on a gluten-free diet. I quickly proved this to be the case in canine epilepsy as well by arresting seizures in countless dogs through the elimination of gluten from their diets. I subsequently found it necessary to remove dairy, soy and corn to insure success and speed recovery. The results of my GARD (diet) were astounding to say the least.
Gluten Tied to Other Neurological Disorders
I then expanded my studies to include other serious neurological disorders, including autism, ADHD, insomnia, fibromyalgia, migraines, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative diseases (MS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s chorea, dystonia, and more). I found that celiac researchers were tying gluten to all of these conditions, both by the nutrient malabsorption syndrome that gluten was inducing in the small intestine and to the direct harm gluten and it’s components (e.g. glutamic acid and gliadomorphins) were doing to neurons.
Yes, celiac disease has recently been directly linked to schizophrenia. Psychologists in Germany suspected this connection back in the 80’s when they observed that institutionalized schizophrenics often stopped eating…and got better as a result! But in the last couple of years, the link between gluten and this serious disorder has become much more solid. The neurons – with their myriad of viruses, many of which are embedded in the very DNA – react strongly to the presence of today’s gluten. There appears to be no limit to gluten’s effects on the central nervous system.
The Food Opioids
As if the lectins of gluten don’t do enough harm by creating inflammation, there are also “uppers” and “downers” that are released during the individual’s attempt to digest this grass we call “common wheat”. The uppers come in the form of glutamic acid, a neurostimulating amino acid and the parent protein in MSG (monosodium glutamate), a known neurotoxin. MSG’s use as a flavor enhancer tells us all that we need to know. Monosodium glutamate stimulates the nerves in the taste buds, thereby making them more sensitive to the taste of foods passing over them. But what happens when the blood levels of MSG hit the brain? Those with epilepsy, fibromyalgia and migraines can tell you. They run from MSG like they would the plague and create Websites to help others do the same.
Thankfully, there is also a downer released during the digestion of gluten grains called gliadomorphin. This food opioid serves to suppress neurons and make them less sensitive to the stimulating effects of the “excitotoxin”, glutamate. In fact, the “downers” hit the brain first – in about 30 minutes – and the uppers follow about 4-5 hours later. This is the classic pattern experienced by “insomniacs” and individuals suffering from clinical ADHD . First comes the post-meal depression, which we fight off with caffeinated beverages, followed by the hyperactive phase, which manifests as the “insomniac” waking up like a shot at 1-2 AM or the ADHD child creating so much havoc in the afternoon (after their horrific school lunch) that the parents feel compelled to take them to a psychiatrist and have drugs prescribed. This occurs like clockwork.
Epilepsy – The Parallel
This pattern in mimicked in the epileptic individual with the classic meal-to-seizure interval being 4-6 hours in the un-medicated epileptic patient. Those on anticonvulsants will usually lose sight of this pattern but some can still see some semblance of this interval when it is pointed out to them. This pattern is heightened at night when the uppers from dinner…and dessert…hit the brain just about the time that the our brain’s serotonin, which moderates seizures, mood, pain and appetite, reaches its trough. No wonder epilepsy often strikes first at night, just like night terrors, fibro pain, and midnight raids on the refrigerator.
Gluten Is not Alone!
The bad news is that gluten is not alone in the havoc that foods can wreak on the neurological system. Casein from cow milk is fully capable of doing every bit of gluten’s harm…and more. The food opioid in cow milk – beta casomorphin-7 (BCM7) – has recently been shown to be 10 times more powerful than morphine. Now you know why warm milk has been used for years as a sleep aid.
It is absurd – totally and utterly absurd – for a study such as the one above to suggest that gluten-free, casein free diets have “no effect” on autistic behavior unless the individuals they studied either: a) did not follow the elimination diet correctly; b) were horribly afflicted with other food intolerances (e.g. soy and corn, which can also be neurotoxic); c) were so heavily medicated that changes could not be quantified; or d) were the ‘worst of the worst” cases, in which more time would be required for them to respond appropriately. Research tells us that it can take a full year for the brain to recover from the long-term effects of the excitotoxins (glutamate and aspartame) and food opioids (gliadomorphins and casomorphins).
Thankfully, the response to gluten-free, casein-free diets in the autistic, epileptic, and clinically depressed individual is usually much faster than even the 4-week period cited in the study. I felt phenomenally better after just 4 days of being gluten-free and most of the people suffering from depression or chronic fatigue who write to me after employing a GFCF diet report the same. I now have testimonials from mothers of autistic children who saw their child come to life in less than two weeks on the elimination diet. Many also report dramatic reversals in this improvement when even the smallest of dietary mistakes are made.
Questioning the Study
So…I must ask: How was this study performed? How closely were these patients monitored? What did their diets consist of and were the parents informed of the hidden sources of gluten and casein in prepared foods?
Sadly, the autistic child represents a worst case scenario. Although autism is a spectrum disorder like most other conditions that afflict man and his companion animals, those with a definitive diagnosis of autism – and the ones they are likely to include in any medical study – are in that group I call “the worst of the worst”. Their brains are clearly the most afflicted and their symptoms (often including seizures) suggest that they are clinically malnourished, their immune systems are weakened, their tolerance for vaccines is compromised, and their brains are saturated with food opioids, the latter being supported by their common addiction to wheat and dairy products.
The Role of Food Intolerance
All of these signs support food intolerance as being one of the underlying factors – if not the underlying factor – in the development of this all-too-common, life-altering and heartbreaking condition. Gluten intolerance, et al damage the intestine’s ability to absorb vital nutrients (e.g. B complex, C, D3, calcium, iron, iodine, minerals, fats/omega-3 fatty acids, essential sugars, proteins, and more) which opens the door for immune incompetence, enzyme system dysfunction, tissue degradation, and ultimately immune failure. Yes, all roads do lead to Rome, with the small intestine being the capital of our state of health. Many of those in Eastern medicine would disagree, citing the liver as the center of our medical universe. But I beg to differ: The liver is totally dependent upon the nutrients being absorbed by the small intestine.
The Process Begins Before Birth
This degenerative process begin in utero. Yes, we are born fully-formed, just not fully-developed. Every organ, bone, muscle and tendon is created before the infant leaves the womb, including the brain. The hot topic in celiac circles should be – and is rapidly becoming – the prenatal effects of food intolerance. What if the developing child is gluten intolerant (which they have at least a 40% chance of being if one parent suffers from the condition) and the mother is consuming gluten-containing foods? Think of all the foods made from wheat, which makes up about 30% of the calories in the American diet. Now consider the fact that dairy products do the same amount of harm – if not more. Now…think of the cravings that the mother experiences while pregnant and of the foods she consumes to satisfy those cravings. Unfortunately, the mother does not experience many of the problems associated with those foods because she has tremendous levels of progesterone – the most powerful anti-inflammatory our body makes – coursing tough her veins. But, when the baby is born and those levels drop, very bad things can happen, including post partum depression.
In the meantime, what has happened to the newborn child? Can you now imagine the potential damage done to that delicate fetus while the mother was pounding down the ice cream, cookies, corn chips and diet drinks (with aspartame, a known neurotoxin)? What about the immediate post-natal period as these proteins are passing directly into the breast milk? Did you know that mother’s first milk is loaded with sialic acid, an essential sugar that helps to protect the brain from insults such as those from food lectins and impending infectious agents, such as viruses and bacteria. What happens when cow milk or soy formulas are used during the first five days of life before the “protective coating” can be placed on the brain and other organs? Well, we know that children who get cow milk in the first five days of life have a 40-50 times higher rate of type-1 diabetes. There is our warning sign. What are cow milk, wheat, soy and corn proteins doing to the brain, brainstem and spinal cord? Why is MS before age 18 so much more devastating?
I firmly believe that autism often starts before the child is born. These poor children are born compromised in many ways – neurologically, nutritionally and immunologically. We then hit them with childhood inoculations, which clearly push many of these children over the edge. Yes, vaccines cannot be the “cause” of autism if so many kids are successfully vaccinated without (measurable) incident. But the modified live viruses and adjuvants (potentiating chemicals) in the vaccines are more than enough to take a compromised individual and push them into the abyss. It happens with staggering regularity. The controversy is easily resolved when we stop using definitive words like “cause” and apply the proper term – trigger.
Vaccines, Toxins, and Lectins – A Bad Mix
Modified live vaccines, mercury, fluoride and gluten have one big thing in common: These are all major triggers of disease symptoms. The microorganisms (viruses and pleomorphic bacteria) living in and around our cells do not like it when we bombard them with toxins, carcinogens, man-made viruses and food lectins originating from man-cultivated, GMO-riddled crops (common wheat, corn and soy) and other bad food choices (e.g. cow’s milk rather than that from goat’s trans fats, excessive sugar, and meats from scavengers). We have brought most disease on ourselves through these and other bad decisions, most of which are downright insane in hind sight (e.g. cigarette smoking).
The Good News!
The good news? We are now acutely aware of these mistakes – at least some are – and we are now equipped to correct them. That is why my blood boils when I read an article like the one in question that sets us back light-years from our current position, which has taken decades to attain through the exhaustive efforts of the wise minority of researchers who still know how to think for themselves. A major upswing in our knowledge of gluten intolerance began in the 80’s as did our understanding of the harm being done by “nature’s perfect food”. Dr. Frank Oski, former Chief of Pediatrics of Johns Hopkins University, wrote his book Don’t Drink Your Milk during this period in which he tied cow’s milk to everything from atherosclerosis to leukemia. Where is that book now? Actually, it’s on Amazon.com. Please read it! Another great book is Dangerous Grains, by Drs. James Braly and Ron Hoggan, Ron being a true pioneer in the celiac world. Websites like www.gfcfdiet.com have been cataloging testimonials from mothers who have been successfully employing gluten-free, casein-free diets in their children’s autism, ADHD and epilepsy for years. Grab a box of tissues and click on their Success Stories. Many of these medical sagas are real tear-jerkers.
As a result of the efforts made by researchers, authors and consumer advocates, we are no longer in the dark ages of medicine. We understand the harm that gluten, casein, corn and soy protein can do. It should be no mystery why I call them “the four horsemen of the apocalypse”. But it still seems to be one for many in the medical profession and those who report their “findings”.