Food sensitivities and food allergies are a growing problem. These food sensitivities are impacting the brains of children and adults. Research shows the most common food sensitivities are: gluten, dairy, corn, sugar and artificial sweeteners. These foods are negatively impacting brain health everywhere.
The Center for Celiac Research conducted a study of gluten allergies because they had noticed a critical increase of patients with a variety of symptoms that increased significantly over time. These patients exhibited symptoms of Celiac Disease but testing continued to be negative. These patients continued to return with the same symptoms. Many patients began gluten-free diets and their symptoms improved. They reached the conclusion that though this group of people did not have celiac disease, their symptoms were related to the disease (Fasano 2012).
The researchers discovered that one of the culprits for this phenomenon was related to agricultural changes in wheat. Centuries ago gluten grains did not exist. Wheat, triticale, rye and barley are new grains that have been introduced to our modern diet. Our bodies have not evolved in order to digest them properly. In recent years the protein content in modern wheat has increased significantly and 14% of dry wheat is gluten. This amount of gluten is high. This phenomenon is happening because more gluten gives food desirable characteristics that look appetizing and delicious (Fasano 2012).
There is a significant connection between brain function and gluten. People with gluten sensitivity exhibit symptoms of gas, bloating, pain, constipation and diarrhea. The interesting fact is that the brain could be impacted at a molecular level even with out any digestive symptoms (Perlmutter 2013). Degenerative brain disorders are linked to inflammation and oxidative stress. In recent years, they have discovered the exact triggers of this inflammation. The research shows that high carbohydrate diet and gluten stimulate the inflammatory pathways that reaches the brain (Perlmutter 2013). Gluten sensitivity is caused by elevated levels of antibodies against a protein found in gluten. The protein known as gliadin combined with the antibody anti-gliadin when people eat food containing gluten. As a result of this reaction, specific genes are turned on. These genes then cause inflammatory chemicals are created called cytokines. Cytokines directly cause damage and impact brain function. The brain does not like inflammation thus, it responds negatively to cytokines. This phenomenon of turning on genes that negatively impact brain health and function (Perlmutter 2011). This connection between gluten sensitivity and the brain has been studied for the past decade.
According to Dr. Maios Hadjivassiliou of the United Kingdom, a recognized world authority on gluten sensitivity: “gluten sensitivity can be primarily and at times, exclusively a neurological disease.” People can manifest gluten sensitivity by having issues with brain function without any gastrointestinal symptoms at all. Dr. Hadjivassiliou indicates that the antibodies that a person has when they are gluten sensitive can be directlyand uniquely toxic to the brain (1996). Since his original investigations in 1996, there has been an explosion of scientific papers describing this relationship between gluten sensitivity and brain disorders. Researchers in Israel have noted neurological problems in 51% of children with gluten sensitivity. They also describe a link between gluten sensitivity and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As authors in a recent issue of the journal, Pediatrics, stated in their research, “This study suggests that the variability of neurologic disorders that occur in celiac disease is broader than previously reported and includes softer and more common neurologic disorders including chronic headache, developmental delay, hypotonia and learning disorders or ADHD”(Pediatrics 2004).
These research findings pose an interesting problem in a society bombarded by processed foods and gluten filled products. There is a significant need for education and advocacy throughout the community. The key to health prevention and wellness is knowledge. Knowledge gives people to power to make decisions that can improve their health and wellness. The incidence of health issues, developmental delays, Autism and a multitude of diseases continues to multiply every day. The most interesting part of this phenomenon for me, is that Maria found it through research and I found it through my own health crisis. This phenomenon impacted my health from the beginning of my life until my adult autoimmune crisis. The significance of my food allergies and sensitivities as a child was never really addressed. I continued to live a life eating foods filled with corn, diary, sugar, gluten and artificial ingredients. As a child, my symptoms were abdominal pain, constipation, anxiety, fatigue, attention issues and learning disability. As a teen, my symptoms were migraines, IBS, constipation, abdominal pain, severe cramps, anxiety, brain fog, fatigue and attention issues. These symptoms multiplied and worsened into adulthood until my eventual autoimmune crisis. Thus, research and my own experiences, truly show the significant impact a relationship between autoimmune conditions and gluten sensitivity. The impact of gluten sensitivity on our brains and bodies is significant. The phenomenon should not be taken lightheartedly, knowledge is power, take action and advocate for your health. Schedule a Free Consultation to learn how to fight back. Click the Brain and watch the Presentation, Today.