Grain Brain, Wheat Belly

I hope you enjoyed the long weekend. I went to Rye for the weekend with Harry (my husband) and a couple of friends. It was lovely and relaxing and I must admit, as much as I love my work, I could have happily stayed there for the week or two. I’m not really sure whether I would prefer a Sea Change or Tree Change in my retirement but I guess I’ve got a couple more years to think about it.

On the drive down to Rye I was listening to an interview with Dr Tom O’Bryan. Dr O’Bryan is a Chiropractor and taught at the Institute of Functional Medicine. He also ran The Gluten Summit which is an online series of interviews with leading authorities on cealiac disease and gluten intolerance and sensitivity. According to Dr O’Bryan the human digestive system CANNOT digest gluten. It’s broken down to some extent but one of the indigestible proteins in gluten is called gliadin.

In the 1960s high yield wheat that was invented and it’s been used by virtually all wheat farmers since 1985. There’s far more gliadin in this high yield wheat. One of the particles (a polypeptide) that gliadin is broken down into actually crosses the blood brain barrier and binds to the opiate receptors in the brain. According to Dr William Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, this does two things: it stimulates the appetite (ie. gives you the munchies) and it creates an addiction to gluten. It can also cause behavioural changes, such as behavioural outbursts, inattention in children with ADHD and autism, even hearing voices, social detachment in schizophrenics and the mania of bipolar illness which is all a bit scary. It makes you wonder about the role wheat plays in the increase in obesity and mental health issues doesn’t it? Dr Davis says that people who eat gluten consume an average of 400 calories a day more who those that don’t.

Now back to Dr O’Bryan. He says that for all of us gliadin irritates the gut wall for about five hours after consuming anything containing gluten. When we continue to eat gluten, meal after meal we continue that irritation. If that goes on for long enough the gut wall becomes inflamed and permeable. Undigested particles of food can then enter the bloodsteam.

The immune system is then mobilised to attack those foreign particles in the bloodstream and just like with immunizations, once the immune system learns to attack that particular molecule it remembers and repeats the attack whenever that molecule present in the body. This can then create multiple allergies and inflammation throughout the whole body and the immune system over-reacts.

The other thing that can happen is that the antibodies to gliadin can attach to and attack the nervous system contributing to brain and other neurological disorders. Dr David Perlmutter is a Neurologist who wrote Grain Brain. Interestingly enough, one of the first things he does with his patients is to get them off gluten.

Now, there are many different autoimmune diseases which affect different body systems. These different diseases are typically treated by different specialists. Someone with Eczema or Psoriasis will see a Dermatologist, someone with Multiple Sclerosis will see a Neurologist, someone with Arthritis or Fibromyalgia will see a Rheumatology and someone with will Ulcerative Colitis will see a Gastroenterologist. These specialists all treat the disease they’re confronted with from their own unique perspective but they rarely look at the big picture.

Although these conditions all appear different when you take a close look at the underlying cause three things have to be present for any autoimmune disease to develop. Those three things are: 1/ A genetic vulnerability to that condition 2/ An environmental trigger (eg Gluten, toxins or a major stress) and 3/ Intestinal permeability or “Leaky Gut Syndrome”

Apparently, in the US, autoimmune disease is the third leading cause of death but…. “You can arrest the development of autoimmune disease by healing the gut.” (Dr Tom O’Bryan, The Evolution of Medicine Summit.) At Simply Natural Therapies we’ve also found that you can often reverse the symptoms of autoimmune disease when you heal the gut.

Whether you have a health issue or not, I suggest you try going gluten free for three weeks and see how you feel. Wheat, barley and rye all contain gluten so you might like to get creative with your diet and let me know how you go.

Our Naturopath, Anna Talaj, specialises in gut health and is always happy to chat about your health concerns. She’s available on Tuesdays and Wednesday for a free 15 minute consultation to determine whether leaky gut could be an issue for you.

And remember I always love your feedback on these newsletters. You can send a reply email anytime. Thank you so much to those who replied last week.

Have a great week,

Warm Regards,
Alison Burton
pioneering the future of healthcare

Simply Natural Therapies
41 Tunstall Square
East Doncaster
VIC 3109
03 9842 7033