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Are Gluten and Dairy Physically Addictive?
Celiac.com 11/01/2013 - Dairy and gluten contain "opioid peptides," that belong to the same family as opium. Dairy products contain small amounts of casomorphin, while gluten contains small amounts of gluten exorphin, and gliadorphin/gluteomorphin.
When peptides from either gluten or casein react with opiate receptors in the brain, they produce effects similar to opiate drugs, such as heroin and morphine, albeit on a much more subtle level.
These receptors influence the part of the brain involved with speech and auditory integration, which means this part of the brain can cause addiction to foods, spacing out or having foggy brain, migraines/headaches, sleepiness, chronic fatigue, aggressive behavior, moodiness, anxiety, depression, and high tolerance to pain.
Little research exists on the potentially addictive qualities of gluten and dairy. However, there is plenty of research to back up how a gluten-free and casein-free diet can help improve those who suffer from ADHD, depression, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Many people first beginning a gluten-free and casein-free diet experience withdrawal symptoms, many experience powerful cravings. People can get cranky and irritable, and even pick fights and throw tantrums.
How do you know if you might be sensitive to gluten or casein?
Signs that you might be having a reaction to gluten or casein include abnormal bowel movements, either constipated or poorly formed; headaches; aggressive behavior, such as biting, hitting, pushing; inability to focus at school; erratic sleep or rising early -- before 6 a.m.
Also, if your diet is heavily wheat and dairy based, as many are, it can take up to three weeks to fully be rid of gluten and casein with no reactions.
If you think you or your child might have an allergy to gluten or casein, you should consider visiting a doctor for an IgG food allergy blood panel to see if that really is the problem. Blood tests are not 100 percent conclusive, but still a good measure.
If you're still not sure, then ditch all the gluten and dairy in the house, and try a 30-day elimination diet should help return to normal.
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Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
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