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Interesting Article On Gluten/casein Sensitivity

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I found this article...kind of thought-provoking overall. After reading the info on celiac and Ireland, and also the link the schizophrenia, I have to wonder about my father in law, who was Irish and schizophrenic.

_________

One of the deep mysteries of our time is the question of why, with living standards higher than ever before in history, so many people in the “developed” world are disabled by chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, ADD, autism, irritable bowl syndrome, psoriasis, hyperactivity and related disorders. The numbers are startling, showing significant jumps, for example, in depression for each age cohort born after World War II.

Americans now in their seventies came of age during the Great Depression and World War II, with great attendant social and emotional trauma. But they had very few depressive illnesses. Baby boomers, born to great prosperity and opportunity, suffered so much affective disorder that their ill fated attempts to live better through chemistry launched a drug culture. And Gen-X’ers (as the boomers’ children call themselves) have taken depressive and affective disorders exponential.

Hyperactivity is a disorder not yet 30 years old, but already some 20% or more of school children are deemed to have it. “Chronic fatigue syndrome” came into being right alongside “yuppie”, (remember it used to be the yuppie flu?) in the 1980’s. And ADD is really a 90’s thing. It would be nice to think that Ciba Geigy created it in order to sell Ritalin, but unfortunately that’s hardly the case. A lot of kids and grownups are seriously afflicted with “brain fog.”

An intriguing new theory on the cause of this epidemic of misery implicates evolutionary biology, modern medical miracles and industrialized food production. In its essence the theory proposes that, for very complex reasons, our basic foodstuffs may be slowly poisoning us.

Casein and gluten, proteins in milk and grain, have a strikingly similar molecular structure. Research underway at university medical centers worldwide indicates that certain individuals, particularly those from Ireland, and Scotland, and their descendants in places like Canada, may be so sensitive to these compounds that dietary overloads can damage the digestive tract and, eventually, the central nervous system.

Dietary gluten is already recognized as the cause of celiac disease. But new research points to gluten intolerance as a possible causative agent of schizophrenia, autism, multiple sclerosis and depression. Dr. Kalle Reichelt of the Institute of Pediatric Research at the University of Oslo in Norway cited over 200 international scholarly sources in a 1996 paper advancing the theory that schizophrenia and related affective disorders are caused by “food constituents (gluten and casein) (that) may have disease-promoting effects and cause behavioral changes.”

The theory originated in the 1960’s with an American, Dr. Curtis Dohan. He put schizophrenics on gluten-free, casein free diets under double blind conditions and got dramatic results. Many of his patients were able to return home from locked mental hospital wards.

Later studies provided conflicting information, but Dohan, who began his investigations because he knew of mental disturbance in celiac disease, argued that other researchers gave up too soon. Because damaged intestinal mucosa must be given time to heal, Dohan said, the diet should be maintained for at least six months before results are assessed.

Reichelt, in Norway, has recently used new methodology to validate Dohan’s theory. Reichelt achieved dramatic learning and behavior improvements in autistic children with a gluten-casein free diet.

According to Reichelt and others, individuals who lack the ability to completely digest gluten and casein end up with errant biologically active peptides in the intestine and the bloodstream. These peptides damage the intestinal wall, setting the stage for food allergies and malabsorption/ malnutrition syndromes. Stress and other factors play various roles, but some gluten and casein peptides get through the blood brain-barrier and disrupt normal brain function.

Reichelt and others found incompletely digested proteins in the urine of children with behavioral disorders. Apparently these “nasty proteins”, gluten and casein, are “opioids”, similar to morphine. They cause havoc in the brain by competing for endorphin (read “feel good”) receptors.

The body responds to these “foreign invaders” as if they were viral, with an inflammatory response, according to the theory. But there is no virus, so the body attacks itself. Over time the central nervous system is damaged, possibly setting the stage for degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis. How does this become a disease of modern civilization?

Rice, millet, sorghum, tubers and corn, the foods of the third world, do not contain gluten. But industrialized societies, in the late 20th century, consume primarily wheat, a gluten-containing grain. The practice of cultivating gluten grains (wheat, barley, oats, and rye) began 10,000 years ago in the Middle East and slowly spread through Europe, finally reaching Ireland in 3000 BC. Even today, high rates of celiac disease and schizophrenia in western Ireland hint that many have not fully adapted to glutens.

And, over the past 200 years, humans have fiddled with genetic selection of wheat, greatly enriching its gluten content. Today 50% of the protein in wheat is gluten, a characteristic that facilitates bread baking and adapts the grain well to cultivation and harvesting. Is this a cautionary tale about the unexpected consequences of genetically engineered foods?

Reichelt feels that our diverse modern diet, which relies less on grain than it did even 100 years ago (remember porridge?) results in slow degenerative diseases in sensitive individuals. Chronic depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, ADD, hyperactivity, and other “affective disorders”, may be mixed or hybrid forms, “subsets” of the major neurological disturbances that researchers identify with gluten-casein sensitivity.

But why the sudden “ramping up” of diseases like depression in the past 50 years? Maybe the infection-prone babies whose lives were saved by antibiotics since World War II became the depressed, fatigued and anxious adults of the 90’s. If gluten/casein sensitivity was the underlying cause of a child’s immune problems, one could theorize that it might underly later bouts of depression, ADD, hyperactivity, etc. Today’s senior citizens, on the other hand, survived a time when, typically, vulnerable babies didn’t make it to adulthood.

Perhaps 25 years from now people will say; “Can you imagine, they had no idea that wheat and milk could affect brain function? And all those people sleeping on their streets and filling up their prisons!” It seems foolish… but, then,… it wasn’t so long ago that germ theory and handwashing emerged to save the lives of millions of women who otherwise would have died in childbirth.

THE GLUTEN & DAIRY FREE DIET

DON’T EAT

Cow’s milk in any form….no cheese, no milk, no yogurt, no ice cream, no butter. What you are doing here is avoiding casein, the protein in cow’s milk…lactose free products don’t address the problem of casein intolerance. The one exception to this rule found is ghee or clarified butter. Because the process involved in making ghee, which is clarified butter, involves removing the milk proteins, it appears that this form of butter is acceptable. It is probably a healthier food than hydrogenated margarines, so this has been good news.

ALSO DON’T EAT

Gluten in any form…this means anything made from the gluten grains, wheat rye, oats and barley. Also no kamut, spelt, as these are also gluten grains. This rules out most commercial breads, pastas and most commercial baked goods. Also Chinese noodles and anything that is breaded (like “fish n’ chips” ) before frying are gluten foods. But rice pasta is great…most Thai food is O.K. because their cuisine emphasizes rice noodles Hidden glutens occur in imitation crab (as in California roll sushi), in soy sauce (substitute wheat free tamari sauce), in packaged foods containing hydrolyzed vegetable protein and malt extracts (Sorry, this includes beer).

O.K. TO EAT

All fruits

All vegetables

All eggs

All meats

All fish

All beans

Corn

Rice

Potatoes

Quinoa

Buckwheat

Amaranth

Coffee, tea, wine, brandy

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How do I know if I'm casein intolerant? I've been going on and off the dairy for a few weeks now and have not noticed any major changes, if any at all.....but on the other hand, I don't want to be sacrificing my immune system only sticking to the gluten free diet but eating casein! I'm kind of scared here because I've had SEVERE depression before, and if casein can cause that, and I'm sensitive to it, then I'll def. stay away from it. But if it doesn't affect me like the gluten, then I don't want to deprive myself more than I already am! My cravings for dairy are insane when I go off of it and I end up overeating everything else! Any advice?

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How do I know if I'm casein intolerant? I've been going on and off the dairy for a few weeks now and have not noticed any major changes, if any at all.....but on the other hand, I don't want to be sacrificing my immune system only sticking to the gluten free diet but eating casein! I'm kind of scared here because I've had SEVERE depression before, and if casein can cause that, and I'm sensitive to it, then I'll def. stay away from it. But if it doesn't affect me like the gluten, then I don't want to deprive myself more than I already am! My cravings for dairy are insane when I go off of it and I end up overeating everything else! Any advice?

I've read that you crave the foods you are intolerant and/or allergic to. Maybe you could try to remain completely 100% casein free for atleast a month (maybe longer) and then reintroduce it and see if you notice any differences. I think it's hard to tell what's really happening when you go on and off it - I believe you need to stay CF for a pretty significant amount of time for a self diagnosis to work (that's my experience anyway). Your cravings might subside once the casein has completely left your system. Maybe you could try Enterolab if you're still unsure?

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I wonder if the high rate of food intolerances is because there was a period where doctors were encouraging women to NOT breastfeed. In fact, my own mother didn't breastfeed any of us because doctors were telling them that formula was healthier. *sigh*

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I found this article...kind of thought-provoking overall. After reading the info on celiac and Ireland, and also the link the schizophrenia, I have to wonder about my father in law, who was Irish and schizophrenic.

Carole,

A very interesting article. Could you please post it's source? Thanks.

George

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I found this article...kind of thought-provoking overall. After reading the info on celiac and Ireland, and also the link the schizophrenia, I have to wonder about my father in law, who was Irish and schizophrenic.

_________

Thanks for this post. Did you get it from the internet? If so do you have a URL for it? Thanks. Claire

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How do I know if I'm casein intolerant? I've been going on and off the dairy for a few weeks now and have not noticed any major changes, if any at all.....but on the other hand, I don't want to be sacrificing my immune system only sticking to the gluten free diet but eating casein! I'm kind of scared here because I've had SEVERE depression before, and if casein can cause that, and I'm sensitive to it, then I'll def. stay away from it. But if it doesn't affect me like the gluten, then I don't want to deprive myself more than I already am! My cravings for dairy are insane when I go off of it and I end up overeating everything else! Any advice?

Well, my feeling from my own experience was that I had major and identifiable trouble with dairy my entire life. So finding out I was casein intolerant wasn't a surprise. If you don't have symptoms, it may not be an issue for you. It's not for everyone. My mom had the worse possible, classic case of celiac and nearly died before she was diagnosed....and she does not appear to have any problems whatsoever with dairy and never has.

As for testing, you can get it done via Enterolab. I did their complete panel which tested not only the genes, but the celiac/gluten sensitivity, and also for casein thrown in as well. I believe you can do the casein one separately, too. You'd have to check with Enterolab.

Carole

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