Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wheat - It's a Mental

Read the whole post - well worth it.
Dr. Christine Zioudrou and colleagues at the National Institutes of Mental Health got this conversation going back in 1979 with their paper, Opioid peptides derived from food proteins: The exorphins.
Exorphins are exogenously-derived peptides (i.e., short amino acid sequences obtained from outside the body) that exert morphine-like properties. Mimicking the digestive process that occurs in the gastrointestinal tract using the gastric enzyme, pepsin, and hydrochloric acid (stomach acid), Zioudrou et al isolated peptides from wheat gluten with morphine-like activity. They followed this research path because of the apparent association of wheat and mental illness.
In the bioassays used, wheat-derived exorphins competed successfully with the endogenous opiate, met-enkephalin. Interestingly, casein-derived (i.e., casein milk protein) exorphins were also identified that also displayed opiate-binding activity, though less powerfully. The morphine-like activity was also blocked by the drug, naloxone (the same stuff given to people exposed to morphine overdose).
Among the many devastating effects of celiac disease , the immune disease that develops from wheat gluten exposure, are mental and emotional effects, such as anxiety, fatigue, mental "fog," depression, bipolar illness, and schizophrenia, that disappear with removal of gluten. Many parents of autistic children also advocate wheat-free diets for similar reasons. 

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