Food: This is your brain on gluten

This Is Your Brain on Gluten

The idea that gluten and carbohydrates are at the root of Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, depression, and ADHD has now reached millions of people. It is the basis of a number-one bestseller written by a respected physician. What is it worth?
I read the book ‘Wheat Belly’ by William Davis a year ago and became an instant convert. Within a few weeks, I found my energy levels at a much higher and constant level throughout my day.
Being a runner, I was initially skeptical as wheat in its many forms was a primary food fuel source for me. However, reading up on topic and actually seeing the results for myself and my energy made it clear that for me, going gluten free was the bets choice to make.
Now, this article and the book it refers to, add another dimension to the case for going gluten free. In particular, what it may be doing to our brains:

“If you could make just three simple changes in your life to prevent, or even reverse, memory loss and other brain disorders, wouldn’t you?”

So asks Dr. David Perlmutter, in promotion of his PBS special Brain Change, coming soon to your regional affiliate. Three changes. Simple ones. Wouldn’t you?

The 90-minute special is a companion to Perlmutter’s blockbuster book on how gluten and carbs are destroying our brains. In November it became a New York Times number one bestseller.

“The biggest issue by far is that carbohydrates are absolutely at the cornerstone of all of our major degenerative conditions,” he says. “That includes things like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and even cancers. What we know is that even mild elevations in blood sugar are strongly related to developing Alzheimer’s disease. That was published August 8, 2013, in the New England Journal of Medicine. Even mild elevations in blood sugar compromise brain structure and lead to shrinkage of the brain. That’s what our most well-respected, peer-reviewed journals are telling us.”
“So, we control our blood sugar based on, oddly enough, our food choices,” Perlmutter says. “Who knew? We need a low-carbohydrate diet that decreases your risk for diabetes, which will double your risk for Alzheimer’s. It’s really very straightforward. The empowering part of that is this is what our most well-respected science is telling us. It’s been kept from us. We’ve been basically told, do whatever in the heck you want. Eat whatever you like. Then you’ll have a magic pill that we’re going to develop for you to treat all of your maladies. That doesn’t exist for Alzheimer’s disease.”

I was getting twinges of conspiracy. Who is keeping this from us? I asked him if everyone should be off gluten.

Capillaries supplying blood to brain cells
(PLOS/Wikimedia)

“The gastroenterologists don’t seem to realize that gluten insensitivity far exceeds their area of focus. According to the work of Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou in England, there are a large number of people who have reactions to gluten that have absolutely nothing to do with the gastroenterologist. Manifestations can occur anywhere in the body. The work of Dr. Alessio Fasano at Harvard indicates that perhaps all humans have some negative reaction to gluten. Gluten induces this cornerstone of brain degeneration: inflammation. It causes leakiness of the blood-brain barrier.”

When Dr. Robert Lustig appeared on The Colbert Report earlier this year, he likened the toxicity of sugar to that of alcohol. Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF and the author of Fat Chance: Beating the odds against sugar, processed food, obesity, and disease . He may be most widely known for his 90-minute lecture on sugar, that has been viewed on YouTube more than 4 million times, in which he “intend[s] to debunk the last 30 years of nutrition information in America.” The villain in his narrative is fructose. He is one of the physicians Perlmutter cites for support in Grain Brain.

“There is no doubt in my mind,” Lustig told me last week, “that insulin resistance drives dementia. We have causative data in animals, and we have causative medical inference data in humans. Basically, Alzheimer’s is a metabolic syndrome of the brain.”

Read the full article here: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/12/this-is-your-brain-on-gluten/282550/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s