Janet was diagnosed with manic depression at the age of 15. At times she would become completely hyperactive and manic, and at other times become completely depressed. She was put on three drugs – Lithium, Tegretol and Zirtek. These helped control the severity of her manic phases, but she was still frequently depressed and anxious. Two years later she consulted a nutrition counselor who found she was deficient in many nutrients, especially zinc, and allergic to wheat. As soon as her nutrient deficiencies were corrected and she stopped eating wheat her health rapidly improved. She was able to stop all medication and, provided she stays off wheat, no longer gets depressed. She is now doing her final degree exams and continues to feel good and achieve well. However, if she has any wheat, even inadvertently in a sauce, she becomes depressed, confused, forgetful and anxious for 3 to 4 days. Her manic phases, however, have never returned. The idea that food affects the mind is an alien concept to many people. But since the brain is perhaps the most delicate organ of the body, using sometimes as much as 30% of all the energy we derive from food, this should be no surprise. Allergies to food can upset levels of hormones and other key chemicals in the brain, resulting in symptoms ranging from depression to schizophrenia.
Eating Foods to Get High?
The knowledge that allergy to foods and chemicals can adversely affect moods and behavior in susceptible individuals has been known for a very long time. Early reports, as well as current research, have found that allergies can affect any system of the body, including the central nervous system. They can cause a diversity of symptoms including fatigue, slowed thought processes, irritability, agitation, aggressive behavior, nervousness, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, hyperactivity and varied learning disabilities. Food intolerance, lack of absorption of food and relief with fasting are three key pointers to the food-allergic patient. These patients usually have a low blood histamine, a fast pulse and food idiosyncrasies which may be expressed as strong likes and dislikes. Favorite foods are often the offending foods so the patients is like an addict, eating the offending food to obtain a psychiatric high.
Children – Behavior and Food Allergies
The allergic child may suffer from the so-called ‘allergic-tension-fatigue syndrome’ described by Dr. Frederic Speer in 1954 [x], which results in irritability, hyperactivity and impaired concentration, thus adversely affecting school performance. The most convincing evidence that this is indeed so, comes from a well conducted double-blind, placebo controlled crossover trial by Dr Egger and his team who studied 76 hyperactive children to find out whether diet can contribute to behavioral disorders. The results showed that 79% of the children tested reacted adversely to artificial food colorants and preservatives, primarily to tartrazine and benzoic acid, which produced a marked deterioration in their behavior. However no child reacted to these alone. In fact 48 different foods were found to produce symptoms among the children tested. For example 64% reacted to cow’s milk, 59% to chocolate, 49% to wheat, 45% to oranges, 39 to eggs, 32% to peanuts, and 16% to sugar. Interestingly enough it was not only the children’s behavior which improved after the individual dietary modification. Most of the associated symptoms also improved considerably, such as headaches, fits, abdominal discomfort, chronic rhinitis, aches in limbs, skin rashes and mouth ulcers. Another similar double-blind controlled food trial by Dr Egger and his team was conducted on 88 children suffering from frequent migraines. As before, most children reacted to several foods/chemicals. However the following foods/chemicals were found to be most prevalent: cows milk provoked symptoms in 27 children, egg in 24, chocolate in 22, both oranges and wheat in 21, benzoic acid in 14 and tartrazine in 12. Yet again, interestingly enough, after dietary modification, not only migraine improved but also associated physical disorders such as abdominal pain, muscle aches, fits, rhinitis, recurrent mouth ulcers, asthma, eczema, as well as a variety of behavioral disorders. While food dyes or additives may cause the symptoms, the most commonly implicated types of food are milk, wheat, egg, beef, corn, cane sugar and chocolate. A similar syndrome in adults has been called simply ‘cerebral allergy’. The allergy often appears in a masked form, in which the individual actually feels better after ingesting a favorite food. However, in a variable number of hours a severe let-down occurs and the patient experiences symptoms which may be diffuse and non-specific and often include headache, depression, nasal stuffiness and sleepiness.
Allergies Run in Families
Allergy runs in families and so does cerebral allergy. The allergic diseases have many presenting symptoms and common names so that the infant who cannot tolerate cow’s or goat milk may be starting a life long fight against allergies called colic, eczema or croup. Lack of breastfeeding may predispose the infant to allergies because the infant does not get the needed immune bodies from the mother. Colic may progress into coeliac disease wherein the food goes through the intestinal tract unchanged. If a sample of the intestinal wall is studied, it can be seen that the finger-like villi that absorb the food are missing and the intestinal wall is smooth and scarred. Asthma may occur and alternate with the other allergic diseases. Children eating food dyes or food naturally high in salicylates may develop hyperactivity.
Do you have cerebral allergies?
Do you have disperceptions and
- A history of infantile colic
- A history of infantile eczema
- A history of coeliac disease (malabsorption)
- A history of asthma, rashes or hay fever
- Favorite daily foods
- Excessive daily mood swings
- Frequent rapid colds
- Seasonal allergies
- Relief of symptoms with fasting
- Intolerance to foods such as wheat or milk.
If a majority of the above apply you may benefit from:
- Methionine, 500mg, am and pm
- Calcium 500mg, am and pm
- Zinc 15mg, am and pm
- Manganese 10mg , am and pm
- B6 adequate for dream recall (no more than 1,000mg)
- Vitamin C, 1000-2000mg, am and pm
- plus a basic supplement program…
GFS would like to recognize and thank our guest author – Patrick Holford.
2 thoughts on “Are Food Allergies Affecting Your Brain Part 1?”
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you are such a wonder here ! blessing to you for a great holiday! I still eat turkey that saved my life for food that would agree with me. I keep taking this to my doctor that they do not understand nor believe ! I am down with pain and cannot tell you ? I am trying to get off all sugar I am looking for a functional medicine here in my town of roseville cal 95678