I recently read the book “Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health. By Dr. William Davis.
Dr. Davis is a cardiologist and describes the benefit of removing wheat from the diets of several of his patients. In these cases the patients lost weight but also have profound improvements in their cardiovascular risk—which was demonstrated by much improved lipid profiles.
Above and beyond the case studies Dr. Davis makes a compelling argument for elimination of wheat from the diet. The two take away points that I am likely not to forget are: 1. Wheat today is not like wheat from even fifty years ago. Through hybridization (mostly) and genetic modification (plus or minus) the protein component of wheat has changed dramatically; and, 2. The wheat of today has two properties that “ancient” or non-modified wheat does not. Property 1—Even supposedly healthy whole wheat bread made from today’s wheat increases blood sugar, and therefore insulin, to a larger degree than even table sugar—ie, it has a higher glycemic index. Property 2—the protein of today’s wheat contains molecules referred to as “exorphins.” Similar to endorphins, molecules produced by your own body in response to exercise or other positive stimuli, these molecules bind to opiate receptors in your brain and essentially create an addictive desire for more exorphins (from wheat).
In addition to the two points above, Dr. Davis argues that even if you do not have an overt, obvious gluten allergy as in people with diagnosed Celiac disease, there is likely a spectrum of gluten intolerance and if you are somewhere on the sensitive side of the spectrum you may benefit from avoiding wheat.
In the two weeks that I have been off wheat I have lost 6 lbs and my bowel movements have been wonderful!
Reading the book sparked my interest enough to do a quick Medline search. This new article which supports Dr. Davis’ hypothesis that more people are sensitive to wheat than just those with Celiac disease came up: Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity Diagnosed by Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Challenge: Exploring a New Clinical Entity. And this article about the connection between gut inflammation and schizophrenia: Gastrointestinal inflammation and associated immune activation in schizophrenia.
Note to self: Finish inflammatory cytokine/schizophrenia post.
I bought the Kindle edition of the book for 9.45. Link is here: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
Related article co-authored by my father, Hugh Riordan. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999.
Neil Riordan October 10, 2012
Following is a protocol that I originally sent to a mutual friend who had asked if I knew of anything to help with migraine headaches. Since then I have added to the text and several people have followed the recommendations and have decreased the incidence of, or completely eliminated migraines.
Magnesium chloride, 500 mg, three times per day–if your stools get too loose, you may want to lower dosage to twice per day, or use 300 mg tablets—magnesium is mother nature’s calcium channel blocker, and can compete with calcium running through the ion channels which cause the initial spasm of the blood vessels; Zinc, 25-30 mg, one time per day, with food–zinc helps the magnesium out;
B-Complex, a B-50 supplement, one time per day, preferably in the morning after breakfast—B-6 is important for magnesium metabolism, B2 by itself has shown usefulness in migraine prevention. The B vitamins tend to work together; Vitamin C, if you don’t take it already, 2000 mg twice per day—It helps to stabilize mast cell membranes, and helps with constipation;
Flax seed oil, 4, 1000 mg capsules, twice per day—has a lot of omega 3 fatty acids which are precursors to anti-inflammatory prostaglandins—migraines begin with inflammation.
I haven’t had a migraine for more that 20 years after taking these supplements. I would think you should see some improvement in a few weeks. Don’t expect rapid drug effects—you are trying to build up a reserve of these nutrients so when you have a triggering event, it won’t spill over into a full-blown migraine.
One other thought—you may have a triggering food—I once saw a guy who drank liters of tea a day—when we tested his white blood cells’ reaction to tea it was off the charts—when he quit the tea, he didn’t have another migraine. In an article in the Lancet from 1979, common allergens in migraine patients were: “wheat (78%), orange (65%), eggs (45%), tea and coffee (40% each), chocolate and milk (37%) each), beef (35%), and corn, cane sugar, and yeast (33% each).”
It’s a complex problem and I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I hope these suggestions may help.
Neil Riordan October 10, 2012