Food Intolerance- Man and Animals versus Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Corn
This critically important health issue of food intolerance is finally coming out of the closet and into its own. But what is it and why have we not heard of it before. The former is pretty easy to understand. Grasping the answer to the latter takes some serious effort and is not for the faint of heart.
The term “food intolerance” has been applied to both immune-mediated (involving the immune system) and non-immune related disorders (eg to food additives) that result from the consumption of certain foods to which an individual is sensitive. Here is the Wikipedia definition of food intolerance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_intolerance . This is a pretty good starting point. But things are not always that clear-cut as we are finding in the study of celiac disease (gluten intolerance), the condition that catapulted me into this mission.
This site focuses on the immune-mediated forms of food intolerance, which include those reactions to gluten, casein (dairy), soy, and corn. I also now have a small section on nightshade intolerance . In my GARD diet, I emphasize the need to eliminate MSG (monosodium glutamate) and aspartate (Nutrisweet), two food additives that are neurotoxic, with some individuals having much more dramatic reactions to their consumption than others. Some would call this a food intolerance. Like many other “intolerances”, these items affect everyone negatively to some extent but produce serious reactions in those who are already in a downward spiral from others factors.
The most serious food intolerances are those to the gluten grains (wheat, barley, and rye), casein (dairy products), soy and corn, with the first three being the most common. Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) is finally making its way into the public eye. At the time of my diagnosis in the year 2000, it was considered a “rare disorder in the US, affecting less than 1:5000 Americans.” In 2006, it was declared to be one of the most common conditions in the country, with Johns Hopkins and The Mayo Clinic stating that the official number of celiacs in this country was 1:120 people. However, the unofficial number by celiac researchers is a whopping 1:30. Other papers on this site address this obvious and unsettling discrepancy.
Celiac disease, which serves very well as the example of the immune-related food intolerances, is caused by the reaction of the cells that line the intestinal tract to the presence of gluten, a sticky glycoprotein (part carb, part protein). This reaction to the lectins in gluten leads to the classic lesion of villous atrophy, the destruction of the tiny finger-like projections of the intestinal tract that are responsible for the absorption of nutrients. The main area of intestinal damage is the duodenum, that first stretch of intestine after the stomach. As the condition progresses, the next section- the jejunum- is also involved. This progression of villous damage along the length of the small intestine helps to explain the variability in symptoms among affected individuals, both in severity and age of onset.
The destruction of the intestinal villi results in a number of serious complication, including the malabsorption of essential nutrients, the entry of undesirable proteins, and the leakage of certain important elements into that damaged gut. These things are often described as the “leaky gut syndrome”.
The most important thing for the novice to grasp is the malabsorption issue. It is this part of the mechanism of food intolerance that helps people to see the potentially devastating aspects of this important health issue. The duodenum and jejunum are responsible for the absorption of the vast majority of our calcium, iron, iodine, B complex, C, and trace minerals (zinc, magnesium, boron, chromium, lithium, manganese, etc.). Immediately, one should be able to see the potentially catastrophic effects of damage to these areas: Osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia, thyroid problems, immune system failure, and a myriad of symptoms related to trace element deficiencies. All tissues of the body can suffer from such malnutrition. So, we should not be surprised to learn that celiacs have a much higher rate of the illnesses that plague mankind…and his pets.
But gluten intolerance is only one of the “big 4” or what I like to refer as “the four horsemen of the apocalypse” when I am writing more melodramatically. I have good reason to do so. Gluten, dairy products, soy and corn are doing an incredible amount of harm to a phenomenal number of people and animals. We covered the incidence of celiac diseases above. What is the true incidence of casein, soy and corn intolerance? No one really knows for sure. But I can tell you that wheat is “only” the number two human food allergen, with cow’s milk being number one. That fact combined with the amount of research information linking dairy products to many of the common medical conditions from which we all suffer has led me to the conclusion that true dairy intolerance (to casein and other glycoproteins in cow’s milk) will be found to have a higher incidence in people than celiac disease.
The bad news is that over 75% of the calories in the standard American diet (SAD) are derived from the “big 4”. Once we grasp the true incidence, the devastating consequences, and all of the common food sources of these food intolerances we will have a much better view of the big picture of medicine. The origins of the downward spiral in our health and that of our pets will be so clear that we should all wake up to what we have done to ourselves.
And then we can embrace what I like to call the “gospel of medicine”: We do have our health destinies more in our own hands than we have ever believed, certainly more than we have ever been told. Miracles can occur when we identify and eliminate the foods that are driving our bodies (and the viruses they contain) crazy. I am a living example. Many others are experiencing profound results as seen in my testimonials section.
The rest of this Website is dedicated to helping the reader grasp the vital nature of this information as well as covering other topics that contribute to the decline in our health (eg air quality issues , sleep , and ” genetics “). When taken as whole, these issues should lead the reader to the same conclusion that I have came to a number of years ago: We are doing all of this harm to ourselves. That is an unsettling but true realization. But that same conclusion should give us hope for the future. This situation is still within our control. We can change things, in our household and beyond. It is not easy but it is “simple”. All we have to do is stop doing to ourselves what we know to be harmful and then reap the benefits. Yes, in our medical lives, we also reap what we sow.
In a nutshell, after all of my research into so many of the medical problems and conditions that plague pets and mankind, I decided that the center of our health universe lies in the stretch of small intestine known as your duodenum and jejuneum, the first two segments of bowel after the stomach. Most celiacs are aware of the pathophysiology of their condition and are familiar with the terms malabsorption and “leaky gut syndrome”. But, many are like I was in that they don’t understand all of the fine details.
There are four food ingredients that adhere to the villi of the small intestine and induce the change that is characteristic of celiac disease known as villous atrophy. These four substances are gluten (from the grains), casein (from cow milk products), soy protein, and corn gluten. Oh oh. Did you know that the last one was on the list? Hopefully so.
What is it that links these substances together? For one, they are all use as adhesives, either as non-food glues or as binders in the foods we consume. Gluten, casein, soy and even corn are all used in industry as adhesives, some even being waterproof. Put “gluten”, “casein”, “soy protein adhesive” or “corn adhesive” in the search engine of any computer and read the responses. Wow! They are not only used in the food industry to hold items such as oats together but they are put to use in industry to hold just about anything together.
As we all know, it is the nature of the starches to be sticky. And, as it turns out, the
foods that are the “stickiest” are the ones that cause the most problems. This should not be a surprise once this issue is introduced. Casein and gluten are used for the most powerful adhesives. Therefore, it should be not be a shock that they are the number one and number two childhood food allergens according to the FDA. What is number four? Soy. What is number three? Eggs. (This is the first secondary allergen brought about by the damage done to the gut by the first two. Google “zonulin” for some interesting reading.)
Now, imagine these proteins leaving the stomach of a human or their pet. I have always used the illustration of three slices of pizza leaving our stomach. But, for this sake of this article, I will use a wheat, barley, or soy-based pet food to drive the point home. Now that you have an idea of where we are headed, you can imagine the stomach is filled with “glue-containing” food. This “glue” leaves the stomach after it has been worked on as much as possible by that organ. Of course, not being a ruminant like a cow or sheep, these foods are not completely broken down any more than the cellulose that they eat that non-ruminants are unable to digest. As simple-stomached animals, our pets and we are not designed to eat grasses like the ruminants do and all of the grains are in the grass family. They are all grasses that man has chosen to consume, with those in Asia picking their grass (rice), the Europeans choosing their grasses (wheat and barley), and those in central America picking corn. Here in America, we consume them all and in abundance.
In an attempt to digest these grasses and their “glue” (along with dairy and soy), our stomach adds as much acid as possible to break them down. Heart burn, anyone? (Yes, my two years of acid reflux abated after just one week of being gluten- free. This, again, should be no surprise.) But, the increased acid is inadequate to eliminate the “glue”. It is this sticky substance that adheres to the villi of the small intestine. Whether it be from wheat, cow milk, soy, corn, or the others mentioned, it adheres to these finger-like projections of the small intestine that are vital for the absorption of nutrients, effectively reducing the amount of those essential ingredients that would be absorbed into the bloodstream.
What are those nutrients? The vital substances are calcium, iron, iodine, all B complex, vitamin C, most water-soluble vitamins, and most of our trace minerals such as zinc, boron, manganese, magnesium and more. In other words, just about everything that is important other than our fat soluble vitamins are absorbed by the duodenum and jejunum. How well can the small intestine function when it is coated with “glue”? The important thing to realize here is that this happens to some degree in everyone and every pet that eats these foods.
That bears repeating: This happens some degree in everyone and every simple-stomached creature that eats these foods. We have simply focused on the worst-of-the-worst- as in the celiacs, casein intolerants, and soy intolerants- in which an immune response is mounted against the glue leading to severe villous atrophy. This immune assault also generates the warning antibodies that we call “allergies” to tell you that this is destructive process is taking place. Otherwise, it would be a “stealth operation” that goes on undetected for years and years until the bottom falls out. Yes, this is all too familiar of a scenario as well, isn’t it? It happens in pets all of the time, I’m afraid.
So, the ultimate question is whether pets suffer from celiac disease? My answer is that it doesn’t really matter whether we find that gluten intolerance affects all breeds of dogs and cats. In the pet, every bite of the average commercial food has “glue” in it, whether it is of wheat, barley, soy, corn, or rice origin. Yes, there are better glues” than others and they are in line with what we see as the principle allergens in the pet, just as one would expect. Wheat and soy are the worst (now that dairy has been eliminated from pet foods) while oats and rice are the best- the least sticky. Corn is in the middle.
The veterinary profession was just as shortsighted as the medical profession is today about the ramifications of consuming the top food allergens as the bulk of the diet. 60-70% of the American diet is comprised of cow milk products and wheat alone, with 40-50% being the number one food allergen, dairy products. There is a price to pay for this sort of ignorance and it is heavier than most realize.
The main cost is the disruption of small intestinal function. Once the essential nutrients have been malabsorbed for a long enough time, Pandora’s Box is opened. This may occur every early in life or very late, partly governed by the degree of immune-mediated component. The worst of the worst will experience severe problems by the time they are adolescents while the more resilient will not be affected until late in life. But, as I tell my clients, I believe that with the top four foods- wheat, dairy, soy, and corn- it is a matter of when they cause problems, not if. The “glue” will eventually affect everyone and every pet with its nutrient-blocking qualities.
Suddenly, conditions such as hip dysplasia, elbow and shoulder problems, intervertebral disc syndrome, cruciate ligament ruptures, and even heart valve failure all have better explanations. All of these problems are caused by failing cartilage and connective tissue, both of which are structured similarly and made up of calcium and collagen. Collagen is the building block of most of your skeletal support structures. The principle component of collagen is vitamin C. Therefore, when it is understood that calcium is absorbed primarily by the duodenum while vitamin C and other vital vitamins and minerals are absorbed by the duodenum and jejunum, then it is easily seen that inadequate amounts of these in the diet or failure of their absorption will compromise the integrity of these structures- all of them.
Once again, Pandora’s Box is opened and unleashed upon these poor breeds through one basic mechanism: malnutrition via malabsorption taking place in the small intestine.
I used to be concerned that the veterinary profession had somehow missed the incidence of celiac disease in breeds other than the Irish setter. But, now that I understand the effects of the “glue” on the absorptive ability of the intestinal villi, I believe this possible oversight to be much less important. I believe the same to be true for humans. The “glues” affect all that consume them. Certainly, the “worst of the worst”- the celiacs, casein intolerants, soy and corn intolerants- have the most to be concerned about. But, with these trouble foods, it is a matter of when they will create a problem, not if . Those who test negative for these food intolerances should not be lulled to sleep with a false sense of security. These fortunate souls will just be healthier longer. This is clearly one of the things that make us individuals, placing us on a spectrum of wellness that ranges from serious illness during the first year of life to a clean bill of health well into the twilight years.
We must realize that a condition like osteoporosis is an end-stage result of chronic calcium deficiency and that there existed less identified but significant symptoms that preceded this dreaded outcome. Certainly we can affect the pace of these syndromes through supplementation and eating correctly in other regards. However, if we continue to consume the blocking agents, the “glues”, I am afraid that we will eventually lose the battle.
If we don’t understand this, it is a matter of when… not if .
FOOD in our health. Wow! What year is it again? How long have we been saying, “You are what you eat?” But, how many have understood this and grasped the full meaning of that statement and what has unfortunately become a worn out cliché’?
Many think in limited terms, I’m afraid, supposing that this expression means things like “eat your broccoli” or “don’t eat too much saturated fat“. Little do they know that the actual staples of their diet are harming them with every bite and setting the stage for most of the plagues that will befall them. When we add in the man-made chemicals, preservatives, colorings, and flavor enhancers, the self-induced nature of our suffering should become readily apparent.
A whopping 75% of the calories in the Standard American Diet (appropriately abbreviated the SAD) come from the number one and number two human, dog, and cat food allergens: cow’s milk and wheat. Why they are the top allergens and why soy and corn join them to round out the top four will be the main topics of this discussion. But as if this is not bad enough, 90% of prepared human foods have hydrogenated oils in them and 60% have MSG (monosodium glutamate), which we will be talking about very shortly. Throw in things like aspartame (a known neurotoxin and MSG’s evil twin), tons of sugar and salt, preservatives, chemicals, estrogens, pesticide residues, and more and you have a pretty good start on how we arrived at Helm’s Deep. When we see that the vast majority of pet foods are made with their main allergens, then we can understand why these little angels (elves) and dwarves are fighting right along side of us. Oh, and we can’t forget the horses. They are vitally involved in this battle.
In cow’s milk the culprit is casein , a very powerful glycoprotein, from which they make waterproof industrial adhesives . “What?” Yes, they make GLUE from casein. Who’s picture is on the bottle of a very popular brand of household glue, one that the kids could eat in elementary school if they had a craving for it (which we will also cover)? Yep, a well-known dairy company makes that glue and the cow is on the label. It is made from casein. And, it DOES stick to your (and your pet’s) gut, primarily that first stretch of the intestinal tract known as the duodenum, keeping this vital section of bowel from functioning optimally. Its adhesive properties are advertised in the form of a moustache in the ever-popular “Got glue?” ads. Stick out your tongue after drinking milk. Yuck! Is it really a stretch to think that it sticks to out intestinal tract? The thinking person is saying, “But the stomach breaks it down, doesn’t it?” The bad news is that, even with the tons of acid it produces…and the heartburn and chronic gastritis that follows…the glue still survives to reach the duodenum. (Only the fermentation process that takes place in the fore stomachs of the ruminant destroys this glue.)
Who knows this and how do we know? Most doctors both know and don’t understand this. (“Huh?”) It’s a conundrum to me, too. How can they know to tell you not to take certain medications with milk because it will block the absorption of that drug and not know that milk physically blocks other things at the same time? How can some pediatricians tell new moms not to give cow milk products until the baby is on an iron-rich diet and not see that this same milk blocks iron absorption in adults, contributing to the fact that iron-deficiency anemia is the number one nutritional deficiency in the world, including in these United States…the red-meat-consumption capital of the world. How can that be? Simply stated, we are not absorbing what we consume. And now we know EXACTLY why, don’t we? But, cow’s milk and casein are only the beginning. (Note: Why do I keep specifying cow’s milk? Here is the neat thing: goat milk is nearly devoid of casein, which is real reason why goat milk is considered the “universal foster milk”…and why the Greeks elevated the goat into the heavens…for the milk it gave. All mammals could be successfully raised on goat milk. BUT, feed those same infant mammals cow’s milk and watch how many come apart at the seams. The casein is the culprit, NOT the lactose. Goat’s milk has plenty of lactose. So much for that deception.)
Here is the important thing. The other “foods’ that coat (and subsequently damage) the intestinal villi…and the ONLY ones that do this along with casein …are gluten , soy , and corn . These are the big four or the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” as I now like to call them. And it is man and animals against casein, gluten, soy, and corn as the title implies. The strongest evidence of their potential harm is found in the fact that all of these food elements are used to make adhesives …powerful adhesives. Casein, gluten and soy are the strongest, stickiest, and most powerfully antigenic glycoproteins while corn is a slightly less powerful but nonetheless very significant player (especially the corn that we have recently created). They put cars together with the super-glues manufactured from soy protein. They make waterproof industrial adhesives from casein and gluten that are used for numerous purposes ranging from the glue on stamps and envelopes to putting metal together. But, the “best” they can do with corn glues is to put cardboard boxes together. So, we see why the FDA and veterinary lists of food allergens are what they are: in order, the ( primary ) food allergens are cow’s milk, wheat, soy, and corn. (We will discuss “secondary” allergens in a moment.) Soy could become number one…if that were possible. Fortunately, there are too many soy opponents who will keep this from happening.
The cow’s milk coating we had on the growth formulas was a HUGE problem that we are just now seeing the vital importance of. In a recent medical study, researchers in human medicine found that our children that ingested cow’s milk in the first five days of life had a staggering 40-50 times higher rate of asthma, type-1 diabetes, and juvenile-onset rheumatoid arthritis when compared to the general population. Oh, no! How could that be? You need to remember what is going on in the gut and immune system of the newborn during the first five days of life as well as understand the concept of “lectins”…antibody-sized glycoproteins derived from the big four…to really grasp the importance of this cataclysmic mistake. Much of this particular issue is outside of the time restraints of this presentation but I think you will find that this “fun fact” fits right into the grand scheme of things. We will discuss lectins a bit later, however.
Here is the key!!! As lecturers (and preachers) are fond of saying, “If you get one thing from what I say today then please get this.” The duodenum is “Pandora’s Box“. There. Got it? You can go home now. LOL. What? You don’t understand? I’ll say it more slowly. “The duodenum….is…..Pandora’s…….Box.” Of course you don’t understand…. yet! But you will and this little gimmick will help to keep it in your frontal lobe, I hope. Why do I call the duodenum “Pandora’s Box“? Because, once you “open” it ( damage it), you unleash the plagues…and potentially all of the plagues…that can befall man and animals. “Now wait a minute”, you might say. “I have been following this up to now but you are waaaay over the top now.” Hold on. This is going to be good…really good.
The sad and startling fact is that I have yet to meet a health professional (MD, DVM, or nurse) that has been able to tell me what the duodenum ABSORBS. In fact, I have had numerous casual conversations with members of all of these professions during which they looked me in the eye and boldly stated that the duodenum absorbs “nothing”. Then, once I remove the dagger from my heart (not throwing stones, of course, because before five years ago, I didn’t know either) , I go on to explain that the duodenum does nothing less than absorb the vast majority of our calcium, iron, iodine, B complex, vitamin C, zinc, boron, lithium, chromium, magnesium, lithium, manganese, blah, blah, and blah . In fact, it absorbs just about everything but our calories, proteins, fats, and fat-soluble vitamins (which is a lot of course). The amazing fact is that 95% of our vitamin D activity takes place in the proximal one-third of our duodenum, where the initial and majority of damage caused by the “big four” glue-foods take place.
Yes, the “glue foods” (as I like to refer to them) leave the stomach… glug, glug, glug …and coat the villi of the duodenum (and jejunum), especially the first one-third of the duodenum. Then, those glycoproteins from the gluten grains (wheat, barley, and rye), casein, soy, and corn induce an immune response in susceptible individuals. Certainly, not all people or pets have an immune response to these glues, but according to recent studies, the incidence is so much higher than once thought that anyone who understands this should have the same medical “revelation” that I have had…that we have found the “mother lode”.
When I was diagnosed as a celiac 5 years ago, it was considered a “rare disorder occurring in less than 1:5,000 people”. No wonder doctors (and veterinarians) had forgotten about it. But, in the first week of study about my new-found condition…the one that explained everything that was currently plaguing me and all that had been wrong with me since I could remember…I found that they were diagnosing people on the other side of the Atlantic at the rate of over 1:100. “Say what??? How could it be rare over here, when most of us came from those people…Anglo-Saxons, Italians, Scandinavians, French and Germans?” Yes, there was something amiss. So, I jumped into the study of celiac disease with both feet, discovering that casein, soy, and corn all did the same thing as gluten. I also found out the truth about hydrogenated oils, MSG, aspartame, sugar, the lactose myth, air pollution, and much, much more. (It was so profound that I started a parallel study in religion and prophecy. But that’s a whole ‘nother sermon. Smile .)
The fact is that the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins University published their incidence studies last year and found celiac disease to afflict 1:122 Americans. Yes, that is the new “official” number. However, the unofficial number published by celiac authorities is 1:33. Whoa!
But here’s the “bad news”. (Actually, you will come to see that this, again, is good news.) We are only talking about celiac disease here. And wheat is the number two food allergen. What is number one again? Cow’s milk (with casein). I wonder what the true incidence of casein-intolerance is? Is it more frequent than gluten intolerance? I would have to believe so. While wheat-containing foods (the targets of Dr. Atkins’ partial truth) make up nearly 25% of the calories of the SAD, cow milk products make up a whopping 40% of our overall caloric intake. Errrh!!! What about soy …the “third plague” as I like to call it.. Errrh, again!!! How about corn , the fourth horseman? Here’s a scary thought: What about a mix and match of the four…some or all of the “big four“? Think that happens? Of course it does. These guys can ride separately or they can form a gang. We all know a gang is harder to control, don’t we?
Now for the pathophysiology that you have been waiting for. The food allergies are just the indicators. During the time that the body is reacting to the “glue” from these foods, the IgE antibody…the allergy antibody…is formed to go out and warn us of the damage that is taking place in the duodenum. Otherwise, this is a stealth condition in most cases, with only one-fourth of celiacs and related food intolerants having gastrointestinal symptoms. Get that? That is very important. In fact, this is CRITICAL for all to understand, as it explains much and opens a door through which all truth-seekers must pass. (“There he goes, getting all melodramatic again.”)
“I’ll do it ’til I have problems. Then, I’ll quit.” (eg cigarette smoking, drugs, alcohol, or over-eating). The bad news is that by the time you have obvious problems with your lungs, liver, kidneys, heart, brain, immune system or duodenum , then you are waaaay down the wrong road. It is a consistent pattern that we can live on about 25% of our organ function…one half of one kidney, a fourth of our liver, multiple coronary arteries occluded, numerous neurons destroyed, etc. before ( BEFORE ) we even start having symptoms. That’s a good news/bad news thing isn’t it? As vets, we know that most of our conditions in the pet are “acute-on-chronic“…acute manifestations of chronic problems.
Imagine now that over 1:30 humans have celiac disease or are afflicted with the other related food intolerances (casein, soy, and/or corn)…food induced villous atrophy of the duodenum. It can affect the jejunum as well. We know that this also occurs in the dog, with our old “extinct” friend the Irish setter being the glaring example. (I was absolutely ecstatic to hear that there was a pathologist in a major university in the northeast who has reopened the book on celiac disease.) Now, combine that fact with the consequences of the chronic malabsorption of calcium, iron, iodine, B complex, C, and numerous trace minerals, all of which are vital in the development and normal functioning of our bodies and immune systems. Do you have it in your mind yet? Let it sink in for a second. (Pause)
Which symptoms or clinical signs are likely to show up first? If you said gastrointestinal signs, you would be wrong (unfortunately). If you said signs associated with chronic calcium malabsorption or allergies you would be right. In some it is the former while in others the latter. The “worst of the worst”…those that have the earliest immune reaction to the glue foods…will have the IgE and IgG related symptoms first. These are your infants, human or pets, with congestion, itching, rashes, irritability, chronically sore throats, and ear problems. Some of them do have colic and diarrhea but these should not be required signs to make one suspicious of food problems. The “best of the worst” (and I rarely use the term the “best of the best” anymore) have the signs of calcium malabsorption first if they have any signs at all. Remember: the proximal one-third of the duodenum is greatly responsible for calcium metabolism and absorption. In the best-case scenario, these glue foods form a coating on these villi and keep them from performing optimally. (Here you go. Think of a beautiful coral reef with gorgeous sea anemones and multi-colored sponges. Got it? The “villi” of the anemones are swaying back and forth in the crystal clear water, absorbing small particles of food floating in the water. So serene, so perfect. NOW, imagine that same reef after the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez . Got that? How well do those anemones do when they are coated with oil? Some will survive but many, many will die. I think you have the picture.)
This is what the glycoproteins from gluten, casein, soy, and corn do. They coat the villi…at best…and “kill” the villi at worst, with the first and most severe damage taking place in the proximal third of the duodenum. No wonder I had flat feet, short legs, rib abnormalities and painful joint laxity…and bad teeth …as a child and later developed rotator cuff problems, bilateral inguinal hernias, and premature disc ruptures of my neck and back. I’ma classic celiac.
Shall I continue? I could give countless examples that would keep us into the wee hours of the morning. I think you are seeing the pattern here, right? The allergies are there to warn us that the damage is taking place in the gut. Again, the allergies are things “seen” to help us understand the things “unseen”. Watch for this pattern. It will come up again and again.
This is only the beginning, unfortunately and fortunately . (Please keep in the very front of your mind that the malabsorption syndrome leads to chronic deficiencies in so many vital nutrients. This is paramount in importance. Keep chanting, “Pandora’s Box, Pandora’s Box.“) We are still on the tip of the tip of the iceberg. And perhaps this is a good time to throw in the other analogy with which I was considering opening this dissertation. Try this one on for size:
Conventional medicine is steaming headlong into an enormous obstacle that is titanic in importance and yet has only a small piece of its mass protruding from the surface right now. The medical establishment (including both human and veterinary) has built a mighty vessel that many would deem unsinkable. “We have made such great gains in extending life” comes the announcement from the captain. “And one day, we will find the cures for cancer and the diseases that plague us all.” And the passengers all say “Hooray!!! It will be clear sailing from there!” The applause dies down and the captain exclaims, “And we are working on better ways to make these necessary drugs more available, more well-known by the public, and more affordable to you. Very soon, many of these drugs will be available over-the-counter and you will no longer need to even consult with your physician about them. Simply choose what is right for you by watching your television and then going to your local drugstore, supermarket, or gas station food mart to pick them up. You will be wise enough to choose for yourself.” Again, the crowd roars with approval.
But, there is something looming in the waters, just off the port bow. Some call it an iceberg. Others call it a “rock”. I call it the Truth . This treatise so far has mapped out the tip of the tip of this iceberg. With the binoculars you now have, you can see it. Do you see it??? If your eyes are good enough, you can see much of what is below the surface, too. The water is a lot clearer out in the ocean than you may think. And this “unsinkable” vessel that man has created is heading straight for it. Why? They are not looking for it. Many are happy, quite content with the cruise they are on. Others don’t really know any other way to behave on a cruise like this. Others are desperately trying to keep those who would worry about icebergs distracted so that they don’t spoil the cruise for the others. Ignorance and greed are at the controls…our two biggest nemeses… with contentment being a first mate.
But, it is this same technology that does not seem to understand that taking an NSAID for a fever caused by a viral infection is not a wise thing to do. It is the same captain’s mates that don’t see that Helicobacter pylori…the opportunistic bacteria that causes deep stomach ulcers… hates an acid stomach and that heartburn is designed partly to control his growth. If they don’t know that, then they certainly can’t see how this beast that they have been feeding with antacids and problem foods leaves the stomach when the individual’s immune system takes a nose dive (after a lifetime of malabsorbing nutrients vital to its health) and takes up residence in a cholesterol plaque (that is safe-guarding a weakened artery) and causes it to break off, inducing a stroke or a myocardial infarction. How can they see that? They have their eyes on the moon and the stars. (And yet, a study done by a group of cardiologists found that a shocking 85% of atherosclerotic plaques that were cultured for H. pylori were positive for this critter. Think about that for a second. Sinking in?)
They develop so many of the conditions that take human life, including a higher incidence of cancer, but dogs don’t suffer from this deadly disease process. Why is that? Simply put, they don’t get “enough” hydrogenated oils in their diet. I believe down to my socks that trans fats are the single-most important factor in the development of atherosclerosis…the “solvents” that allow things into the walls of the arteries of those that consume them and set the stage for the inflammatory process that follows.
(Please read Hydrogenated Oils-The Silent Killers , by David Dewey on the Internet. Whoa! You will clearly see how and why the first recorded myocardial infarction took place only ten years after hydrogenated oils hit the shelves in the form of margarine. You will also see how and why another plague…type 2 diabetes…”adult-onset“ diabetes…followed ten years after that.
The “four horsemen” fit right into the clinical picture here by inducing at least two of the three factors- causing immune suppression and inciting chronic tissue inflammation and damage. The immunosuppressive effects of the big four should be easily imagined. Back to the coral reef covered with oil. How can those villi that are coated with the problem glycoproteins manage to absorb optimal levels of B complex, vitamin C, and other nutrients critical to the health of the immune system? How can they do it when they are leveled by the immune response to the glue foods in true celiac disease or the related conditions of true casein, soy, or corn intolerance? This should be a no-brainer… and it is …. literally. The brain suffers tremendously from the lack of these nutrients along with a concurrent deficiency in calcium, zinc, iron, iodine, and the pandemic omega three fatty acid deficiencies that exist in humans and pets.
The “big four” foods fit right in here because the gluten grains, dairy, and soy are loaded with estrogens. Dairy is a huge factor here as it also provides cholesterol precursors to the formation of these hormones. Seeing a pattern here? Yes, the foods that are bad for us are so in a numbe r of ways. So, we should not be surprised to see that Asians have a 15 times lower rate of breast cancer and a 5 times lower rate of prostate cancer…on their native diets. It is NOT because they eat soy. The truth is that they eat very little soy. But they do NOT eat dairy, wheat, or corn in their original diets. Just go to any authentic Japanese or Chinese restaurant and look for the cheese, bread, or corn chips.
Which brings us to “lectins”, something I mentioned a while back. Lectin is the term that has been given to the antibody-sized glycoprotein that is derived from the consumption of foods that are part carbohydrate and part protein (thus the term glyco-protein). Once again, the big four foods are glycoproteins by structure. Our antibodies are also glycoproteins, a protein core with a sticky carbohydrate outer covering to facilitate adherence to foreign proteins such a viruses, bacteria, and the like. In fact, viruses have glycoprotein receptors on them. Normally, our antibodies attach to these sites. Hmmm…I wonder if dietary lectins ever do? Could one plausible explanation for food-induced immune-mediated disease episodes be that the chronic latent viruses in situ in our tissue become coated with dietary glycoproteins rather than our antibodies and that when we develop IgE, IgG, and other antibodies to these foods that our immune system starts to react to these “food-coated” viruses in the host tissue and attack that tissue just as it would if it were a viral infection coated with our own antibodies? Could that be how food lectins such as those from wheat, dairy, soy, or corn auto-agglutinate red blood cells. Maybe it is just the glycoprotein itself that does it in most cases but it sure would help to explain why some “autoimmune diseases” are triggered by foods while others follow viral infections, either naturally acquired or through vaccination . It would also help to explain why avoidance of the trouble foods could greatly reduce the incidence of recurrence of these attacks. (For a well-written discussion on lectins, please look up The Lectin Report on the Internet. It goes into great detail about how these tiny glycoproteins “unlock” the cell and allow things to enter it, inciting inflammation and causing cell death. It’s all about the same guys. The four horsemen ride again.)
The fantastic news is that sooooo much starts going right once the big four are avoided completely and for a long enough time. By avoiding the casein, gluten, soy, and corn, the gut starts to heal and the malabsorption syndrome begins to reverse. How long does it take for the intestine to heal once the offending foods are withdrawn? Well, according to the celiac literature, it takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years for the duodenum to return to normal. Does that make sense? Not to me, unless you consider the fact that gluten is not the only thing doing the harm to those duodenal villi. This was my first quest, to get on celiac forums and make sure they knew the truth about casein, soy, and corn. I hated reading about celiacs that had struggled so valiantly to be gluten-free only to find that they were shooting themselves in the foot big time by the continued consumption of the other three culprits. Statistically, celiacs have a 50% chance of also being casein intolerant. I have to believe that it is much more common than that. But soy and corn are looming larger and larger as we fall for the myth that soy is a health food, we turn to vegetarianism for various reasons, and we continue to genetically modify corn to death.
Assuming that we do enough right, the gut does heal and probably much more quickly than we currently believe. After all, it is one of the fastest healing tissues in the body. Once healed, it starts to take in all of the calcium, iron, iodine, B complex, vitamin C, and trace minerals that it has been starving for over the past years, often from the moment the individual started consuming the big four. The thyroid becomes healthy, the iron deficiency resolves, enzyme systems start operating at peak efficiency, tissue repairs, and the immune system gets back to normal. And that last item is critical . That’s when many of the long-term symptoms finally resolve…the allergies, GI signs, skin problems, and in the best case scenario, the immune-mediated diseases. I would love to think that the risk of cancer then plummets, as well. What couldn’t our immune system accomplish if it were in optimal condition? I can no longer put limitations of what our body is capable of doing in the way of healing or prevention when I think about that last statement. However, I know that our environment…with its staggering levels of serious pollution…is a HUGE limiting factor. I would love to dive into that topic but time constraints do prevent that.
The really cool thing is that some “completely unexpected” things can happen when individuals go GFCFSFCF (gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, corn-free). In retrospect, they were “unexpected” only because we had not fully grasped the impact of what we had learned. The most notable…the most amazing…the coolest of the cool…the “hook” as I now call it…was the response of epileptics to this elimination diet. I find it just so utterly fascinating that something we stumble upon can wind up be the glaring example of everything we know… AND end up leading us into realms that we could only dream about in the past. Epilepsy is just that condition.
Man, I could talk about epilepsy for the full two hours- how it all comes about and what the study of this condition has done to my knowledge base . Thankfully, I have chronicled the entire journey on my Website (www.dogtorj.com ) , starting with how I read the captivating fact that celiac children with epilepsy who went gluten-free often had major reductions in…if not total cessation of…their seizures. “Wow. I wonder why that happens?” I asked myself. “Epilepsy is considered idiopathic in veterinary medicine. There has to be something about wheat that leads to seizures.” Elementary thinking, I know. But, this was novel stuff to me. How about you?
It did not take long at all to find that MSG (monosodium glutamate) could trigger seizures and that wheat gluten was an incredible 25% glutamic acid by weight. “Eureka! Is it that simple? I then found that soy had even more glutamate, almost twice as much as wheat. “Oh, oh.” Casein is 20% glutamic acid by structure. Yep, three of the four horsemen are packing glutamate in their saddlebags. Do the food sources of these neurostimulating… potentially neuro toxic …non-essential amino acids (glutamate and aspartate), really do the same thing to our brain that the “crack cocaine” versions (MSG and aspartame, respectively) do?” I assumed so and started putting my epileptic canine patients on gluten-free diets and, son-of-a-gun, they became vastly improved. Some stopped having seizures completely within 24 hours of the diet change and never seized again. We were onto something… and it was big …really big.
As the significance of these findings sunk in, I threw myself into the study of neurological, psychiatric, and other “idiopathic” neurodegenerative conditions that affect us all. The “excitotoxins” ( MSG and aspartame), as Dr. Russell Blaylock termed them, were well-known culprits and played roles in epilepsy, ADHD, bipolar disease, and more. It wasn’t until later that I would finally start reading about their involvement in the other “big 4”: MS, ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. But still, no one was talking about the FOOD sources of these non-essential amino acids. But it was so simple, and a little something called “insomnia” illustrated the point I was trying to make. These neuroactive amino acids were clearly responsible for waking people up like a shot at 1-2 AM, 5-6 hours after eating dinner and dessert and I was a living example. And that was the exact time interval I was finding between meals and seizures in my un-medicated dogs. Once I published my work on the Web and contacted over 500 breeders in the process (oh, how I love the passion of breeders), the testimonies to these finding were flowing in on a regular basis. And, the pieces to this puzzle started fitting together…phenomenally well.
And here is where it all comes together. I had written a totally different summary for the end of this discussion, but upon proofreading the pages, I realized that the discussion of epilepsy…the condition that grabbed my attention and pulled me into this epic battle at Helm’s Deep…would serve that purpose. It would illustrate all of the principles that I “preach” every day in the exam room and will attempt to enlighten people with (hopefully not bore to death) in lectures like this for the rest of my days.
Principle number one: The foods that are bad for us are bad in numerous ways. The “four horsemen”…gluten (from the grains wheat, barley, rye), casein, soy, and corn terrorize us in more ways than simply inducing villous atrophy, which results in the chronic malabsorption of the essential nutrients that we have covered. These foods provide staggering levels of glutamate (and aspartate), estrogens, allergens, and lectins, and when prepared for consumption, act as carriers of many of man’s worst creations in the form of GMO’s, hormones, and chemical additives. So these foods damage our gut, cause malnutrition of our entire body, and provide many of the ingredients necessary to generate symptoms including pain, sleeplessness, high blood pressure, behavioral disturbances, and seizures .
Applying this to epilepsy, the brain suffers from the malnutrition, the immune system going down, and the rise of chronic latent viruses The war begins. Add to that the vaccination with modified live virus vaccines made with viruses that love the central nervous system. These viruses naturally take up residence in the glial cells of the brain, those cells that control the level of the normal neurotransmitter…our friend glutamate …at the synapse. We have seen vaccine-induced disease in the past, right? How hard is it to believe that this is happening “ sub -clinically“? These top allergy-producing foods are also stimulating histamine production, the release of which causes the blood brain barrier to become more permeable to glutamate, a normal occurrence that serves to counteract the depressing effects of histamine. These same foods contain estrogens , both naturally occurring and those from pesticide residues, which are neurostimulating, irritating, and immunosuppressive. PMS anyone? How about catamenial seizures? I hear about them all of the time. The malnutrition that we have discussed then starts to compromise enzyme systems in the liver, kidneys, and elsewhere in the body, some of which are responsible for controlling the blood levels of the evil twins, glutamate and aspartate. No wonder some of us have seizures. The way I see things now, it’s a bigger wonder that more of us don’t have epilepsy.
Are you seeing “Pandora’s Box” opening yet? Have you grasped what these foods- the damage they do and the ingredients they contain- are capable of? Thank Goodness our body knows what to do with all of this mess we put it through, eh? And it does.
Therefore, principle number two: Our body never makes mistakes…ever. Only we make bad choices about what we do to this vessel of ours. “What about birth defects?” is always the first challenge. Certainly, this degenerative process sometimes begins prenatally, leading to premature births and birth defects, but we are ultimately responsible for these occurrences. The more you learn about this topic (and study celiac disease as a model), the less you will simply write off to “genetics” or Providence.
Fevers, heartburn, sore throats, nasal congestion, bronchoconstriction, diarrhea, hives, headaches, and even “autoimmune” attacks have a purpose. Some clinical signs are warning signs that we have made a mistake while others are therapeutic measures on our body’s part. Others are both. “But autoimmune disorders?”, you might question. Yes, I believe down to my socks that viruses are vitally involved in most (if not all) immune-mediated diseases. I believe that the immune-mediated diseases are our immune system’s valiant attempt to wipe out these viruses before they have the opportunity to do what they really “want” to do…cause cancer . This would help to explain why people with chronic active hepatitis have such a high incidence of liver cancer. But it might also help to explain why the same breeds of dogs that develop panosteitis…the ones with all of the allergies and other juvenile bone diseases…are the guys that go on to develop bone cancer at age six and a half. So, is eosinophilic panosteitis our body’s attempt to rid the bone of viruses that might later go on to cause cancer? What are eosinophils involved in other than allergic reactions?
“But get back to seizures. I can’t wait to hear how a seizure is a good thing“, the skeptics are saying. Yes, I am convinced that even seizures serve a vital purpose, that being to burn up the excessive glutamate in the brain. As you may know, no matter what the cause of our bodily death may be, the brain dies as a result of the “glutamate cascade”…the sudden rise of glutamate in the brain resulting from the dying glial cells and increased permeability of the blood brain barrier. Glutamate is potentially…and eventually…neuro lethal . How hard is it to believe that seizures are designed to keep the death of vital neurons from happening? The sufferers of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) sure wish a peripheral neuron could have a seizure. But because they can’t, the neurons eventually die as a result of the excess glutamate in the synapse. But guess what. ALS sufferers have also reported benefits from what I now call “The GARD“…. the glutamate-aspartate restricted diet. So have people with ADHD, chronic pain, insomnia, MS, and other conditions that have the “excitotoxins” as part of their pathophysiology. This is all on my site.
Seizures may even serve to limit viral infections, if through no other mode of action other than to encourage a rise in body temperature, something that viruses hate. We know that viral infections of the central nervous system are usually accompanied by high fever, right? Remember: That’s a good thing. (I wonder how many people who died of West Nile Virus might have survived if we didn’t treat them so aggressively? Its a parallel to that cancer thing we talked about earlier.)
So, do you see why I got so excited about the role epilepsy would play in bringing people into the fold? It has all of the elements we have discussed…all of the necessary cast, plot, and scenery to make a great and epic tale of how the four horsemen road into town and stole our health. But we really did it to ourselves, didn’t we? We made these bad choices. The fact is man created the wheat we now eat in about 400 AD, introducing lethal quantities of gluten into our diet. A millennium later, we changed milk sources from goats to cows, adding casein to the mix. Now, five hundred years later, we want to start eating soy…“the third plague”…something that has been previously relegated to the lowly positions of a nitrogen-fixing, rotational crop and a mere condiment on the table of our Oriental restaurants. Did we really just get smart enough to see the health benefits of consuming the soybeans themselves? Do we really think that loading our bodies up with plant estrogens, goitrogens, anti-nutrients, villous atrophy inducing “glues“, and staggering levels of the non-essential, epileptogenic amino acid glutamate is going to improve our health. How many trips to Mars are we gonna take, anyway?
We do reap what we sow. Through the eyes of food intolerance, medicine becomes so simple that even* the layperson can understand it. (* I say “even” because I know a growing number of lay people who understand these things much more than the doctors who look down their noses at the “untrained“.) Isn’t that the way it should be? Shouldn’t we all be able to comprehend our medical lives? It is, after all, one of the most important aspects of our existence, isn’t it?
The way I look at it now, our medical lives are divided into three phases: the acquisition of viruses, the progressive malfunction of our body and immune system, and the failure of our immune system. I think you now have a very good idea why that occurs. In a word, malnutrition . Symptomatically, it usually also breaks down into three phases: allergies, immune-mediated diseases, and cancer. We see this so clearly in certain breeds of dogs but I have also heard this sort of history from many, many from people I have interviewed about their own health. Hopefully how and why these three phases occur is much clearer now. The allergies… phase one .. are the warning sig ns that you are making mistakes. The immune system is throwing warning signs at us while closing the doors to further invasion.
Better put, what doesn’t happen at that age: tons of immune-mediated diseases, cruciate ruptures, spinal disorders, heart murmurs, worsening allergies, numerous benign skin tumors, and more. It’s a crisis period, isn’t it? Just like 40-50 years of age is in the person. If these conditions are all “genetic”, why do they wait so long to show up? Hmmm…great question. Something is waiting, right? What??? Can we think of anything that we have in our bodies that might be “waiting”? I can. They’re called viruses . We have been acquiring them our entire lives. Our parents even gave some to us. “What?“ Can’t viruses be transmitted vertically? How about genetically? Others we acquired “naturally” during our lifetime and still others we acquired through vaccination . (Most of our pets and us are too unhealthy to take on any more modified live vaccines, aren’t we?) And as I have mentioned , we invited many in to stay by killing the fever that was designed to limit the infection. We have become walking virus hotels…”mobile homes” for these guys, if you will. The startling fact is that we are riddled with ’em. And they are waiting for their chance. They are the ultimate opportunist…the consummate terrorist. Sure, there are others: bacteria, mycoplasms, fungi, and more. But the virus is the guy who incorporates his genetic material into our cells and then bosses them around. He’s the guy who our immune system hates enough to risk killing our own tissue to root him out. He’s the guy that can go anywhere in our body and do anything he wants ONCE we get to that point of immune suppression that we are destined to reach once we have done enough wrong to this body of ours. In my mind, he wasn’t designed to be. Viruses are ubiquitous in nature and critical to its development, variety, and adaptation. So why did they turn on us? “Shoot…look at the time. We’ll have to go down that rabbit hole after this presentation.” I think you can figure it out, anyway.
Yes, we DO have our health destiny more in our own hands than we ever believed. Yes, we DO reap what we sow. We just didn’t realize that we were sowing such bad seed all of these years did we? We have had glimpses of our wrongdoing and our conscience has told us not to overindulge and to try to eat properly. That’s just common sense, right? But whodathunk that the staples of our diet were killing us? Who would believe that cow’s milk, wheat, and the “newest health food”… soy (errrrrh)…were plagues on mankind, brought on by our own doing? And who would believe that the “simple” elimination of the big four would lead to the vast improvements in our health that I have personally experienced. (I cannot overstate the phenomenal changes that have taken place in my body over the past 5 years)