A few months ago I had the opportunity to listen to 30 of the world's leading authorities on gluten sensitivity as part of a podcast series. It was the most informative educational program in which I have participated. I recently read a thought provoking article by an expert in gluten sensitivity and educator. He is one of those 30 top authorities on the subject. His article referenced how gluten can affect the brain and should be considered a factor in contributing to people with depression or even Parkinson's disease.
The article was a salute to Robin Williams and encouraged everyone to keep gluten sensitivity as "top of mind" when dealing with cases such as Mr. Williams'. As you may know, I have been interested in gluten-related disorders (Celiac Disease, Pre-Celiac, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, Wheat Allergy) for more than 20 years and that stemmed from my interest in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It turns out that there are more neurological manifestations of gluten sensitivity than there are digestive manifestations. In fact, approximately 40% of individuals who are reacting to gluten have no digestive symptoms at all. You can read more about the rise in gluten sensitivity on my website.
Consider the following facts: Celiac disease, the most destructive form of gluten reactions has increased from about 1 in 3000 in the 1980s to approximately 1 in 100 today. This is an indisputable fact and a point I make to my physician colleagues who suggest that this whole gluten businesses is a fad. Combined with this 400% increase in celiac disease, there has been a 400% increase in other autoimmune disorders, such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, rheumatoid, lupus, psoriasis etc.
Now, we have this whole range of neurological conditions such as Parkinson's that recent scientific studies suggest are related to gluten sensitivity, also, mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, schizophrenia are included in the list. How would the medical community react if there was a 400% increase in heart disease or cancer? In particular Dr. David Perlmutter in his book, "Grain Brain", gives a brilliant overview of the many neurological manifestations of sugar, grains and gluten sensitivity.
Gluten sensitivity is a major threat to the health and well-being of the population. Robin Williams was one of my favorite actors and I'm saddened that he will no longer entertain us with his sense of humor. Please forward this email so that we can quit ignoring the fact.
Dr. Gerard Guillory, MD
What can be learned from Robin Williams' death?
I was very saddened to hear that Robin Williams was gone. An icon in the world left us... way too early. And now, we've learned he was suffering with more than depression. From his wife, Susan Schneider, "Robin's sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety, as well as early stages of Parkinson's Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly."
Each and every time I hear news about someone taking his or her own life--and then hear about depression and, in this case, a chronic inflammatory condition such as Parkinson's--my emotions go from sadness to infuriated anger.
We have all of this research about undiagnosed celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). And, we know your "chain" is likely to break at its weakest link. Therefore, if your weakest link is your brain, then you may symptomatically present with:
- "A study has now demonstrated that gluten is independently associated with depression in patients with NCGS." (READ MORE)
- "Exposure to gluten specifically induced current feelings of depression." (READ MORE)
- "Lifetime depressive symptoms may be present in one third of the CD patients who adhere to gluten free diet. Long-term adherence to the gluten-free diet may reduce the risk of current depressive symptoms." (READ MORE)
- Emerging scientific literature contains several reports linking gluten sensitivity states with neuropsychiatric manifestations including autism, schizophrenia, and ataxia. (READ MORE)
- Five biomarkers of gluten sensitivity were found to be significantly elevated in patients with non-affective psychoses (schizophrenia) compared to controls.
AND, PERHAPS NOW IN PARKINSON'S
- Aberrant TG activity is thought to contribute to Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, and supranuclear palsy. (READ MORE)
- a-Synuclein is a key pathogenic protein that increases in Parkinson's disease. Elevated transglutaminase levels (the biomarker in the blood for Celiac Disease) is associated with increase a-Synuclein. (READ MORE)
- Blockade of transglutaminase activity counteracts a-synuclein accumulation in living cells. (READ MORE)
It would be silly to think that a gluten sensitivity caused any patient's brain disease, whether it is Parkinson's, depression, schizophrenia or...
But there are enough studies now to tell us that IF a person has a gluten sensitivity, with or without celiac disease, that eating gluten will be inflammatory to the body. And, where it will manifest in the body is anyone's guess.
- WHY isn't this in the mainstream media?
- WHY do people like Michael (my sister's neighbor), Steven (my patient's boyfriend) and Robin have to die early?
- WHY are celiac kids 40% more likely to die of suicide?
Now, I'm not suggesting that any of these men had gluten sensitivity. I am suggesting that we find out about ourselves and our loved ones to see if they have a gluten sensitivity!
If you or a loved one suffers from depression, do the test to check for antibodies to gluten. Tell your doctor you want Cyrex Labs Arra3, which is the screen for gluten sensitivity.
If that test comes back positive, then consider Cyrex Array 7x: Neurological Autoimmune reactivity screen. Be informed. Find out if you are developing antibodies to your brain!
I said it during The Gluten Summit and I'll say it again. This is NOT a topic to be quiet about. Let's find out if our brains are being affected.
Toward your health,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan