Is Food Affecting Your Brain? Part 3

Here is part 3 of the brain and food series which, this time, considers the link between gluten and mood disorders. Parts 1 and 2 are here if you want to catch up with them.

Part 3 offers a comment from Patrick Holford about studies done on hospitalised psychiatric patients to see if removing gluten and dairy would help their schizophrenic tendencies. It makes fascinating reading, especially the bit where he explains the diet changes were done in secret and those off the culprit foods were able to be downgraded to less restrictive accommodation. I feel slightly queasy at the thought of studies being done on people like these without their knowledge, but it does rather make the point and, if it helps them work out how to help people with mood and behavioural disorders cope better, then I am willing to swallow my nausea, so to speak.

It reminded me of similar studies done in prisons a while ago now where they tested how diet changes (removal of the same allergens) would affect violence and compliance levels of inmates. The outcome, as I recall, was very similar and that stuck with me.

I often wonder if all our poor kids on Ritalin and diagnosed with so-called behavioural disorders are actually food-sensitive. Certainly, in clinical experience, I cannot remember a single instance of a ‘disruptive’ child not improving on an anti-allergen diet. The problem, of course, is getting a child to stick to it, although I do remember one little boy who was so chuffed to feel better, he used to tell his Mum off when she tried to give him a bit of dairy as a ‘treat’. We underestimate our children sometimes.

I also recall another little boy who was off dairy (and his Ritalin) and a free chocolate bar came through the letterbox. He was only little (about 4?) and he got to the chocolate before his Mum did. She found him banging his head against the hall wall, out of control and very distressed. He had eaten a small free sample.

Anyway, have a read of Part 3 on the GFS Blog (use the search box if you are reading this later on) and always remember the effect allergy can have on mood and behaviour. I have yet to meet a gluten-sensitive who doesn’t have an emotional reaction and those tend to be unaccounted-for rage or crying at something they would normally have coped fine with. It doesn’t have to just be gluten, of course; that is a common reaction with a lot of food sensitivities. I used to do that to some sorts of wine and we just thought it was because I was drunk! It was only when I started drinking ‘natural’ wines it stopped happening and we though ‘Oh!’. Poor P 😉


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