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Category: Science

The Role of Gluten Elimination in Preventive Medicine

Reactive medicine means treating problems once they’ve happened. For instance, reactive medicine describes giving a pain medicine to a patient to treat a headache, or an antidepressant to treat depression, or even giving a child a powerful amphetamine drug because he or she had been given a diagnosis of ADHD.

Proactive medicine, also called preventive medicine, seeks to keep these types of issues from happening in the first place. And isn’t is interesting to see how medical literature is now showing that gluten sensitivity may be related to these and so many more brain disorders.

To be clear, we’ve known for a long time that those with a diagnosis of celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder brought on by exposure to gluten in certain individuals)  can develop various neurological issues. But now we are seeing research showing that a much larger group of individuals suffer from what is now called non-celiac gluten sensitivity.  Some estimates put the number of these folks as high as 30-40% of the population.

These people can also develop problems like ADHD, depression, movement disorders, dementia, neuropathy, and headaches that may well respond to a gluten-free diet. Again, this data doesn’t refer to the 1.8% of the population with proven celiac disease, but a much larger segment of the population.

So keeping people from requiring drugs to treat their ills might well employ a gluten-free diet. There’s absolutely nothing to lose by trying!

For more information, order your copy of Grain Brain today and join Dr. Perlmutter’s email list.

  • Kristen

    Hi Dr. Perlmutter, in your experience are twitching muscles indicative of gluten sensitivity/intolerance and considered a neurological symptom? My twitches had been growing progressively worse over the last year, big and small twitches all over my body at all times of day (amongst other symptoms like bad bloating and skipped heartbeats/palpitations) and I was near my wits end when I saw your program on PBS a month ago and made the connection. Since then I have been gluten free and they have decreased by about 80-90%! And that I think only because I’m still running into hidden gluten in foods. Anyway, thank you SO MUCH for airing the program, otherwise I’d still be wondering what’s wrong with me!

    • barbara carroll

      I read on Wheat Belly site that Dr. Davis has had people report symptoms of atrial fibrillation and other palpitation’s have been eliminated. I bet it has made the difference. Sure better than drugs with all the side effects.

  • TechnoTritcale

    > Proactive medicine, also called preventive medicine, …

    Prophylactic Practice to date has been a non-starter.
    There are two elephants in that room at the moment:
    1. the prevention didn’t just not work
    2. insurance non-coverage for prevention

    The consensus dietary guidance provided for most prevention actually CAUSES most of the chronic ailments that are ramping up healthcare costs. That alone is sufficient disincentive that most MDs give lip service to diet because they are convinced it doesn’t matter (just as they were trained with their 4 semester hours on nutrition).

    Insurance providers are disinclined to pay for prevention, unless there’s a clear bottom-line case for it, which in the case of consensus diet, there clearly isn’t.

    I suspect that by the time there could be critical mass for a new, reimbursable, regime of proactive medicine, those who care about actual outcomes will already be years ahead of the new consensus, and won’t have much need of it.

    The general public will dismiss the new advice as just another random swing of the pendulum, thinking “say, isn’t this the same medical association that told me to eat low fat and take statins last year?”

    • barbara carroll

      I agree with your assessment. However, if we all become more political and demand our voices are heard re prevention, slowly we will have changes in our medical associations, and maybe the ‘anointed’ will change their pyramids, guidelines, and provide incentives for the medical community to be more proactive in prevention and recommend dietary solutions to our preventable diseases. It is faster and easier (and billable) to just write a RX and not spend 40 minutes talking, educating, motivating and inspiring. I hope the future will be brighter for us all. We sure need it as a nation that is not that healthy

  • barbara carroll

    I would say it is worth the effort to prevent the diseases than chase the cure with treatments later on. If we knew we could make this difference in our life why would we not at least try. Dr. P is working so hard as this I really appreciate is passion and commitment. The world is changing one person at a time. The ‘wisdom of the crowds’ will win out in the end,

    • David Perlmutter

      I agree Barbara. Why treat, when we can prevent?

      • barbara carroll

        Thanks Dr. Perlmutter.

  • Pamela Newhart

    Why not actually cure the disease? Find out why these people have developed gluten sensitivity, and reverse it, instead of practicing reactive medicine, or is that the purview of researchers and not of doctors. What is going wrong in the digestive system that causes gluten to not be processed? Lack of good probiotics? Too many preservatives in modern food killing the good bacteria we need in our gut for good health? We really need a cure. The epidemic of food allergies is growing at an astounding rate- WHY?

    • Linda J. Stafford

      Since all wheat cultivated in North America is GMO, wheat is not what it was 50 years ago. This may be a cause for the increase in gluten sensitivity.

      • Joe Texan

        Actually, as somone who used to drive wheat combines, it has been more than 50 years since GMO wheat has been grown. More like 70 years because 50 years ago New Grains GMO wheat was all that was grown. It produces 3 times more wheat per acre. I am not saying that is bad. Back then, millions of people in China and India were dying of starvation and the U.S. send India billions of dolllars in food aid. It was not good nutritious food, but it kept them alive. At least they had a life and were not starving do death as babies. Not a long and healthy life, but they have a life. We produce 25% of the food in the world and it’s largely because of GMO grains. Fortunately, I have enough money that I don’t have to eat the stuff.

        • Linda Stafford

          Thanks for the info, Joe. Very useful information.

      • mesmereyes

        Reportedly there is no GMO wheat grown here, however, the same glyphosate herbcide used on many GMO crops is often used as a drying agent on wheat and other non-GMO crops. The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, which along with it’s adjuvants, is suspected of preferentially killing off “good” intestinal bacteria, promoting leaky gut, and interfering with mineral — particularly sulfur — utilization. It was originally sold as a mineral descaler (binds to minerals in pipes allowing easier removal) and recently was registered as an antibiotic — neither of which is good for our digestive system.

    • John Sposato

      If — and that’s a big word in this context — our bodies are not adapted to handling gluten, then there can be no cure. At least not until we figure out a way to re-engineer our own genomes. It may be that these people didn’t “develop” gluten sensitivity but were born with it as part of their genetic heritage. It that is so, then modern wheat makes the problem worse because it is loaded with much more gluten than older varieties of wheat that our great- and great-great grandparents consumed. In that scenario, the only cure would be to avoid the thing that our bodies react to as poison.

  • ziggy

    Hi Dr. Perlmutter,
    Thank you for your book. I am just a few days into it and finding it very interesting. I have personally had success on a gluten-free anti-inflammatory diet helping Hashimoto’s. I notice that I do better avoiding grains when I can eat nuts. However, I only do this at my office because my 11 year old son is severely allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. I would also like to move him to this diet as he has an ADHD diagnosis and recovered from a concussion that was 2 years ago. However, what is a good substitute when wanting carbs and nuts are also out of the equation? Have you encoutered trying to tailer the diet to someone with a nut allergy?

    Thanks!

    • holly

      ziggy, have you heard of craniosacral therapy? It has helped my 11 yr old son significantly, recover from concussion issues a few years ago. This diet has a big impact on reducing allergy symptoms too.

      • ziggy

        Thank you for the reply. Yes he actually had that as well as Body Talk and Neurofeedback. All three of these were extremely helpful in getting past his concussion symptoms.

        Thanks

    • David Perlmutter

      The focus is on putting enough healthy fats and proteins into your diet. Look to seeds, avocados or eggs.

      • ziggy

        ok thank you – and still reading!

  • Dr Prakash

    Hello Dr Perlmutter
    I am anxiously your new email post every time. I am a medical postgraduate doctor from India. Doctors with traditional teaching are unknowingly playing with life of people. I would completely adopt grain free in my medical practice.

    • David Perlmutter

      Glad to know you find all this valuable Dr. Prakash.

  • Dr Prakash

    Hello Dr Perlmutter,

    Recently I have subscribed your esteemed book “Grain Brain” via internet. I would like to congratulate you for this innovative and novel work. I am appreciating you for the core of my heart for the facts which I heard on your video interviews. I am amazed to note by the facts given about elimination of wheat and wheat products and gluten. I am following it very thoroughly these days for my personal as well as patients.

    I just have a query, after giving up wheat & wheat products, how one can maintain his / her body requirement of carbohydrate, fat and protein in term of balanced diet? What would be the ideal amount of fat, carbohydrate and protein one should eat after elimination of grain / wheat and other related gluten containing products?
    Awaiting your kind
    feedback in this regard.

  • Sharon

    “Wheat Belly” has changed my life!
    I was diagnosed with RA and was put on meds, but was so scared of the horrible side effects. A relative suggested the book “Wheat Belly”, and I have to admit: it took me awhile to read it, as I was brainwashed into the whole “eat wheat, its good for you” trend, but I was willing to try it. I am SO thankful for the knowledge I received from Dr Permutter! Yes, I do make mistakes while traveling on vacation, but it only reminds me that I’m doing the right thing! Haven’tbeen on meds for over 2 years!
    Thank you Dr Perlmutter!

    • David Perlmutter

      So glad to hear of your health turnaround Sharon.

  • Felipe

    My acid reflux has 98% gone away since I quit with the gluten.

  • Joe Texan

    For years I had very loose stools and I thought that was good because I wasn’t constipated. Now I learn that is a symptom of gluten sensitivity. Sincé changing my diet, I no longer have diarea and watery stools. I started a no carb diet 10 years ago to get rid of diabetes and within three months I no longer had diabetes, but I starting eating carbs because I thought a high fat diet would give me a heart attack. I am celebrating the good news that that infomation was wrong.

  • Lori Sanford

    Without an official diagnosis, I have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Since reading Grain Brain and putting the advice to use, headaches and other aches have all but disappeared. At 50 years old I feel incredible, have dumped 15 uninvited pounds, take no medication, and learning to eat real food.

  • BARBARA

    DR. PELMUTTER,

    I HAVE MANY OF MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS INTO YOUR GRAIN BRAIN BOOK , YOUR YOU TUBE INTERVIEWS AND TOUTE YOUR IDEOLOGY TO WHO EVER WILL LISTEN. I HAVE BEEN INTO THE INFORMATION AGE OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE SINCE MY EARLY TWENTIES. BUT, AS THE SAYING GOES, I HAVE BEEN VERY, VERY BAD , OR VERY, VERY GOOD, ABOUT MY EATING.

    YOU HAVE CHANGED ALL THAT. WHAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM YOU MAKES THIS WAY OF LIVING “VERY EASY”. THE FULL CONVERSION HAS TAKEN ABOUT THREE MONTHS. BREAD HAD BEEN MY GO-TO FOR FULL PLEASURE– NO MORE.

    I WILL SOON BE 76, WEIGH A HEALTHY 118 DOWN FROM 128 AND PLAY GOLF ABOUT THREE TIMES A WEEK AND LEAD A VERY ACTIVE LIFE.

    NOW MY QUESTION: I HAVE BEEN CLEARED FOR PARKINSON’ BUT HAVE WHAT THEY CALL A SYSTEMIC TREMOR IN MY RIGHT HAND AND A FAINT SHAKE IN MY HEAD. I HAVE HAD THE GAMMA KNIFE TREATMENT, NO BENEFIT. ABOUT TWO MONTHS AGO I DID THE ADULT STEM CELL INJECTIONS, USING MY OWN STEM CELLS, AT THIS POINT NO BENEFIT.

    ANY SUGGESTIONS?

    A BELIEVER

    YOUR BOOKS AND

  • Joe Bergmann

    Hi, Dr. Perlmutter,
    I’ve been doing the “Grain Brain” way of eating since reading your book last October. After two weeks, I experienced relief from a low-level of anxiety/fear that I didn’t know existed. Also during this period, and since then, I have obtained some relief from what seems a life time of dysthymic depression, with episodes of more severe depression, at times disabling. I am most grateful for the results so far!
    Last Tuesday, I was trying a fasting day, and at dinnertime experienced an episode of skipped heartbeats and then atrial fibrillation that required me to use my “pill in the pocket”, 3 tabs of 250 mg propafenone, and then I had a light supper. This was the first a-fib episode since starting this way of eating. Previously, I have had a couple of episodes, but they have been few and far between, six months or more apart. The skipped heartbeats I’m familiar with; have been aware of them since my years as a runner, checking my pulse from time to time.
    Do you think there may be a connection between the fasting and the a-fib? I’m not sure if it was the eating or the propafenone that stopped the a-fib.

  • Stephanie

    Dr. Perlmutter,

    My husband caught part of you PBS presentation and told me about it. A couple of nights later we were able to watch the entire presentation. I have ordered your book and anxiously awaiting delivery. I have Generalized Dystonia, two other lesser neurological diagnoses and CVID, Common Variable Immune Deficiency, all thought to be the result of growing up in very close proximity to many petroleum products in their raw forms. As a result of being less able to endure walking or any kind of sustained muscle activity, other than the Dystonic twisting, pulling and writhing, my blood pressure and cholesterol have gone up. Feeling lousy all the time, I’ve opted for easy foods rather than quality foods. I am looking forward to beginning my new eating habits, as prescribed by your book. I will be thrilled by any improvement in any if my conditions. Everything you covered on your PBS special made so much sense. Thank you in advance.

    • David Perlmutter

      Wishing you, and your husband, the very best of health.

  • Vish

    Hi Dr.Perlmutter, in your experience will a gluten/grainfree diet help with primary progressive aphasia? Could it be cause of it in the first place?

  • Tammy Caldwell de Leeuw

    Hello again, Dr. Perlmutter. I shared this with everyone on my network. I know GRAIN BRAIN isn’t really a diet book, but since following your suggestions, I have dropped 18 pounds and my husband has lost nearly 40! Our brains and our bellies are healthier!

    • David Perlmutter

      Wonderful to hear Tammy. Keep it up!

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