Two Foods That May Sabotage Your Brain-Could there be a food-based cure for schizophrenia, bipolar, and depressive disorders? It is my firm conviction that diet – both what it may be deficient in as well as its potential toxicity – can cause what we label as mental illness. In medical school, we learn about the mental repercussions of nutrient deficiencies such as Beriberi (thiamin), Pellagra (niacin), and B12-deficiency induced dementia. We know that minerals such as magnesium and zinc are critical cofactors for basic functions, and that fatty acids are essential in the support of cell membrane health.
I believe in a partnership with my patients; however, my most paternalistic mandate, as a psychiatrist, is that of a gluten and casein free dietary trial.
What’s that? they often ask.
Gluten, from the Latin, “glue” is a composite of proteins comprised of gliadin and glutenin, found in wheat, with similar ‘glutinous’ proteins known as prolamines found in related grains such as rye (secalin), corn (zein), and barley (horedin), and casein is the name for a family of proteins in mammalian milk. How does this relate to the average patient scheduling an appointment with a psychiatrist? Is it possible that our modern, post-industrial foods – sugar, gluten, processed dairy, and genetically modified soy and corn are conspiring with nutrient deficiencies in an incendiary collaboration that will give rise to gut/brain pathology?