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Addictions - Gluten

There are many addictions besides drugs like tobacco, alcohol and narcotics. They all involve the gut-brain axis. For example, there’s wheat addiction.


Substances produced during the digestion of wheat, called polypeptides, are able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier separating the bloodstream from the brain. Once inside the brain, wheat polypeptides bind to the brain’s morphine receptors, the very same ones used by opiate drugs.

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If you’ve read the SYMBIOSIS VERSUS DYSBIOSIS page on this site, you’ll recall that keeping our GUT MICROBIOME (the large colony of bacteria, yeasts, viruses, parasites, etc living in our guts) well balanced is essential to our overall health – and that we get ill when it’s out of balance.


Having an unhealthy gut microbiome disrupts or skews the constant two-way communication that takes place between our gut and the rest of our body, allowing pathogenic bacteria, fungi or parasites to proliferate.  When the imbalance crosses a threshold, the body develops a recognizable  disease – often an allergy.
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Even more important than figuring out ways to TREAT Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia once they’ve developed, is taking steps to PREVENT it in the first place.  See Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts for what you can do to keep your brain functioning well into old age.


“The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that by mid-century someone in the U.S will develop Alzheimer’s disease every 33 seconds.” (Mercola, 2017)

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Asthma is an obstructive lung disease caused by over reaction of the airways to various stimuli. It is classified as an autoimmune disease. In asthmatics, the air passages in the lungs become inflamed, affecting the sensitivity of the nerve endings there so they become easily irritated. During an attack, the lining of the passages swells and produces extra mucus, causing the airways to narrow and reducing the flow of air into and out of the lungs. Asthma is characterized by shortness of breath and wheezing, varying in intensity from person to person. It can occur at any age but generally starts in childhood. A severe attack can be life-threatening.


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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is “a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior.

It has long been observed that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) suffer from GI problems such as constipation, diarrhea and gastroesophageal reflux . The worse the degree of autism, the more serious the digestive problems.

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Autoimmune Disorders

Most of this site is about how a chronically imbalanced, unhealthy gut microbiome can cause a large variety of diseases and conditions in the body – and how to fix your gut microbiome so you can live a long life in good health.

80% of the body’s immune system is located in the gut microbiome. When this microbiome becomes unhealthy, it can’t keep the rest of the body healthy. Eventually autoimmune diseases and conditions can develop.


Bone Health

Bones remain healthy and strong as long as bone-building activity exceeds bone breakdown. Our most intense bone growth stage runs from birth until about age 30-35. After that, our bones gradually lose minerals.

“If not given the right kind of care, bones can begin to weaken early in life. It’s a quiet, symptom-less process that steals away your bones. You can’t feel it happening, at least not in the early stages – hence the name ‘silent thief’.

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The concept of ‘teaching’ the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells has been around for 100 years. During this time, much has been learned about the immune system and specific immunotherapeutic strategies for cancers are being developed. Two new immunotherapeutic anticancer drugs have recently received approval and several other drugs are in late-stage development, ushering in a new era in anticancer immunotherapy.

Image by National Cancer Institute
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Celiac Disease

Celiac is one among the 100 or so recognized autoimmune diseases. This is important to note because we now know that the various autoimmune diseases can get expressed in people with a genetic predisposition for them – but expression can be prevented by building a robust immune system in the gut microbiome. (Hardin, 2014)

It’s also important to note that chronic autoimmune diseases in general are occurring in ever-increasingly numbers. At best, they are a nuisance (eg, acne and psoriasis). 

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Chronic Fatigue

“When immune cells of otherwise healthy individuals detect any peripheral infection, they release proinflammatory cytokines. Chemoreceptors of the sensory vagus nerve detect these localized proinflammatory cytokines, and send a signal to the brain to initiate sickness behavior. Sickness behavior is an involuntary response that includes fatigue, fever, myalgia, depression, and other symptoms that overlap with CFS.”

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Clostridium Difficile

With the poor condition of many our gut microbiomes, Clostridium difficile bacterial infections of the colon have become a public health crisis. CDIs (C. diff infections) are now more frequent, more severe, more difficult to treat and more often fatal. These infections typically occur after use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, which eradicate the good gut flora along with the targeted bad bacteria. Ironically, the treatment of choice for CDIs is usually heavy duty antibiotics.

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Covid and other viruses spread among people whose immune systems aren’t working properly, making them vulnerable to pathogenic bugs. We often hear people express surprise that someone in ‘good health’ got Covid, a Clostridium difficile infection or some other nasty illness.

At issue here is how we think of ‘good health’. If you define it as not having been diagnosed with a disease, then you’re missing the important role of the gut microbiome. Modern conventional medicine tends to focus on and treat the symptoms of chronic poor gut immunity, dividing the various organs up into medical specialties.

Image by CDC


Among the numerous health benefits offered by goldenseal is reducing blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. Berberine (an active compound in goldenseal) is responsible for this beneficial effect. “In a preliminary trial, supplementation with 1 gram per day of berberine … for two months significantly lowered blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.” (University of Michigan Health System, 2015)

Goldenseal’s other health benefits include its antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, immune enhancing, digestive stimulating actions. See this 2015 article on Goldenseal by the University of Michigan Health System for more information.

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Heart Health

A recent study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine found that using an antiseptic mouthwash twice daily kills off the good bacteria that help blood vessel walls relax, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and a variety of other health issues.


Approximately one third of American adults have high blood pressure, often without any signs of symptoms. Chronically high blood pressure can damage the body and affects how the blood is pushed against the arterial walls while the heart is pumping blood.  (Borreli, 2014)

Image by jesse orrico
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Histamine Intolerance

Have you been finding that exposure to an ever-increasing number of foods, smells, or chemicals causes skin outbreaks, stuffy sinuses, a headache, brain fog, exhaustion, an upset GI tract, or just an overall unwell feeling? If you notice evidence that your body has become chronically inflamed and you have an array of symptoms from this list, you may be struggling with histamine intolerance.

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Chronic Inflammation

When chronic inflammation is present, the immune process gets subverted and apparently abets the growth of cancerous tumors. (Marx, 2004).

Chronic inflammation is often present years before overt symptoms are noticed or a recognized illness makes itself known. See the Gut Symbiosis versus Dysbiosis page and the sub-pages under it for a fuller list of health problems caused by gut dysbiosis and chronic inflammation.

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Mental Health

Autoimmune conditions have been found in chronic stress and in a number of psychiatric disorders, including psychotic disorders. An example of connection between the gut and severe psychiatric symptoms is being studied by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. People with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are known to have elevated levels of inflammation in their blood and nervous systems from a heightened sensitivity to gluten proteins. This sensitivity produces elevated antibodies against gluten. The antibodies leak outside the GI tract, enter the bloodstream and invade the central nervous system, generating an immune reaction causing inflammation.



A recently published study led by Dr Katherine C. Hughes at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health provides evidence of a positive correlation between consumption of low-fat dairy products and risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.


Subjects who consumed three or more servings of low-fat dairy a day were found to have a 34% greater risk of developing Parkinson’s compared to those who consumed less than one serving a day.  Dr Hughes study is the largest analysis of dairy and Parkinson’s to date. (Hughes, 2017) & (Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, 2017) 

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Sinus infection (acute sinusitis): When a viral or bacterial infection lodges in the sinus cavities, a painful condition call sinusitis results. The tissues become inflamed, mucus production increases, the nose runs or is congested, a pressure headache develops and thinking becomes foggy. There can also be facial pain in the forehead, around the eyes, and cheeks; a feeling of weakness; and a postnasal drip as the mucus drains down the back of the throat, often producing a sore throat. A cough may result, frequently more severe at night.  Sinus headaches can also trigger a nasty migraine in people with a predisposition to them.

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Skin Conditions

Skin conditions are greatly influenced by the health of the gut biome – perhaps even caused by an overgrowth or lack of something in the gut flora. It is known that people suffering from acne are also at higher risk for mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, as well as gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, gastric reflux, bloating and halitosis.  Their common connection is to the health of the gut’s microflora – a Gut-Brain-Skin triangle. (Bowe & Logan, 2011)

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Sleep Disturbances

The most important is the removal of potentially neurotoxic waste from the central nervous system. The brain has its own waste management system, called the glymphatic system, which is similar to the body’s lymphatic system. This system pumps cerebral spinal fluid through the brain’s tissues, flushing waste into the body’s circulatory system and from there into the liver, where it’s eliminated.

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Much research is now being done on the gut-brain axis –  the biochemical and neuronal communication that’s constantly taking place between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. The gut-brain axis works in both directions – from gut to brain and brain to gut – and affects GI functioning as well as hormones, immunity, mood, motivation, and higher cognitive functions.

That’s all pretty amazing in itself  but how’s this for mind blowing?

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