Saturday, August 2, 2014

Wheat Madness – Is This Popular Grain Provoking Mental Illness?

 Unexpectedly it turns out that wheat has compounds that also can affect brain function negatively. Again these effects are subtle and likely only become problematic in some heavy consumers.

The take home remains the same though and that is to work at removing wheat from your diet. You will still be exposed from time to time but that works well enough.

Wheat deserves an occasional place at the dinner table but not continously as it is so easy to slide into.

Wheat Madness – Is This Popular Grain Provoking Mental Illness? 

September 12, 2013 |

Carolanne Wright,

A mainstay in most Western diets, wheat is normally not associated with mental illness. Yet research has shown an intolerance to compounds within the grain can cause major neurological issues, including psychotic breakdowns. Far from a benign food, wheat has been linked with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and even diseases like multiple sclerosis along with Alzheimer’s. In the spirit of physical and mental health, many are realizing wheat is not a food to be consumed lightly.

Dangerous triggers lurking

One of the main health-harming culprits is found with wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), a category of lectins. Regardless if the wheat is soaked, sprouted or cooked, these compounds remain intact. Tiny and hard to digest, lectins can accumulate within the body and wreak havoc on physical and mental well-being. WGA is neurotoxic, crossing the blood brain barrier and attaching to the myelin sheath, consequentially inhibiting nerve growth – a serious consideration for those suffering from degenerative neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. Lectins also destroy the villi in the intestinal tract, creating an inflamed, leaky gut. Since there is a strong connection between the gut and brain via the vagus nerve, intestinal ill-health strongly affects the mind, mood and behavior. The gut is also considered a ‘second brain’, pumping out its own source of feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin. If normal functioning of the intestinal tract is hindered, production of serotonin dips along with stable mental states.

As troublesome as lectins are found to be, gliadin in wheat is a worse offender for sensitive individuals. As reported by GreenMedInfo, a study published in the journal Psychiatry Research makes the connection between gliadin and states of mania:

The relationship of the antibodies to the clinical course of mania was analyzed by the use of regression models. Individuals with mania had significantly increased levels of IgG antibodies to gliadin, but not other markers of celiac disease, at baseline compared with controls in multivariate analyses … Among the individuals with mania, elevated levels at follow-up were significantly associated with re-hospitalization in the six month follow-up period.”

Likewise, a study at John Hopkins School of Medicinein Maryland had similar findings:

Individuals with recent-onset psychosis and with multi-episode schizophrenia who have increased antibodies to gliadin may share some immunologic features of celiac disease, but their immune response to gliadin differs from that of celiac disease.”

And let’s not forget about gluten, the poster child for celiac disease – and now increasingly, for neurological disorders. Sayer Ji of GreenMedInfo believes the ramifications of gluten far surpass the celiac, autistic or schizophrenic individual:

In the same way that the celiac iceberg illustrated the illusion that intolerance to wheat is rare, it is possible, even probable, that wheat exerts pharmacological influences on everyone. What distinguishes the schizophrenic or autistic individual from the functional wheat consumer is the degree to which they are affected.”

Even when not suffering from overt mental illness or gluten intolerance, it would be wise to pause and consider the unseen consequences of consuming wheat. And decide if it’s worth the possible risk to future mental and physical health.

Sources for this article include:

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About the Author
Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.

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This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

THIS wheat is not the same, that our grandparents were living on in Europe and elsewhere. In the 1970-es the traditional wheta has been replaced with a hardes, less nutritious kind. Following that in the 90-wa they all went GMO. All flours in US are GMO ezcept (maybe) the organiz ones, but even organic causes stomach problems for some.

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