U.S. researchers have found that the popular foods of wheat and milk can turn against the brain.
A recent study that was published in the journal Nutrients, analyses the presence of antibodies IgG, IgM and IgA against wheat (gluten) and milk (casein) proteins and their contribution to neuroimmune reactivities (dysregulation of immune and nervous system).
How can wheat and milk attack your brain?
Wheat contains over 23,000 proteins, some of these are capable of thinning the intestinal lining and increasing gut permeability in susceptible individuals. Meaning – pathogens (e.g. bacteria) and undigested proteins can enter the blood stream. Once this happens, the immune system responds and any number of inappropriate immune reactions can occur like systemic inflammation, and even the loss of immunological self-tolerance – your body starts to attack itself!
Research has now found a link between increased antibodies to wheat and milk with elevated antibodies in the brain. These antibodies were found in high concentrations in various neuroimmune disorders, linking a significant numbers of wheat and milk protein antibodies and neural antibodies. These observed links found between protein antibodies and neural antibodies indicates a very real possibility that food antigens can cause cross-reactivity to brain proteins, resulting in neurological damage. This occurs through a process known as molecular mimicry.
There are multiple factors that contribute to degeneration of the intestinal lining from wheat and milk. Of course, this does not happen to everyone who eats wheat and diary.
Researchers noted that the relationship between wheat and diary antigens and neural proteins is complex and that “multiple factors, including an individual’s genotype, the timing and level of exposure, and the health of the gut and blood brain barriers,” are involved and need further study.
Vojdani, A. Kharrazian, D. Mukherjee, P S. (2013) “The Prevalence of Antibodies against Wheat and Milk
Proteins in Blood Donors and Their Contribution to Neuroimmune Reactivities”, Nutrients 6(1), 15-36, United States of America.