Schizophrenia and gluten

BEYOND THE GUT: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GLUTEN, PSYCHOSIS, AND SCHIZOPHRENIA

May 16, 2018GlutenPsychosisSchizophrenia

JAMES GREENBLATT, MD & DESIREE DELANE, MS

INTRODUCTION

The National Institutes for Mental Health provide a succinct definition for schizophrenia as periods of psychosis characterized by disturbances in thought and perception and disconnections from reality; however, diagnosis is much less straightforward.  Schizophrenia represents a wide illness spectrum with symptomatic features and severity ranging from odd behavior to paranoia.  With a prevalence rate over the past century holding steady at 1% worldwide and immovably poor patient outcomes, schizophrenia delivers profound relational and societal burdens, proving to be a complex clinical challenge and an unyielding epidemiological obstacle.

GLUTEN AS A TRIGGER FOR PSYCHOSIS

Although the role of food hypersensitivities in disease pathologies is highly controversial in the medical community, many recognize a parallel rise with dietary evolution in modern history.  Major shifts from ancestral diets largely absent of wheat or dairy to one with these as foundational components generate reasonable arguments on their implications for human health.  Industrialized food systems that streamline the way foods are grown, processed, and stored are often charged with altering their very nature down to its most infinitesimal molecules.  Yet, despite their diminutive size, micronutrients from food are essential to the complex processes and interactions that represent optimal health.

Intolerance to gluten represents one of the most prominent food hypersensitivities arising in recent history, delivering profound impacts to both physical and mental health.  As the most severe reaction to gluten, Celiac Disease (CD) affects a growing population of men and women READ MORE

2 thoughts on “Schizophrenia and gluten”

  1. Thanks for the post.

    This gluten/schizophrenia post is a good case-in-point to the dilemma of this journey. Another consideration is with commercial wheat products is the mandated synthetic folic acid included that could also present a challenge if you have MTHFR, or it could be the chemicals sprayed on the crops. If gluten-free, then the ingredients contain a lot of “gums” that could be detrimental for someone who has G6PD deficiency, a type of inherited hemolytic anemia where legumes (i.e. beans, soy, peas, and lentils) are contraindicated. This journey requires vigilance, stamina to wade through the research that no professional has the time to do, and discernment to come to logical conclusions that are tailored to an individual’s unique circumstances. So we add this to our ever growing lists of considerations to put a check mark by.

    1. For the readers, MTHFR genetic mutation is a common genetic mutation affecting 40% of the population. MTHFR is a gene that provides the body with instructions for making the MTHFR enzyme. When you eat foods that contain folic acid, MTHFR converts it into methyl-folate (folate’s active form).
      And yes, the current craving for finding out about our ancestors (and the availability of personalized information about our genes that hasn’t been widely available until now) leads to a lot more complexity on this journey to figure out what it is that is causing mental unwellness.

      https://www.parsleyhealth.com/blog/mthfr-mutation/

      Methyl-folate is critical to methylation, which helps to optimize a huge number of processes in your body including the production of DNA, metabolism of hormones, and proper detoxification.

      There can be one mutation (heterozygous) or two mutations (homozygous), which are passed down from parent to child. The more variations you have, the more issues your body will have with methylating.

      An MTHFR gene mutation may change the way you metabolize and convert nutrients from your diet into active vitamins, minerals, and proteins your body can use. This genetic mutation may also affect hormone and neurotransmitter levels, brain function, digestion, cholesterol levels, and more.

      Symptoms of an MTHFR gene mutation
      MTHFR mutations affect everyone differently, and symptoms can vary from long-term health issues to hardly any noticeable changes in overall health. Research has shown an association between MTHFR mutations and several health problems including:

      ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
      Autism
      Autoimmune disease and thyroid issues
      Cardiovascular disease
      Chronic fatigue
      Digestive issues, including IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
      Hormonal issues, including PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
      Migraines
      Schizophrenia
      Research has even found an association with an MTHFR mutation and depression and other mental health disorders. MTHFR produces an essential enzyme that converts folate into a form that plays a role in mood-regulating neurotransmitter production.

      Natural treatments for MTHFR mutation symptoms
      Having an MTHFR mutation doesn’t automatically mean you will experience the symptoms above. Symptoms also depend on which variant of the mutation you have and whether the variations affect both of your MTHFR genes.

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