Grain Brain is a thoroughly researched and well-documented diet and nutrition book by David Perlmutter M.D., a neurologist practicing in Naples, Florida. The basic premise of the book is that most grains, especially those containing gluten (wheat, rye, barley and oats) can cause inflammation which releases damaging chemicals caused cytokines. Elevated cytokines are seen in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and autism. He proposes avoiding grains, high-glycemic fruit and sugar in order to reduce or completely eliminate the symptoms of ADHD, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, insomnia, migraine headaches, epilepsy, mood disorders, obesity, and to reduce the chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Avoiding these foods results in a reduction of the inflammation that can cause these often debilitating conditions. If you have any of these conditions, it would be wise to get tested for gluten sensitivity as well as food allergies. We provide this testing at my clinic, Advanced Weight Loss and Wellness in Lafayette, CA.
Dr. Perlmutter comes close to recommending a Paleo diet, the diet our ancestors evolved on – no grains, beans, potatoes, dairy or processed food – but includes cheese in some of his recipes. He also says it’s ok to eat amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa and gluten free oats. Where I disagree with him is including cheese and the above listed grains other than brown rice. Quinoa, which is not a grain but a seed, contains saponins which punch holes in the microvilli of the small intestine. Grains are high in proline, which is hard to digest and can cause gut irritation, systemic inflammation and increase the potential for autoimmune disease. Dairy is one of the most common food allergies, so cheese should definitely be avoided by someone with food sensitivities. I favor the concept of biochemical individuality. This would mean testing the individual for food sensitivities and avoiding the foods you test sensitive to. Sometimes the only reaction to a food sensitivity is weight gain and feeling tired or bloated.
At a nutrition seminar I attended, the presenter showed us scarring on brain scans of a man who was paralyzed. At first they thought he had Lou Gehrig’s disease. It turned out he was allergic to wheat. After the doctors took him off wheat, all the scarring went away and he was able to walk again. Then they showed us a slide of the 1st athlete on the Wheaties box. It was Lou Gehrig. Some of you may know that ALS, or what is known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is an inflammatory condition. Perhaps Lou Gehrig had a wheat allergy and didn’t know it!
Dr. Perlmutter also recommends eating healthy fats such as coconut oil, olives, olive oil, organic or pasture fed butter, ghee, avocadoes, nuts seeds and nut butter because the brain thrives on healthy fats.
Dr. Perlmutter suggests taking the following lab tests at the start of his 4 week program: The array 3 test from Cyrex Labs for gluten sensitivity, fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, hemoglobin A1C to test for diabetes, fructosamine to check for average blood sugar control, homocysteine (an amino acid like substance that at certain levels can be toxic to the brain), Vitamin D and C-reactive protein to check for inflammation. He also says to repeat these tests upon completion of his 4-week program. He says that you should see positive changes in the blood glucose and blood insulin tests in the first month.
He recommends the following supplements: DHA derived from fish oil or algae to protect the brain; Resveratrol to slow the aging process, boost blood flow to the brain promote heart health and optimize brain function; Turmeric to reduce inflammation and improve glucose metabolism and cognitive function, probiotics to help alleviate stress, anxiety and depression; Alpha-lipoic Acid, Vitamin D and coconut oil.
His 4-week program also encourages you to start with a one day fast, exercise and improve sleep habits.
There is a recipe section at the end of the book that has some healthy gourmet recipes from Sea Salt, one of his favorite restaurants in Naples, Florida. He has also recently come out with a gluten-free, Paleo cookbook “The Grain Brain Cookbook”. I encourage you to read “Grain Brain” to learn about the scientific research and case studies behind Dr. Perlmutter’s thesis.
At Advanced Weight Loss and Wellness we take a holistic, functional medicine approach. After completing the Metabolic assessment form, which gives clues as to which endocrine glands are out of balance causing weight problems and other health issues, we order any necessary lab tests, provide supplements and can recommend the Detox 360º or Clear-Vite Program to reduce inflammation. If you would like a thorough evidenced-based approach to solving your health challenges I would love a chance to help you. Please call 925-962-9160 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.