My Thoughts on “Grain Brain”; by David Perlmutter, MD

Many customers, while dining in my cafe, have asked me what I thought of Grain Brain, written by renowned neurologist, David Perlmutter, MD.

First, I will say that the book is excellent and a must read for everyone, especially if you or your family are touched by Celiac, gluten sensitivity, autism, dementia, alzheimer’s, stroke or heart disease! Dr Perlmutter goes into great detail about the care and feeding of your brain.  Showing, through research, studies and clinical experience exactly how healthy carbohydrates; such as whole grains and sugar can cause dementia, ADHD, epilepsy, anxiety, headaches, depression and more.

I made some some notes while reading the book that you might find of interest. First and foremost, Dr Perlmutter believes that Gluten Sensitivity is the real issue at hand and that Celiac Disease is an extreme manifestation of Gluten Sensitivity.

Gluten Sensitivity:

-Celiac Disease is an extreme manifestation of gluten sensitivity; the most severe reaction to gluten.

-1 in 30 people have Celiac Disease as estimated by Dr Perlmutter, although experts say 1 in 200 or 1 in 131; many are not diagnosed.

-1 in 4 people are vulnerable to Celiac Disease due to genetics alone and those of northern European descent are more susceptible.

-A person’s genes determine gluten sensitivity or severity, meaning there is a very wide spectrum to it.

-Gluten does not just harm the gut, once the genes are triggered, sensitivity to gluten is lifelong condition that can affect the skin, mucous membranes and the mouth.  Gluten reactions can involve any organ in the body including the brain, even if the gut is fine.

-The brain is at great risk if a person is gluten sensitive.

-Food Sensitivities are usually a response from the immune system.  The presence of gluten basically disables the body’s immune system and it can’t fully support the body’s natural defenses.

-About 45% of people with ASD (autism spectrum disorders) have gastrointestinal problems. There is an increased prevalence of celiac in pediatric cases of autism, compared to the general population.

-People with Celiac Disease may be at increased risk for developmental delays, tic disorders, learning disorders and ADHD.

-Depression and anxiety are often severe in those with gluten sensitivity.

-He dispels the myth that all fat is bad for you. Low cholesterol can affect mood and put your brain at risk. Your brain needs fat and is made of fat.

-“Routine lab tests for Celiac Disease are not sensitive enough to uncover gluten sensitivity, so don’t bother with them”. (I take issue with this, you need to know if you have Celiac first, then if negative, look for gluten sensitivity. No wonder 83% of those with Celiac are said to be undiagnosed!)

-Inflammation is the cornerstone to brain disease. He goes into great detail about dementia and alzheimer’s disease and the role gluten plays along with sugar, statin drugs, strokes, diabetes and so much more. Much time is devoted to talking about how all carbohydrates; grains and sugar are causing us problems (inflammation) and has lots of studies and clinical experience referenced in the book. There is also great information in the book about vitamin deficiencies, leaky gut and more.

I think this book is a must read; or buy it on CD and listen to it on a long car ride. I think it is eye opening and saw so many of my health issues highlighted in this book;Grain Brain it has convinced me to tweak my GF diet a bit. (I can attest that gluten does affect the brain! Read my blog post about when I was “glutened” on vacation.)

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