Wheat brain

Among the most common effects of wheat are those on the brain.

Consume wheat and susceptible individuals will experience a subtle euphoria. Others experience mental cloudiness or sleepiness. (This is what I personally get.)

It gets worse. Children with ADHD and autism have difficulty concentrating on a task and have behavioral outbursts after a cookie. Schizophrenics experience paranoid delusions, auditory hallucinations, and worsening of social detachment. People with bipolar disorder can have the manic phase triggered by a breadcrumb. All these effects are blocked by administering drugs that block the brain's opiate receptors. (This is why, by the way, a drug company is planning to release an oral agent, naltrexone, formerly administered to heroin addicts to help control addiction, for weight loss: block the euphoric effect, take away the temptation, lose weight.)

Here is Heart Scan Blog reader, Nicole's, mental fog story:

I have been grain-free (no gluten free grains either) for quite a long time (about a year and a half). Earlier this week, I decided to try white bread and pasta. The experiment only lasted two days. I had horrible terminal insomnia both nights, causing me on the second night to wake up at 2:30 am unable to get back to sleep at all. I felt drugged and in a mind-fog all the next day and even dozed off a few times! Luckily I had the day off work.

I had very bad forgetfulness also. I forgot that I left my bag and groceries at work, so I had to go back for them. Then I had to use my husband's keys to get in because I thought my keys were in my bag, but it turns out they were in my pocket. Then I got my bag, set the alarm, locked the door and then realized I forgot my groceries. So I had to re-open the door, unset the alarm, and go back for the groceries. Then I locked the door, forgetting to set the alarm, so I had to unlock it, open up and set the alarm. It was just ridiculous, I am NEVER like that!

In addition to the insomnia and forgetfulness, I also had horrible anxiety and paranoia, almost to the point of panic. Which I NEVER have, I am usually very easy-going, even-tempered, and worry-free. But this was horrible, I really was quite paranoid and anxious about everything. Weird!

And the worst, was that in just two days of eating wheat, I gained 4 lbs and 2% bodyfat!! It's two days wheat-free now, and it's finally going back down, but wow. Just two days of wheat-eating caused that much weight and fat gain!

Anyway, I've learned my lesson and will continue to avoid grains (including gluten free grains) entirely.

Eat more "healthy whole grains"? Modern dwarf Triticum aestivum, perverted even further by agricultural geneticists and modern agribusiness, subsidized by the U.S. government to permit $5 pizza, is better than any terrorist plot to discombobulate the health and performance of the American people.

Comments (52) -

  • StoragePro

    3/30/2011 1:59:07 PM |

    Can you please post links to scientific research showing the linkages you blogged about in this post please?

    As far as I can see, the only evidence ('proof of what you are pointing out') is anecdotal, like the content of this particular post.  A number of folks in the blogosphere say the same things you did, but the research I have read does not back them up. A study should also pinpoint causation, not simply correlation.

    I am not trying to pick a fight with you, just want scientific corroboration and validation of your arguments. It is hard work, but it can and should be done. People live once, and bad science has destroyed many lives.  I've spent a good deal of time looking at ADHD, and food linkages recently because a family member suffers from ADHD and some comorbid conditions.

    I see precious little good science in this space, and a ton of anecdotes.  Without corroborating science unpinning your advice, it becomes an opinion, and like armpits, we all have opinions, and they often stink.

    I do enjoy your blog and read it regularly.

  • Anonymous

    3/30/2011 2:26:25 PM |

    I have gone Paleo for the past week (which is grain free). One immediate and unexpected effect of this was that I started having more energy, waking up earlier, and waking up refreshed rather than foggy as usual. Quite surprising! Yesterday, I bombed (wheat).... today, my energy levels and wake-style are back to "normal." Not good. Hopefully I've learned my lesson!!

    Thanks for posting.

  • Eric

    3/30/2011 4:02:39 PM |

    Another great example of the grain brain Dr. Davis.

    On a high wheat (healthy whole wheat) diet my concentration was dismal as was my ability to sit still. I was in a manic fog most of the time and the gas was horrific.

    StoragePro- Dr. Davis is a practicing cardiologist, therefor he has the unique ability to see results in his own patients.

    As for the hard research you're looking for, Gary Taubes' book "Good Calories, Bad Calories" has ALL the scientific research you need.

    The book does an outstanding job explaining how Key's 7 Country Study of low-fat=low heart disease (extremely loose linked hypothesis) became the de facto belief in modern medicine, even though there have been numerous studies since that have dis-proven Key's study and pointed to sugar and grains as the #1 cause of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

    I think you would enjoy the book, you should check it out.


  • Kathryn

    3/30/2011 5:28:28 PM |

    I've been searching for some time now for different ways to deal with moderately severe chronic fatigue.  I've done a ton of things naturally (clean water, organic veggies, gluten free, candida cleanse, minimal grains, raw milk, the list goes on and on).

    However, i've not gotten relief and it has gotten worse.  I've also not lost weight.  So, while many of those things can be done without oversight, i have been looking for a doctor who can do natural/alternative medicine.

    One i consulted about 1-1/2 years ago was a big advocate of low dose naltrexone.  Now, as i tend to have severe reactions to meds and i believe the fatigue i fight was caused by prescribed meds i used to down without a second thought, i was pretty hesitant.  However, after much thought i did decide to give it a try.  Three days of severe side effects (this was at a 1 mg dose, heroin addicts are started at 50 mg) and i gave it up.  But what concerned me most was this doc's attitude.  She said, "This stuff is so good, EVERYONE should be on it!  I have all my family on it.  It is wonderful."

    I'm not a believer in miracle drugs.  I do wish i would lose some weight, tho.

    This isn't really part of the conversation, just my reaction to the mention of naltrexone.

  • terrence

    3/30/2011 5:30:53 PM |

    StoragePro - there is a VAST amount of scientific work that supports what Dr Davis said in this post.

    Try Google - if you know how to use it you cannot help but find a great deal of information. Many scientists, including psychiatrists, support this post.

    BTW, your anecdotal comment, your "opinion" really, should be supported by references. And I must say that as you presented it, like your armpit, really stinks.

  • StoragePro

    3/30/2011 5:43:36 PM |

    Eric - I read Taubes book closely and it does not cover "Grain Brain" in any sense of the word.  (If I missed the 'scientific' discussion, please refer me to the chapter - I do not see it.)

    I understand that the writer is an MD, but it would be a fallacy to believe that he has the answers because he is one.  Why?  Only look to the current establishment - full of MD's who have promulgated the crap diets that have caused harm.

    My question was quite specific to the post, not to Paleo in general.  I have no problems with Paleo. Good science is good science, and anything less is suspect, and rightly should be.  Making recommendations without hard conclusive data is dangerous, as Taubes beautifully pointed out.  

    If the answer is: "No, there are no studies confirming or disproving the negative effect of grains on brains, but in my experience I have seen some patients benefit", that is a good answer, and one that does not unintentionally mislead the reader via force of "Title or Position".

    Again, this not an attack or a slam, but if there is something I have not seen, I really *really* want to see it.

    - mike

  • Kris @ Health Blog

    3/30/2011 6:03:45 PM |

    I used to be fine eating wheat, including pizza and other crap.

    After I tried the paleo diet, my wheat consumption were over for good. Now every time I eat some wheat or sugar I feel a little bit sick and numb.

    If I have a major carb splurge and like eat half a large pizza then I will have kind of a dazed buzzy feeling the day after.

  • Eric

    3/30/2011 6:09:07 PM |


    The book has numerous references to linked hyperinsulinemia and Alzheimer's (the ultimate brain fog if you ask me).

    Quote from the book "As (Suzanne) Craft sees it, if insulin levels are chronically elevated (hyperinsulinemia), then brain neurons will be excessively stimulated to produce amyloid proteins, and IDE will be preoccupied with removing insulin, so that less will be available to clean up the amyloid. "We're not saying this is the mechanism for all of Alzheimer's disease," Craft says. But "it may have a role in a significant number of people."

    Also Taubes book makes numerous references to the fact that diabetes and prolonged insulin levels actually age a person quicker, thus deteriorating mental prowess.

    Also numerous studies have been done on IGF (Insulin-like Growth Factors) and receptors in cancer growth.

    High consumption of carbs increases insulin levels and comes with a bevy of problems, not just brain fog, depression, anxiety, etc...

  • Anonymous

    3/30/2011 7:12:49 PM |

    StoragePro: Is that a quote from Taubes in his book?

    "No, there are no studies confirming or disproving the negative effect of grains on brains, but in my experience I have seen some patients benefit..."


  • Anonymous

    3/30/2011 7:29:25 PM |

    To terrance:

    There is a difference between a blog's general commentary and a stated opinion substantiated with specific references. I appreciate it when Dr Davis includes specific references to his commentary. He is much better read in this area than I am. Sometimes, I find myself wishing that he would give specific references more often.

    Opinions are fine but personal insults are inappropriate in life and possibly even moreso, while blogging.

    Your comments to StoragePro were inappropriate. I ask that you voluntarily remove your post and apologize for your behavior to the community.

    Regards, spo

  • Might-o'chondri-AL

    3/30/2011 9:11:57 PM |

    Sensationalist posts are, to my mind, Doc's way of grabbing our attention to get our participation. StoragePro is justified in questioning what's put out; Doc is know to acknowledge individual factors exist.

    The brain can burn lactate, glucose, acetate and ketones. The neuro-glia cell astrocytes use glucose mostly to make lactate; they (astrocytes burn lactate best). Astrocytes govern the calcium ++ ions that modulate nerve synapse glutamate, which
    if left "on" over-excites the nerve.

    Schizophrenia improves with ketogenic diet (ie: ketones synthesized in liver are burned). To make ketones the substrate has to have a three carbon chain; this C-C-C chain exists in protein and the glycerol back-bone of fatty acids, but not in glucose molecules carbon chain. However, schizophrenic brain chemistry is not "normal" neurology to emulate.

    Doc's contention (previously
    explained in detail by him)
    is that molecules in our modern wheat are treated as irritants
    (my synopsis) by the body. I interpret this as some, but not all, individuals' mast
    cells quickly become activated in response to this wheat.

    Mast cells induce the body to put out  (protein cleaving) protease enzymes; which in turn make histamine levels go up. Histamine can alter fluid viscosity and thus the amount of oxygen passing a cell in a timely fashion.

    Brain's O2 level is best maintained when the blood volume of hemoglobin (O2 carrier molecule) is at least 30% (hemoglobin). True, the brain can still function with the amount of O2 that 15% hemoglobin can carry; it is of course "dazzed", although not destroyed as in cerebral ischemia.

    Some anecdotes indicate (to me)
    their blood viscosity increased to the point where hemoglobin % drops below their ideal ratio. Then blood speed must increase to compensate and keep their ideal volume of O2 reaching the brain. This requires more heart contractions and so they experience "panic" and "anxiety".

    If the individual is anemic, from diet or genetics, then their base line hemocrit % is low; they have to raise their heart output to compensate for even minimal blood viscosity change. Anecdotes don't take this into account of who gets panic attacks , vs. whose concentration worsens.

    Manic "fog" is due to the low oxygen (hypoxia) in brain cells. The cell responds to the hypoxia
    by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS); it is "normal" protective signalling for the cell. Super-oxide is a feed back mechanism to let more O2 into that cell; we are designed to make oxidants because they are quick acting in stress.

    Super-oxide does this (modulate O2) by altering the oxygen pressure dynamic inside that cell. However, in changing the oxygen gradient (to compensate for hypoxia) super-oxide shuts off the cells ATP production; hence the "dazzed buzz" of too little ATP sparks.

    Not everyone responds negatively to wheat; "wheat brain"
    implies (to me) that there is human genetic variation in play.
    My guess is the cross-breeding of Caucasians (all those European war rapes, cross breeding, migrations and melting pot countries)make for a susceptable response to modern wheat.

  • Anonymous

    3/30/2011 9:24:08 PM |

    Here's a blog post that's right up your street:



  • Dr. William Davis

    3/30/2011 10:35:24 PM |

    There is actually a large body of evidence describing the neurological effects of wheat, gluten in this instance.

    I will discuss this over time. I've also written a book about this that is scheduled for release in fall, 2011. It has about 40 pages of references.

  • terrence

    3/30/2011 10:49:24 PM |

    "Your comments to StoragePro were inappropriate. I ask that you voluntarily remove your post and apologize for your behavior to the community." Regards, spo

    I ask YOU, spo, to "voluntarily remove your post and apologize for your behavior to the community."

    The sooner the better, spo.

    And StoragePro can "voluntarily remove your post and apologize for [his] behavior to the community."

  • StoragePro

    3/31/2011 2:33:23 AM |

    Thanks for the reply Dr Davis

    I look forward to reading the upcoming material.  It is important  to me


  • Anne

    3/31/2011 3:07:10 AM |

    If you do a pubmed search you can find many articles about gluten and the brain.

    You can also go to The Gluten File and check out "Neurologic Manifestations".

    More anecdotal information - my lifelong depression is gone now that I have given up wheat. If I get the slightest amount, it returns for about 5 days.

  • Reijo

    3/31/2011 6:37:13 AM |

    Thank God there are people like StoragePro! Thank you for asking for the scientific references.

  • majkinetor

    3/31/2011 9:14:21 AM |

    2 Kathryn

    Since your fatigue is worst after removing all those food types from your diet, you might have a deficit problem, rather then allergy symptoms.

    I would try orthomoleculary approach. Extremely safe, and tends to show other benefits too.

    You should start with Vitamin C 10 - 15 g (or to bowel tolerance). That helps bunch of people with CFS. Keep sugar low and rise protein up. This will rise bioavailability of C. If money is not the problem, take liposomal form of C which is absorbed 100% contrary to oral dose which is closer to 10% (plus it doesn't give you intestinal problems like oral C). Take it with sodium bicarbonate if you have problems tolerating acid.

    If your tolerance is big enough, add Mg-Citrate (you should anyway).

    Depending on your diet, you might also want B12 (1mg/day) and other B vitamins in higher dose.

    Sorry for offtopic.

  • CarbSane

    3/31/2011 12:53:16 PM |

    @Mito, your point on sensationalism is well taken, but Dr. Davis really seems to have gone over the top more than a bit of late.  From sulfuric acid in oatmeal to statements like "people with bipolar disorder can have the manic phase triggered by a breadcrumb" (REALLY????),  sensationalism to this degree will not engage.  Rather it erodes the credibility because I don't know that we could even do a study to support that BPD claim.

  • majkinetor

    3/31/2011 1:48:52 PM |

    CS, don't get stuff out of context.

    People who stop eating grains for a long time can experience down regulation of certain enzymes as explained in some of the comments above. Similar happens when you remove diary products from your diet.

    So, yes, extraordinary reaction is possible for such people.

  • Eric

    3/31/2011 3:52:16 PM |


    I would agree with you. Once we allow our bodies to return to homeostasis by avoiding grains, a small introduction of grain can trigger a flux of issues.

    It's like being allergic to peanuts. It doesn't take an entire bag to produce a reaction. Same with grains in my opinion.

    My body has, in fact, returned to homeostasis. My hypertension is controlled (something 4 Rx pills a day couldn't do), my stress, fatigue, depression and anxiety have vanished, all do to following the recommendations of Dr. Davis.

    Everyone can believe what they want, until they NEED to put the Dr.'s advise into action to reverse deteriorating health, because there are VERY few cardiologists that actually provide actionable steps, instead of writing you a statin script and moving onto the next patient.

    Kudos to you Dr. Davis for telling it like it is and not being afraid to rock the "Conventional Wisdom" crowd.

  • Anonymous

    3/31/2011 7:32:27 PM |

    Looking forward to your new book Dr.Davis!   Patty

  • D

    4/1/2011 12:02:40 AM |

    To StoragePro:
    I share your desire for more and better designed research studies.  The powerful placebo effect comes to mind often, like "were you just having anxiety because you knew you were eating wheat and were worried that you would gain weight/have a negative reaction?"  

    Also, I often think: "Was it just because you were eating WAY TOO MUCH WHEAT before?"  And then the concept of the "threshold of toxicity"... has anyone ever tried a middle ground?  It seems to be one extreme (eating oatmeal and bagel for breakfast - obviously way too many carbs for most!) to the other: zero wheat/low carb.

    But now my questions are (1) How would these studies we want to see actually be designed?, and (2) out of all the things to research, who's really going to put up the funds for this?  I don't see it happening for the two reasons above.  So now what?

    (thinking out loud!)

  • Anonymous

    4/1/2011 3:37:52 PM |

    -StoragePro, nobody cares if you have nothing against Paleo.

    If every MD and blogger has to give every single one of their references every time they right something it would be a s**t blog to read. Understand?

    Nobody cares if you doubt his rigor. If we don't like what he says then we stop reading. Have a dig at somebody else.

    Great blog Dr Davis, keep it up!

  • terrence

    4/1/2011 4:48:47 PM |

    On April 01, 2011 - Anonymous said to "-StoragePro, nobody cares if you have nothing against Paleo. ..."

    Very well put, Anonymous, very well put.

    People who don't have the time and/or intelligence to use the many internet searches would be funny if they were not so sad. Maybe he/they  would like the Good Doctor to read the sources to him/them in person.

    Dr Davis' links are SO "IMPORTANT" to StoragePro that he does not even bother to search for them on his own, even after commenters give him places to look at!

    I guess DR Davis is here to spoon-feed lazy people like StoragePro.

  • Anonymous

    4/1/2011 5:02:18 PM |

    Dr Davis:

    I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now. In fact, it started my interest in the use of supplements and a quest toward better health. Unfortunately, in the last few months, a few in the community have been personally hostile to other posters in the community. Others present seem to ignore the what I consider the inappropriate behavior, since there are no comments relative to it. Further, you have said nothing regarding these current "attacks". The information provided is helpful but civility is important too, and I see increasingly less of it here.

    As such, consider me a long-time follower now disappointed and "unsubscribed".

    My regards, spo

  • Tony Plank

    4/1/2011 6:58:38 PM |


    I think your expectations for a moderated board are not necessarily fair. You have every right to come or go as you please, but I just thought I’d give you a little different perspective. I’ve participated in a lot of on-line communities and IMO, moderation never works out as well as it sounds. The healthiest and most robust online communities have consistently been the ones where pretty much everything is tolerated. Generally, people can take care of themselves and do not need a moderator to survive the on-line rough and tumble. One of the communities I ran I only had one rule: no obscenity. It worked pretty well.

    I’ll let Dr. Davis speak for himself, but I doubt seriously he wants to be an active moderator. And even if he had the time, I’m not sure moderation would have much real value.

    I too lament the death of civility, but it is a social problem. Rules will not change that.

  • Onschedule

    4/1/2011 8:40:26 PM |


    You might continue to enjoy Dr. Davis's insights by reading his blog and skipping the comments. While you would miss out on often-valuable discussion, you would successfully avoid objectionable comments.

    Sometimes, the best way to deal with crass individuals in the blogosphere is to simply ignore them.

  • terrence

    4/1/2011 9:35:59 PM |

    Onschedule said..."Spo, You might continue to enjoy Dr. Davis's insights by reading his blog and skipping the comments."

    Please skip the comments, spo; and please stop leaving your OWN comments.  You are NOT the moderator here; and you do NOT speak for anyone other than YOU.

  • Anonymous

    4/1/2011 10:45:42 PM |

    This new poster, terrance, has taken over the blog. The comments he leaves are rude and are disrupting the interesting and informative chat that usually develops following the Doctor's essay. It seems that he has driven off at least one longtime reader.

    Where are all the regular posters?
    Might-o'chonri-AL, revelo, Anne, Helen you are all very quiet about this.


  • terrence

    4/1/2011 11:10:33 PM |

    ---tumoz at April 01, 2011

    I have been reading and commenting on Dr Davis' blog for around two years. I must say I do NOT recall your name/handle. Have you commented on anything of substance? Nor do I recall any "Anonymous" signed by "spo".  

    It is presumptuous, if not silly, to suggest that I have "driven off" one "long time" reader. If he left that is HIS choice. As someone else suggested, he could stop reading the comments.  He and you are NOT moderators of this blog

    If you do not like my comments do NOT read them - the name is at the top of each comment, and it is easy to skip over. You could also bother yourself to spell my name correctly.

    I will mae  point of NOT reading anything with your name above it; and I will check the Anonymous tag to see if they are signed spo, and I will NOT read it if it is.  

    tumoz - do you seriously think that four out of 31 comments is "taking over" the blog? Good grief! I  HAVE TAKEN OVER THE BLOG!!!


  • Helen

    4/2/2011 2:59:44 AM |

    Oh, I'm a regular poster? I'm flattered!

    Okay, I'm gluten intolerant, and may have been misdiagnosed as *not* celiac.  (I was biopsied after reintroducing gluten for one week - it's supposed to be 3-6.) My daughter has celiac disease and is homozygous for genes that make you susceptible to celiac (HLA DQ2; another variant is HLA DQ8), which means I have at least one of those.  So I'm off gluten.

    I've read journal articles about gluten and depression, gluten and psychosis, gluten and seizures, and gluten ataxia, many of them on PubMed (especially gluten ataxia).  I have a friend who can tell when she's accidentally eaten gluten because she feels insane.  She does not have celiac disease.

    About 30-40% of the population carries genes for gluten sensitivity, placing them at risk for celiac disease.

  • Helen

    4/2/2011 3:00:31 AM |


    In people with celiac disease (and I think others with gluten sensitivity, which has recently been discovered to be a real, but distinct, immune response to gluten, ONE thing that happens is that the gut responds to an influx of gluten by overproducing zonulin, which opens up the tight junctions of the gut wall, allowing large molecules of food and endotoxin to enter the bloodstream.  This can lead to a greater susceptibility to food allergies and autoimmune disorders, inflammation, and god knows what else.

    The interesting thing is that gluten causes an overproduction of zonulin and an opening of the tight junctions in *everyone,* but the gluten-sensitive among us have a greater and longer-lasting reaction.

    I'm not going to go up against the doctor on this one.  The oats I eat are certified gluten-free, and soaked overnight with buckwheat flour (also gluten-free) and yogurt to break down the phytic acid, an antinutrient found in grains and legumes.

  • Helen

    4/2/2011 3:00:53 AM |


    One thing Chris Masterjohn at The Daily Lipid notes, however, is that wheat is a major source of betaine in the Western diet, which works with choline to keep the liver healthy - that is, to prevent fatty liver.  Since many of us don't get enough choline, betaine is important, as it can make up some of the deficit.  If you give up wheat, make sure you include in your diet betaine-rich foods, such as spinach, beets, and quinoa.

  • Might-o'chondri-AL

    4/2/2011 7:45:11 AM |

    Zonula protein in the intestine cells' cytoplasm holds occluden with F-actin, thereby preserving tight junctions. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity genes alpha gliadin peptide fragments can up-regulate zonulin. Zonulin acts like a hormone downregulating zonula; then the F-actin moves and so tight matrix is lost.

    NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) use lowers the threshold of reaction (ie: reaction increases +/- 2 fold) to alpha gliadin, in those with genetic succeptability (HLA-DQ2 & HLA-DQ8). And NSAID, being a COX2 inhibitor, stymies intestinal arachidonic acid (AA); whose (AA) metabolites normally modulate local immune response to challenging antigens (noxious things). NSAIDs reduce the macrophage phagocytosis and what gets through the junctions is more irritating; a so-called "bystander" immune hit from commensal gut bacteria.

    NSAIDs foster excessive small intestine bacterial growth; some of these can move to the early (proximal) large intestine. This knocks back colon % of Bacteriodes, E.coli, E. rectale-clostridium (among others); the micro-biota alters with implications for the 25 - 40 % of Americans with HLA-DQ2 & DQ8.

    With micro-biota profile altered the proximal colon unbalances with more sulphur reducing bacteria; the sulphide they kick off impedes the beneficial action of butyrate (a short chain fatty acid bacteria make from soluble fiber). If the individuals diet supplies off key substrate and the gut bacteria species favor making excessive acetate & proprionate
    (other short chain fatty acids), they can outcompete butyrate for MCT1 (mono-carboxylate transport 1 is the molecule bringing short chain fatty acids to our cells).

    MCT1 ideally carrys enough butyrate; which inhibits pro-inflammation NF-kB (nuclear factor kappa B) and upregulates Mucin genes ("mucus" membrane coat). IF there is excessive butyrate made, from very fast colon bacterial fermention, then it can upregulate zonulin (not desired); however, if there is modest butyrate levels then zonulin is actually suppressed and tight junctions are more stable (ie: zonula-occludens working undisturbed).

    "Fast" carbohydrate fiber fermentation may be why Type I diabetics have elevated zonulin, just like Celiac Disease patients do; the non-normal gut bacteria distort the short chain fatty acid mix (normal = 20% butyrate, 20% proprionate and 60%acetate; which together pass us 5 - 15 % of our food energy).

    Is it possible the genetic 25 - 40 % of Americans with HLA-DQ2 & DQ8 are suffering more from celiac "Sprue" reactions since NSAID use became common place? And if they'd never become sensitized by NSAIDs, like developing/underdevelop populations, western genetic pre-disposition would have been latent?

  • Mark

    4/2/2011 12:25:27 PM |

    the "health and performance" of the american people...  makes it sound like we're quarter horses...

  • Might-o'chondri-AL

    4/2/2011 5:36:42 PM |

    Helen soaks oats in yogurt with buckwheat and the bacteria polymerize the oat soluble fibre.
    The higher polymer fibers hold up longer as they transit the colon.

    Early (proximal) large intestine bacteria quickly use up most soluble fiber (making short chain fatty acids) and thus little reaches the later (distal) large intestine. This gives us normally butyrate in one colon part (proximal) and very little in distal colon.

    A lack of polymerized soluble fiber means the distal colon is populated by bacteria predominantly performing proteo-lytic (protein cleaving) fermentation. The Alpha gliadin fragment's multitude of peptide epitopes can then dominate the distal epithelial mucosa inter-actions.

    Experiments with rectal implant (enema retention overnight) of butyrate were shown to resolve those human celiac sufferers irritation. Of course there was a dose dependant relationship to get good effect.

    Foods with more polymerized soluble fiber are okra and  psyllium. Haitians eat raw young okra for finicky gut (don't nick or de-crown okra before steaming if can't abide "slimy" mass).
    Psyllium in "M...mucil" is 2/3 soluble fiber; adults start with 1 tsp./d. and work up to +/- 3 tsp./d. for irritable bowel syndrome (taking psyllium like a short course symptomatic remedy is not the same dynamic).

    The distal colon supplied with soluble fiber lets more butyrate form there and counter-balance proteolytic predominant bacteria (ex: boosts bifido-bacteria). Inulin in soy beans polymerized during Natto fermentation works similarly, in moderate consumption(ie: substrate for butyrate); 1930s Japan used Natto for dysentery and 1940s for reducing gas expansion in gut from altitude in pilots. Modern "sweet" inulin , used as a food additive, is different being modified by the food industry.

  • Anonymous

    4/2/2011 6:13:18 PM |

    Good grief, Al, what physiology book did you crawl out of?  I appreciated your insights into the complexity of the human form.  It's like being in the lecture hall again.

    Helen, I believe the difference between gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is just a matter of the degree of injury to the intestinal villi.  The laboratory describes 3 stages of injury:  Marsh 1, which is inflammatory cells in the villi.  Marsh 2, which is the tips of the villi are gone.  Marsh 3, in which the villi are totally gone. Celiac disease is, by definition, Marsh 3 injury.  Anything less is not celiac disease, but can be called gluten sensitivity.

    There are articles now that show even with positive antibodies to gliaden and tissue transgutaminase, and no intestinal injury, that people are at higher risk of diseases that are associated with celiac disease, including lymphoma, coronary artery disease, and death.  

    If a person doesn't have high levels of antibodies noted above, it doesn't mean there is no gluten sensitivity.  It is possible to have intestinal damage with normal blood tests.  There are many proteins in wheat other than gluten/gliadin that can stimulate injury, but these are not routinely tested for.

    It is my belief (personal observation only) that Dr. Davis' methods treat hidden celiac disease/gluten sensitivity, resulting in improvements in overall health, and not just heart disease.


    P.S.  If anyone really wants references, I can dig them out, but it will take me a while.

  • Might-o'chondri-AL

    4/2/2011 9:56:01 PM |

    Hi Terresa,
    I do find errors after sending my comments and allay my chagrin by sheepishly blaming "circumstances". Apparently digging up cross references are neither of our strong points.

  • Helen

    4/3/2011 12:31:24 AM |

    M-Al and Teresa -

    You might be interested in this recent research:

    "Divergence of gut permeability and mucosal immune gene expression in two gluten-associated conditions: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity"


    A non-technical summary of the research here:


  • Anonymous

    4/3/2011 1:08:23 AM |

    Helen, you are ahead of me in the literature search race. I am familiar with the lactulose/mannitol test for intestinal permeability.  Of course I can't immediately lay my hands on the resource, but some don't think that is a good test for permeability.  I can't tell you why off the top of my head, either.  Been too long since I looked at it.

    Such is my lot today - remember the information but can't produce the source.  I'll be away from work for several days and also boycotting pubmed.  So again if anybody wants references, they'll have to wait!  lol

    Anywho, test are great, and we can debate the merits of different ones.  Bottom line is some people (myself included) feel much better without gluten.


  • majkinetor

    4/4/2011 11:20:50 AM |

    Manic "fog" is due to the low oxygen (hypoxia) in brain cells. The cell responds to the hypoxia by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS); it is "normal" protective signalling for the cell. Super-oxide is a feed back mechanism to let more O2 into that cell; we are designed to make oxidants because they are quick acting in stress.
    So, are you saying that oral antioxidants prevent "normal" protective cell signalling ? If so, what is your stance on anti-antioxidant theory of down regulation of AO enzymes with oral AO use. If so, how that explains body building achievements using massive amounts of AOs ?

    "Good grief, Al, what physiology book did you crawl out of?"

    LOL. Keep them coming M-Al! Fantastic comments Laughing

  • mc

    4/4/2011 6:47:06 PM |

    Forgive an obvious point, but we seem to be talking about refined wheat products, not whole grain wheat.

    Such refined carbs are well known to assist in sleep induction or drowsy state induction.


    High-glycemic-index carbohydrate meals shorten sleep onset


  • Might-o'chondri-AL

    4/5/2011 2:35:07 AM |

    Hi Majkinator,
    Hypoxia in brain tissue is not really a normal state, so my comment was how the cell signals struggle there. The brain uses oxidative phosphorylation to make it's ATP.

    Body building is not a stalled state of hypoxia in skeletal muscle tissue, to my way of thinking. Muscle can generate energy via several pathways, not just oxidative phosphorylation. Anti-oxidant behavior in different tissues is not necessarily acting in a uniform

    Reactive oxygen species, a.k.a. ROS are mostly made when
    mitochondria perform energy generation via oxidative phosphorylation. Body building activity soon depletes glucose and skeletal muscles use other oxidation to "burn" other substrate(s); so ROS aren't continually over-produced.

    Dietary anti-oxidants don't stop ROS actually being made pursuant to oxidative phosphorylation, when that dynamic is happening in real time. And then too, the mitochondria membrane channels' +/- 140mV keeps the anion charged oxidation byproducts inside it(the mitochondria)until they are dealt with naturally.

    In the muscle cell interior cytoplasm the ROS made there are potentially accessible to dietary anti-oxidants; yet there is debate on how much consumed gets into which human cells. An experiment with muscle tissue in vitro is not necessarily the same; I don't know if that's what you read about of course.

    My impression is that after exercise, in vivo, the ROS signalling contribute to processes that cause beneficial metallo-protein dynamics to occur inside in the cell; again as part of natural design. And then the anti-oxidants just help clear them (ROS) out of the way, once their normal role is done; "quenching" isn't what exerted muscle needs to survive.

    If dietary anti-oxidants contribute to body building it would be in the recuperating muscle, probably during sleep. By assisting "tidying up" the muscle cell cytoplasm other signalling molecules can rebound into action; that recycles the damaged proteins and mitochondria.

    A worked muscle cell can even go on to make more numbers of mitochondria than the amount it recycled. So, next time that muscle cell gets used, the burden is shared by more mitochondria; that efficiency (rather than "x" units of anti-oxidant "xyz") puts out less ROS, which in turn favors signal cascades inducing cell transcription factors that improve the muscle.

  • majkinetor

    4/5/2011 7:11:48 AM |

    2 M-al

    What I was reading were not in-vitro studies.

    Some of it is discussed here:

    with links to research papers.


  • Dr. William Davis

    4/5/2011 2:46:59 PM |

    Hi, MC--

    No. I am talking about ALL wheat products, refined or unrefined.

    It's all the same: the product of dwarf variants of wheat.

  • Might-o'chondri-AL

    4/5/2011 6:29:12 PM |

    Hi Majkinetor,
    Followed your studies; one said "... ROS are signals that serve to upregulate the expression of a number of genes...". My comments mirror that. Other study said "... presumably harmful ROS ..." and my surmise is that ROS are not inherently detrimental; although genetic/epigenetic/pathology factors can make ones response to ROS problematic.

    I discussed body "building" exercisers, being that you mentioned their "achievements" with anti-oxidant supplementation. To bulk up, the "damage" their training does (to the mucscle fibers) has to be repaired even more than that fiber's original state.

    Repair for them involves myogenic (muscle) satellilte (stem) cells promoting transcription factors. This would be an anabolic process (if it were catabolic it would break down muscle protein); I suggested during sleep extra-ordinary metallo-protein dynamics would be way dietary anti-oxidants help them bulk up.

    This is a different situation than the very interesting study of "healthy men only" who ingested anti-oxidants getting (compared to those abstaining) less exercise benefits (ie:
    glucose infusion rate/sensitivity, fasting glucose, adiponectin, glutathione peroxidase, super-oxide peroxidase, PPAR gamma, PGC1 alpha & beta). It would be good to see the same study done with male and female Type  II diabetics; we can't assume their metabolism responds similarly, diabetes is a disease state.

    I did read that for the 1st 3 days those who got anti-oxidants had reduced thio-barbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS); indicating ROS were less active for them originally. It later stated there was no decisive dietary anti-oxidant influence on TBARS; despite TBARS paralleling glucose infusion rate data.

    If I read the preceeding detail correctly then my earlier post (ie: body builders rebounding with more mitochondria per muscle cell makes for less ROS per muscle cell, which further improves natural ROS signals for transcription, leading to progressive benefit including bulking up )is not contradicted by the study on glucose infusion rate.

    Body builders are not stopping at aerobic oxidative phosphorylation (glucose burning for ATP), they go beyond that limit; then Beta-oxidation energy keeps the muscle fiber going. To be clear here, I am not up to date on physical culture nuances; merely suggesting a way to explain how context affects data  extrapolation (ie: paradox of how dietary anti-oxidants bulk up despite study's implications).

  • Might-o'chondri-AL

    4/5/2011 7:14:58 PM |

    Again Majkinator,
    A quick postscript from online search .... For Type II diabetics 500 mg C lowered fasting plasma free radicals, insulin and tri-glycerides. For Type II diabetics 1000 mg C had no change on fasting glucose but reduced plasma glucose 22%. For Type II diabetic subclass (+/- 40% diabetics) vitamin E had beneficial vascular/cardiac effects suggesting lowered risk.

    This suggests they benefit from those dietary anti-oxidants, even if that benefit may not be from the anti-oxidants improving their exercise data. And this indicates, that exercise is good for diabetics in a way that is independant of dietary anti-oxidants. Of course, I didn't examine the search results in detail; it was an after-thought follow up browse.

  • majkinetor

    4/6/2011 10:54:57 AM |

    2 M-AL
    Yes, Vitamin C seems to be essential nutrient for any type diabetics. Its not clear how it does its magic - is it compensation for increased oxidative stress in that disease or GLUT4 competition or the fact that GLUT1 has highest affinity to ascorbate (which then protects erythrocites, which life span is shorter with diabetics, probably because RBCs don't have substantial anti-oxidant mechanisms AFAIK) or combination of all of that and who knows what more. The dose has to be much higher then 500/1000 mg unless it is in some more bio available form (LET or IV).

    In any way, the benefit of megadoses of Vitamin C in disease state are well known.

    Thats why I am interested in healthy peoples response to Vitamin C and/or other AOs combined with exercise. Its hard to imagine totally healthy person nowdays tho, but some young people can  be put into this category...

    Thx for the input.

  • Might-o'chondri-AL

    4/6/2011 4:55:38 PM |

    OK Majkinetor,
    Metallo-proteins are poorly understood, when they form part of a transcription factor( regulating role) the metallo-protein often becomes part of it's own feedback cycle. It gets a gene to make things and participates in how that thing plays out; sort of like being the messenger and part of the reply.

    Cu/Zn SOD1 is a protein (enzyme) that interacts with DNA and RNA. The cited study measured less increase of SOD with vitamin C and concluded  dietary anti-oxidants un-beneficial; their paradigm was self-limiting.

    I used the phrase "tidying up" since metallo-proteins difficult to categorize. Cu,Zn SOD1 levels recover when body resting (ie: ATP demand less = less ROS for the SOD to be busy with)and the  body builders high intake of
    vitamin C (plus assimilated protein)get into their muscle cells during repose.

    The ascorbate (vitamin C), being slightly acidic in pH "oxidizes" the Cu moitie of Cu,Zn SOD1. This modifies the metallo-protein configuration and it becomes hydro-phobic ("shy" against fluid).

    The Cu,Zn SOD1 in it's oxidized form has a + (positive)surface charge engendering an affinity for DNA. DNA neutralizes that charge and forms an exo-thermic bond with the oxidized Cu,Zn SOD1; this "tidying up" phase is governed by electro-static attraction.

    Each single strand of DNA has only 1 binding site for oxidized Cu,Zn SOD1. This de-regulates (alters) the steady state (ie: status quo conserving) function of mRNA and allows other molecules (ie: non Cu,Zn SOD1 binding factors)to splice that
    DNA (ie: then other metallo-proteins can get involved).

    Then the electro-static bond becomes so low, due to entropy, that the oxidized Cu,Zn SOD1 goes free from the DNA strand. It is stripped of it's + charge by the DNA, but it is still hydro-phobic; and as such,
    aggregates with other protein molecules inside the cell.

    The ribo-nucleo-protein complex just formed (ie: between other metallo-proteins and the cell's RNA binding factors) are involved in both the differentiation of cells (ex:
    stem) and growth of that muscle cell; a so called "trans-dominant effect" coming from initial transcription. It is the back-hand way ascorbate (vit. C) oxidized Cu,Zn SOD1 instigates gain of function for bulking up muscle fibers using Cu,Zn SOD1 as part of the feed back loop.

    The aggregate of protein molecules (described above) stays "shy" of solution (hydro-hobic) and under new orders from the cell's genes moves toward the exercise torn tissue; it brings in protein to patch and a bit more that adds extra bulk. This is anabolic, and does not occur when the muscle is being exerted or mal-nourished.

    Zn will have been "peeled" away and then the Cu bond to the protein aggregate failed; these valuable trace minerals will get recycled inside the cell. Metallo-proteins, such as the
    Zn,Cu SOD1 metallo-enzyme,
    are rate limiting factors; how fast they can be freed up governs how efficiently they can match the demand for them. This is why exercising different muscle groups on alternate days (or variations of this concept) show more bulk results when physical culture otherwise just hits a plateau.

  • Dave

    5/8/2011 2:57:21 PM |

    For Storage Pro....

    Just so you know, I have taken Biostatistics.  I am a college graduate with a doctoral degree.  It is virtually impossible to totally prove or disprove anything especially with clinical trials.  Your research as a gold standard before you will believe or try anything might be scientific, but it is NOT necessarily the best way.  My dad always said to make a point, give the exploded view of something.  I will try this now.  There has NEVER been a placebo controlled double blinded clinical trial to prove that firing a bullet into your temporal lobes with a 38 special is harmful to your health.  But I can guarantee it is.  And I did not need scientific research to back up my assumption.  Since we are all genetically different to some degree, it is probably best for a person to do what works for them.  To me, personal experience is the Gold Standard. NOT scientific reserach.  There are simply to many variables.  From bias by researchers to genetics to environmental differences to personal stressors. The list can go on and on.