First there was Wheat Belly, a scathing indictment by cardiologist Dr. William Davis on the harm caused by today’s modern wheat, even exulted whole grains. In Wheat Belly, Dr. Davis warned of us heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and neurological problems, all caused by wheat. Dr. Davis cites NIH studies showing wheat proteins binding to the brain’s opioid receptors, altering behavior and increasing appetite.
Now, acclaimed neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter continues the highly justified grain bashing with Grain Brain, a book that promises to reveal the truth about “wheat, carbs, and sugar—your brain’s silent killers.”
And deliver he does. Perlmutter begins by explaining the role of inflammation on the brain’s health. (If you’ve read Don’t Die Early, you’re quite aware of the damage that inflammation can do to the entire body, not just the brain.) He connects the dots by showing how gluten, and other carbohydrates, are “…among the most prominent stimulators of inflammatory pathways that reach the brain.” Far from affecting only those diagnosed with celiac disease, wheat gluten’s damaging role affects everyone.
Perlmutter describes how inflammation gives rise to oxidation and from there, oxidative damage to the brain. The public is largely unaware, he states, of the connection between inflammation and brain diseases like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, autism, Alzheimer’s, and depression.
Further explaining the role of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, Perlmutter cites Dr. Rodney Ford of the Children’s Gastroenterology and Allergy Clinic in New Zealand, who states
“…the fundamental problem with gluten is its interference with the body’s neural networks…gluten is linked to neurological harm in patents, both with and without evidence of celiac disease. Evidence points to the nervous system as being the prime site of gluten damage…the implication of gluten causing neurologic network damage is immense.”
(Drs. Perlmutter, Ford, and Davis are not the first to raise and alarm over non-celiac gluten sensitivity. You may recall from an earlier post of mine that the American Journal of Gastroenterology has stated “Our data confirm the existence of non-celiac wheat sensitivity as a distinct clinical condition.”)
Perlmutter’s extensive musings on the dangers of wheat are accompanied by an equally alarming message about carbohydrates in general, dietary components that give rise to inflammation and elevated blood glucose.
Grain Brain continues with a strong message about the dangers of today’s low-fat, low cholesterol bandwagon and the signifiant harm that statins cause, concepts that are quite familiar to readers of Don’t Die Early.
This well cited, thoroughly documented book stays approachable for the everyday person as it tackles subjects that elude many physicians.
As Dr. Perlmutter states, “this isn’t science fiction, this is documented fact.”
Unfortunately, these facts, available to any scientist, physician, or government policy maker, have been ignored for far too long, to the significant detriment of our nation’s health.
Grain Brain is a vital addition to anyone’s preventive health bookshelf.