Did you know that gluten not only has a negative nutritional affect but a negative psychological affect as well? Psychology without a doubt was my least favorite course of study, but discovering this connection with nutrition has changed my view on the subject.
It’s day 5 of the Gluten Summit and I found myself pulling out my Workings of the Mind notebook, something I swore I’d never see again. One of tonight’s speaker, Dr. Daniel Amen is an expert on brain imaging science. He is a world leading authority on SPECT scans which are images of the brain that provide structural and functional information using a radioactive isotope inserted into the bloodstream. This type of brain imaging looks at cognitive tasks like speech. SPECT scans not being as clear as PET scans are generally used along with a CT scan. PET scans provide detailed functional information as opposed to CT and MRI scans (which provide structural information). Therefore; PET and MRI scans are often done in conjunction with each other. CT scans look at one side of the brain for what is physically there like tumors and blood clots rather than function so they are better for spacial measurements. These pairings allow abnormalities to be more noticeable and readable to doctors. Above these fMRI scans provide the most precise images of brain activity and structure in terms of a timeline but do not reflect the behavioral or emotional factor that SPECT scans do.
With evidence provided from these braing imaging methods it is shown that gluten affects the brain in ways which cause emotional, cognitive, and behavioral problems such as ADHD, depression, dementia, and others. This concept is often overlooked by doctors and psychiatrists who aren’t trained in nutrition which has led to many falsely prescribed medications. All of which could be avoided with the simple elimination of gluten. Our brains have the ability to change physically (known as plasticity). Yes, we can train our brains (good or bad), new neurons and connections can be made, and we can also decelerate the aging process by how we treat our body and the environments we are exposed to. Psychological and behavioral problems could be better managed and suppressed by eliminating gluten from the suffering individuals diet. It takes willpower, focus, and desire to do these things. Be aware and care.
“When your brain works right, you work right. And, when it doesn’t, you’re going to have trouble in your life.” – Dr. Amen
Avoid things that hurt your brain. Obviously processed foods, bad fats, too much sugar and salt, and gluten! Milk is often toxic to people so I personally try to avoid dairy. Needless to say, drugs, medication, and alcohol. What I haven’t considered until recently are environmental toxins that being exposure to toxic cleaning products and pollution. Diabetes, hypertension, low hormone levels, being overweight or obese, and even negative thinking patterns. Dr. Amen mentions all of these as bad toxins harmful to your brain. I always say “you are who you hang out with” and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m very picky with who I associate with. If I have to be alone at times then so be it. The fact that Dr. Amen mentions this is so satisfying to hear.
“People are contagious. Find the healthiest person you can stand, and spend as much time around him or her as possible” – Dr. Amen