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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gluten, leaky brain, & the connection to depression

SOTT | Jan 13, 2015 | Peter Osborne

© Front Neurol. 2014 Nov 21;5:241.
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of getting to hang out with New York Times best selling author, and world renowned neurologist, Dr. David Perlmutter. If you aren't familiar with Dr. Perlmutter's work, check out Grain Brain. Some of the concepts in this book are revolutionary, and that brings me to the point of today's post.

Leaky barriers

Most people have heard of Leaky Gut, but it is rare to hear anyone talk about the concept of Leaky Brain Syndrome. I have discussed this concept before with Harvard researcher, Dr. Fasano, but only briefly Today I want to talk about one of the most debilitating diseases linked to a break down in the gastrointestinal barrier, but also potentially a break down in the blood brain barrier.

Depression. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the connection between gluten and depression. Part of this connection has to do with the role gluten plays in causing intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut). This process was discovered originally by Dr. Fasano. You can read a review of it here. The part less talked about has to do with gluten's impact on the microbiome (good bacteria in the gut). Studies have shown that gluten can alter the normal bacterial flora, and in doing so set the stage for decreased levels of regulatory gut bacteria, and increased levels of bacteria that contribute to inflammation. When you combine leaky gut with altered bacteria, you get an increased presence of bacteria and their by products in the blood. One type of bacterial byproduct is LPS (lipopolysaccharide). Studies have shown that when this happens, the immune system will produce inflammation trying to combat the presence of these translocated bacteria. This increase inflammation has been shown to alter the function of the brain, and a side effect of this is DEPRESSION.

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