The Healthy Melissa's Blog

My journey into the world of Health,Wellness, and Functional Medicine

Category: The Brain

Leaky Brain: The GABA Challenge

“There are a lot of people who have no ‘neurological disease’ but they have functional impairment of the brain and neurodegeneration. This means that the degeneration is there, but they’re not far along enough to be diagnosed as having a disease.” – Dr. Datis Kharrazian, June 2017

We all hear about “Leaky Gut” or the scientific name Increased Intestinal Permeability. But did you know that you can also have Leaky Brain and Leaky Lung? Basically anywhere that you have barriers, such as the Blood Brain Barrier or the tissue in the gut (endothelial tissue) (which is identical to that of the lungs). Inflammation tends to happen simultaneously in both areas. So ‘leaky lung syndrome,’ ‘leaky brain,’ & ‘leaky gut syndrome‘ go hand in hand!

“Leaky Brain happens when the tight junctions and fragility of the blood-brain barrier become compromised and leaky.” -The International Journal of Molecular Science

What can cause a leaky blood brain barrier?

1. Inflammation. Brain on fire = Gut on fire. Leaky gut = Leaky Brain

Credit: Dr. Datis Kharrazian

2. Low antioxidants. Not having a diet high in fruits and vegetables, eating non-nourishing foods.

3. Low Glutathione levels. This is the most powerful antioxidant in your body. Glutathione has many roles in the body, such as participating in liver detoxification, helping to get rid of heavy metals in the body, protecting the blood brain barrier, anti-aging.

4. Eating wheat. Eating wheat/gluten literally destroys your brain tissue. Hundreds of documented studies have show the brain MRIs of white matter lesions in people eating wheat before and then after the healing of those lesions after being gluten free for 4-6 months.

5. Eating wheat!!!!!! *(I can’t stress this enough) Dr. Kharrazian conducted a study in 2013 showing that that the gluten in wheat LOOKS like cerebellar tissue and through “molecular mimicry” causes antibodies to a persons own cerebellum. The cerebellum controls coordination, balance and movement. There is no other food protein more devastating to the brain than gluten.

Quick test to show if you have weak/degenerating cerebellar function:

  1. Try to balance on one foot for a few seconds. First stand on your left foot only. Then stand on your right foot only. Are you easily able to balance? Do you fall to one side?
  2. Stand on each foot with your eyes closed and see if you are still able to balance.
  3. Walk heel to toe with out wavering or falling to one side. If you cannot take 3 steps then you have a cerebellar issue.
  4. Walk heel to toe with your eyes closed. If you cannot take 3 steps with out falling or wavering, you have a cerebellar issue.
  5. Try to coordinate the exact speed and timing of the right and left hands with repeated and alternating supination and pronation.

If you had any issue with doing those tests, you have degeneration of your cerebellum. You must stop eating wheat #1. And you need to strengthen the cerebellum by doing those exercises until you no longer fall over or are imbalanced.This creates neuroplasticity.

And if you still don’t think you should stop eating wheat:

You can try doing The Array 3 from Cyrex Labs, this tests the entire wheat proteome instead of just alpha gliadin (which is the most commonly tested part of wheat to determine if you have a wheat allergy. So if this comes back non reactive, you’re deemed “okay” totally neglecting all the other portions of wheat)

Transglutaminases are antibodies to your OWN tissues. The red circle is Transglutaminase 6, found in the cerebellar tissue. This is showing that every time this person eats wheat they are creating antibodies to their brain tissue. The blue circle is Gluteomorphins, which bind to the opioid receptors in the brain – actually causing you to become addicted to wheat and feel withdrawal symptoms when you stop eating it.

How to tell if you have a leaky blood brain barrier:

You can’t exactly tell if you have leaky brain, because you can’t FEEL it. There are no Nociceptors (pain fibers) in the brain. If you get a head ache, that is a vascular issue. We have to look at the whole picture of what is going on with the gut and also some questionnaires to determine what areas of the brain are degenerating.

One hypothesis that Dr. Datis Kharrazian touched on is the GABA Challenge.

Credit: Datis Kharrazian

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter within the Central Nervous System (CNS) that reduces excitability in the CNS, and causes us to feel calm. It also plays a role in muscle tone.

  • (Side note: Ataxia is an “idiopathic” condition that is characterized by loss of muscle control, stiffness in muscles, unable to move. Studies have found that wheat can create confusion in the process that creates GABA, and cause antibodies to the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of GABA. ‘GAD 65 antibodies’.)

GABA is a relatively large molecule and should NOT pass through the blood brain barrier. So if you’ve ever taken GABA in pill form and it WORKED, you felt relaxed/sleepy….this means you have a leaky blood brain barrier. Not good!

The GABA Challenge is precisely this:

Credit: Datis Kharrazian

  1. On a night when you have nothing planned, take 1000mg of GABA
  2. Notice any unusual slowing down type feelings, tiredness, lethargy.
  3. Although rare, this response can happen too: feeling wired, excitation, agitation. This is still an indication of a compromised BBB.
  4. Any sort of change is an indication for damage to the BBB.

The protocol for repairing leaky brain is similar to that of repairing leaky gut.

1. Support the brain with nutrition. Absolute most important step is to remove inflammatory foods out of your diet.

2. Activate the vagus nerve with exercises such as singing, stimulating your gag reflex (do while brushing your teeth), and gargling water really violently for 5 minutes ’til you have tears coming out of your eyes and snot flowing!

3. Exercises to increase brain function

4. Take anti-inflammatory supplements and spices or eat them in food form. Resveratrol and Turmeric. These work to dampen inflammation in both gut and brain.

5. Aloe vera – Eating Aloe repairs mucosal lining (remember gut on fire = brain on fire)

6. Take probiotics (not cultured on dairy) – Think of the Gut – Brain axis. They are one.

7. EPA/DHA – DHA is a key part of BBB integrity. Consuming fish or a fish oil (or plant based source of DHA if you’re not into fish). 2-3 months of consuming hydrogenated fatty acids, your cell membranes become more rigid. Switching to high quality oils/fatty acids like EPA/DHA causing the cell membranes to be more fluid and carry nutrients more optimally. This impacts the BBB.

8. Doing brain exercises for memory and cognition:

– Matching card games, memory apps such as Brain Trainer, Vismory, Icue Memory, Memory Boost, Memory Pro, Memory Mice IQ Brain Teaser



The Role of Brain Chemistry and The Physiological Impact by Datis Kharrazian

Sauna Bathing Decreases Cancer, All Heart Disease By 40% & Extends Life Span

In 2015 an incredible 20 year study of 2000 men aimed to measure the benefits of sauna usage. At the end of the study, they measured who died from non-accidental deaths, cancer, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease. What they found was:

  •  Men that used to sauna 2-3x/week were 27% less likely die from anything cardiovascularly related when compared to men who used the sauna only 1x/week.
  • Men who used the sauna 4-7x/week were 50% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease related deaths when compared to men who used the sauna only 1x/week.

Not only was frequency of sauna use important, but duration of sauna use was also vital! 19+ minutes had the most profound affect on lowering cardiovascular disease and cancer when compared to only 11 minutes of usage. Are you kidding me? 19 minutes or more?! It’s that easy??

How Is The Sauna So Beneficial?

If you think about it, the sauna in some ways mimics cardio exercise. When you’re in there, you’re sweating because it’s hot and your heart rate goes up. Blood flow increases to the heart, oxygen to the tissues increases. The sauna equates to a brisk walk.

Other Findings:

  • 2-3x/week of sauna use resulted in 24% lowered all cause mortality risk.
  • Men who used sauna 4-7x week were 40% less likely to die of cardio vascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, respiratory disease and all other non-accidental diseases.
  • The sauna sensitizes the brain to endorphins (the feel good chemicals in the brain).

  • The sauna activates the activates FOXO3 gene that allows you to age slower and live longer.

  • The sauna Increases your own production of HGH – Human growth hormone.

  • Long-term sauna bathing may help lower blood pressure in those with hypertension and improve the left ventricular function in those with Congestive Heart Failure.
  • The sauna poses no risk to healthy people from infancy to old age, including healthy women in their uncomplicated pregnancy.

Sauna Bathing Activates Heat Shock Proteins: Which Lowers Dementia & Alzheimer’s Risk

Heat Shock Proteins (HSP) are proteins in the body that make sure that other proteins maintain their structure and work optimally. When proteins become damaged, they kind of fold,  this causes something called “protein aggregation” within our cells. This folding leads to protein aggregates (Beta amyloid plaque) within our brain.

As a normal part of existing in this world, the proteins in our body are being damaged every day. They become damaged more readily as we age because we are exposed to more toxins as we get older. This is why it is important to eat fruits and vegetables, the antioxidants repair that free radical damage and repair those aggregated proteins.

The Significance of “Protein Aggregation”: This leads to Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and other Neurodegenerative Diseases.

HSP can reverse, repair & prevent those damaged folded proteins. This is precisely what is preventing Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease & neurodegenerative diseases. All of this is available to you simply by using the heat sauna.

Heat Stress From Sauna Bathing Activating FOXO3 Gene: Which Extends Life Span & Slows Aging

The FOXO3 gene is the master regulator of other genes, that have to do with stress and  the ability to handle stress. Many different kinds of stresses can damage our DNA…such as environmental toxins, pesticides on our foods, EMF’s from Wifi, unclean water. (The list can go on). But there is also GOOD kinds of stress, such as heat and cold, which activate the FOXO3 gene.

  • FOXO3 activates genes that repair DNA damage before it can form a mutation. FOXO3 is also involved in apoptosis (cell death) which is a protective mechanism against cancer. We have cancer cells in our body right now, but our loving immune system is there to perform apoptosis – which destroys these little buggers.
  • FOXO3 activates antioxidant genes that prevent damaged cells from secreting inflammatory cytokines. These damaged cells that secrete inflammatory properties are what accelerate the aging process in our body, our skin, our face. In mice studies, the FOXO3 gene actually activated other genes that allowed mice  to live 20% longer than their normal life span.
  • FOXO3 also activates your body’s own ability to create stem cells. As we age, we do not create as many stem cells.
  • Centenarians (those that have lived to 100 years old) were shown to have increased activity in the FOXO3 genes.

To summarize, if you want to live longer, have a better quality of life, reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, neuro-degenerative diseases, create more stem cells, increase your growth hormones, increase production of endorphins in your brain, then start sweating it out in the sauna! It’s a no brainer.




Images from:

Low Melatonin Is More Disease-Causing Than PCBs! 

“Low Melatonin is more carcinogenic than PCBs” Dr. Penny Kendall-Reed, ND

The American Cancer Society survey of over one million people in 1959 to 1960 found that 2% of the sample reported getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night. A number of later surveys in the 1960s and 1980s indicated significant increases in the number of adults reporting short sleep durations. By 2004 the National Health Interview Survey indicated that for adults between 30 and 64 years of age about 30% were getting 6 hours or less of sleep per night. Given what we know about the impact of sleep loss on health and the potential for accidents, such increases are indeed alarming.


What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is the hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain that induces a deep state of sleep. More recently, science is showing that a substantial more amount of melatonin is actually being created in the gut than in the pineal gland. If you didn’t know, serotonin is also created in the gut.


Bad Gut, Bad Brain.

  1. When our gut production of melatonin becomes low, the gut becomes inflamed and that can signal  the start of more Gastrointestinal issues. Colonocytes, which are the cells that line the colon – are even effected when melatonin levels become low. The colonocytes become inflamed. (Inflammation in the colon leads to colon cancer).
  2. Studies show that melatonin actually improves the inflammation in the gray matter of the brain – this is especially important for people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The brain is inflamed in this neurological disease.
  3. Studies also show that if you have a traumatic brain injury, concussion, hit your heads in a car accident – nearly always afterwards you will develop gut issues. The gut and brain are linked without a doubt.
  4. If you do not take probiotics, have leaky gut, have bacterial/parasitic infections in the gut – your brain is invariably affected as well.
  5. The “happy neurotransmitter” serotonin is produced in the gut – bad gut, bad brain function!


Who Is At Risk For Low Melatonin?

  • Shift workers, graveyard shift workers, those with Insomnia, or any occupation that cause you to be awake over night and sleep during the day, reversing your circadian rhythm.
  • Because of this melatonin disruption, melatonin is actually being converted into Serotonin on a needed basis. You will find that because of this melatonin steal, you will not sleep as well. You may also find more incidence of mood disorders and depression because of this constant pattern of melatonin converting to serotonin. 

  • When the body is imbalanced in 1 area, it will pull on other pathways to compensate. Your body wants to be balanced all the time.


The Different Stages of Sleep.

There are stage 1 – 4 and then REM sleep.

Our body & brain heals in Stage 4 sleep. We are so stage 4 deprevant because of our lifestyles. We are so stressed, distracted by our phones, T.V., working late hours, and not finding time to relax and be happy! (Have you ever heard of a couple trying to get pregnant and they cant. They go on vacation and then they miraculously get pregnant? STRESS, I tell you! STRESS!! It inhibits the body from flourishing.)

Stage 4 sleep is when the brain cleans out all the toxins and garbage – this is why sleep is so important.

What about those who have bad dreams when they take melatonin?

Rapid Eye Movement (REM). If you go into REM sleep with high cortisol/adrenal issues, all your dreams will be in fight flight. That is precisely why you will have weird dreams. Which you weren’t having before you started taking melatonin because you didn’t go into deep REM sleep!

What about those that take melatonin and wake up groggy?

Normally when everything is functioning on its own & perfectly balanced, you spend time equally in each of the stages of sleep (stages 1,2,3,4, REM.) But that doesn’t always happen, sometimes a person can go from stage 1, 2, 3, REM and back to 1 (totally skipping over the stage 4 of sleep).

When someone has been stage 4 sleep deprived and then starts taking melatonin, the brain will go into a “catch up mode.” The brain will spend a disproportionate amount of time in stage 4 of sleep. That’s what’s causing the grogginess. The solution: Take the melatonin 1-2 hours before bed and it can help with the grogginess.


How To Tell If You Have Lower Serotonin or Dopamine Production:

1. Low dopamine people are the ones that crave: chips, savory, cheese, nuts, salty, fatty foods, wine.

  • L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that is the precursor to dopamine, you may have a deficiency in this amino acid. L-Tyrsosine is also very important for proper thyroid function, and can improve appetite control.

2. Low serotonin people are the ones who crave: sweets, chocolate, dessert, sugar.

  • L-Glutamine is an amino acid that has shown significant improvement in eliminating cravings for sweets. It also helps to repair gut lining/leaky gut. *Caution: if you are fighting active cancer you should avoid L-Glutamine.

Both L-Tyrosine and L-Glutamine are naturally occuring in foods. But higher therapeutic doses may be needed if you are having these symptoms. As always, talk to your functional medicine practitioner about this, and they’ll know what to do!

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. : )



The Mighty Power of Cinnamon

Did you know that you hold one of the most powerful spices in your kitchen cabinet? Cinnamon is a miracle spice that can aid in the healing of Type 2 Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, Weight loss, Arthritis, Inflammation, and even restoring of brain function in those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.

How To Create This Miracle Drink:

  1. Boil 16 ounces of water (make sure it’s bubbling first before you add the cinnamon)
  2. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon powder to the water and stir for a minute or so.
  3. Squeeze 1/2 lemon into the water and stir
  4. You can add stevia if you desire, but cinnamon has it’s own sweetness to it.
  5. Drink this about 20 minutes before your largest meal or after a big meal and it will help balance your blood sugar, which in turn helps stabilize your weight as well.

More Benefits To Cinnamon:

  • Cinnamon activates the antioxidant defense system, suppresses pro-inflammatory cytokine production.
  • Cinnamon has a positive reaction on Type 2 diabetics/ gestational diabetes by improving insulin secretion and sensitivity. (If have type 2 diabetes or are “pre-diabetic” you are insulin resistant.) The beta cells of your pancreas are no longer working. Blood sugar and Hemoglobin A1C are high. Cinnamon helps to bring sensitivity back to your beta cells! (How awesome is that?!)
  • Cinnamon has also has been shown to increase learning ability & the neuronal activity in the hippocampus of the brain. (This is the area in which Alzheimer’s or Dementia suffers. Short term memory). This is because when you have constantly high blood sugar it starts to degenerate your brain and you then develop what is called diabetes 3 or diabetes of the brain. (Check my blog post for more info on diabetes of the brain)
  • Cinnamon also demonstrated prominent action in inflammation and Arthritis, and is considered an anti-rheumatic agent.

I think it’s amazing that nature provides us with so many answers to so many dysfunctions in our body. All medications originated from some herb, some bark, or something in nature. 

If you have diabetes or any of these other issues, try it. It’s a no brainer !



Diabetes Of The Brain: Are You At Risk?

Cog Impairmenet

How would you feel if I looked into a crystal ball and told you that you were definitely going to develop Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia? You would forget your loved ones, you’d forget who YOU are, and you would have your license taken away, your right to be independent, and have to resort to taking a bunch of medication every day to slow down your dying brain, all of this while you lay in a hospital bed? Not a great fortune to be told, right?

How would you feel if I told you that you have complete control of that by stopping the amount of sugar you are consuming every day?

Alzheimer’s Disease is being classified as Diabetes of The Brain or Diabetes Type 3. Did you realize that?

Your pancreas is an organ that puts out a hormone called Insulin. Every time you eat sugar, whether it be a banana, mango, bread, alcohol, pasta, piece of candy – WHATEVER, your pancreas secretes insulin to grab the sugar and store it away in your liver for energy, in your muscles – and then as FAT if you are not using the sugar.

What insulin also does is it patrols the tau protein and plaque in your brain. Insulin degrades these plaque/proteins that build up in the brain. When you are constantly eating sugar everyday, not exercising to burn off the excess sugar, the proteins and plaque go unchecked! They build and build and then BOOM your memory suffers, and you develop Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

Alz Brain

One teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4 grams. This is a good piece of information to keep in mind when you’re purchasing pre-packaged foods or drinks/teas/juices. If you’re eating a ton of sugar every single day, if you are a gluten junkie, if you’re eating tons of bread, pasta, cereals, rice every single day – look into that crystal ball my friend. What ever you do now echos in eternity. Just like whatever you eat now, will echo in your life as an older adult.

I was at a seminar on Brain Chemistry in February this year, and the speaker told me the average onset of Alzheimers Disease he sees in his clinic is 51 years old. So in 25 years, I could be suffering from full blown Alzheimer’s? That’s insane! That means that whatever I do right now is going to determine me getting that disease in 25 years.

What you can do:

downloadExercise: burn the excess sugar off. Sugar is inflammatory. High intensity Interval Training such as “Tabata Exercises” are the best exercise that oxygenates the brain and most efficiently helps the body in 4 minutes (who doesn’t have 4 minutes?).


Eat lots of fruits and vegetables (berries and apples are the lower glycemic ones).
Blueberries & black berries are amazing for improving cognitive function

-Take Acetyl L-Carnitine to support mitochondrial health, brain function and protects neuronal function.





dl202028Take Anti-inflammatory agents: such as Curcumin, Reseveratrol every day – your brain is inflammed if you have an form of cognitive impairment or neurological degeneration. The ideal curcumin to take is one that crosses the blood brain barrier. Curcumin and Resveratrol quell inflammation on a cellular level by inhibiting the inflammatory cascade caused by NF-kB. Once this becomes turned on, it is a self feeding loop of                 inflammation, but with those two anti-inflammatory agents, it is dampened.


omegapure-900-ec-90c_083115EPA/DHA – Those with cognitive impairment supplemented with Omega 3 Fatty Acids and demonstrated less neuronal loss and improved cognitive function.

-Do something different every day, don’t stop doing math problems, drive a different way home, learn an instrument, do cross word puzzles, create new pathways in the brain to keep your mind sharp.

Most importantly: stop eating wheat/gluten and dairy. These two foods have been proven in a multitude of studies to alter your brain and gut. The proteins from wheat and dairy cross react with the cerebellum (the part of the brain responsible for coordination and balance).


You should always speak with your functional medicine practitioner or PCP before beginning any supplements to ensure that they do not interact with any medications that you are on.

-Have a healthy day-

Gluten Causes Neurological Diseases

wheat 2“I don’t have Celiac Disease so gluten doesn’t affect me.”


Gluten is the protein found in wheat. It gives breads, pastries and pasta its fluffy texture. Over time, constantly eating gluten will break apart the tight junctions of your gut lining, resulting in multiple food allergies, autoimmune disease and leaky gut. But it wasn’t always this way. Wheat was a friend at one point before it was hybridized. Now it is a foe. Emerging research has confirmed that gluten not only affects the gut lining, it also affects the brain too.

Our physiology has not changed much since our ancestor’s time, but our food has rapidly transformed within the last 50 years. Modern food manufacturing, including genetic engineering, has allowed us to grow grains that contain up to 12% to 58% more gluten than grains grown just a few decades ago. The hybridization of wheat was at first considered a good thing because it increased the crop yield, there was more food available. Everyone’s immune system has evolved to tolerate what their endogenous foods are. This is based on wherever you’ve lived, where your grandparents lived, whatever your ancesteral generations have eaten, they have passed on that immunity to you that says whether you do or do not react to a food. Now, there is almost no such thing as ‘native grain’, so its not a matter of Celiac or Sensitvity anymore. It is now a matter of hybridization of a substance that your body doesn’t  recognize. We are in a generational change for food and our immune system just doesn’t recognize the hybridization or the GMO foods that we are consuming. This is precisely why there is a significant correlation between neurological diseases and the consumption of wheat gluten. 

Celiac disease (CD) is an auto immune disorder that involves the small intestines and characterized by an inflammatory process when the individual is exposed to gluten. Within the last few years gluten has been speculated to be the culprit for a whole spectrum of neurological diseases. Unfortunately, the majority of these studies have only been performed using people who have CD, and not the general public. For many people who are not afflicted with CD, gluten is considered safe to consume. Recent research has shown that even if you do not have Celiac Disease, your brain is still affected by it.


In Celiac disease, the gut is the typical manifestation site but atypical neurological presentations are thought to occur in 6 to 10% of cases. Cerebellar ataxia is shown to be the most frequent symptom. (The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls coordination, balance and movement. When there is ‘ataxia’ this means a lack of control of these functions – and damage to the part of the brain that controls those functions.)  Prevalence of neurological disease within the population of those with celiac disease is staggering. The type of neuro diseases predominantly studied are Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Autism, Stiff Person’s Syndrome, Schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, and Migraines. The effect of gluten on neurological and cognitive impairment has been studied in those afflicted with celiac disease, but how does gluten effect those with out it?

Does gluten play a role in the development of neurological conditions? And for those who present without neurological symptoms, does gluten still have an effect on the brain?


In two studies comparing Schizophrenic patients with non Schizophrenic patients, the Schizo patients demonstrated 23.1%  and 5.4% higher levels of  antibodies to gluten than the control group without Schizophrenia. 


Know anybody who has chronically high levels of Prolactin? One research study proved one of the brain altering effects of gluten.  In this case, a compound in gluten acts as an opioid chemical that leads to the excessive excretion of the neuro hormone, Prolactin.


Stiff Person’s Syndrome:

 A rare autoimmune neurological disorder characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms. GAD antibodies (Antibodies to your own calming neurotransmitter GABA) measured in those affected with Stiff Persons Syndrome, 86% positive results suggested a link between gluten sensitivity and GAD antibodies.


There was a significant elevation of 60% greater reaction in autistic children between antibodies with cerebellar and gliadin peptides (gliadin is a part of the wheat protein) than the control group. Results stated gluten may be responsible for some neurological symptoms.

Adult Onset Cerebellar Ataxia:

36% of Japanese patients with adult onset cerebellar ataxia were positive for antibodies to gluten, and  showed improvement with a gluten free diet.

Neurological Diseases That Have No Explanation:

Gluten sensitivity is common to patients with idiopathic (no known cause) neurological disease. The studies observing antibodies in their samples showed 30 out of 53 idiopathic neurological patients had positive anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA); 5 out of 94 with specific neurologic disease had positive AGA; 6 out of 50 healthy controls with no neurological presentation  had AGA present.

Brain Atrophy/Cognitive Decline/Alzheimer’s:

The first of the two cross sectional studies reported significant brain perfusion abnormalities in adults with celiac disease that were on a gluten containing diet. Results showed improvement in MRI scans with adherence to a gluten free diet. The other study found significant atrophy in the caudate nucleus and gray matter of celiac patients who did not have neurological symptoms. This is important to note that although one has not expressed neurological symptoms of disease yet, there is still damage being done to the brain.


In two studies, results suggested a significant portion of patients with migraines may have celiac disease. A gluten free diet lead to an improvement in migraine duration, frequency and intensity. MRI results showed nonspecific hyperintensities and slow diffusing within the brains of celiac patients. Neurological symptoms and brain scans improved or stabilized with gluten free diet.

In Normal People Without Any Disease:

In 2013 a study was conducted with 400 people who had no diseases, no neurological conditions and were all different ethnicity’s. The goal was to see how wheat and milk proteins affected normal people with no disease. What they found was that milk and wheat proteins cross react with the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. A.K.A: the cerebellum. What happens is when you eat  milk and wheat, they look similar in protein sequence to the cerebellum and cause an immune response in your body that calls for an attack on your brain. Antibodies develop and you get loss of coordination, ataxia, uncontrollable muscle spasms, and a whole host of other neurological symptoms. The term is called molecular mimicry.

The pathophysiological consequences of molecular mimicry involving wheat and milk with human tissue is difficult to predict. This is because they can be influenced by multiple factors, including an individual’s genes, the timing and level of exposure to gluten and dairy, and the health of the gut and blood brain barriers. Do you want to know if you have leaky gut? Do you want to know what foods you are having a cross reaction to? Do you want to know if you have these antibodies to gluten or autoimmune disease developing? Comment below or email me for further information.

Bottom line: If you have ANY sort of autoimmune disease OR Neurological disease you absolutely must get off gluten. If you have Hashimoto’s, IBS, Crohn’s, IBD, Ulcerative Colitis, Psoriasis, Eczema, Endometriosis, Lupus, Celiac Disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Alopecia, Fibromyalgia get off of gluten. If you have Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Autism, Epilepsy, Schizophrenia, Bipolar, get off gluten.

wheat 1

What You Can Do:

In the words of the incredible doctor that I have worked alongside with for the last 5 years, Dr. James Jack, “The body is amazing and it can fix anything.” Don’t be alarmed if you have these conditions. Your body can heal and it wants to heal! There is so much you can do to help yourself get into a state of optimal health.

  1. Test, Don’t Guess. Do a Leaky Gut Test to see if you have it so you can repair it. The Array 2 by Cyrex Labs is the first step. If you’d like more information please email me or comment below.
  2. Stop eating all gluten and eventually dairy too. If you are one of those people who need to see the proof, there is also a test for that called the Array 3. This tests the entire protein of wheat to see exactly which part you are reacting to. There is also the Array 4 which tests all the other common foods/grain that commonly cross-react with gluten (ex: corn, soy, egg, dairy, rice, oats, sesame, etc.)
  3. Repair your gut lining. Collagen, Probiotics, Bone broth, Digestive enzymes, Aloe vera. There is more to the whole protocol but this just gives you an idea.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this novel of a blog on Gluten and Neurological Disorders!




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  2. Cascella NG, Krysazak D, Bhatti B, Kelly DL, McEvoy JP, Fasano A, et al. Prevalence of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity in the United States clinical antipsychotic trials of intervention effectiveness study population. Schizophr Bull. 2011;37(1): 94-100 doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbp055
  3. Okusaga O, Yolken R, Langenberg P, Sleemi A, Kelly D, Vaswani D, et al. Elevated gliadin antibody levels in individuals with schizophrenia. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2013;14(7), 509-15. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2012.747699
  4. Hadjivassiliou M., Aeschlimann D, Grünewald RA, Sanders DS., Sharrack B, Woodroofe N. GAD Antibody-associated Neurological Illness And Its Relationship To Gluten Sensitivity. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, 2009; CS
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Picture sources:

The Implications of Constant Stress on Your Brain

stress Stress can make you feel like this.

Have you have ever experienced severe stress at some point in your life? Whether it be studying for an exam, constant money or family troubles, going through a traumatic break up, dealing with a micro-managing boss at work, either way stress is terrible. At night you may have found it difficult to switch off your mind. Anxiety and the thoughts that just won’t stop circulating through your mind keep you from sleeping. I’m sure you think you know how damaging stress can be, but you may have not realized how fatal stress is within the context of your brain.

The hippocampus is a small region in the brain that is part of the limbic system and is most commonly associated with long term memory formation and spatial navigation. Spatial navigation is the way your brain constructs a “cognitive map” to help you process and determine where you are.

There is a lot more to the adrenal glands, but this is a basic summary: The adrenal glands are two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys. The job of your adrenals are to secrete cortisol, adrenaline, and aldosterone. Cortisol and Glucocorticoids are hormones that are secreted when you are in a state of stress, when your blood sugar drops too low, when you’re in pain, when you eat foods that you have a sensitivity to (ex: you know dairy or gluten bother you but you eat them anyway). Adrenaline is signaled in a ‘fight or flight’ response. Aldosterone is a hormone that is involved in maintaining blood pressure.

There are decades of literature proving that prolonged stress or prolonged exposure to high amounts of glucocorticoids (the adrenal hormones secreted during stress) can actually cause the hippocampus to atrophy. This atrophy was observed in people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and Cushings Syndrome. When the hippocampus shrinks, it results in severe memory decline, which is also one of the mechanisms of Alzheimer’s Disease.


Another interesting two year study was conducted where primates were put in stressful social situations where they were constantly having to prove their position of dominance or power, while always being made to feel subordinate. The results of this one were shocking. The primates that were under constant stress and always having to prove their position and made to feel less than/subordinate, their neurons and hippocampus degenerated at an alarmingly rapid rate than those primates who were in a stress free environment. It was concluded that the constant exposure to glucocorticoids (or adrenal stress hormones) causes neural inflammation and degeneration, particularly so in the hippocampus. Glucocorticoids can exacerbate the rate of neuron death during normal aging, as well as the severity of neuronal damage after various neurological insults. AKA: Your brain can be aging way faster than your body depending on how much stress you are exposed to on a daily basis.

Think of this study in terms of your life. Are you in a position at work, a relationship, or some instance in your life where you are always being made to feel less than someone else? Are you always having to prove yourself worthy? Are you always having to reassure your position as top dog or good enough in some other persons eyes? If so, you need to start making plans to get out of that situation – you’re deteriorating your brain. Without your brain, you can’t do anything.

The following are some things that you can do to reduce your stress levels, inflammation and degeneration in your brain:

Take L-Theanine – This is an amino acid found in green tea that has been proven in multiple peer reviewed studies to act as a  neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing substance. In behavioral studies it was shown to relax and improve learning and memory   function. (I recommend L-Theanine by Xymogen)


Do Yoga – A study that compared walking vs. yoga, found a significantly greater improvement in mood and decrease in anxiety in a group of people who did yoga vs. the group of people that just walked. The yoga group also had more increased levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA. Another study comparing a group that did yoga for 60 minutes vs. a group that read for 60 minutes. Results were that the group who did yoga had an increase in GABA levels and it was suggested that yoga be explored as treatment for depression and anxiety disorders.


Take Methylated B Vitamins & Eating leafy green vegetables – When our bodies are going through stressful periods, we burn through our B vitamins rather quickly. Our bodies use B vitamins and folate for almost every single process in our body that creates energy. Taking B vitamins and eating leafy greens will greatly increase your energy and give your starving brain the co-factors it needs to function properly. (I recommend Methyl Protect by Xymogen.)

Take Curcumin/Turmeric & Resveratrol – Both of these are anti-inflammatory substances that can cross the blood brain barrier and dampen inflammation in the brain. Effective with the progression of conditions involving cognitive decline, and halting inflammation on a cellular level. (I recommend Turmero Active & Resvero Active by Apex Energetics.)

Take Adaptocrine – This is an adrenal support formula that has adaptogenic herbs to feed your adrenal glands the raw materials it needs to have optimal function. One of the big reasons why the brain becomes inflammed & atrophied is the constant bombardment of stress that we are exposed to every day. The stress hormones secreted by the adrenals glands wreak havoc on your brain, on your gut lining and cause leaky gut, which creates more food allergies (but that’s a whole other blog post). It is vital that you support your adrenals while going through times of stress, because they will eventually burn out, and that will send you into Adrenal Fatigue. (I recommend Adaptocrine by Apex Energetics. All supplements can be purchased from Dr. Jack’s Wellness Center.)

Be Present – Being present in each moment is a simple yet effective way to reduce your stress.  Never look at every day as the same, for every day is filled with new opportunities and beauty. If you are living in the past, you’re depressed and yearning for days that have already passed. If you’re living in worry of the future, you’ll have anxiety. If you live in the present moment and appreciate the fact that you are alive and get to experience the wonder that is your life…you will be happy.


I hope you enjoyed my post. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or contact me via email.



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Clock Image from Mohsen Paul Sarfarazi, pH. D book “It all happens in the now moment.”

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