Functional Neurology
of Middlesex County
Gregory Symko, D.C., D.A.B.C.N.
747 Main Street Suite 205
Concord, MA 01742
978.369.7070
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Posts about the topic: Gluten

Dr. Greg Symko, Boston Area Functional Neurologist, writes about why gluten is troublesome for so many of us. Part 1.

You would have to be living under a rock not to have noticed the fire-storm surrounding gluten and its adverse effects on a person’s well-being.

Gluten is actually gliadin, a protein found in wheat and wheat products. 

Gluten is not an essential nutrient for humans. In fact, we do not have the proper enzymes to break down gluten to the individual amino acids so that the human body can use them. When our digestive tracks try to break gluten down and that results in our bodies breaking it down to something called gluteal morphine. Yes, that is morphine and it does affect the same brain centers that the medication morphine does.

Because our bodies don’t have the proper enzymes to break down gluten, our brains need to accommodate it. Ever since humans have been eating gluten, our brains have done a pretty good job of doing that so that the effects of gluteal morphine is not dramatic and we can get some sort of benefit from eating wheat grains.

So why now are grains (wheat grain, in particular) becoming such an issue for us? The story actually begins with hope. Back in the 1930’s, hybridization of wheat was pursued in order to increase the hardiness, yield and variety of places that wheat can be grown, and it was done to fight hunger.

Dr. Greg Symko-The gluten syndrome, a neurological disease.

SOURCE:

The Children’s Gastroenterology and Allergy Clinic, P.O. Box 25-265, Christchurch 8144, New Zealand. Rodney@rodneyford.co.nz

ABSTRACT:

Hypothesis: Gluten causes symptoms, in both celiac disease and non-celiac gluten-sensitivity, by its adverse actions on the nervous system. Many celiac patients experience neurological symptoms, frequently associated with malfunction of the autonomic nervous system. These neurological symptoms can present in celiac patients who are well nourished.

The crucial point, however, is that gluten-sensitivity can also be associated with neurological symptoms in patients who do not have any mucosal gut damage (that is, without celiac disease).

Gluten can cause neurological harm through a combination of cross reacting antibodies, immune complex disease and direct toxicity. These nervous system affects include: dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system, cerebella ataxia, hypotonia, developmental delay, learning disorders, depression, migraine, and headache. If gluten is the putative harmful agent, then there is no requirement to invoke gut damage and nutritional deficiency to explain the myriad of the symptoms experienced by sufferers of celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. This is called “The Gluten Syndrome”.

Breakfast Lunch & Dinner from Beth’s Gluten free kitchen

Breakfast:

Symko’s Favorite Granola

Heat oven to 300 degrees

Mix together:

3 cups of gluten free oats (not instant)

1/2 cup each of chopped walnuts, almonds and pecans

1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup of golden ground flax seeds

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/3 cup maple syrup

Stir well.

Spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes.  Put back in bowl and stir again; then bake again for another 15 minutes.  Let cool in the bowl to get crispy. 

Add raisins or whatever else you enjoy.

Store this in a large glass jar vs. plastic.
Lunch:
Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad
1 red jalapeno or Fresno chile with some seeds, chopped
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (fresh makes a big difference)
2 Tbsp gluten free reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1 tsp grated peeled ginger
Kosher salt
1/2 small head of red cabbage thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
2 medium carrots shredded
6 scallions, whites and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup baby spinach, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
Whisk chile, oil, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce and ginger in a large bowl; season with salt.  Add cabbage, carrots, scallions, chicken, spinach and carrots; toss to coat.  Top with peanuts and sesame seeds.
Dinner:
Baked Steak
8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 lemon very thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
One 2lb. 2 inch thick sirloin steak
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
Baked potatoes
Heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a roasting pan, combine the mushrooms, celery, lemon, onion, oil and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. 

Season the steak with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, rub with the garlic and place on top of the vegetables.

In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, lemon juice and Worcestershire.

Spoon the ketchup mixture over the top of the steak and roast 30-35 minutes for medium-rare (when a meat thermometer registers 125 degrees).  Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.  Serve the steak with the vegetables and baked potatoes.

Another Gluten Free Breakfast Lunch and dinner from Beth’s Kitchen

Food-150x150Breakfast:
Banana Cacao Muffins
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 cup cacao  nibs
Preheat oven to 350
Mash bananas until smooth, add eggs, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and almond butter and mix thoroughly.
Add coconut flour and cinnamon, mix really well. 

Let batter sit for 5-10 minutes, then add baking soda and cacao nibs.  Mix until baking soda is mixed through.

Fill muffin tins – no need for paper, they slide right out!

Bake for 25 minutes.

Lunch

Curried Chicken Salad
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves – cooked and diced (I poached mine in chicken broth to make sure they were tender).
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup dried apricots finely diced
1/8 cup dried cranberries finely diced
A small gala apple finely chopped
2 T chives minced
1/2 stalk celery finely chopped
2 T green onion finely chopped (white only)
2T red onion finely chopped
1 tsp. curry powder
salt and pepper
Combine all above ingredients.  Mix all together and adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Cut an avocado in half remove the pit and top with chicken salad and serve

Dinner

Parmesan Sage Pork Chops

1/4 cup GF flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 pinches ground black pepper

2 eggs lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups GF Italian bread crumbs
1 T rubbed sage
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

4 boneless pork chops

2 T olive oil

2 T butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly grease a 7/11 baking dish

Mix flour, salt and pepper in shallow dish.  Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, sage and lemon peel in another shallow dish.  Gently press pork into flour mixture to coat and shake off excess flour.  Dip into beaten egg, then press into bread crumbs.  Gently toss between your hands so any bread crumbs that haven’t stuck can fall away.

Heat olive oil and butter in skillet over medium heat.  Brown pork chops on each side about 4 minutes per side then transfer to baking dish.

Bake in preheated oven until juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees, 10-15 minutes.

Gluten free Breakfast lunch and dinner from Beth’s gluten Free Kitchen

Real-Food-150x150Breakfast:
Crustless Ham and Spinach Tart
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 slices deli ham, cut into strips (3 ounces total)
1 cup of milk of choice
3 eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 T grated parmesan cheeese, divided
1 T minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly spray 9 inch glass pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook 2 minutes or until soft,stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Stir in spinach and ham.  Spread mixture evenly into pie plate.
Combine milk, eggs, 1/4 cup of cheese, basil, pepper and nutmeg in medium bowl.  Pour mixture over spinach mixture.  Bake 50 minutes or untilknife inserted in center comes out clean.  Sprinkle with remaining 2 T cheese.
Lunch:
Romaine Wraps
Into romaine leaves, add mayonaisse, bacon, tomatoes and shredded rotissierie chicken.  “Nuff said.
Dinner:
Grilled Moroccan Eggplant 

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 T honey
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large eggplant or 2 medium (1 1/2 lbs. total)
2 peaches or 3 apricots
8 oz. halloumi cheese
3 T roughly chopped almonds
Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.  In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, salt and cayenne until well combined.  Stir in cilantro and garlic.  Set aside.
Trim eggplant and slice lenghthwise into 1/2 inch think planks.  Halve and pit peaches, slice each half into 3 wedges.  Slice cheese into four 1/2 inch thick planks.  Brush eggplant, fruit and cheese generously with dressing.
Grill eggplant and fruit on medium-high for 2-3 minutes per side until eggplant is cooked through and fruit has grill marks.  Grill cheese 2 minutes per side.
Arrange eggplant, fruit and cheese on a platter.  Garnish with almonds and cilantro.  Cube cheese before serving.
Dessert:
Dice up peaches – ripe ones – and strawberries.  Simmer with some lemon juice for about 45  minutes.  Gently mash with potato masher, serve with whipped cream or over ice cream.  Try coconut ice cream made with coconut milk for dairy free options.

The link between gluten sensitivity and autoimmune thyroid

1. Am J Gastroenterol. 2001 Mar;96(3):751-757.

Prevalence of thyroid disorders in untreated adult celiac
disease patients and effect of gluten withdrawal:
an Italian multicenter study.

  • The greater frequency of thyroid disease among celiac disease patients justifies a thyroid functional assessment.
  • In distinct cases, gluten withdrawal may single handedly reverse the abnormality.

2. Horm Res. 1999; 51(3): 124-127

Prevalence of celiac disease in patients with thyroid autoimmunity.

  • On a gluten-free diet, an excellent clinical and histological response was recorded, with an improvement of hypothyroidism and reduction of the thyroxine dosage.
  • Our data suggest a significantly high prevalence of gluten intolerance in patients with autoimmune thyroid disorder, in particular those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

3. Autoimmunity. 2008 Feb; 41(1):116-121

Celiac disease in North Italian patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases.

  • An increased prevalence of celiac disease was demonstrated in adult European and Italian patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases; conversely, an increased prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease was demonstrated in patients with gluten intolerance.
  • Gluten sensitivity is significantly increased in patients with thyroid autoimmune disorders. For this reason, it is important to screen for gluten sensitivity in patients with autoimmune thyroid disorders

The conclusion is if there is any question of an autoimmune thyroid condition get tested and if gluten sensitive eliminate it from your diet.