We’ve talked about Brain Health and the Gluten (Dis)Connection ( here ) and the connection found between gluten and some cases of schizophrenia ( here ). At the time, I mentioned my daughters also had to come off of DAIRY. They did test positive for IgA and IgG (immune) reactivity against the cow dairy protein (bovine casein). Such reactions may be involved in severe psychiatric disorders such as bipolar.
Inflammation and other immune processes are increasingly linked to psychiatric diseases. . . Anti-casein IgG associations with bipolar I diagnoses, psychotic symptom history, and mania severity scores suggest that casein-related immune activation may relate to the psychosis and mania components of this mood disorder.But there is another way a person can be affected by casein even without the IgA or IgG allergic-type reactions. (See bottom of post for some IgA and IgG testing companies.)
I tested positive to casein as well (IgG), although my own symptoms were confusing severe chronic urticaria (chronic hives) and mild gut issues. I’d lived with it, along with issues with gluten, for so long I had not even realized I was also lactose intolerant!
Before I get back to the casein issue, let me explain the difference between lactose and casein.
Lactose is the milk sugar. Many people, after childhood, lose the enzyme, lactase, required to digest milk. Lactose is very different from casein, which is the milk protein. A dairy product which says “whey” or even “lactose-free” will contain casein—the protein. In fact, products that one might not think have dairy but have a “lactose” (dairy sugar) filler, such as many medicines, are contaminated with casein (dairy protein) and dairy peptides. Our family learned this the hard way, then verified it with several pharmacists.
We already know how addicted to milk and cheese some of our children who test positive to a dairy sensitivity/allergy seem. Why?
And... Why do some people have such a dairy issue even when they test negative to the IgG or IgA allergy testing for dairy?
And why do so many doctors talking about gluten and gut permeability often mention dairy in the same sentence?
First, there is another word we need to know – Peptide. Proteins are composed of peptides. Some peptides can be similar enough to other peptides that our body may respond to them in similar ways, such as when they bind to receptor sites on our cells. This is the case when a peptide from milk makes its way intact into our brain and binds to “opiod receptors.” Peptides during the digestion process are normally broken down to their basic components—amino acids (proteins are composed of various proportions of about 20 common amino acids).
The peptide in question in called β-casomorphin-7 (β-CM7) or beta-casomorphin. This milk peptide has been found to be taken up by the brain in people diagnosed with “mental” illnesses (i.e. DSM diagnoses) such as “autism” and “schizophrenia” and even postpartum psychosis. (See here for “Autism is Not A Mental Illness”.)
As we already have seen, gluten in some individuals, can contribute to intestinal inflammation and thus to gut permeability. One problem with this is then the gluten proteins can pass as peptides into the blood stream. One theory is that the gliadorphin (also known as gluteomorphin) molecule from gluten can affect brain function. It is similar to the casomorphin peptide, which is why some doctors will mention gluten and dairy in the same breath.
These peptides from gluten (grains such as wheat, rye, barley) and bovine (cow) dairy (casein) then act as neuropeptides (ie. Proteins that affect brain function). Here is a VIDEO lecture featuring noted psychiatrist James Greenblatt, MD about casomorphins, gliadorphins, and their implication in OCD, tics, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders:
VIDEO: Neuroactive Peptides and Psychiatric Disorders (Click here).
And on an aside note, I knew my milk-loving child had problems with milk, but I thought it was just making her allergies worse—making her more congested and mucousy. And indeed, the same protein has been shown to make us release histamines (the stuff we take antihistamines for).
beta-Casomorphine-7, a naturally occurring product of cow's milk with opiate-like activity, was studied for possible direct histamine liberation activities in humans. . . . Oral pretreatment with the H1 antagonist terfenadine [an antihistamine] significantly inhibited the skin responses to beta-casomorphine-7.This is one of the ironies of my older daughter’s 13-year (mis)diagnosis of “bipolar disorder” (see “Bipolar and Off Her (psychiatric) Meds PART 1” and “PART 2” )—she now takes an antihistamine (Benadryl) as her “emergency med” rather than a psychiatric medication such as quetiapine or lorazepam. But mostly, she takes the preventative measure of staying away from gluten, dairy, and in her case, soy.
Since research is suggesting that some individuals may be reacting to gliadorphins and casomorphins regardless of the results from IgA and IgG testing for allergies/sensitivities to gluten or dairy, what is a person to do?
The simplest thing, in my opinion, is simply STOP gluten and dairy completely for a few months and see if that has any effect on symptoms, at the same time as taking steps to heal any potential problems with the gut (here).
But, there is a test available to see whether these milk and gluten peptides have actually slipped through intact and are therefore potentially wreaking havoc in the brain.
Click Here for the Gluten-Casein Peptide Test Brochure from Great Plains Laboratory.
And here is the direct link to the where the (urine) test for these gliadorphins and casomorphins can be ordered by either the patient or their physician: HERE
One of my daughters found that although cow (bovine) casein turned out to cause the exact symptoms that had been diagnosed as ultra-ultra rapid “bipolar disorder” according to the DSM, goat dairy did not. She had stayed off ALL dairy and healed her gut before attempting the goat cheese about a year later but then decided to not have even the goat dairy for reasons of her own particular general health.
Food Sensitivity TESTS:
Learn more about healing your gut, and other tests available: Gut, Brain, Bacteria, and Behavior
- IgE "Skin-scratch" Tests: See an allergist.
- IgA Testing: EnteroLab
- IgG Testing: Note: "ELISA" stands for Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay which analyzes IgG food antibody profile measuring levels of IgG antibodies for commonly offending foods. (There are many IgG tests. These are just a few): FoodSafe Allergy Test, ALCAT, Metametrix
- Casomorphin/Gliadorphin Sensitivity Test (Great Plains Laboratory)
- The Breakthrough Depression Solution: A Personalized 9-Step Method for Beating the Physical Causes of Your Depression
- It's Not Mental: finding innovative support and medical treatment for a child (mis)diagnosed with a severe mental illness
- Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies
- The Autism and ADHD Diet: A Step-by-Step Guide to Hope and Healing by Living Gluten Free and Casein Free (GFCF) and Other Interventions
- Gut and Psychology Syndrome DVD
Other Related Links:
- Getting Started - Diet Changes
- Allergies, Asthma, and “Mental” Illness
- Inflammation, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar Disorder
- Gluten Sensitivity and the Impact on the Brain (off-site article)
- The Gluten File (off-site link)
- Food Sensitivity Journal (off-site link with recipes)
- Living Without (off-site Magazine website with recipes for people with various food allergies)
- Brain Health: Nutrition and Epigenetics
 Immune activation by casein dietary antigens in bipolar disorder.. Severance EG, Dupont D, Dickerson FB, Stallings CR, Origoni AE, Krivogorsky B, Yang S, Haasnoot W, Yolken RH. Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disord. 2010 Dec;12(8):834-42.
 A Peptide Found in Schizophrenia and Autism Causes Behavioral Changes in Rats Zhongjie Sun, J. Robert Cade Autism March 1, 1999 3: 85-95
 CSF and plasma beta-casomorphin-like opioid peptides in postpartum psychosis LH Lindstrom, F Nyberg, L Terenius, K Bauer, G Besev, LM Gunne, S Lyrenas, G Willdeck-Lund and B Lindberg Am J Psychiatry 1984; 141:1059-1066
 β-Casomorphin Induces Fos-Like Immunoreactivity in Discrete Brain Regions Relevant to Schizophrenia and Autism
Zhongjie Sun, J. Robert Cade, Melvin J. Fregly, R. Malcolm Privette Autism, March 1999; vol. 3, 1: pp. 67-83.
 A naturally occurring opioid peptide from cow's milk, beta-casomorphine-7, is a direct histamine releaser in man. Kurek M, Przybilla B, Hermann K, Ring J. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1992;97(2):115-20 also see:
Pseudoallergic skin reactions to opiate sequences of bovine casein in healthy children. Kurek M, Czerwionka-Szaflarska M, Doroszewska G. Rocz Akad Med Bialymst. 1995;40(3):480-5.]
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Last Updated: 13 October 2012