Get in my belly! Gut ecosystem, the mind, and a food allergy. How do they relate?

May 28, 17 Get in my belly! Gut ecosystem, the mind, and a food allergy. How do they relate?
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Don’t worry it’s not fecal in the sense you are thinking

Gut ecosystem and food allergy

Remember growing up and being told you are what you eat? Now more than ever looking at the relationship between what you eat, how your body reacts to it, and the relationship between having a food allergy, digestion, and the mind is increasingly popular. Take the gluten free diet for example. While some naysayers feel it’s just a trend or a way to market specialty food products, one gluten allergy symptom is a mental “fog” where the person is not able to think clearly, their thoughts are scattered, and they have a hard time focusing when they consume gluten foods (e.g. wheat-based pasta, bread food allergy).

Food allergy and the mind

How does this relate to your mind? Well, let’s take for example a recent study using Microbiota Transfer Therapy to treat autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms (Kang et al., Microbiata, 2017). Ok, so brace yourself. This treatment gives fecal (yes fecal) microbiota in the form of a shake or suppository (hold on don’t stop reading) from individuals not diagnosed with ASD to individuals diagnosed with ASD. I know. Sounds gross. But look penicillin started as a nasty molded sandwich so stop it. There was a process (which you can read all about in the published article), it wasn’t “farm to plate” if you know what I mean. It’s a transplant of purified gut materials.

The results were promising. Behaviors reduced significantly, but the long-term improvement needs to be explored. Think about current diet trends that advocate cleansing the body and the use of probiotics. These methods are essentially attempts to re-calibrate the body and mind by removing toxins from the gut that we consume too much of or that our bodies have a difficult time digesting or both.

Is this treatment the answer to mental illness and disabilities? Maybe, maybe not. But it does certainly raise significant questions about how we treat our bodies and how we “treat” our minds.


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External resources

Food Allergy Research Education

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

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