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Can Eating Wheat Affect Mental Health?

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The Toxic Effects of Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA)

Wheat contains high amounts of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA); a glycoprotein classified as a lectin, which is largely responsible for many of wheat’s ill effects. Other grains high in lectins include rice, spelt, and rye.

Interestingly enough, the highest amount of WGA is found in whole wheat, including its sprouted form, which is touted as being the most healthful form of all. Aside from high amounts of WGA, wheat also contains a number of other potentially health-harming components, including:

  • Gliadin (an alcohol soluble protein component)
  • Gliadomorpin (exorphins, or group of opioid peptides that form during digestion of the gluten protein)
  • Enzyme inhibitors

The traditional ways of addressing many of these anti-nutrients is by sprouting, fermenting and cooking. However, lectins are designed to withstand degradation through a wide range of pH and temperatures. WGA lectin is particularly tough because it’s actually formed by the same disulfide bonds that give strength and resilience to vulcanized rubber and human hair.

Furthermore, because lectins are so small, and hard to digest, they tend to bioaccumulate in your body, where they can interfere with biological processes. WGA is particularly troublesome in this regard. Studies indicate it has a number of health-harming characteristics and activities:

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90s he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, Mercola.com to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.

60 comments

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8:48AM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

Thank you

9:16AM PDT on Sep 5, 2012

I think it is the GMO wheat that is causing all the trouble. (genetically modified wheat). The wheat we eat is 80-90% GMO. The article didn't specify wheat versus GMO wheat. Check out this cbs news report by Dr Davis, Author of Wheat Belly or google his name and book.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505269_162-57505149/modern-wheat-a-perfect-chronic-poison-doctor-says/

8:21AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

People all over the world have been eating whole grains for eons and are often more healthy than those of us on the western diet eating so many processed foods!

It seems that everything and anything has a problem when it comes to ingesting it--some say eating fruit can only be done by eating fruit by itself and that eating it with any other food will cause a multitude of horrific problems for the body. Too bad, so sad!

Now it is whole grains that may well be toxic. Not meant for humans. Whatever. Well, will snack on whole grains, quinoa and my chicken, beef, fish and whatever. We only live once.
Someone mentioned the fatties will love this-what a pencil then person complaining that people who eat meat are fat, get a grip many people eat meat the world over and are not fat or obese and who are you to sit in judgement of those eating meat.
As with everything, do your research, check alternative sources because there are so many different theories out there.
Will go and snack on seedless grapes and I guess these are also bad for me as well.

8:21AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Sorry, I meant to say pencil thin vegetarians and vegans when this person discussed "Fatties."
It is bad enough the commercial world airbrushes photos of impossible to attain female bodies using underweight models as their yardstick of perfection. Putting down people because of their weight only pushes some to become anorexic, some teens and others pushed into eating disorders because society looks down on even healthy weight (not even talking overweight or obese) but the average looking female cannot attain weight "perfection" in some of these magazine ads.
In many parts of the world meat is part of the diet but is kept to a small portion of the meal. Everything in moderation.

9:35PM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Depends on your Nutritional Type.

3:33AM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

but wheat protien is much better than animals. is the possiblity of mental health effect no issue when your heart crys over the deaths of critters? who knows. someone here said strawberries have ample protien for human health anyway.

1:35PM PDT on Aug 31, 2011

Thanks. More reasons to keep my diet wheat free.

11:30PM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Thanks for sharing!

8:02PM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

I gave up gluten over 2 years ago. My aching joints went away, no more bursitus, complexion cleared up, inflammation disappeared, thyroid function has increased, intestinal upset disappeared, cholesterol improved. This is what I have noticed that has improved..........hopefully my chances for getting ataxia, alzheimers, and heart disease like my parents and relatives has significantly decreased. It makes sense to me.

4:32PM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

thanks for this great article, I have been gluten free for almost six month and I feel so much better! have lost weight without trying, have more energy especially after meals, and for the women asking about bread, UDI"S is very good, I really like the pizza crusts, they are awesome easy and you can top anyway you like, not bad left over either, I cook them right on the oven shelf and they crisp up great, best to start with the crust frozen..

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