What Links Chronic Pain, Depression, Anxiety, Weight Gain, and Addiction Together?

The answer, foodborne opiates.

That’s right, opiates, as in Opium, Morphine, Oxycontin, and more.

Many people who suffer from these chronic issues have never used or sparsely used any of those opiates for medical purposes, yet opiates could still be an issue unknowingly.

The KILLER opiate that I left off that list is Gliadin.

Never heard of it?

Gliadin is a nasty little protein component of Gluten, a protein found in wheat, and is a powerful opiate receptor binder in our brain.

By breeding and crossbreeding wheat crops, we created a mutant version of gliadin that interferes with intestinal absorption and is considered a biological disruptor.

Amylopectin A, a starch molecule also in wheat, skyrockets blood sugars and insulin, and to add to these problems allergies the enzyme alpha-amylase found in wheat has been linked to allergies and respiratory issues.

Gliadin is abundant in wheat products, grains, bread, flour, pasta, and processed foods that form the base of the food pyramid and the mainstay of the American diet.

The continual dietary exposure to gliadin (opiates) binds to and stimulates the opiate receptors in our brain, creating a “high.” 

This high is not euphoric but calms feelings of hunger and produces a sense of relaxation from endorphins, or the natural “feel good” neurotransmitters in your brain. (outlined in the medical journal Functional Neuroscience, 2000)

As this “feel good” sensation wears off, an inevitable low feeling will follow that causes increased hunger and cravings for more wheat products to get a fix. 

Feeding that craving will calm the urge and agitation to eat and make us feel better, but it also promotes a mild form of dependency leading to the addictive behavior of overeating, binging, and what is often seen as emotional eating.

Gliadin has been shown to produce “overeating” an extra 440 calories of food per day! That is over 45 lbs of fat per year!

Gliadin competes with the receptors on our natural opiate sites for pain relief, which can diminish the effect of prescribed opiates to relieve pain. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, 2003, this results in “opiate-induced pain hypersensitivity.

Blocking pain receptors requires more painkillers to relieve pain symptoms (if they even can). 

Overall, pain thresholds decrease, causing an increase in pain, while the stimulation required to cause pain becomes less, resulting in pain hypersensitivity. 

Pain hypersensitivity syndrome is seen in fibromyalgia, chronic pain conditions, arthritis, and more.

Gliadin negatively impacts the neurotransmitters associated with depression, anxiety, mood, and sleep (Dopamine and Serotonin) that are vital to health, healing, and overall quality of life.

Testosterone, estrogen, and our hunger and food satisfaction hormones become resistant in this process, causing energy swings, sexual dysfunction, decreased libido, osteoporosis, and infertility, and can lead to excessive weight gain and decrease the benefit from exercise, according to the “Rapid Drug Detox Center” case reports and literature.

The hunger-producing effects of gliadin are so strong that the non-euphoric opiate medication naloxone (a medication used in opiate addiction recovery) is needed and used in food addiction studies.

So, you can see that this little, rarely spoken-about opiate can play a massive role in our health.

If you have trouble sticking to an eating plan or losing weight, it may not be age-related but due to a food-grade opiate addiction reaction!

In my clinical experience, it takes 3 to 5 days of avoiding wheat (and all grains) to break the cycle and stop the cravings. If you also cut sugars, processed foods, MSG, add apple cider vinegar, and increase water intake, it’s as fast as 2-3 days. 

But that’s just the beginning. Healing the damage and restoring a healthy brain and body takes consistent work over time. It can and must be done to have any hope of breaking these cycles by first stopping the injury from wheat products, then working to heal with lifestyle changes and support.

As we learn more, we can do more. 

If you are ready to do more now and want a plan and program to show you how and guide you daily to reach your goals, message me directly to see if my program is right for you.

We can do better!

Dr. Don