Gluten and casein have both been labeled exorphins, because of their morphine-like behavior in the human body. Gluten peptides, called gluteomorphines and casein peptides, called casomorphins are formed during the digestion of gluten and casein. In the central nervous system, they can cross the blood-brain barrier and bind as opiates to the central opiate receptors. Opiate receptors sites can also be found in the intestinal tract, blood serum, immune system and peripheral nervous system. These foods can mimic the effects of opiate drugs like heroin and morphine. Researcher shows that exorphins can interfere with the neurotransmitter messaging system and contribute to central nervous system stimulation and neurological disorders.
Research has also shown casein to act as a histamine releaser. Histamine is a chemical in the body associated with allergic reactions and can contribute to an inflammatory response.
These ingredients can be both addictive and sedating. It is estimated that three quarters of the calories in the standard American diet (S.A.D.) come from wheat and dairy. Casein is concentrated in the production of cheese making it very addictive and one of the most difficult foods to eliminate from the diet. If an individual feels that they cannot give up cheese or bread, then it is likely they may be having a problem with one or both of these foods.
People who test positive for either or both of these peptides can often attest to the difficulty of withdrawing from these foods. They often compare it to classic drug-withdrawal symptoms. A sensitivity to either of theses foods can cause an initial high followed by moodiness, depression, fatigue, aches and pains as well as many other inflammatory conditions.
If you have health conditions such as acne, GERD, psoriasis or eczema, any GI issue, autoimmunity (see complete list here), strictly eliminate all gluten and pasteurized cow dairy for at least 2 weeks (a month is even better) and see how you feel.
If you would like to be tested to see if you are sensitive to either dairy or gluten, Cyrex Labs offers the most comprehensive testing available for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
To test for dairy sensitivity, ask your healthcare practitioner to order Cyrex Array 4 for cross-reactive foods, which includes six antigens associated with dairy.
It may seem daunting at first, but if you are experiencing health issues that are negatively affecting your quality of life and you find that eliminating one or both of these dietary ingredients could relieve or greatly improve all symptoms, wouldn't you agree that it could definitely be worth it!?!
Wishing you a happy, healthy, nourished day!
1 Zioudrou C, Streaty RA, Klee WA. Opioid peptides derived from food proteins. The exorphins. J Biol Chem. 1979 Apr 10;254(7):2446-9.
2 Teschemacher H. Opioid Receptor Ligands Derived from Food Proteins. Curr Pharm Des. 2003;9(16):1331-44.
3 Artemova NV, Bumagina ZM, Kasakov AS, Shubin VV, Gurvits BY. Opioid peptides derived from food proteins suppress aggregation and promote reactivation of partly unfolded stressed proteins. Peptides. 2010 Feb;31(2):332-8. Epub 2009 Nov 30.
4 Knivsberg AM, Reichelt KL, Høien T, Nødland M. A randomised, controlled study of dietary intervention in autistic syndromes. Nutr Neurosci. 2002 Sep;5(4):251-61.
5 Kurek M, Przybilla B, Hermann K, Ring J (1992). "A naturally occurring opioid peptide from cow's milk, beta-casomorphine-7, is a direct histamine releaser in man". Int Arch Allergy Immunol 97 (2): 115–120.
6 Farrell RJ, Kelly CP. Celiac Sprue. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jan 17;346(3):180-8.