Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Gut Absorption Recovery Diet for Epilepsy and Other Excitotoxin Sensitive Conditions

Epilepsy, insomnia, ADHD, chronic pain (e.g. fibromyalgia), and neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, MS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and more are all "excitotoxin"-sensitive disorders, according to the research of John B. Symes, DVM.
In fact, he calls these conditions not only "excitotoxin"-sensitive, but "excitotoxin"-related.

Two non-essential, neurostimulating amino acids called glutamate and aspartate (do you recognize those names?) are excitotoxins identified by Symes as "triggers of seizures and inciters of some neurodegenerative diseases." For these conditions, Symes crafted an elimination diet and named it the Glutamate Aspartate Restricted Diet, Gut Absorption Recovery Diet, or G.A.R.D. The diet not only restricts the excitotoxins, but removes the foods that are capable of "inducing the damage to the intestinal villi that characterizes celiac disease and the related food intolerances".

Because the G.A.R.D. is an elimination diet, it is uncommonly strict. But like all elimination diets, it is intended to be periodically modified (carefully, intentionally, and with good record-keeping) after the initial elimination period. Symes doesn't make any recommendations about the length of the initial elimination period, but he mentions that "Dogs have stopped seizing in 24 hours. I felt noticeably better in four days. My fibromyalgia was improved in less than a week and gone in a month."

Symes lists all the foods to restrict, and gives suggestions for the foods to enjoy. The main foods to restrict are his "big four" (gluten, casein, soy, and corn), with the complete list (of varying severity) being grains (esp. wheat, barley, and oats), dairy (esp. cheese), beans (esp. soy), seeds, peanuts, diet drinks (aspartame), prepared soups (MSG), and meats (exc. lamb). The main foods to enjoy are fruits, vegetables, lamb and eggs, and tree nuts.

Symes says "The good news (yes, there is some good news) is that once we are off the 'big 4' long enough, the process does reverse." "Once you have recovered…your brain, liver, and immune system are back to normal or close to it…then you can go back to eating some of those sources of glutamate and aspartate that are not one of the 'big 4'." "Once the nervous system and liver have recovered, most of us can go back to eating the nuts, seeds, beans, and meats that we were limiting in the beginning." "Some individuals will recover to such a degree that they could go back to eating all of the peanuts, lima beans, and steak they want without experiencing a seizure, pain episode, or bad night's sleep. BUT, most will fall into a category somewhere in between this level of recovery and where they were to start with, depending on several secondary factors, such how much we cheat with the 'big 4', our age, local pollution, and more. And after all, loading up on peanuts is not good for anyone."

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