The G.A.R.D.

Epilepsy in Dogs and Humans
Epilepsy and Diet
The G.A.R.D.
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The Glutamate- Aspartate Restricted Diet. *

(*Also now called the "Gut Absorption Recovery Diet")


In This Section:


* The G.A.R.D. Made SimpleI wrote this on June 9, 2005 at the request of a doctor who was interested in this elimination diet for his epileptic patients. Again, this site was originally intended to be used by my clients- lay people searching for answers to medical issues that they did not understand. But I do realize that the length of these papers drives medically-inclined crazy. To be honest, it would me if I was looking for immediate answers for a problem case. BUT, I still contend that the fast-food approach to our problems is totally inadequate, and at some point, we MUST see the big picture again. So, I walk a fine line in my attempt to educate my clients while enlightening my colleagues, often resulting in overly lengthy papers. I guess I'd rather over-explain than under-explain. I hope this summary-style paper helps.
The G.A.R.D. originally stood for the "glutamate-aspartate restricted diet" after its limitation of these two non-essential, neurostimulating amino acids that are also the parent compounds of MSG and aspartame (Nutrisweet) respectively. They are now termed "excitotoxins" and known triggers of seizures and inciters of some neurodegenerative diseases. However, the G.A.R.D. also stands for the "gut absorption recovery diet" due to its removal of the "big 4" foods (gluten, dairy, soy and corn), which are all capable of inducing the damage to the intestinal villi that characterizes celiac disease and the related food intolerances.
So in the case of epilepsy and other conditions for which the G.A.R.D. should be applied (pain sydromes, ADHD, insomnia, and neurodegenerative disorders such as MS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and others), the diet is not only a quick Band Aid for the symptoms but also a major part of the long-term solution for these conditions, as this paper will explain. 
* The Glutamate/Aspartate Restricted Diet (GARD)- This section will be a series of posts that I have placed on applicable sections of a large medical forum known as BrainTalk Communities (found here: http://brain.hastypastry.net/forums/index.php?). This site is an expansive set of forums that cover medical conditions ranging from Alzheimer's to Visual Impairments. I have personally contributed to threads on many of these forums, including those dealing with ADHD, ALS, Celiac Disease, Epilepsy, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, and Child Neurology. The main reason for my involvement in these forums can be found in the content of the following posts. I hope that you get something very special from this section. It is my personal favorite.
* How to Control Idiopathic Epilepsy Naturally- Because most of the principles and therapies that I outline for the treatment of epilepsy also apply to many of the conditions that readers are seeking help for, I recommend that those suffering from insomnia, chronic pain (e.g. fibromyalgia), ADHD, bipolar disease, and other neurological disorders also read this paper. It is a summary-style article that outlines the steps I took in my own recovery and therefore have recommended to those with similar problems. It can be found in the Epilepsy and Diet section found here: http://dogtorj.tripod.com/id2.html.
* Foods to Avoid, Foods to Enjoy- In this section, I will try to make it clear which foods should be avoided when coping with the "excitotoxin"-related disorders such as epilepsy, insomnia, ADHD, chronic pain (e.g. fibromyalgia), and neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, MS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and more. Autistic patients should benefit from these dietary guidelines as well, especially the avoidance of the gluten grains, soy, and dairy products. Please also check out the autism, ADHD, and food addiction parts of the Appetizers section.You can also read my paper "What in the World Do I Eat???" for more ideas and explanations.
*Now for the GOOD News - On these dietary restrictions, I just want to make one thing very clear. We are restricting the level of glutamate and aspartate in the diet because the neurons and supportive cells of the brain are diseased and cannot handle the high levels of this non-essential, neurostimulating amino acid in our typical diet. The good news is once we are off the “big 4” long enough, the process does reverse. After we have recovered then we can usually go back to eating some of those sources of glutamate and aspartate that are not one of the “big 4”. Just remember- "Everything in moderation"
*Estrogens in Food- There are estrogens in foods which should be considered in formulating the ultimate diet, especially for women and those suffering from epilepsy, pain, and other excitotoxin-related disorders. We know that estrogens are inflammatory and immunosuppressive and sensitize neurons to the action of glutamate (e'g catamenial seizures, PMS). I will be expanding this section as time allows. Please also see the Appetizers section for more on this and other issues in women's health.

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I hope you enjoyed your time here and got something important from your stay. It is my goal to help all of mankind navigate through the jungle of medical information now available on the Internet and find the truth about the origins of what we call "disease" as well as discover the natural solutions for these conditions.
We do have our health's destiny in our own hands more than we've ever imagined, certainly more than most have ever been told. Think naturally and the answer will come.
Dogtor J
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