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Idiopathic Epilepsy- The Dietary Solution

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* Idiopathic Epilepsy- The Dietary Solution- This 13-page paper chronicles the discovery that limiting the diets of epileptic dogs will halt their seizures. It takes the reader through the step by step process that I went through to arrive at this conclusion. I do not claim to be the first nor the only one to have made the connection between food and epilepsy. However, this story describes exactly how I arrived at this independently of anyone else's work other than reading that celiac children (those with gluten intolerance) showed significant improvement in their seizures once wheat was eliminated from the diet. The rest was arrived at by my own medical research and "intuition", which was followed by even more research. For specific diet recommendations, see the section DogtorJ's Food Handout.

***NEW addendum!!! (as of 3-3-05) This is a very important update and one that has been needed for quite some time. So, I'm going to put it at the top of the list here. The study of epilepsy and other related neurodegenerative conditions has been some of the most fascinating...and rewarding...work out of all the things I have ever pursued in my life. Looking under the right rocks has yielded some amazing finds. The results of putting pets on glutamate/aspartate restricted diets (and hearing of people do the same) have been no less than astounding, not only for epilepsy but also for autism, insomnia, pain, ADHD, and even MS and ALS. Yes, people with the latter two have also testified to its positive effects. The "excitotoxins" and the foods that provide them have their hands in things that you wouldn't believe. BUT, so do viruses (and other microroganisms/agents).

Herein lies the need for this urgent update. I have alluded to the role of viruses in most of my work from the very beginning. It was one of the key points in The Answer...the role of chronic latent viruses in the development our ill health. But now they deserve a much more prominent position...center stage...as I have gotten a much better idea of what they do, especially in these neurological disorders.

So, please read this quick, important new addendum either before or after reading the original paper on epilepsy. It is going to start out as a letter I wrote yesterday. I will be adding to it as time allows.

*Addendum- This is a chart that shows foods which are rich in glutamate and aspartate as well as those that are low in these neurostimulanting amino acids. In the epileptic patient, those that are rich in these proteins should be severely restricted initially in order to obtain the fastest results. I recommend the elimination of all foods containing gluten (the grains), dairy products, and soy. Thank Goodness our dogs don't drink diet drinks (aspartame...the "crack cocaine" version of aspartate).

*Addendum #2-  VERY IMPORTANT!  This is a summary-style article that addresses many of the letters that I have received that horribly misstate the "theory" in my paper. The concept should be crystal clear after reading this addendum. If not, please Email me.

*Addendum #3New!!! and also VERY important. This section dives into yet another piece of the puzzle by discussing the role of the blood brain barrier: its normal function, its permeability to the "excitotoxins",  and how it becomes damaged by air pollution, allergic and immune-mediated reactions, hydrogenated oils, and more. This will make a phenomenal amount of sense to the reader while greatly supporting the "theory" of epileptic seizures being caused by excess amounts of the neuroexcitatory amino acids, glutamate and aspartate.

* Addendum #4- NEW!!! (as of Dec. 2003)  This is a letter that I just wrote to a client in the U.K. that answers a number of questions many of you have had concerning my "theory" on the origin and pathogenesis of "idiopathic" epilepsy. It also addresses the topic that I am about to formally present, to which I allude in the following paragraphs. (This concerns the role of viruses and other possible opportunists in refractory epilepsy.) Please carefully read this letter, either before or after you read the main paper on epilepsy.

 

Idiopathic Epilepsy- The Dietary Solution

By Dogtor J.
2003 DogtorJ.com

 

Introduction

I have been practicing veterinary medicine for twenty-three years. I graduated with honors from veterinary school in the late 70's, received the Upjohn Award as outstanding senior student in small animal medicine, and followed that with an extracurricular internship at a prestigious medical institution in Boston. I mention these things not to boast but as a matter of fact to illustrate the point that I was more than conventionally schooled in basic medicine and clearly had an ample mind for that medical training. And yet, I fell into the same pattern that most doctors do, that of taking a history and examining that patient just long enough to determine which drug was appropriate to facilitate their recovery. In many cases, this is an appropriate approach...or at least it used to be.

Three years ago, I was personally handed a diagnosis that would change my life forever. At the age of forty-five, I found out that I had celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance. Once I began researching this condition, a medical revelation of astounding proportion struck me right between the eyes. The list of conditions that celiacs like myself suffered from was a who's who of what is wrong with humans, dogs, and cats. This list included every symptom and condition that I had experienced over the years, including the allergies, heartburn, irritable bowel, headaches, insomnia, chronic fatigue/depression, joint and spinal problems, memory and balance loss, and even my fibromyalgia. However, the list went on to include strong tendencies toward so many of the "diseases" that are taking our friends, acquaintances, and loved ones from us. These were the more devastating conditions such as immune- mediated diseases and cancer. Celiacs truly were the glaring example of what was wrong with human beings.

The Epilepsy Connection

One of the most interesting findings involved epilepsy in the celiac child. In one short article that I came across, it was stated that children with celiac disease who also had epilepsy had their seizure frequency improve, dramatically in some cases, once a gluten-free diet was instituted. As I was already in the mode of comparing what I had read about humans to what I experienced in my veterinary practice, I took this idea on as a project. I was already seeing the potentially universal nature of the damage caused by gluten and the correlation of celiac disease and epilepsy was something that I somehow knew was going to be totally explainable.

The first clues came in the analysis of the components of wheat. Gluten was clearly a major culprit and understanding the pathophysiology of its role in celiac disease was of paramount importance. The first hint was that gluten was used in industry as an adhesive. This just made sense when I read about celiac disease for the first time as the text explained how gluten adhered to the villi of the duodenum. Suddenly, the role of the "glue-ten" in industry and the development of celiac disease became clearly related.

Gluten leaves the stomach as an adhesive and subsequently sticks to those delicate villi of the duodenum, those structures vital to the absorption of essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, iodine, all water-soluble vitamins such as B and C vitamins, and most trace minerals such as boron, zinc and magnesium. The implications of this became immense. Without certain vitamins, proper bodily development and function would be slowed or halted and most enzyme systems would be affected. The immune system would certainly suffer from the relative lack of vitamin C and other essential nutrients. It seemed as though the Pandora's box of medicine had been opened and the celiac was the innocent recipient of the plagues it unleashed.

But this was only the beginning. This did not explain epilepsy...yet. However, the second clue put me on the right track. I quickly found that the foods that caused problems did so in a myriad of ways. Gluten had its damaging effects, causing malabsorption, maldigestion, and what we refer to as the "leaky gut". (This is beyond the scope of this paper but is covered in depth in The Answer found on my Website www.dogtorj.com .) But, there were other components of wheat that had serious ties to the subject at hand. The second clue was the fact that monosodium glutamate was often made from wheat (and soy).

A quick review of the uses of and the side effects of MSG spoke volumes about the true nature of idiopathic epilepsy. As most people know, MSG is used as a flavor enhancer. Its mode of action is as a neurostimulant, stimulating the open-ended nerves in the taste buds of the tongue. By sensitizing these nerves, monosodium glutamate has the effect of making food that passes over them more flavorful. However, there is a significant portion of the population that suffers from serious side effects from the use of MSG, the symptoms of which are directly related to the effect MSG has on the brain once it enters the general circulation. These include migraine headaches, pain syndromes, the "MSG rush", and even seizures. Once it is understood that glutamate is a neurostimulant, these symptoms should not be a surprise.

The fact is that glutamate and its "fraternal twin" amino acid, aspartate, are normal neurotransmitters in the mammalian brain. However, the dietary sources of these amino acids cannot be tolerated well by a certain segment of the population, including many of our pets, especially in their concentrated form. MSG is the source of such concentration for glutamate while artificial sweeteners containing aspartame are the corresponding source of aspartate. It was easy to find the evidence that aspartame was causing the same variety of symptoms in susceptible individuals, including seizures in humans. I knew I was on the right track now.

The third clue came in the study of the devastating condition of Lou Gehrig's Disease, otherwise known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In brief, the condition is caused by the build-up of glutamate at the neuronal synapse. The concentration of glutamate ultimately reaches a neurotoxic level resulting in the death of the adjacent neuron. In summary, glutamate is neurotoxic at high levels, actually being lethal to the nerve if high enough. This is obviously true of its relative, aspartate, which accounts for the reports of memory loss, pain syndromes, and seizures tied to its use. I was getting closer to the truth.

The next findings started pulling everything together and I felt that I was well on my way to explaining why the celiac children were recovering from epilepsy. I began studying why the primary food allergens in pets and people were identical and fell into a limited grouping. According to the FDA, the primary childhood allergens were cow milk, wheat, eggs, and soy, in that order. Veterinarians have known for over twenty-five years that cow milk and wheat were the principle food allergens in dogs and cats. Why was that so and why were they the same in those species? The answer came in the form of "glue".

It didn't take long to find that one of the main proteins in cow milk was casein, which is also used in industry as an adhesive. The evidence was everywhere I looked. It was also evident that medical researchers had one of its components, alpha s-1 casein, as being pegged for its involvement in autoimmune disorders, just like the principle protein, gliadin, in gluten. The revelation then came that allergies were just the warning sign of what was to come if we continued to consume these foods, especially in the quantity that Americans do. Dairy products and wheat now make up more than 60% of the American diet. There had to be a link between this fact and the high rate of allergies, asthma, immune-mediated diseases, and cancer among the American population.

The "glue" connection had been made. The foods that were the "stickiest" were the primary food allergens. But what about those eggs sitting in the number three position? As it turns out, they were simply an example of a "secondary" food allergen, one that forms when the gut has been significantly damaged by the primary foods wheat and cow milk (and another food yet to come). The "leaky gut" from the villous damage allows food protein to come into contact with the bloodstream and immune system in a form that it doesn't recognize. This leads to an immune response to that food and the development of "secondary" food allergies. As eggs are one of the first proteins fed to children after they are raised on cow milk formulas, this just made perfect sense. Otherwise, it makes no sense that eggs, as one of the most bioavailable, high-quality proteins on the planet, would be a primary allergen. But, as a secondary allergen, especially in light of the timing of the introduction of this natural protein after the two unnatural ones, it all makes sense.

But, we must still deal with the number four allergen, soy. Remembering that allergies are just a warning sign, I approached my investigation of the newest "health food" with a renewed vigor. I had learned a long time ago that our body doesn't make mistakes and that there were no contradictions like the one that faced me. Is soy a health food or not? If so, why is it number four already and we aren't even eating much of it yet...or are we?

Once again, it did not take long to find the truth about soy. As I mentioned, soy is used as the other "natural" source of MSG. In fact, it has nearly six times the concentration of glutamate and aspartate of any of the other sources already mentioned. I then put the words "soy adhesive" in the search engine of my computer and was not surprised at all that it, too, was used as an industrial adhesive. Then, I read about the processing of soy to rid it of anti-nutrients in order to make it edible and I could clearly see that we weren't dealing with a health food here.

The "glue" and the concentration of neurostimulants had been well established in the top food allergens. I turned my attention to the other allergens, the grains, and found the same. Yes, the next most troublesome food was corn. The analysis of corn showed high levels of glutamate and aspartate, as did all of the remaining grains rice, barley, and oats. It was a universal trait among the grains and it became clear why we eat them for energy and become carbohydrate addicted. Our brains love all of these dietary stimulants, including caffeine, sugar, chocolate, diet drinks, almost as much as it likes the illegal ones like cocaine. It is likely to be the level of glutamate and aspartate in these complex carbohydrates that give us the energy, not the calories themselves.

But why do some individuals have intolerance to these "normal" components of food? I put normal is quote because I now question the wisdom behind the consumption of these complex carbohydrates, especially at the aforementioned rates. Conventional wisdom has been turned on its ear a bit by the concept purported by Dr. Adkins. He is right about one thing. We don't become obese from simply eating fat. It occurs mostly from eating the complex carbohydrates, which are, in turn, converted to fat when the less active person does not use the calories from these foods. These foods are also many of the major food allergens, as previously mentioned, partly because they are all used as glues, sticking to the duodenum as they exit the stomach. The heartburn we experience is likely to be due to the stomach's dire attempt to break down the glue. My heartburn of three years duration disappeared the week I went off all wheat. These trouble foods are also all glycoproteins (part carbohydrate, part protein) that appear to severely disturb the immune system of susceptible individuals, playing a vital role in the triggering of autoimmune disease. This, too, is covered in The Answer.

The Key

But, I believe the key to idiopathic epilepsy lies in a combination of these factors. Those foods that are rich in glutamate and aspartate are also the foods that adhere to the duodenal villi. Once again, the principle offenders are the gluten-containing grains, the casein-containing dairy products, the soy protein, and to a lesser extent the corn products. By coating the villi, they must reduce the ability of those structures to do their job in the absorption of the essential nutrients required to form the reductase systems that are necessary to clear the neurostimulants from the tissue or the bloodstream. This would have to be true of anyone who consumes these "glue" containing foods. However, in what I call the "worst of the worst", the celiacs, casein intolerants, and soy intolerants...the immune system mounts an assault on the "glue" inducing severe villous atrophy. The villi literally shrink away as a result of the immune attack. This is the lesion of celiac disease.

I have been able to find only three food components that induce this serious change in the villi. They are gluten, casein, and soy protein. I believe that corn and even rice may do this to some extent but the well-known causes are the previous three. Once again, these are the top three primary childhood allergens according to the FDA. This is no longer a surprise. The allergies were just the warning sign of what was to come. And, as I tell my clients, "If you don't like these warning signs, you're not going to like the next set of warning signs either. And, if you don't like them, you're really not going to like what they are warning you of."

The conclusion was simple. The foods to which we are allergic are so for a reason. The primary offenders contain a glue component that sticks to our duodenal villi. These substances block the absorption of essential nutrients as well as provide high levels of the amino acids glutamate and aspartate. In the worst of the worst, the individual cannot form the reductase enzymes necessary to eliminate these neurostimulants from the synapse or the blood and seizures occur.

Therefore, it just made sense that limiting these allergenic foods would potentially have a positive effect on the person or pet suffering from epilepsy as well as have a beneficial effect on a number of other chronic illnesses, especially those in the idiopathic category. This is exactly what has happened in my practice as well as my personal life.

The Results

I immediately began applying what I had learned to myself and the patients in my practice. All of my chronic symptoms listed earlier disappeared over a short period of time. Gone were the intestinal and neurological symptoms in short order. The pets were also making miraculous recoveries from chronic allergies, intestinal disorders, and pain syndromes as well as the subject of this dissertation, epilepsy.

Yes, the idiopathic epileptics were improving one after the other, mostly over night. It did not matter whether they were having five seizures a day or one every three months. They all stopped having as many seizures and most were able to be taken off of their medication or never required anticonvulsants to control their seizures. I now have close to twenty epileptic patients under control by applying this principle. They are on a variety of diets, each with a different degree of glutamate restriction. Some have required only the big three (wheat, dairy, and soy) to be restricted. Others required corn restriction as well and were placed on rice-based diets. The worst of the worst required the potato- based diets. Some began on one diet but required "upgrading" to a more restricted diet months to years down the road.

I have so many great stories to tell that I could fill volumes with clinical vignettes. Suffice it to say that the food connection was proven over and over again, both on purpose and by accident, through planning and trial and error, and by owners making regular mistakes in food selection. In some cases, one bowl of the wrong food generated seizures within hours of consumption with those seizures becoming immediately under control with the restoration of the restricted diet.

I came very close to publishing my data many times while waiting to amass more substantial numbers of affected patients. How many did I need to go public? I would ask myself. Did I require five, ten, or fifty to be credible in the eyes of my peers? I began writing to my alma mater very early on but was unable to generate much interest. I was surprised and disappointed at first but I decided to be patient. I knew the time would come.

Then, in walked the glaring example. He was number eighteen on the roster of epileptics and would soon be the poster child for this concept. He was a handsome four-year-old German shepherd that was being treated for epilepsy by a colleague of mine. He was brought to me, however, to be put to sleep because his condition had deteriorated over the last year despite the use of two different anticonvulsants. The owner told me that he came to me because the other doctor would not put him to sleep due to the fact that there was more medication to be given. But, the owner was tired of seeing his dog convulse and Shadow had experienced nearly thirty seizures the night before he was presented to me.

Little did my new client know, the information he was about to receive would change his pets life forever. I explained the concept of limiting the diet of the usual suspects (wheat, barley, dairy, soy, corn, and even rice) and how that could stop the seizures almost immediately. He seemed to understand. I told him that we were going to feed his pet a commercially available potato-based dog food. I explained that potatoes had much less of the offending neurostimulants due to the fact they were not in the grain family. (I have a chart of all of the foods we consume with their respective levels of glutamate and aspartate.) I asked him if he would like to know the odds of his dog recovering and he said, I guess. I boldly told him that if Shadow didnt get well, he would be the first out of my last seventeen dogs. He liked those odds.

Then came the interesting part. The medical history was so classical that it propelled this pet to the head of his class. His seizures began three years ago and within two months of a diet change, when the owner switched from one of my safe foods to one of the most forbidden on the market. This was coincidence number one. The second point was that his seizures only occurred at night around ten or eleven oclock. He was always fed early in the evening at approximately five oclock. There was that four to six hour interval that I had determined to be so typical of these pets. Just like the insomniac who is awakened in the middle of the night and the ADHD child who becomes intolerably hyper hours after eating, the epileptic has seizures when that critical amount of glutamate finally reaches the brain, hours after digestion has begun. So, the required amount of time between the offending food being ingested and free glutamate reaching the brain appears to be about five hours.

But, I had to know what happened the day before he brought him in. This would be the third point. Why did this serious cluster of seizures occur? At first, the owner said that there was nothing different about that day. It was not until he returned to pick Shadow up that evening that he told me about the chicken feed. Yes, the day before, the owner had put out chicken feed and Shadow had eaten a large amount of it. (I told the owner, and he later confirmed the fact, that chicken feed was absolutely loaded with wheat.) He then proceeded to eat an extra large bowl of his regular dog food at his usual feeding time. The violent seizures began about four hours later.

I had found my poster child. It was time to go public with the findings.

Conclusions

Idiopathic epilepsy is not so idiopathic anymore, is it? I now view my epileptic patients as little Lou Gehrigs sufferers, unable to clear glutamate and aspartate from their brain. Whether this is an accurate description or not is yet to be proven but the overall concept just described explains nearly all aspects of idiopathic epilepsy.

The cause of the seizures is bound to be the accumulation of the neurostimulants glutamate and aspartate in the brain. Limiting the dietary sources of these amino acids halts the seizures, over night in most cases. This has benefited 100% of my epileptic patients. But the benefits are more than first meet the eye.

The beauty of our body is that it always does the right thing. We may not like what it is doing at the time...the fever, the chills, the gastrointestinal symptoms, the MS attack, the seizure...but it is doing what is proper in all of these cases. The reason we dont like these symptoms or why someone would think that what I just wrote is totally absurd is because they dont understand what the body is trying to do during these episodes. Once again, The Answer goes into greater detail here. But the wonder of it all is that the seizure is actually therapeutic. It took me a while to see it, but this is clearly the case. The seizure occurs in order to clear the brain of the offending agent, the glutamate. If it didnt do so, the level would reach neurotoxic levels and actually kill large numbers of brain cells, just like it does to neurons in Lou Gehrigs Disease. Yes, the seizure has a purpose.

But that brings up a vital issue. Are we doing the right thing by medicating these patients with anticonvulsants? The answer is clearly No if we understand the true nature of epilepsy, isnt it? By sedating the brain, we make it less responsive to the glutamate and aspartate. Therefore, these neurostimulants are allowed to reach much higher levels than would normally occur. But fortunately, most individuals will ultimately have a seizure while on medication, relieving the brain of the neurotoxic levels. This is exactly what we see clinically and those seizures are often the most violent, coming in clusters. Now that we understand this concept, we can explain this phenomenon.

We can now also explain the aura. Epileptics often experience a distinct sensation before having the seizure. Even pet owners that have had epileptic pets for years have picked up on the strange behaviors that precede some seizures. Migraine sufferers, especially those that experience the cluster suicide headaches, often report seeing bright lights and having fleeting thoughts just before the attack. This is the beauty of nature again, issuing a warning sign that the episode is about to begin. These warning signs are bound to be generated by the rising levels of glutamate stimulating the brain just before they reach critical mass. Once that level is reached, the seizure occurs, clearing the brain of the culprit.

In addition to successfully managing the epileptic, the dietary solution provides insight into the wide variety of presentations of this elusive condition. For instance, the typical age of onset in the dog ranges from six months to six years. If this is simply a genetic defect of some sort, why does that first seizure occur over such a wide range of ages? Also, why is it often a progressive condition in the afflicted individual, beginning with milder seizures and longer intervals but changing into more violent attacks that are closer together? This suggests that the cause of the seizures is getting worse over time, doesnt it? The idea that there is a lessening of the epileptics ability to handle the glutamate by a progressive deficiency in the reductase enzymes just makes sense. As the glue-induced malabsorption in the gut worsens, the individuals ability to process the rising glutamate in the brain becomes impaired by the dropping reductase levels. This explains both the variance in age of onset and the shrinking intervals between seizures. In addition, the attacks get more violent, especially once we institute anticonvulsant therapy thereby allowing the levels of glutamate to reach more toxic levels.

One final issue is the matter of the side effects of those anticonvulsants. In the veterinary profession, it has been presumed that the behavioral changes that can be seen with patients on long-term medications are actually caused by the anticonvulsants themselves. I suggest that we rethink this idea and consider the possibility that it is in fact the long-term suppression of the needed seizures that does the harm. Could it be that the allowed build up of glutamate in the brain resulting in neuronal death is the actual mechanism for the attitude changes such as aggression or lethargy? Why one pet turns hyperactive and aggressive while another seemingly loses his will to live becomes a little more understandable when viewed through the eyes of the actual death of brain cells.

Summary

In conclusion, the critical matter of why one dog has epilepsy while another does not on the same food can be best resolved in the concept of the individuals ability to manufacture the necessary reductase enzyme (e.g. glutamine synthetase at the synapse or glutamate dehydrogenase and the transaminases in the liver) to clear these neurostimulatory amino acids from the brain or from the bloodstream. Seizures will occur in those individuals who have inadequate production of those enzymes and who are consuming foods that are rich in glutamate and aspartate. The lack of the reductase enzymes in either the brain or the liver is likely to be caused at least in part by the malabsorption of those vitamins that are responsible for the formation of that enzyme system. This is due to the glue that is inherent in that food which ultimately damages the duodenal villi or at least causes a temporary blockade by coating their absorptive surface. (We must keep in mind that in the pet, every bite of food is uniform and with each meal, the foods that contain the glue will affect the ability of the duodenum to do its job.) This glue blockade also helps to explain the epidemiologic fact that the countries that drink the most cow milk have the highest rate of osteoporosis. The casein in the milk is blocking the absorption of the calcium in that milk. It is that simple, Im afraid. Osteoporosis is also epidemic among celiacs. Now that the reader understands the role of gluten, this is no longer a surprise.

As in the human celiac patient, the true damage to the gut will be even more recognizable by the formation of food allergies. Unfortunately, not all celiacs have food allergies but most will if the history is taken thoroughly. Both the human and veterinary professions have horribly overlooked the role of foods in allergies in my opinion. But, any veterinarian will vouch for the fact that the most allergic breeds (the Golden retriever, Cocker spaniel, Labrador retriever, German shepherd, Poodle, and Beagle to name a few) are the most common epileptics. This is no longer a coincidence. The allergic symptoms, such as skin and ear disorders, are simply the warning signs that the deeper damage is taking place. This, of course, is true in humans as well.

But, the interesting thing is that the foods that are bad for our pets and us literally scream at us that they are just that. My next paper will be entitled Warning Signs (or How you should have known what you have now was coming based on what you had before). The allergies are just the tip of the iceberg. The excess glutamate and aspartate also stimulate the pain center in our brain, making is as sensitive as the taste buds they were intended to affect. This contributes significantly to an abnormally low tolerance to pain as seen in fibromyalgia, rheumatoid disease, and other conditions accompanied by painful stimuli. Once again, my fibromylagia of two years duration disappeared the month I eliminated wheat. This result is now totally explainable.

These trouble foods do harm in a myriad of ways, it is clear. The idiopathic epilepsy is simply a severe warning sign. I believe a pet left to its own instinct would avoid such harmful foods by trial and error. But, the startling reality is that our pets would never even be exposed to these problem foods in the wild. They would never eat wheat, barley, corn, rice, or oats in nature, as they are all man-made, man-raised crops. In fact, the history of these grains is absolutely fascinating and can be found in The Answer.

So, we can add one more element to this argument, one that rarely fails to illustrate the truth. That is whether something is natural or not. In this case, the foods that create the most problems are totally unnatural for the pet. Cow milk, soy, and all of the aforementioned crops are in that category. Should we be that surprised at the results of their consumption when viewed in that light? But, shouldnt we also be concerned about the human being? Are we that different? Is it natural for the human to continue to drink milk after weaning? We would be the only mammalian species to do so if that were the case. It is a universal mammalian trait to stop nursing once the birth weight is tripled.

Many would ask But what about orphans? The answer I give to them is simple. That is where the sheep and goat milk comes in, neither of which contain appreciable amounts of casein, the problem ingredient in cow milk. Goat milk has been known as the universal foster milk for millennia. The ancients knew this. That source of milk was the reason the Greeks elevated the goat to the heavens in the form of a constellation. It was much later that man chose the wrong source of dairy supplementation, the cow.

We have made a number of similar bad choices in the past, many quite recently. Most of our grains are either corrupted versions of their ancestors or simply poor selections from the start. Man created common wheat from what I lovingly call "God's wheat" in about 400 A.D. This is well described in The Answer. Man also improperly selected corn over the more natural grains like quinoa and millet. But our latest decision to consume soy, which I term the "third plague" behind man's wheat and cow milk, is the "worst of the worst". The rise in pain syndromes and epilepsy in both humans and animals will testify to that fact.

There have been more than ample provisions of nutrients for all creatures on earth. In nature, the animals eat what is proper and that which harms them triggers their warning systems into action to let them know that they have made a mistake. These warning signs range from sore throats to severe allergic reactions. I now doubt whether epilepsy occurs very often in nature due to the likelihood that the symptoms preceding it...the allergies, gastrointestinal symptoms, and lethargy following meals...would warn them off of those offending foods. It is just man who seems to have a difficult time grasping or holding onto this concept.

Why is that? Why has man forgotten that our body does everything for a reason? Why have doctors and veterinarians like myself in the past become so convinced that we are smarter than our body, taking it upon themselves to counteract everything our body does to get through its daily challenges? When did we leave our first love, the wonderment we shared of how perfectly this creation was put together?

We will not succeed until we return to our origins, reexamining plaguing conditions like epilepsy more through the eyes of a child. "Why does my body do that?" you can almost hear them ask. Why, indeed? We're not asking the right questions about heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, immune-mediated diseases, or epilepsy. However, once we do, answers seem to pop up everywhere.

So, are we really a genetically flawed organism, doomed to extinction, which cannot exist without medication? The idiopathic epileptic is now an example of how wrong we can be in thinking so.

Dogtor J.
 2003 DogtorJ.com

dogtorj@bellsouth.net

 

New Addendum (as of 3-3-05)

I am inserting a rather urgent update at this point in time and this place in the site for a numbers of reasons. A recent event has taken place that has thrown my work into the spotlight and I need to make some things very clear. (The addendums that follow this one are also clarifying statements but not quite in the same category as this one.) Note that when I say “clarifying”, I do not mean that what I have written in the past is “wrong”. Incredibly, very little of what I have written from the beginning has required correction. I have simply added to what I have written in the past as my research has continued.

From the beginning, I have alluded to the role of viruses in the development of many of the conditions that befall us. The more I have studied, the more I have seen that this role is HUGE…much greater than I had ever imagined. For example, there are medical researchers that have believed for years that ALL cancer is caused by viruses: not just some, not just most, but all. “But what about all of those carcinogens we hear about all of the time?” you must be asking. To me, they can now best be described as secondary factors that either suppress the immune system, cause chronic damage tissue, or damage our DNA thereby facilitating the work of the real culprit…the virus. As preposterous as this may sound to the lay person, it makes all of the sense in the world to me now, after having studied what they do…their “M.O.”...for the past 5 years.

It has also become painfully clear that viruses have major roles in the development of degenerative neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, autism, MS, and others. Certainly, there may be other organisms/agents involved (e.g. mycoplasms, prions) but we KNOW that certain viruses absolutely love the central nervous system. I have written about them many times in other areas of this site. The herpes viruses stand out (H. simplex, varicella, Epstein-Barr) but so do the paramyxoviruses, represented by the canine distemper virus as well as the human measles and mumps viruses.

I knew some of this when I formulated the G.A.R.D. (glutamate/aspartate restricted diet) and suspected that viruses were involved in some cases of seizures but the astounding results of employing the diet threw me off course a bit as to the percentage of epileptic individuals having viral infections as their underlying pathology. I feel that I know better now.

I now have to say that, as in the bold statement above concerning viruses and cancer, there is a possibility that viruses (or other infectious agents) are involved in all cases of epilepsy. Again, the rapid (and oftentimes complete) recovery of a seizing dog after being placed on the low glutamate diet threw me off for a while. How could a virus be involved if the pet was having 6 seizures a week...or a day in one case... and yet they suddenly went seizure-free within 24 hours of starting the diet, never to have another seizure? Could they get over a viral "infection" that quickly. Not likely, is it?

Ahhh, but that is where my own limited thinking comes in. Just because a virus causes a problem does not mean that it has to be an ACTIVE infection at the time we discover it. Immune-mediated diseases such as lupus, MS, throid illness, and rheumatoid arthritis present as "remitting-relapsing" conditions, don't they? The ACTIVE infection comes and goes, doing harm to cells with each attack and then becoming dormant. Hmmm....

Could that be what is happening in epilepsy? Could those dramatic cases that I write about be individuals that had an episode (or episodes) of viral infection in the past that left the brain (the glial cells of the synapse, to be precise) compromised, leading to that individual's inability to handle the dietary glutamate pouring into it for all of the reasons I wrote in the original paper? I think so. This happens in "autoimmune" thyroid disease, glomerulonephritis (kidneys), chronic active hepatitis (liver), and many other conditions that involve the immune system. The viruses rise up, cause a stir in the immune system, and the resulting attack on those viruses culminates in suppression of the uprising while unfortunately doing some harm to the host tissue at the same. Again, "autoimmune" is a misnomer. The immune system does not attack our tissue for no reason. There is always something there that it does not like. Viruses are a known candidate and likely to be involved in many, many cases of "autoimmune" disorders, just as I wrote in The Answer 4 years ago.

So, we can now see the reason for the spectrum of response to the diet in the large numbers of epileptics that I have dealt with over the past few years. Those that respond quickly and completely are either purely a victim of the physiological problems I describe in the main epilepsy paper OR they are those that have suffered a previous viral attack on the glial cells of their brain, which wiped out a number of those cells, leaving that individual incompetent to handle the abnormally high levels of glutamate in their diet. Those that respond more slowly are more likely to be in the throws of an active infection at the time the diet is instituted.

I still believe that all that I wrote in the original epilespy paper is true and applicable...the gut-damaging foods leading to a state of malnutrition that compromises the enzyme systems controlling the conversion of blood glutamate to the inactive form. That is still highly likely to be a significant contributing factor. (Dogs with liver disease can have seizures and epileptics with concurrent liver disease can have the worst seizure patterns.) But, it may not be the primary issue in many dogs. The unhealthy or reduced number of glial cells of the brain from viral infections (or other infectious agents) may be a large factor in many epileptics. In either case, the high glutamate levels, chronic malnutrition through malabsorption, and compromised brain health and immune systems all play a significant role.

Note: I have had extremely few dogs that did not noticeably respond to the diet in a short period of time. I have never claimed that it has cured all dogs or even helped all dogs. But I do claim that it has helped the vast majority of dogs and totally controlled a very large number of dogs. I have been able to identify the dietary problem in the majority of dogs that have not been controlled by the diet alone. Non-compliance is the single-most important factor, usually "involuntary" non-compliance occurring through cheating on the dog's part or through accidents happening through "polluted" supplements, treats, or overly friendly neighbors.

The questions that must be on many of your minds is "Where do these viruses come from?" and "Why do they rise up when they do, having this remitting relapsing pattern?". There are VERY good answers to these and other questions. Other questions might concern the secondary factors I write about, such as air pollution, brain serotonin levels, and neurotoxins such as mercury and benzene. They all play a role and contribute to the spectrum of affliction as well as the age of onset of symptoms. I think you will see this in the following letter.

This letter was in response to an inquiry by a new-found friend concerning the role of mercury in autism and epilepsy. I have since realized that I have downplayed the role of mercury in light of other findings. I see now that it IS a serious factor but I still contend that it is a secondary one. I could be wrong but you can be the judge after reading this letter. Note: You can substitute the word "epilepsy" wherever you read the word "autism" and this letter should still make sense.

 

M. wrote:

John,

I know this will catch your eye. This article all but equates Autism with
Mercury Poisoning.

http://www.vaccinationnews.com/DailyNews/July2001/AutismUniqueMercPoison.htm

M.

My response was:

Hi M.,

Thanks for the article. I wish it WERE that simple but I'm afraid that its
not. Everything points to other factors being (much) more important. I believe
that, once again, the immune-mediated food intolerances are the single most
important factor, allowing all of the other factors to come together to
cause the syndrome. That would explain the success stories of mothers with
autistic children having them make FULL recoveries on GFCF diets (gluten-free/casein free). Have you been to
www.gfcfdiet.com ? Click on Success Stories. Get a box of Kleenex, though. Some are real tear-jerkers.

I believe that the viruses themselves in the modified live vaccines OR
viruses already present in the brain of that child are the real underlying
cause of the severe brain depression/dysfunction in autism. These are
ALLOWED to rise up and cause the problem as a result of the immune
suppression from the malnutrition caused by the villous atrophy in the gut.
THAT would explain the concurrent GI symptoms. It is true that only 1/4 of
celiacs have diarrhea/chronic GI problems BUT autism would HAVE TO BE a
glaring example of something that happens in the most severely affected
celiac/food intolerant, wouldn't it? So, you would expect a high rate of GI
problems in these victims. They are in that "worst of the worst" category,
having become SO afflicted and at such an early age. They DO represent the
worst end of the spectrum.

NOW, add in the casomorphins and gliadomorphins from the dairy and
wheat...very depressing substances that they can/DO measure HIGH amounts of
in the urine of these kids. These are knocking them out like a morphine drug
because their brains are so affected, both by the malnutrition AND the virus
they have. Yes, there still HAS to be something individual about these kids
and a virus fits the bill.

The mercury is probably a factor as well, but I'm afraid we have a similar
situation in this issue that we do in whole milk issue. People want to blame
everything on lactose in the milk-related disorders and that little sugar is
the least of our worries. It is the proteins, hormones, and viruses (did you
get that?) in milk that are the real issues. Lactose is just an INDICATOR
that we shouldn't be drinking the stuff. Mercury is likely to be the
same...a secondary (or even tertiary) factor but a significant one just the
same.

There is another very important thing about how vaccines "trigger" autism.
Vaccines contain a number of things: modified live or killed viruses,
mercury, and adjuvants that POTENTIATE the vaccines, making them more
powerful. Unfortunately, the latter also potentiate EXISTING viral
infections that already exist in the body. Two glaring examples in vet
medicine are vaccine induced sarcoma and vaccine reactions that we see. In
the former, there is a virus ALREADY in the body of the cat that sets up
housekeeping in the site where we give vaccines. The vaccine does not CAUSE
the tumor but sets the stage for the virus already there to set up
housekeeping and cause a sarcoma. See that? The adjuvants do this. In
various other "vaccine reactions", we see numerous "autoimmune disorders"
that occur following a vaccine. Usually, these occur a month or so after the
shot (just like epilepsy and autism does). I had a dog 6 months ago that
developed acute distemper encephalopathy ONE HOUR after a Rabies shot...ONE
HOUR. Fortunately, I had already done some study along these lines and had a decent idea that this COULD occur. I had read a great article on Mercola's
site about how the adjuvants can UNLEASH pre-existing viruses in the body
and that these reactions could occur within hours of the vaccines. This now
makes perfect sense.

So, to put it all together, what you likely have in autism are kids that
first and foremost some of the worst food intolerants (gluten, casein, soy,
corn). This is also characterized by their ADDICTION to these foods....most
are horribly addicted to dairy and wheat, an indicator that they are having
real problems with these foods. These kids are also immunologically
challenged by this food intolerance, which allows the viruses to run rampant
or for them to at least be a severe accident waiting to happen. Now, give
THEM a modified live vaccine and watch the fireworks happen. Ugh. They do
NOT handle that challenge well and the live paramyxoviruses of the MMR
vaccine go straight to their brain (or the adjuvants unleash the ones
already there.) The brain dysfunction makes them MUCH, MUCH more susceptible to the casomorphins and gliadorphins, which they have an over-abundance of in their brain because the are ADDICTED to the sources of these depressing substances, just like a drug addict. Throw mercury in there and you have a disaster.

But...BUT...put them on a GFCF diet (preferably gluten, casein, soy, and
corn free) and watch what happens. Because the food is doing SOOOOOO much, including providing the knock-out "drugs casomorphins/gliadomorphins), they make CAN make DRAMATIC recoveries...very dramatic in some cases, as read on the
www.gfcfdiet.com. Now, not all will make a rapid recovery because the worst of the worst have the worst viral infection of the brain. Those with the mildest infection or who regain their immune competence the fastest recover the fastest. The worst take longer. Those who cheat on the diet will take even longer.

So, the testimonies are VERY explainable, aren't they? Even the spectrum of
success.

You can see why I use the mercury/lactose analogy, right? I think the dairy
industry could easily be fanning the lactose myth flames because they can
take that bad 'ol lactose out of their product (thereby eliminating a very
important warning sign) or you can take a pill to help digest lactose, one
of the worst things you could do for the same reason. Could the vaccine
companies be doing the same? Could they be allowing he mercury issue to be
the main issue in autism as a scapegoat. They can take that stuff out or
better yet try to DISPROVE/DISCREDIT those that purport that mercury is the main guy (and they would be right, eh?). They would rather do THAT than
spend millions of dollars developing new vaccine technology that does no
harm. THAT is the exact same problem we have in vet medicine...getting the
drug companies MOTIVATED to change the vaccines.

We HAVE to accomplish this change in vaccines. We have all become too
unhealthy to take modified live vaccines. I'll say that again. We have all
become TOO UNHEALTHY to take modified live vaccines. THAT is the real
vaccine issue.

I hope this helps. Keep in touch,
John
Dogtor J
www.dogtorj.net
http://dogtorj.tripod.com
(Read: THE ANSWER- to "Why is the Plane of Our Nation's Health in a Death
Spiral?")

In conclusion:

I think the reader can now see why I have felt compelled to put this issue in the spotlight. The G.A.R.D. has been a phenomenal success. However, it has been effective on a number of fronts, at a number of different levels. First of all, it is a major Band-Aid for the incompetent nature of these diseased brains when it comes to handling dietary glutamate. THAT is why the results can be so fast and even long-lasting. The glutamate did not belong in there to begin with, as it is a non-essential amino acid, one that the body can make from other amino acids. And yet, the pet's diet (and ours) is absolutely LOADED with this amino acid (along with its sibling, aspartate.)

And what foods provide this "excitotoxin"? The main sources are the top 4 food allergens... those that damage the duodenum. This is no coincidence. Once again, the "big 4" are the gluten grains (wheat, barley, rye), casein (from cow milk), soy (errrrrrrh), and corn. I have concluded that none of these foods are actually "good" for us. It is simply that some individuals TOLERATE them better than others. There is nothing in the way of nutrients that we derive from these potentially harmful foods that we cannot get from numerous other food sources. I have a book that lists all of the individual vitamins and minerals and their food sources and there is not one single nutrient that can only be derived from one of these four food sources (yes, including everyone's favorite...calcium). As I wrote in The Answer, think of those huge dinosaurs that NEVER got milk. We're still digging their bones out of the earth and they never had osteoporosis. Animals in nature do not drink milk and they do not suffer from osteoporosis. "Nuff said.

The G.A.R.D. then has the second (and huge) beneficial effect of eliminating the foods that are damaging the gut. This is paramount in importance, as the damage done by the big 4 (and the resulting malabsorption of critical nutrients) leads to immune incompetence and unhealthy tissue...in this case, the central nervous system. This is not hard to imagine, as the levels of calcium, B complex, vitamin C, zinc and other critically supportive nutrients start to drop over time. In retrospect, I'm amazed that we last as long as we do! (Built to take a licking and keep on ticking.) The cool thing is that the body can and does reverse this with the G.A.R.D. in place.

This diet is also naturally low in allergens, estrogens, pain generators, and more. Allergens and estrogens both play roles here, which are discussed elsewhere on this site. There IS a good reason for catamenial seizures in women. There IS a seasonal influence on seizures that involves both allergens and the dropping serotonin levels that accompanies the shortening days. (This is discussed... along with air pollution... in the following addendums).

I hope this clarifies matters. This has been a phenomenal last few years. It has been a big, long learning process and I have documented it all along the way. You could call this site "The Dogtor J. Chronicles" (smile). But again, the cool thing has been that very few corrections have been necessary. It has been a matter of expanding the knowledge and emphasizing certain points as they became more clear. I believe the above letter summarizes things quite well, reducing its big brother, The Answer, down to a single page. (But I will be writing much more about mercury in the near future.)

Again, please feel free to contact me a dogtorj@bellsouth.net  if you have any questions, comments, or testimonies. Your contribution cannot be over-stated.Dogtor J.

 

Addendum:

Here is a great site for looking up the nutritional profiles of food, including their glutamate and aspartate content. ( http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php ). Simply click on the food you are inquiring about, then scroll down toward the bottom of the page until you see the chart in the Nutritional Profile section. There is a click-on link after that chart (just above the References section) that reads "In Depth Nutritional Profile for (chosen food)" .  Click on that link and then just scroll done to the aspartate and glutamate listings. Make note of the serving size at the top of the chart so that you'll be making an accurate comparison.  You will quickly see the huge difference between the glutamate/aspartate content of healthy fruits/vegetables versus items such soy, wheat, barley, and the bean family (with the exception of green beans).

For example, recently my wife started eating peanuts and raisins as a late night television snack. Almost immediately, she started having very restless sleep and was complaining about soreness in her muscles and back. A quick trip to the chart showed very high levels of glutamate and asparate in peanuts.

I'm just glad that my canine patients don't eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and down it with a big glass of milk like our ADHD kids do. Let's see: wheat bread (with gliadorphins and plenty of glutamate and aspartate), peanut butter (LOTS more glutamate and asparate), jelly ("sugar gel"), and all of it washed down with cow milk (casomorphins and plenty of glutamate. Oh yeah. Don't forget the arachadonic acid for you pain sufferers).

Hmmmm..... It does all make sense, doesn't it?

 

Foods rich in glutamate and aspartate:

1) Grains: Wheat, barley, and oats are highest. Corn and rice are lower than the previous three but higher than potatoes.

2) Dairy Products: All Cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, PARMESAN) are very high. Casein is very concentrated in cheese and is 20% glutamic acid by composition.

3) Beans: Soy, Pinto, lima, black, navy, and lentils

4) Seeds: Sunflower, pumpkin, etc.

5) Peanuts: Very high, as are cashews, pistachios, and almonds. I have more detailed charts on the site to show exact values for the various nuts. Everything in moderation applies when eating nuts of any kind. So, I do not recommend you reach for nuts when you are really hungry unless you can stop after a few. Nuts are very good for you..in moderation. For example, seven almonds a day gives you what you need .

6) Diet drinks: Primary source of aspartate (aspartame)

7) Prepared foods, soups:  70% of prepared foods and many soups have MSG

8) Meats: Note- All meats are naturally rich in glutamate and aspartate. Lamb (and eggs) are the lowest,  while rabbit and turkey are the highest.

However, I believe that the amount in a normal serving of meat should not be enough to cause problems. I think that it is all of the other "unnatural" sources when combined with the meats that are causing the problems. 

One of my newest concerns is the presence of glutamate in the flesh of grain-fed animals, especially chickens, turkeys, and cattle. This is s topic of discussion on the celiac forums and we are now believing that this is a real concern and could explain why some celiacs are not responding to elimination diets. Catfish are also grain fed.

The fact is that 60-70% of the American Diet is wheat and dairy (with heavy emphasis on cheese). This combined with the amount of artificial sweeteners being consumed and the addition of SOY has led this country into an epidemic of pain syndromes, including fibromyalgia. Epilepsy is definitely on the rise in pets and the combination of wheat and soy in pet foods is playing a huge role. I am seeing first time epileptic dogs within three weeks of starting such diets.

 

Food low in glutamate and asparate:

1) Fruits

2) Vegetables

3) Potatoes

4) Lamb and eggs are relatively low.

5) Tree nuts (e.g. pecans, walnuts, macadamias) NOTE: These are relatively low when compared to peanuts and cashews. I have more detailed charts on the site to show exact values. Pecans, for example, have half the amount of glutamate that peanuts have but that is still quite a bit. Again, everything in moderation applies when eating nuts of any kind. I do not recommend you reach for nuts when you are really hungry unless you can stop after a few. Nuts are very good for you..in moderation. 7 almonds a day gives you what you need .

Addendum #2:  VERY IMPORTANT
 
 
Interestingly, I have been getting a number of Emails misstating the "theory" that my paper purports. I am very sorry and disappointed if the paper is not clearer than that. The main way that it has been misrepresented is in the underlying cause of the seizures themselves. Some have written to me questioning how gluten sensitivity can cause a reaction in the brain and thereby cause seizures. That, of course, is not what the paper states at all. But, there is at least one person on the net that has published a rebuttal of my "theory" based purely on this mistaken notion. I'm not sure how they got that idea if they, in fact, read the entire paper while actually trying to understand it.

So, I have decided to write another summary of the article and place it here for those that are still confused. The fine points of my "theory" are these:

1) The actual seizures in the idiopathic epileptic are caused by the neurostimulating amino acids glutamate and aspartate. These are non-essential amino acids, meaning that they are not required in the diet and are normally manufactured by the body from other sources. They are normally present in the brain and function as two of the primary substances involved in neurological transmission.

2) It is a know fact that MSG (monosodium glutamate) and aspartate (Nutrisweet) cause seizures in some human individuals. MSG is the amino acid glutamate (glutamic acid) while aspartame contains the amino acid aspartate (aspartic acid). These substances are specifically used for their neurostimulatory properties. MSG stimulates the taste buds thereby making them more sensitive to the foods that are passing over them. It is therefore used as a flavor enhancer. Aspartame does something similar to the taste buds while imparting a sweet taste. Both are neurostimulants and are used for that express purpose. However, both are neurotoxic in excessive quantities. This is a known fact, not a theory. They have caused seizures, migraine headaches, pain syndromes and much, much more. Aspartame has also recently been investigated in its possible role in the rise of brain tumors and Alzheimer's Disease.

3) My "theory" then suggests that idiopathic epilepsy is caused by a rise in these non-essential amino acids resulting in seizures, a known side effect of these two substances. The obvious question is why it occurs in some individuals and not others. A related question is why the onset of epilepsy is so variable, reportedly ranging from 6 months of age to 6 years or even older. Another question is why it is a progressive condition in most cases, starting with mild, infrequent seizures and often leading to uncontrollable daily seizures despite heavy medication. If this were simply a genetic defect of some sort, why don't the seizures begin right away and why do they occur so sporadically in most cases.

4) The second part of the "theory" addresses these questions. While studying celiac disease, I found that celiac children with epilepsy often greatly improved once the gluten grains (wheat, barley, and rye) were removed from the diet. The fact is that MSG has been made from wheat and soy. They are obviously rich in this amino acid. But, the main characteristic of celiac disease is the damage that the gluten does to the duodenum, that first stretch of intestine after the stomach. The gluten coats the little absorptive villi of the gut (like "glue"), induces an immune response, and causes the destruction of those villi. This part of the bowel is responsible for absorbing calcium, iron, iodine, B vitamins, Vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, boron, chromium, zinc, and much, much more.

These vitamins are essential in the formation of the enzyme systems of the body, including those of the liver and the brain that are responsible for the regulation of the levels of the amino acid glutamate. Therefore, the "theory" states that it is the progressive malabsorption syndrome taking place in the duodenum that leads to the progressive inefficiency of these enzyme systems of the body that leads to the progressive rise in the levels of glutamate (and aspartate) that leads to the progressively worsening seizures.

The amino acids cause the seizures (as they have been proven to do) while the malabsorption syndrome (which has been proven to occur in people like celiacs) leads to the underlying cause of the progressive nature of the condition. That is the "theory" and it should be perfectly clear now, shouldn't it?

5) The control of the seizures of the idiopathic epileptic involves restricting the diet of those food sources that are rich in these two non-essential amino acids. The "amazing" thing is that the sources of these non-essential amino acids are all of the primary food allergens in humans, dogs, and cats. Is that a coincidence? Of course not. It is those same foods that contain the "glue" and induce the immune response to dislodge it that the body becomes allergic to in the process. That is how the primary food allergens become so. The other common food allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, tropical fruits) are secondary allergens that are formed as they pass over that damaged area of gut, damaged by the primary foods dairy, soy, and the gluten grains (wheat, barley, and rye). This is obvious and factual.

By eliminating the sources of glutamate and aspartate from the diet, the seizures stop quickly, overnight in most cases in which the most thorough elimination possible has been made. I have had too many cases to keep track of now that have responded quickly and predictably both in my practice and on the Internet. Those cases that did not respond initially were investigated and found to be non-compliant to the diet. After further changes in the diet or the removal of supplements (mostly powders with wheat, barley, casein, soy, or kelp) or the removal of some medications (prednisone and veterinary NSAIDS such as Rimadyl), these pets came under control.

The FACT is that I have not had a pet with idiopathic epilepsy YET that has not improved applying this "theory", that is why I keep putting the word theory in quotation marks. Whether the theory is totally accurate is less important than the results it produces. It works! AND, it has worked every time I have applied it. It also follows the "Golden rule of Medicine"...it does no harm. I simply recommend that clients stop feeding the foods that are also causing all of the allergies anyway and feed a high quality food that is also hypoallergenic. Who can argue with that?

The response of some individual pet owners has been totally baffling to me. Their unwillingness to try this approach and negative comments would suggest that I am recommending something that is radical and dangerous. That is, in a word, absurd...ridiculous...ludicrous. (Oops. That's three words.)

Think now! "Think" is what I ask. What harm could it do? Most of these pets have concurrent allergies, which, in most cases, will improve phenomenally on this diet. We would be killing two stones with one bird, as I like to say. It cannot do harm.

And..... it will work. If it doesn't help control the seizures then you need to Email me so that I can help you figure out what you are doing wrong. I love this part of the case history because it proves the "theory" over and over again.

Oh, the stories I could tell.

 

*Addendum #3- This section dives into yet another piece of the pie by discussing the role of the blood brain barrier: its normal function, its permeability to the "excitotoxins",  and how it becomes damaged by air pollution, allergic and immune-mediated reactions, hydrogenated oils, and more. This will make a phenomenal amount of sense to the reader while greatly supporting the "theory" of epileptic seizures being caused by the neuroexcitatory amino acids, glutamate and aspartate.

 

The Role of the Blood Brain Barrier in Epilepsy

I have actually written this in a hurry, so bear with me. I am going on vacation for a little while and wanted to get this important information on the site before I left. Plus, my passion for this subject is growing even more intense and I just can't wait to tell you this newest stuff. So, here goes:

I have been studying a very important part of our anatomy. It is called the blood brain barrier (BBB), which is a protective layer of cells around the blood supply of the brain that functions to limit the entry of certain items into the brain. It normally prevents the passage of many drugs, microorganisms, toxins, and even amino acids into that all-important "command central" we call the brain.

However, there are certain things that damage the blood brain barrier, making it more permeable to these restricted items. For our application to epilepsy, the main insults that cause this to occur are air pollution, allergic reactions (the effects of histamine/mast cells), and our old friends the hydrogenated oils. Now, the latter does not play a huge role in veterinary epilepsy, but their consumption is a growing concern as the pets are fed our foods that do contain them. 90% of prepared foods have hydrogenated oils in them, including snacks, fried foods, candy, frozen dinners, cereals, cookies, and much, much more. "Fido" is getting way too many french fries and potato chips, I'm afraid. So, these trans fats are a growing concern to me.

The main issues in veterinary epilepsy would then be the other two: allergic responses and air pollution. The cells that produce our histamine are called mast cells. These cells and the histamine they produce make the BBB more permeable. I will not bore the reader with the physiology here. If you want details, then you can put the words "Mast cells, allergies, blood brain barrier" in your search engine and read all day about it. It is actually pretty cool stuff if you are into like I am. (Wait 'til you see what you find about how this applies to MS.) The second factor is air pollution. Once again, put "air pollution, blood brain barrier" in your search and read the bad news about what city living is really doing to our brains. I'm afraid that you may not sleep well afterwards, but the insomnia may be partly emotional and partly due to the pollution itself. Let me explain.

I have been writing about how the two excitatory amino acids, glutamate and aspartate, are the actual causes of the seizures themselves. They are neurotoxic in high enough quantity. (This is evident in Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS), in which the accepted pathophysiology is that the build up of glutamate at the synapse is what kills the adjacent neuron.) However, the blood brain barrier normally limits the amount of these amino acids that reaches the brain. Normally! However, is there anyone or his or her dog that is truly "normal" anymore? Perhaps there is someone who has never eaten wheat, dairy products, soy, or hydrogenated oils OR who has never breathed polluted air OR who has never had allergies of any kind but you won't find many in this country. (You might be able to find them on some island off the coast of Japan, though. Is it really the coral calcium that is making them healthy, I wonder?)

Once we understand that air pollution and allergic responses (and hydrogenated oils) "open up" the blood brain barrier and allow more and more of the excitotoxins into the brain, we can see how the levels of these amino acids can reach toxic levels, levels that can contribute to a myriad of problems ranging from migraines to pain syndromes (including "aspartame syndrome" and fibromyalgia) to seizures. We can also then relate many of the patterns of disease incidence that we experience with the diseases themselves rather than to "coincidence". For example, I have noted a rise in seizure incidence during certain times of the year but could not understand this phenomenon without knowing what is written here. Now I know that air pollution is often the key to these patterns, causing sudden changes in the permeability of the blood brain barrier. The fact that this happens can be seen in the astounding incidence of headaches in my clients (and myself) during this same time.

Now, the reader is ready for the phenomenal chain of events that leads to seizures in the susceptible individual. This is really cool, so pay attention. We start with the foods, the same "guys" that we have been picking on for three years now: cow milk products, wheat (and the other gluten grains: barley, rye, oats), and soy (errrrh). These are the three primary allergens. They do the damage to the duodenal villi that leads to the formation of antibodies to these foods (both IgE and IgG). They provide the coating ("glue") and induce the dysfunction or destruction of those villi which leads to the malabsorption of the nutrients absorbed by those villi. Once again, the nutrients that are malabsorbed are calcium, B6, Folate, Magnesium, Vitamin C, and many more. I list these particular nutrients like this because these are the ones that we KNOW are particularly vital to the health on the brain's neurons. When the brain is deficient in these nutrients, the neurons become MORE SENSITIVE to the effects of the excitotoxins. This is critical to understand, so make sure you grasp this right here and now. As the body becomes more deficient in these items, the brain becomes more sensitive to the excitotoxins. The same foods that are doing all of the damage to the gut are the ones providing the high levels of the glutamate and aspartate, remember?

So, do you see the "axis of evil" yet? This is really awesome! The wheat, dairy, and soy are the main sources of the "excitotoxins". (Again, they make MSG from wheat and soy... remember?) They also damage the gut, cause the malabsorption of the vital nutrients (which sensitizes the neurons), generate the allergic response, and open up the blood brain barrier, allowing their excitotoxins to rush in and do their thing. Is that perfectly "evil" or what. Thrown in an unhealthy dose of inhalant allergens and the associated histamine release and you have nothing short of a disaster. It is like a really bad symphony of some sort, isn't it?

Now and only now is when the genetics come into play. If genes "caused" this problem, then they would be epileptics right away, wouldn't they? Why do the seizures wait until some time between 6 months and 6 years (or older) to start? The answer, as the primary paper describes, is that this is a progressive condition. The damage to the gut is progressive. The malabsorption of the vital nutrients is progressive. The increasing sensitivity of the brain's neurons ("uploading") is progressive. The allergies are progressive, with less and less allergen being required to trigger an immune response. AND finally, the damage to the blood brain barrier is progressive. The "symphony" is a work in progress, isn't it?

As I have written in The Answer, genetics are only the road map that determines where you are headed when you get off the main road of good health. Until then, they don't do much as far as the "causation" of disease. BUT, once you take that left turn off the main interstate of health, the road map pops out of your glove box and tells you where you are headed...diabetes, cancers, heart disease, and yes, epilepsy. Genetics do often play a role in the conditions to which we are prone, but only a secondary role, in my estimation. The life choices that we make (including diet) and the environment in which we live have much bigger parts in the development of degenerative diseases.

Now, is there any wonder why the breeds with the worst allergies are the main epileptics? But...BUT, do all epileptics have outward allergies? No. Do they have to in order to fit into this concept? Absolutely NOT! This is the bad news. Not all people with severe food intolerance (like celiac disease) have allergies... only the majority of them. Those with the allergies are the "lucky" ones, actually. They have an abundance of warning signs, don't they? Too bad we horribly misinterpret these warnings.

Footnote:

I highly recommend a book I just found last week at Book-A-Million. It is titled Treating Epilepsy Naturally, by Patricia A. Murphy. It can be found on Amazon.com by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0658013793/ref=lib_dp_TFCV/104-7402088-0108717?v=glance&s=books&vi=reader#reader-link

The foreword was written by Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a recently retired neurosurgeon from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and author of Excitotoxins- The Taste That Kills. His book deals with the neurotoxic effects of aspartame and MSG, as well as many other food additives such as hydrolyzed soy protein. If you put his name in your search engine, you will find numerous articles dealing with these excitotoxins.

You see? There are plenty of well-respected doctors and researchers out there that know this stuff. It is only we and our family, our friends, our doctors, and our veterinarians that dont know this...yet!

 

Addendum #4- A letter to a client in the U.K.

----- Original Message -----
From: Joni
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2003 8:43 AM
Subject: epileptic retriever

I live in the UK. I have a 3.5 year old golden retriever. She has 3-4 day cluster fits every 4 - 6 weeks (its in the family), the last session was very bad she lost her vision for a day and a half. She saw a neurosurgeon about a year ago and he says to minimise the protein content of her diet as this will help. He had hoped, even though it is in her genes, to work towards her being fit free. After a few visits and medication adjustments his verdict was, at best, a six week reprieve.
 
He was very good and her Vet is very good too. Now it seems I think, after much research that I must look to her diet. I found your web site and read you dissertation. Its brilliant, though I'm no scientist. I've told my Vet to have a look too. 
 
I would like to ask for your help. I am keen to explore anything that will help my dog. She weighs about 30kg and is taking 150mg PB twice a day + KBr x 1000gm once a day + 1 teaspoon of cod liver oil twice a day. I feed her Bakers complete and half a can of Winalot or Pedigree tinned twice a day. Although after reading your site I am going to change this to a hypoallergenic brand call James Wellbeloved, as its gluten, soy and dairy free.
 
Any help or advice you can give me would be appreciated - I'm worried time is against us!
 
Best regards
 
Joni G.
 
*******************
My Response:
 
Hi Joni,
 
You are now on the right track. I have lost count of the number of dogs that have been helped with this dietary management. You will be hearing more about it through our profession, as the momentum is building rapidly.
 
The "theory" in the paper is logical and medically sound. That is why it works. The only question that remains is whether or not there is an inherent inefficiency in the cells of the brain to regulate the glutamate at the synapse or whether there is an organism of some kind that is affecting that function....or both.
 
The synapse in the brain where all of this is going on is actually easy to understand. Imagine two cells separated by a small space. The electronic transmission from one cell jumps to the next across the synapse through the use of the amino acid glutamate. However, if too much glutamate occurs at the synapse, it is neurotoxic, even neuro-lethal. In peripheral nerves, when the toxic levels occur, the nerve that would be receiving the electronic impulse is KILLED by the toxic levels of glutamate. This is what happens in Lou Gehrig's disease ( ALS). 
 
But, why does this happen? Why do the toxic levels of glutamate develop? The paper goes into how unusually high levels of this non-essential amino acid makes its way into our brain from what we eat. But why the level builds up to the level of killing the cell is a another matter.
 
There is another cell next to the previously mentioned cells called the glial cell. It is what regulates the amount of glutamate at the synapse. It removes the excess glutamate and converts it to an inactive compound. In this way, it is a "nurse cell" of sorts, isn't it? Well, this is where some of the problems are, in people and dogs. In fact, they have now identified a mycoplasm (a weird microorganism, sort of like a bacteria) in that glial cell in some people with Lou Gehrig's and they hope that this is the guy who is keeping it from doing its job. Perhaps treating these people with drugs to kill the mycoplasm will help their progressive disease.
 
Could this be what is going on in the dog with epilepsy? Could there be a microorganism (a virus, mycoplasm, bacteria, or others) in the glial cell of the dog's brain that could be keeping that cell from regulating the glutamate levels? You bet. The consequence would be a build up of glutamate and this would result in a toxic reaction. The COOL thing is that the brain has a method to deal with this build up...its called a seizure. Yes, I believe that seizures are therapeutic. I believe that they occur to protect the brain from the neurolethal effects of glutamate. I would rather have a seizure than have a dead brain, wouldn't you? So, the seizure occurs to "burn up" the glutamate and thereby prevent the lethal effects of that compound on the brain. Wow! Now, we also see why dogs on long term anticonvulsants often have problems, either with resistance to the drugs developing (the brain WILL find a way to save itself from our mistakes) or in the form of behavior problems in the dog....viciousness, lethargy, or ADHD-like manias. I am now convinced that the latter problems occur as a result of the gradual death of brain cells from the neurolethal levels of the glutamate that the anti-seizure medication has allowed to occur. Our Band-Aid worked for a while but ended up doing as much harm as good. This is what happens when we abuse symptomatic medication that simply covers up what the body is trying to do to heal itself (like those aspirin for fevers caused by viruses. We MUST stop doing this!).
 
So, the question is whether there is an organism in all dog's brains with epilepsy or only some. I vote for the latter now, as I have had too many dogs now stop having seizures and never have them again. It does not appear to be a progressive disorder in most of those I have treated with diet. However, I must say that the diet makes the dog so much healthier that it may be allowing the dog to get these "infections" under control. So, there is a valid argument either way.
 
BUT, the point is somewhat moot in that the treatment is THE SAME....stop feeding the bad foods...the ones that cause all of the problems including allergies, pain, stomach upsets, ear infections, etc, etc...and watch them get better. They get healthier in general and their seizures stop. In some cases, however, the seizures appear to disappear more slowly than others, suggesting the possibility of the secondary invader situation.
 
WE are seeing the same sort of thing in many other areas of medicine. We have discovered the bacteria that worsens stomach ulcers (Helicobacter pylori), the mycoplasm in the joints of some people with rheumatoid arthritis, the mixed bag of organisms in the colon of people with Crohn's, and on and on.
 
The "opportunists" (viruses, bacteria, fungi/yeast, mycoplasms, Rickettsia, and others) are just sitting there waiting for their chance to invade. Once your immune system crashes, up they come into the clinical picture and manifest in the syndromes we see. This is basic medical fact and we MUST come to grips with this. We must face the fact that viruses, for example, are "public enemy number one" and the latent ones (such as Epstein-Barr and other herpes viruses) that we acquire  over time are vitally involved in immune-mediated disorders and (most, if not all) CANCER. (Yes, the latter is a very bold statement, but watch the news or do a little research. It is becoming very clear that this is the Truth. Watch my site for the next paper "Medicine Made Simple" or Viruses...the Real Terrorists.)
 
So, there may be opportunists in epilepsy. There probably are. I think I have been dealing with them in those cases that did not immediately stop have seizures. BUT, the main reason I have seen continued seizures is non-compliance with the dietary principles outlined in the paper. "Cheating" (or lack of understanding what all has the glutamate in it) is the main cause of continued seizures. However, I have had a few (very few) cases that did not get as well as expected or as fast as expected once on the right diet. THESE guys are the ones to look for the secondary invaders. On the other hand, I have not had ONE DOG that did not show some sort of response to this diet...not one, including some that have had BRAIN TUMORS. Yes, even they have shown some response to the diet.
 
Reduce the levels of those non-essential amino acids, glutamate and aspartate... those things that the dog would never get in their diet in the form of grains, dairy, or soy...those foods that are known to be the main food allergens and causes of gastrointestinal distress...and they get better. Now, how hard is that to believe or understand? Not very, is it?  It does make sense and it does work.
 
I hope this helps. I will be looking forward to hearing from you.
 
John
Dogtor J.
dogtorj@bellsouth.net
http://dogtorj.tripod.com  ( Read:  The Answer-  to "Why is the Plane of Our Nation's Health in a Death Spiral?" )
www.dogtorj.net                         

*My current view of epilepsy in a nutshell- (New as of 4-05 and EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!!)

This letter to a client basically sums it all up. I will be writing an entirely new paper in the near future that will contain all of this information- and more. I think the following letter will serve this purpose for the time being. It has most of the elements of the "syndrome" we call epilepsy.

Sharon writes:

Hi,
I have just been to your site and read Epilepsy and Diet. I found it
very interesting.
Is it the food (or ingredients thereof) or vaccines that cause the
first sensititvy?
Is it both that then cause sensitivity to other things in the
environment that trigger siezures?
Do you do long distance consults?
Sharon

My Response:

Hi Sharon,

It's good to hear from you. Great questions. I now think the answer lies in your last question-that BOTH work together causing sensitivity/over-reaction to other things in the environment, triggering seizures.

My only question now is how often are viruses involved. I could believe that they ARE involved in ALL cases, just as some medical researchers (including myself) believe that all cancer in viral. The virus COULD be the initial culprit in all cases, damaging the glial cells and allowing the glutamate to build up at the synapse. The viral infections could be remitting/relapsing types of infections (like Herpes are prone to do), which causes the epileptic to have periods of severe affliction followed by more quiescent periods. In the meantime, their efficiency is reduced with each viral episode.

This is where the diet (The GARD) comes in... and comes in STRONG. It not only is a great Band-Aid, dramatically cutting the amount of glutamate that this "inefficient" brain has to handle, but it also allows the gut to heal, reversing the malabsorption syndrome that caused the malnutrition that in turn allowed the viral infection to rise up in the first place. See that? The virus was there for a long time, sometimes even being there before birth (vertical transmission) or acquired DURING the birth, as Herpes can be acquired. It sits dormant until the immune system crashes. This happens because of the big four in the diet, which damage the duodenal villi blocking the absorption of the essential nutrients I list all of the time. The same damaging foods are LOADED with glutamate which brings on a myriad of signs, from insomnia to pain to ADHD to seizures in the worst of the worst.

THEN, as the brain becomes more and more unhealthy, the environmental issues come more into play...the mercury, benzene, and other air and food/water pollutants. It becomes more and more of a "syndrome" at that point, with all of these factors working together. Estrogens play a HUGE role in this process in women by being both neurostimulating, irritating, and immune suppressive, a deadly combination when it comes to anything viral (like breast cancer).

So, back to the original question I have. Are viruses involved in all cases. I think that is distinctly possible. I was fooled at first by the dramatic recovery I was seeing in dogs (and people) put on the diet. I wondered how in the world an individual with severe epilepsy could possibly stop having seizures OVERNIGHT and NEVER have another one just by changing the diet IF it was a viral thing. Now I know: In those, you are catching them at a time that the viral infection is in remission but during which time the previous infections have left the brain inefficient to the handling of glutamate. In other words, the previous damage has reduced the number of glial cells in the brain and the glutamate handling capacity of that brain has been compromised. If you put that individual on a glutamate/aspartate restricted diet, they will do very well. If they stay on the diet and are strict, they may become well enough (as their gut heals) to never have another, as their immune system gets back to normal health, as does their brain, and liver and kidneys (the enzyme systems of which control blood glutamate levels). They spiral in the RIGHT direction instead of their previous spiraling out of control. The diet is also low in estrogens and is hypoallergenic. The importance of the former we just covered. The latter is important, as the action of histamine "opens" the blood brain barrier and allows more blood glutamate into the brain (to counteract the depressing effects of the histamine. An "antidote" if you will. This is how cool our body is. SMILE) The GARD for people is also naturally low in hydrogenated oils/trans fats, another horrible substance that opens the BBB, carrying with it God-knows-what.

Others individuals will be caught in the throws of an active viral
infection. These will have a reduction in seizures (I haven't had one that hasn't gotten better to some degree) but may have a number of seizures over the near future as they start healing and get the infection back under control. That process would explain those that I have had seizures that tapered off and THEN stopped altogether.

This makes the most sense to me now, especially when you consider the nature of the virus and the types of viruses that we KNOW inhabit the brain (Herpes, paramyxovirus). This IS their "M.O." And, once again, epilepsy is the body's way of dealing with these guys, limiting their activity while warning us of their existence. If we don't understand these things, then we "get" to have brain tumors, the ultimate act of these little terrorists.

Hope this helps clear things up,

John

 

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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would still like to hear from you personally, though.
 
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This is taking place for a number of reasons, the most of important of which will be revealed in the upcoming months. Yes, the book is finally in the works but there will be a major awareness project to go along with it.
 
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