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Is Casein Fattening America?

Would you be willing to ingest a substance that produces heroin like changes in your brain ? Not a
chance you say? Well think again. Most days you are unknowingly ingesting a food substance that acts
on your brain like a drug. This food substance is called casein. Casein is the curd that forms when milk
is left to sour and is the most commonly used milk protein in the food industry. However casein
peptides react with opiate receptors in the brain thus mimicking the effects of opiate like drugs such as
heroin and morphine. These drugs work by stimulating the feel good
chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. You feel bad, you ingest the food, you feel good
for a while at least and then you feel bad until the drug or food is taken again. The inclusion of casein
in foods will make a person more likely to become addicted to certain types of foods and can initiate
the vicious cycle of over eating which is so prevalent in society today.

Casein is found in imitation sausages, soups, stews, fortified cereals, infant formulas, nutrition bars,
bakery glazes, coffee whiteners, formulated meats, salad dressings, sauces, whipped toppings, cottage
cheese and certain yogurts. Casein and caseinates are also used to give texture to foods and to extend
their shelf life. Casein is used as a glaze in buns and pastries and in the dough used in pizzas.

In many cases casein is not even listed in the ingredients which can be worrying to people who have a
genuine dairy allergy. The presence of casein in processed foods can in susceptible individuals lead to
anaphylaxis, a life threatening reaction.

Since the export of casein to the USA begun in 1970's there has been a vast increase in obesity, heart
disease and diabetes. This is correlative data but there have been various studies conducted which have
focused on the negative effects of casein in the diet. A New Zealand scientist DR Corrie Mc Lachlan,
chief executive of A2 corporation, believes that casein is responsible for thousands of cases of heart
disease world wide. He believes that casein is more likely to break up in the bloodstream and cause
damage to arteries. He also links it to the development of diabetes in children. Any country with high
dairy/casein consumption has high levels of heart disease such as Finland, Northern Ireland and Britain.
BBCNews, April, 2001

Studies in animals have shown that it can promote some forms of cancer, at least in animals. At Cornell
university for example DR T.Colin Campbell and his colleagues have found that casein is a strong
promoter of tumor growth and other studies have shown it to promote the growth of coronary artery

Ireland is the biggest producer of casein in the world. Kerry Group, the world's leading producer of
food additives, distributes casein world wide. Kerry group's origins date back to 1972 when the
company was committed to the manufacture of milk protein/ casein for export to the USA. Kerry
Group Corporate History. The casein study that showed the similarity in brain chemistry changes
between casein and opiate like drugs were conducted in Wisconsin, ironically the home of Kerry
Group's operations. Could there possibly have been some suspicion on the part of some scientists in
Wisconsin who were beginning to be concerned about the company's operations? After all food
reconstruction is big business, not necessarily about making food healthier but certainly making it more
flavored more appealing and more likely to be highly addictive. It also serves to make food cheaper to
produce but at what cost to our health? The current annual sales of Kerry Group is 3.8 billion with
operations in over 15 countries. Obviously there is big money in selling casein and food additives to
the unsuspecting public.

Peptides from Casomorphin & Gliadorphin
The information presented here is to be used under the supervision of a medical
practitioner who is licensed to practice in your state. Accordingly, you and your
medical practitioner must take the responsibility for the uses made of this material.

What is Gliadorphin?

Gliadorphin (or gluteomorphin) is a peptide derived from the wheat protein gluten.
Other related grains such as rye, barley and oats also contain the sequence of amino
acids found in gluten. Gliadorphin is very similar to casomorphin. Gliadorphin has
been verified by mass spectrometry techniques to be present in urine samples of
children with autism. Both casomorphin and gliadorphin are composed of seven
amino acids, which are abbreviated below. Both caseomorphin and gliadorphin start
with the beginning N-terminal sequence tyr-pro (for tyrosine and proline) and the
additional pro (proline) in positions 4 and 6 of both peptides, as indicated below.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Casomorphin tyr pro phe pro gly pro ile
Gliadorphin tyr pro gln pro gln pro phe

What is Casomorphin?

Casomorphin (or casomorphin) is a peptide derived from the milk protein casein.
Casein is one of the major proteins in the mild of all mammals including cows, goats
and humans.

Dr. Reichelt in Norway, Dr. Cade at the University of Florida, and others found that
urine samples from people with autism, PDD, celiac disease and schizophrenia
contained high amounts of the casomorphin peptide in the urine. We suspect that these
peptides may also be elevated in other disorders such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia
and depression based on anecdotal reports of symptom remission after exclusion of
wheat and dairy.

Why are These Peptides Important?

The peptides from gluten and casein are important because the react with opiate
receptors in the brain, thus mimicking the effects of opiate drugs like heroin and
morphine. These compounds have been shown to react with areas of the brain such as
the temporal lobes, which are involved in speech and auditory integration.
Children with autism frequently seem addicted to wheat and dairy products.
Presumably, people with Autism and schizophrenia incompletely digest wheat and
dairy products. These incompletely digested peptides are then absorbed into the body
and bind ot opiate receptors, altering behavior and other physiological reactions.


1. Dohan, F.C. "Schizophrenia: possible relationship to cereal grains and celiac

disease. In: S. Sankar, ed, Schizophrenia: Current Concepts and Research.
PJD Publications, Hicksville, NY, 1969 Page 539.
2. Dohan, F. C. "The possible pathogenic effect of cereal grains in
schizophrenia--Celiac disease as a model." Acta Neurol. 31:195, 1976.
3. Dohan, F. C. et al. "Relapsed schizophrenics. More rapid improvement on a
milk and cereal-free diet." Br. J. Psychiatry 115:595, 1969.
4. Kinivsberg, A. et al. "Dietary Intervention in Autistic Syndromes." Brain
Dysfunction 3: 315-327, 1990.
5. Reichelt K. et al. "Gluten, mil proteins and autism: dietary intervention effects
on behavior and peptide secretions." Journ of Applied Nutrition 42:1-11, 1990.
6. Reichelt K. et al. "Biologically active peptide-containing fractions in
schizophrenia and childhood autism." Adv Biochem Psychopharmacol 28:627-
47, 1981.
The Use of Gluten and Casein Free Diets with People with Autism
Paul Shattock

Autism Research Unit, University of Sunderland, UK

These notes should be taken as observations. They do not constitute a

recommendation or endorsement of a dietary method to alleviate the symptoms of
autism. Any decision to undertake such a method must lie solely with the person with
autism or with those having responsibility for their care. It is strongly recommended
that anyone considering such interventions seek the support of their medical
practitioner and, if possible, a knowledgeable dietician or nutritionist.

In the early 1980s a number of researchers, including Herman and Panksepp, noted
the similarities between the behavioural effects on animals of opioids, such as
morphine, and the symptoms of autism. In a very speculative paper, Panksepp
proposed a mechanism whereby people with autism may have elevated levels of
opioids which occur naturally in the CNS (=brain) of humans. The best known of
these naturally occurring opioid compounds is beta-endorphin (=endogenous
morphine) and certainly there is a degree of correlation between the known effects of
this compound and the symptoms of autism. Just after this, Gillberg produced
evidence of elevated levels of "endorphin like substances" in the cerebro-spinal fluid
of some people with autism. In particular, elevated levels appeared in those children
who appeared to feel pain less than the normal population and who exhibited self-
injurious behaviour. At about the same time, Reichelt produced evidence of abnormal
peptides in the urine of people with autism. We ourselves, like a number of other
groups, attempted to replicate his findings. Although his method was comparatively
simple there were technical difficulties and these attempts were, initially unsuccessful.
Later on we switched to a more sophisticated technique and have been able to confirm
Reichelt's findings. In the urine of about 70-80% of people with autism there appear
to be elevated levels of substances with physico/chemical properties similar to those
expected from opioid peptides.The quantities of these compounds, as found in the
urine, are much too large to be of CNS origin. The quantities are such that they can
only have been derived from the incomplete breakdown of certain foods. Proteins
consist of long chains of units known as amino-acids. Normally proteins are digested
by enzymes in the intestines being broken down into these units. However, if for some
reason, this digestion is incomplete, short chains of these amino-acids (known as
peptides) will result. It is proposed that these peptides may be biologically active and
could result in the symptoms, which we see in autism. The majority of these peptides
will be dumped in the urine, which is where Reichelt and we are finding them. A
small proportion will cross into the brain and interfere with transmission in such a
away that normal activity is altered or disrupted. It may be that these compounds,
themselves, have a direct effect upon transmission or that they will attach themselves
to the enzymes which would break down our own naturally occurring enzymes. The
consequences would be the same in either case.It is well known that casein (from
human or cow milk) will break down in the stomach to produce a peptide known as
casomorphine which, as the name implies, will have opioid activities. Similar effects
are noted with gluten from wheat and some other cereals in which case the
compounds formed are gluteomorphins.If this opioid excess hypothesis is correct,
there are a number of strategies which can be adopted. Firstly the anti-opioid drug
"naltrexone" could be considered and promising results have been reported. Not all of
the reported trials on Naltrexone have produced positive benefits but where
appropriate, very low dose, therapies are employed, the results seem to be better.
Alternatively, a diet which excludes casein (milk and dairy produce) or gluten (wheat
and some other cereal products) could be considered. It may be possible to determine,
from the pattern of the urinary peptides whether casein or wheat or both should be
avoided but such conclusions may be premature at this stage. It has been observed that
those children whose autism appears at or around the time of birth may have a
problem with casein whereas those whose autism becomes apparent at about two
years of age, when a wheat based diet is more likely to be adopted, have particular
difficulties with gluten. Some children may have difficulty with both. Norwegian
colleagues of Reichelt have published data which support the effectiveness of such
dietary programmes but these studies cannot be considered as conclusive. There have
been no other real attempts to demonstrate the effectiveness of such diets on a
scientific basis. Numerous people have experimented on an individual basis and have
reported successful responses but such evidence cannot be considered as, in any way,
conclusive. In Rimland's studies of parental reports, however, the results appear to be
very much superior to those obtained with any drug based therapy.

Practical Aspects
The theoretical processes described here are toxicological in nature rather than
allergic. The results are akin to poisoning rather than an extreme sensitivity such as
occurs in coeliac disease or sensitivity to certain food colourings. Removal of gluten
and/or casein containing products requires the active participation of all those
concerned with the child's well-being. Tests have often been ruined by a well-meaning
relative who ignores parental instruction or by schools or therapists who feel that the
proposals are rubbish. Carers must satisfy themselves that the diet is being adhered to
before any evaluation is possible. Gluten and Casein free products, together with
advice on their use, are available from Pharmacies. Nutritionist and dieticians would
also be able to advise. Initially the reported effects may be negative. Upset stomach,
anxiety, clinginess, dizziness, aches and pains and slight ill-temper have all been
reported. Experience would suggest that these are good signs and precursors of a p
ositive response. Reichelt recommends a trial period of three months. If it has not
worked within that time it is unlikely to do so. Experience also suggests that the
results are more easily demonstrated in younger children. The effects in fully grown
ind ividuals appear less impressive. It should also be noted that the withdrawal effects
may also be more noticeable in small children and that these can sometimes be very
marked. Where younger children are involved (less than 4 years old for example), it
may be appropriate to withdraw the offending foods in stages over a period of two
weeks. Given that there appear to be a number of possible causes of autism it is not
unexpected that no unitary solution will be found for all cases.
Although the hypotheses may appear "off the wall" in many respects, there are a
number of pieces of evidence, which support them. The ideas are compatible with
virtually all the accepted biological data on autism and are worthy of consideration.
The dietary method must still be considered as experimental and no positive results
can be promised or are claimed. The use of diet may well be far less harmful than
other medical interventions or therapeutic regimes but care is still necessary during its
implementation. We would be pleased to receive any feedback of a positive or
negative nature from anyone utilising such dietary modification in the amelioration of

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