Never give up looking for health answers

Katie Tolley
Posted 10/30/17

So, What does getting ‘glutened’ look like?

A. Laziness, fatigue

B. Anxious, depressed, irritable, angry

C. Disoriented, unaware, spaced out, Cognitive dysfunction

D. Stomach …

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Never give up looking for health answers


So, What does getting ‘glutened’ look like?

A. Laziness, fatigue

B. Anxious, depressed, irritable, angry

C. Disoriented, unaware, spaced out, Cognitive dysfunction

D. Stomach ache, migraine, joint pain

E. All of the above and then some!

Anyone that has talked with me knows this is a hot topic for me. What angers me the most is the total disregard of our society for the people that have true dietary issues that are ignored by the general population, including much of the medical population. As a nurse practitioner, I don’t like to say we’re missing things in medicine, but ... we are missing things!

Never. Give. Up.

As a mom, I knew there was more to it, and I knew I needed to keep searching for answers. Never. Give. Up. That’s going to be the name of my book.

I’m not really a very good writer, avoided it like the plague in school. I have no idea where to start with a book, but it’s a goal of mine, and I need to share our story with other families. Moms need to know that it is worth every bit of energy you use figuring out how to help your child.

He is so bright, it puts him on a different level. Friends started noticing it before I did, he put concepts together that 2 year olds just didn’t put together. He was smarter than some of the adults in his world and it caused problems, problems that gradually got worse as the years went on.

There were jokes about Einstein being thrown out of school, he even has a hat with Al on it. But, seriously, it took a decade of lots of struggles and difficulties to realize he wasn’t going to get better with prescriptions or school accommodation or anything else traditionally done for bright, ADHD kids. We’d been trying for years, and things were just getting worse…Why?

Here’s what caused my boy’s ADHD – gluteomorphins and casomorphins. It’s that easy! HA! Ever heard of gluteomorphins and casomorphins? Me neither…very few people have. So, it’s not that easy.

Let’s Start Here

According to C. Kunz and B. Lonnerdal (1990) in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (…), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.

“Casein is the name for a family of related phosphoproteins (αS1, αS2, β, κ). These proteins are commonly found in mammalian milk, making up 80% of the proteins in cow’s milk and between 20% and 45% of the proteins in human milk.

What happens to sensitive people

About 40% of our population is sensitive to gluten per my Pediatric Conference at CHOP (Children’s of Phili) in May 2016, and 10% of those have Celiac Disease. That leaves A LOT of other people allergic and/or sensitive to gluten even though they do not have celiac disease. Let me repeat myself … Just because you do not have a positive lab test for Celiac Disease does not mean you are not sensitive or allergic.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.”

Now, why does casein matter to health? Many of us are not tolerant of casein either. It leads to an inflammatory response that is systemic (full body). How many people do you know that are (or think they are) lactose intolerant? Lots, right?

It’s the protein, not the sugar

Well, my theory is that it’s the protein not the sugar. Casein is a milk protein (whey is the other), and lactose is milk sugar. Most allergies are to proteins.

Take a moment to think about that. For all you lactose intolerant people out there, get rid of the casein, you just might see some positive health changes. Casein can cause typical allergy symptoms.

So, how does all this lead to ADHD and Anxiety and Communication Disorder…. Back to the leaky gut concept, inflammation, gluteomorphins and casomorphins. So, leaky gut is a phenomenon of intestinal wall irritation and inflammation that causes breakdown in the digestive process and allows foreign particles into our system that should not be there.

Our immune system recognizes these foreign particles and sets up a plan for attack, enter the inflammatory process. When this happens, the immune system starts to build antibodies (defenses) against the foreign invaders.

These foreign invaders are gluten and casein proteins that were supposed to continue through the digestive system and exit, not be absorbed into our body. Oops! Not good!

This is where the health problems start!

Related to opioids

So, now that you know gluteomorphin and casomorphin are peptides, let me tell you what they are related to… opioids. Opioids? What?

Isn’t that morphine and heroin and all those other pain killers? Yup, the same drugs that you are thinking. Are you starting to see the problem?

When people think they are addicted to food… They are!

Anyone that is sensitive to gluten and/or casein will have the same addiction problems craving food as people have with drugs. In my opinion, casomorphin and gluteomorphin cause damage just like drugs too, maybe even worse for those that are really sensitive/allergic.

When I think of what a little morphine does for a patient post-op, it’s ideal, but for short term use only (for a reason). Think about ingesting gluten and casein daily for decades. Think about how inflamed your system is going to be trying to combat and detox from all that. And, there is definitely a detox period.

Gluteomorphin and Casomorphin peptides sit in the opioid receptors of the brain. Are you wondering if this affects thought processes and cognitive function? Why, yes, yes, it does. Do you see why I said my kid is being drugged from gluten?

The medical docs that say there isn’t enough evidence, that it’s quackery. The FDA is a little biased by Big Pharma… but, I better not go there, I’ll probably be arrested and my blog taken down.

People need to be aware

I write this article because people need to know. Share this with anyone and everyone that has ADHD kids, autistic kids, kids with food allergies, kids with anxiety, kids that get migraines, kids that have chronic belly pain, kids that are obese, kids with asthma… you and I both know there are more. That’s a lot of kids, friends.

The wellness of our society depends on all of us being educated. Don’t depend on someone else to pave the way for you. Make your own path. Learn what works for you and your family. Learn what it takes for you and yours to be well and enjoy the journey.

Editor’s note: Cambridge resident Katie Tolley is a mother, pediatric nurse practitioner and holistic wellness coach. Her blog can be found at

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