FOOD TOXINS AND THEIR HEALTH IMPLICATIONS
Michael P. Lebowitz, D.C., Ami D. Kapadia, M.D.
Michael P. Lebowitz, D.C.
2550 I Road Grand Junction, CO 81505
phone #: (970)-257-0311
ABSTRACT: It is well known in the holistic medicine world that food intolerances/sensitivities can contribute a great deal to patient symptomatology. Unfortunately, all of the current methods used for food sensitivity testing (including laboratory testing) can result in many false negatives, as well as false positives at times. While elimination diets are helpful in diagnosis, they are also not perfect and can be very challenging if multiple food sensitivities are present. Through applied kinesiology testing with the use of specific “food toxins”, we have been able to increase the accuracy of food sensitivity detection. We have found that using these specific food toxins, rather than testing with the actual food substance, has yielded many more positive findings with subsequent amelioration of symptomatology in patients who follow the prescribed diet. The specific food toxins that will be discussed include: alpha-solanine, methylxanthines (caffeine family), gluten/gliadin, casein/lactose, ovalbumin (egg protein) and zein (corn protein).
KEY WORDS: food toxin, food allergy, methylxanthine(s), caffeine, theobromine,
theophylline, paraxanthine, dimethylxanthine, trimethylxanthine, green tea, tea, coffee,
cola, chocolate, cocoa solanine, alpha solanine, glycoalkaloid, solanaceae, nightshade(s),
Norman Childers, arthritis, dairy, casein, lactose, wheat, wheat flour, gluten, gliadin, ovalbumin, egg, corn, zein.
Identifying food sensitivities/intolerances can be very challenging as well as inaccurate with currently available methods. Applied kinesiology, using whole food substances, can give some helpful findings. However, often patients know that they are intolerant of certain foods, but kinesiology testing does not show that the food is a problem. We have attempted to improve the accuracy of and decrease the number of false negative tests with applied kinesiology testing for food sensitivities. In order to do this, we have isolated certain “food toxins” that represent the major known food allergens.
In Part 1 of this paper, we will discuss these common “toxic components of food.” The following food toxins will be discussed: alpha-solanine, methylxanthines (caffeine family), gluten/gliadin, casein/lactose, ovalbumin, and zein. The potential allergenicity and aberrant reactions of these food toxins will be reviewed.
In Part 2 of this paper, we will discuss two surveys. The purpose of the first survey was to see, on a more or less random group of 50 patients, how often we would get a positive muscle test on the following substances: alpha-solanine, gliadin, casein, lactose, and/or at least one of the 4 methylxanthines (caffeine, paraxanthine, theobromine and theophylline). A positive test consisted of either a “weakening” of a strong indicator muscle or a strong indicator muscle becoming “hypertonic” (spindle cell approximation does not “turn it off”). We also checked to see how often the positive test was negated by takesumi (carbonized bamboo which is an effective toxin, chemical, and metal chelator).
The second survey uses a different group of 50 patients (some overlap) and compares testing some of these food toxins biomagnetically with testing the foods themselves both biomagnetically and orally. We will also discuss some clinical observations and results.
PART 1: FOOD TOXINS
Alpha-solanine is classified as a neuro-toxin. The members of the plant family that contain alpha-solanine that might practically affect us (much of this family is not consumed by humans) are tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers (all except black pepper), paprika, tobacco, goji berries and ashwagandha. The amount of solanine present in the above foods varies tremendously depending on growing conditions, time harvested, storage conditions, cooking techniques, etc.
Solanines are not water soluble, are not destroyed by cooking and are not broken down inside the body but must be excreted as alpha-solanine. (1) (2) Different people have different degrees of sensitivity to them, and different efficiencies in being able to excrete them. How or in what way they will affect you will be a matter of genetics, as well as lifestyle and nutritional status. If you test positive for this problem, the probability is very high that at least one of your parents will have the same condition. The average daily intake of alpha-solanine is approximately 13mg and the average daily excretion is 5% the first day and 1-2% daily thereafter with a half-life of about 1-2 months. (2)
Considering that is for one day’s dose, it is estimated that the average body burden is at least 50mg. (2) It can be much higher in people who consume large amounts of these foods on a daily basis. There has been no definite established “safe” or “toxic” level of solanine consumption because of the variations in individual sensitivity and capability to excrete this chemical. (1) Alpha-solanine is stored in most organs (with a special affinity for the thyroid gland) as well as most soft tissue including skeletal muscle. (1) (2)
Most “foods” that contain alpha-solanine also contain at least 5 other neurotoxins including atropine and nicotine. Acute solanine poisoning can result from ingesting green or sprouted potatoes or green tomatoes, with symptoms including: cramps, nausea, diarrhea, headache, dizziness and sleepiness. In severe cases, partial paralysis and coma can result. (1) (2)
Solanine acts as an acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor (similar to Malathion, Parathion and other “nerve gases”), allowing acetylcholine (Ach) to build up in the synapses. (2) Ach is a chemical neurotransmitter that is released from a pre-synaptic neuron and attaches to a receptor site on a post-synaptic neuron resulting in transmission of a nerve impulse. AChE is the enzyme that breaks down ACh resulting in the subsequent detachment of this neurotransmitter from the post-synaptic neuron. However, solanine inhibits AChE, which effectively results in continued attachment of ACh to the post-synaptic neuron and a disruption of normal nerve impulse transmission. (2)
As with all other food toxins discussed in this paper, testing with alpha-solanine via applied kinesiology yields many more positive tests than testing with the food itself. We have found that avoidance (based on a positive alpha-solanine test) yields many positive clinical outcomes and as a result we have come to prefer this method of testing.
For a more complete discussion with references, see our 2010 ICAK paper or view our website paper Solanine Toxicity Syndrome. http://www.michaellebowitzdc.com/html/Solanine.html
METHYLXANTHINES: CAFFEINE, PARAXANTHINE, THEOBROMINE AND THEOPHYLLINE
Caffeine is the most consumed, socially-acceptable stimulant in the world. Approximately 90% of adults in the world consume caffeine in their daily diet. More than 150 million people in the US drink coffee on a regular basis, averaging 2 cups a day, which is the equivalent of 280 mg/day of caffeine. (3)
Caffeine, as well as theobromine, paraxanthine and theophylline, are part of the methylxanthine family and can be labeled as psychoactive stimulants. These substances in varying amounts and complexes are found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, yerba mate and guarana. (4)
Coffee contains caffeine and theophylline, but no theobromine, while tea and chocolate are higher in theobromine. Tea actually contains more caffeine then coffee, but since it is brewed weaker, the average cup of tea has less than the average cup of coffee.
Caffeine Biochemistry and Pharmacokinetics
Caffeine is metabolized in phase 1 liver detoxification by the cytochrome P450 oxidase enzyme system (the 1A2 isozyme) into the following compounds with approximate percentages: paraxanthine (84%), theobromine (12%) and theophylline (4%).
Caffeine is readily absorbed in the GI tract after oral administration. Its bioavailability is almost 100% through oral administration. (5) The average half life of caffeine is 5 hours, with a range of 3-7 hours. (6) Defects in the CYP1A2 enzyme can be associated with impaired caffeine metabolism and a prolonged half life. (7) There are also genetic polymorphisms in the CYP1A2 pathway that could explain some of the varying effects of caffeine on different individuals. (4) For example, a study of 120 healthy volunteers found that CYP1A2 activity, gender, and smoking influenced whether or not individuals experiences toxic effects of caffeine. Females and nonsmokers who had experienced toxic effects of caffeine were found to have lower CYP1A2 activity compared to females and nonsmokers who did not experience toxicity symptoms. (8)
Once it is absorbed through the GI tract, and enters the bloodstream, caffeine’s main effects occur through its action as an antagonist of adenosine receptors (blocks adenosine receptors) in the central and peripheral nervous systems. The caffeine molecule is structurally similar to adenosine, and binds to adenosine receptors on the surface of cells without activating them (thus, acting through an antagonist mechanism of action at the adenosine receptor site). Therefore, caffeine acts as a competitive inhibitor. This results in stimulation of excitatory neurotransmitters. (6)
Symptoms associated with too much caffeine (too much ingested or impaired breakdown of it) include: headache, anxiety (including generalized anxiety disorder), depression, panic attacks, tremors, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, muscle twitching and GERD. (4) (9) Both acute and chronic ingestion of caffeine influences mood and cognition. (4) (9) In addition, heavy coffee (>2 cups/day) intake may trigger coronary and arrhythmic events in susceptible individuals. (10) (11) Finally, it has been shown that excess caffeine consumption (>200 mg/day) during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage. (12)
While theobromine and caffeine are similar, theobromine is weaker in both its inhibition of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases and its antagonism of adenosine receptors. Therefore, it can be postulated that theobromine may have a lesser, but still significant, impact on the human central nervous system. While theobromine is not as addictive as caffeine, it has been cited as possibly contributing to chocolate addiction.
In susceptible individuals, theophylline can cause nausea, diarrhea, an increase in heart rate, arrhythmias, and CNS excitation with resultant headaches, insomnia, irritability, dizziness and lightheadedness.
Paraxanthine is not produced by plants and is only observed as a metabolite of caffeine in animals. After caffeine intake, approximately 84% of the original compound is demethylated at the 3-position to yield paraxanthine, making paraxanthine the chief metabolite of caffeine.
For a more complete discussion with references, see our 2010 ICAK paper or view our website paper Methylxanthine Toxicity Syndrome. http://www.michaellebowitzdc.com/html/Methylxanthine.html
One of the most common food allergens is gluten. Sensitivity to gluten can cause a wide range of symptoms that can affect almost any organ system. While most would think primarily of Celiac Disease and symptom manifestations in the gastrointestinal tract, the nervous system is actually the most commonly affected system outside of the gastrointestinal tract and is often involved in sensitive individuals. (13) Some of the symptoms/diagnoses that can be involved with gluten sensitivity include: headaches, behavior changes, seizures, muscle cramps, neuropathy, malnutrition, fatigue, malaise, depression, chronic digestive problems (abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, IBS, difficulty gaining/losing weight, reflux, nausea, vomiting, etc.), apthous ulcers, Sjogren’s Syndrome, osteoporosis, infertility, miscarriage, thyroid disorders, schizophrenia, autism and dermatitis herpetiformis. (14-16)
If gluten sensitivity is found, it is necessary to avoid all gluten containing grains, including: barley, rye, oats (unless certified gluten-free), wheat and spelt. Oats do not contain gluten but do contain a similar prolamine and many gluten-sensitive people cannot tolerate oats. You may want to have them avoid oats in the beginning and then add them in after a few weeks(certified gluten-free types). At that time, you can check them with applied kinesiology and look for symptomatic changes.
There are a few proposed mechanisms involving how gluten can affect various organ systems. One theory involves a peptidase enzyme called DPP4. If there is a failure or insufficiency of DPP4, the body cannot efficiently break down the proteins in gluten. DPP4 activity can be low or absent for several reasons including: effects of toxins such as mercury, hypochlorhydria (HCl is needed to activate enzyme), poor pancreatic function, or zinc deficiency (zinc is also needed to turn on these enzymes). A poorly functioning DPP4 enzyme results in an undigested fragment of protein from gluten. The immune system can be fooled by a sort of molecular mimicry as the undigested protein fragment can be mistaken for a virus. As a result of this, antibodies are aimed at the protein and can cause damage to tissues in an autoimmune type of reaction. (14) Another mechanism by which gluten can cause problems involves the theory that the undigested gluten peptide can resemble an opiate-like molecule called a gluteomorphin that can alter brain chemistry. Gluteomorphins can cause cognitive symptoms as they can act like opiods in the body. These undigested peptides can be found in the urine of some individuals with autism and schizophrenia. (14, 16)
Interestingly enough, applied kinesiology testing for gluten yields a very high percentage of false negatives as we will present at the end of this study. Gluten is composed of a combination of glutenins and gliadins and testing with gliadin yields positive tests much more frequently than does testing gluten. We know these are not false positives due to the clinical improvement that results from avoidance. As a result of this increased sensitivity while using this more specific food toxin, we use gliadin for our testing.
CASEIN AND LACTOSE
Casein is the predominant phosphoprotein that accounts for nearly 80% of the proteins in cow’s milk. There is casein in the milk of other species- goat, sheep etc. of a slightly different nature, but the intolerance can carry over in many sensitive people. Therefore, when casein is positive, we avoid all dairy products of all species (many people react to supposedly casein free foods like ghee so we avoid these too). Like gluten, casein sensitivity can also cause symptoms in just about any organ system. Specifically, casein sensitivity can contribute to: ear infections, sinus conditions, asthma, eczema, headaches, arthritis, chronic digestive problems, rhinitis, hay fever, depression, mood swings, ADHD, bedwetting and eczema. (14-16) Similar to how gluten derived peptides cause trouble if the DPP4 enzyme is not sufficient, casein derived peptides can also cause problems when this enzyme does not break it down properly. Undigested casein peptides can pass into the bloodstream and provoke similar autoimmune type reactions as well as mimic opiates (called “caseomorphins”) just like gluten. (14, 16) Besides having a casein sensitivity, an individual can have a lactose intolerance in which only the gastrointestinal tract is involved (whereas with a casein sensitivity, any organ system can be involved). The main symptoms of lactose intolerance can include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and even vomiting. If this is the case, it is much simpler to address as the patient can simply use lactose free milk or take a lactase enzyme when consuming dairy products. (14) Remember, a lactase enzyme may be a fungal derivative that is not well tolerated.
Ovalbumin is the major protein in egg (comprising approximately 54% of egg protein). Just like all the other foods discussed in this paper, just testing egg yields many false negatives and ovalbumin is the preferred test. In sensitive people, ovalbumin can cause villous atrophy, depletion of mucosal oligosaccharidases, impaired absorption of xylose and depressed serum complement levels. Asthma, as well as most other common symptoms of food intolerance, have been linked to ovalbumin sensitivity. There have been documented cases of nephropathy that have reversed with egg avoidance.
Zein is a class of prolamine protein found in corn. It is also known as corn gluten and even though it too is a prolamine, zein is not chemically identical to wheat or other glutens. Therefore, it can have its own unique effects on the body. As you will see in our statistics, zein will test positive much more than corn with applied kinesiology and is the preferred method of testing. Symptoms associated with corn sensitivity can include: headaches, asthma, facial inflammation, rashes, hives, most gastro-intestinal symptoms, fatigue, joint pains and sinus congestion.
From the clinical testing results and improvement in patients as you will see below, we feel this (testing with the isolated food fragment) is a very helpful way to test for these sensitivities. There may be other additions in the future; soy and rice come to mind as possible substances where isolated protein fragments may need to be tested. For now, we have been sticking with these vials, as the diets involved can be quite challenging for the average patient. Most patients with long term chronic symptoms have been willing to give it a trial period of a month or two. As stated in previous papers, these are typically not the type of sensitivities for which we can do a desensitization technique and re-introduce the food quickly. Our hypothesis is that by helping the patient become dysbiosis free and avoiding these foods, we will have significant restoration of gastro-intestinal integrity making the person more immune to dysbiotic microbes in the future and allowing them to re-introduce some if not many of these foods. When trying to answer the question: which came first- the dysbiosis or the food toxin intolerances, it can go in either direction and for optimal results both should be comprehensively addressed.
PART 2: FOOD SURVEYS
The purpose of the first survey was to see, on a random group of 50 patients, how often they would test positive on various “food toxins”. A positive test was either a weakening of a “strong” indicator muscle or a “strong” indicator muscle becoming hypertonic and to see if Takesumi (carbonized bamboo- a popular generic detoxification product from Japan) negated a positive test.
Results are as follows (Fig. 1 and 2):
56% + on alpha solanine (S) with 65% of these negated by Takesumi
62% + on methylxanthine (M) with 68% of these negated by Takesumi
66% + on gliadin (G) with 76% of these negated by Takesumi
54% + on casein (C) with 56% of these negated by Takesumi
18% + on lactose (L) with 56% of these negated by Takesumi
Most people were positive on a combination of various “toxins”. The breakdown is listed below (Fig.3).
Figure 1: patients “weakening” or becoming “over facilitated” on each substance
Figure 2: Percent of the positive patients from figure 1 whose
test was negated by takesumi
Figure 3: Number of patients positive on various combinations of substances:
+ on all 5- 1:+ on S,M,G,C-10; + on S,M,G,L 3;+ on M,C,L-3;+ on S,G,C-2;+ on S,G,L-1;+ on S,M,G-3;+ on S,M,C-1;+ on S,M-1;+ on S,G-4 ;+ on S,C-1; + on S,L-1;+ on M,G-4; + on M,C-3; + on G, C-2; + on M only-2; + on G only-3; + on C only-4; + on none of them-1
1. The one person that was positive on all 5 substances (solanine, methylxanthine, gliadin, casein and lactose) and the 10 people positive on the following 4: solanine, methylxanthine, gliadin, and casein – are all chronic patients with significant health problems. These include environmentally ill patients with migraines—3, chronic GI problems with recurrent dysbiosis -2, chronic pain/disabled- 1, rheumatoid arthritis-1, multiple sclerosis-2, pain and depression 1, alopecia and environmental illness-1, chronic pain not disabled -1. These “food toxin sensitivities or intolerances,” in my opinion, are major contributors to their chronic conditions and if they had been found earlier the patient may have avoided some of these conditions. Present avoidance of the “toxins” may help alleviate their symptomatology and allow healing to occur.
2. On multi-generational families I tested, if both parents were positive on a given “toxin”, so was the child (in almost 100% of cases). If the child was positive, at least one parent was.
3. Only two patients were relatively asymptomatic (if you exclude acne and PMS) that had both positive solanine and gliadin tests, though they were college age and could easily develop symptoms later.
The purpose of the second survey was to compare testing foods in 3 different fashions. We were checking for weakening of a “strong” indicator muscle (we did not check “hyper facilitation”) when checked in one of three ways:
1- substance placed orally on the tongue
2- same substance placed under the south pole of a magnet over GV-20
3- “food toxin” vial placed under the south pole of a magnet over GV-20
4 different categories were tested:
1- a piece of popcorn and the zein vial
2- gluten flour, wheat flour, and the gliadin vial
3- granular coffee, dried green tea and the caffeine and theobromine vials
4- ground red pepper and the solanine vial
People were also asked what symptoms they experienced from eating any of these substances.
Below are the results from 50 random consecutive patients (Figures 4, 5, 6, 7):
Figure 4: 2+ on oral testing of corn (4%), 3+ on biomagnetic testing of corn (6%), 17 + on biomagnetic testing of zein (34%)
Figure 5: 5+ on oral testing of whole wheat flour (10%), 4+ on oral testing of gluten flour (8%), 9+ of biomagnetic testing of whole wheat flour (18%) 8 + on biomagnetic testing of gluten flour (16%), 26+ on biomagnetic testing of gliadin (54%)
Figure 6 3+ on oral testing of coffee (6%), 2+ on oral testing of green tea (4%), 5+ on biomagnetic testing of coffee (10%), 5+ on biomagnetic testing of green tea (10%), 31+ on biomagnetic testing of caffeine (62%), 30+ on biomagnetic testing of theobromine (60%)
Figure 7: 4+ on oral testing of red pepper (8%), 7+ on biomagnetic testing of red pepper (14%), 30+ on biomagnetic testing of solanine (60%)
There was a fairly close correlation between oral testing of the food with biomagnetic testing of the food, though in each case, positive biomagnetic tests outnumbered positive oral challenges. In almost every case in which the food tested positive orally, it also tested positive biomagnetically. There were more cases where the biomagnetic test was positive but the oral test was negative. The most significant difference was between testing the whole food versus the “food toxin component”. In all the tests performed, there were only two times when the whole food tested positive and the food toxin was negative. Both times were on the same patient where coffee and tea were positive (positive biomagnetically but negative orally) but caffeine and theobromine were negative. There were many times the food toxin was positive while the food was negative; in fact, this was the case with the vast majority of findings. A little but certainly not all the difference between whole food and food toxin results could be due to the fact that I have a well informed patient load and many of them do restrict their intake of methylxanthines, solanines and gluten to some extent. Perhaps this decreases the number of positive tests on the food itself but not the isolated “toxin”, though not to the degree shown in the results. Many of these patients still eat the foods in limited quantities and report symptoms from eating the whole foods though they still test negative on them. Often avoidance for as little as 24 hours can turn a positive whole food test to a negative one thus accounting for some of the false negatives.
To make sure the food toxin testing was not just getting false positives, we had the patients report back on symptoms they experienced that improved significantly on avoidance of the related food. The following is what was reported:
1-Patients that had positive solanine tests but negative on the food itself (some reported by one patient, some by multiple) found alleviation of: headaches, spitting up (infant when mother avoided it), overall pain level, stiff joints, fibromyalgia pain, crohns disease, intestinal pain and ankylosing spondylitis. Also reported were: cessation of acute soft tissue inflammation to the point of disability, cessation of wrist pain, enhanced ability to play the cello, cessation of shoulder pain of 7 year duration and cessation of rectal bleeding.
2- Patients that had positive gliadin tests but negative on whole wheat and gluten reported significant decreases in: (some reported by one patient, some by multiple) fatigue, depression, anxiety, baby spitting up (if mom ate gluten), exhaustion, acute intestinal pain, 50% less need for chiropractic adjustments, burning bowels and headaches. Also reported were: cessation of intestinal pain and swelling of 30 years duration, ability to eat raw food without pain was restored, and being much easier to adjust (chiropractically).
3- Patients that had positive caffeine/theobromine tests but negative on the food itself (some reported by one patient, some by multiple) found a decrease in: insomnia, cervical subluxations, tenseness, throat pain, headaches, moodiness, anxiety, itching, diarrhea, baby spitting up (if mom had it), nausea, low back pain, and overall feeling “lousy”. Also reported were: cessation of chronic foot and axilla pain, and a cessation of thumb pain. One husband thanked me profusely for the change in disposition of his wife.
4- Patients that had positive zein tests but negative on the food itself (some reported by one patient, some by multiple) found a decrease in: fatigue, joint pain, stomachaches, baby spitting up, sacro-iliac pain, headaches, brain fog and sinus congestion.
1. Food challenges with applied kinesiology can yield false negative tests.
2. Using isolated food substances such as alpha-solanine, theobromine, caffeine, theophylline, paraxanthine, casein, lactose, zein, ovalbumin and gliadin can yield many more positive results.
3. Eliminating these foods can bring improvement or elimination of various chronic problems.
4. Re-introduction of the foods without recurrence of symptomatology may or may not be possible.
5. Taking takesumi if the patient will not avoid the positive substance may lessen the negative effects of ingesting the substance.
1. Food Toxin Kit from AK Test Kits 1-888-323-0625
2. Takesumi Supreme 1-800-922-1744
3. Diagnostic Magnet 1-800-922-1744
Ways to test for food toxins
- Weakening a strong muscle in the clear when tested biomagnetically over GV27
- Causing a weak or strong muscle to go hypertonic when tested over GV27
- Weakening or causing hypertonicity when tested over symptomatic area
- Weakening indicator muscle when tested over GV27 during movement of a symptomatic joint or muscle.
- Causing recidivism of a subluxation (spine, extremity, cranial), specific muscle test, or reflex you had just corrected
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