We are getting closer to the realisation that our chosen daily foods, our nurture in infancy, and our immune and genetic inheritance can all play a role in our mental health. Autistic children are generally born to a mother who already has one or more symptoms of atopic disease. Depressive illness has become so widespread in some countries that people are beginning to think it is a normal part of human expression.
Look again at the patient with depression and you may well see someone who is overweight or underweight. A little questioning may begin to reveal a series of other atopic symptoms such as IBS, or severe reaction to some airborne pollen or crop dust, or perhaps they also have asthma or arthritis. Obesity is not usually a primary cause of other diseases, but is itself more a symptom of underlying atopic processes.
In amongst all these troubles there will be immune processes that affect brain function. Some researchers have determined that immune complexes with some foods, such as gluten, form opioids that have similar effects to some hard drugs. When diets are restricted in terms of gluten and casein it has been shown that quite severe mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, simply vanish, but are likely to return when dietary restrictions are reversed.
Depression is perhaps one of the commonest of atopic disease symptoms and this would link its occurrence to the consumption of foods of bovine origin – dairy foods and beef and their byproducts. Bottle feeding has produced a considerable population of people who are affected by foods of bovine origin in adult life, in so many ways.