Addiction is rampant in our society. From alcohol to gambling, millions of Americans — from celebrities to the guy next door — are victims to some form of addiction. No one appears safe.
In the past, scientists didn't understand how the brain works, but in recent decades neuroscience (the study of the brain and nervous system) has made advances that give us clues to how addictions occur, what drives them, and the effects our daily activities have on our risk of becoming addicted.
We have discovered that our diet — the foods we eat every day — can make us more susceptible to all types of addictions. And food additives common to almost all fast foods and pre-packaged foods — forms of glutamate — are key culprits. For more information on the role of food additives in addiction, read my special report "Addiction: Diet's Hidden Role in Obsessive Disorders."
Processed foods contain large amounts of concentrated glutamate additives, whose only purpose is to enhance taste. High levels of glutamate in the brain can cause damage that leads to depression and addiction.
A special barrier called the brain-blood barrier (BBB) keeps glutamate from easily entering the brain. Unfortunately, it is not perfect (some areas of the brain don't even have this protection), and if we eat foods loaded with glutamate, some will seep in.
A normal healthy diet would never produce enough glutamate to raise levels in the brain high enough to cause damage, but studies have shown that eating glutamate-laced foods can increase blood glutamate levels 20 to 50 times higher than normal and allows glutamate to enter the brain through areas that don’t have the protective barrier.
The average person is exposed to a great number of additional, dangerous food additives. MSG is a common additive, but there are many others, often disguised with innocent-sounding names, such as hydrolyzed proteins. For more information on food additives and the damage they can cause to your body, read my newsletter "Food Additives: What You Eat Can Kill You."
Newer studies have shown that elevations of glutamate in the brain will dramatically increase cravings and addictive behavior. Likewise, drugs that block glutamate receptors can significantly reduce addictions and cravings. You'll find information on natural substances that block glutamate receptors in my report "Addiction: Diet's Hidden Role in Obsessive Disorders."
It makes sense that eating foods high in glutamate will increase addictions and make them harder to overcome.
In my own practice, I have noticed that when people switch to a healthy diet free of excitotoxins and proinflammatory foods, they feel better, their depression lifts, and they feel energetic.
A number of large studies involving both prison populations and schools linked correcting bad diets with dramatic, almost miraculous decreases in suicide rates and drug addiction. In one such study, 47 percent of people who were on probation and had a diet high in junk food abused narcotics. That rate fell to 13 percent when they ate a healthy diet.
Other studies found the same dramatic results. What a tragedy to think that a child or adult would commit suicide or live a life of drug dependence because of something as simple as a bad diet, something that is so easy to correct. The medical profession and the media deserve the blame for many of these failed lives because they have ignored this important issue.
In the wake of new healthcare legislation, you'll be even more responsible for you health and that of your family. For a detailed discussion of how to take charge of your health, see my newsletter "Use Prevention to Take Control of Your Healthcare."