Gluten Intolerance: Preventing Schizophrenia and Mental Disorders in Pregnancy

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Image: Dr. Vikki Petersen
Dr. Vikki Petersen, D.C., C.C.N.

Preventing Schizophrenia & Mental Disorders – A “Must Know” Before Pregnancy

By Dr. Vikki Petersen

Babies are in a bath inside their mothers’ wombs for 9 months. The ‘water’ can be nourishing or toxic. A recent study in June from the American Journal of Psychiatry discovered that women who have a gluten intolerance and continue to consume gluten during their pregnancy put their babies at risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders later in life.The researchers, from Sweden and the United States, found that babies born to mothers with high circulating anti-gliadin antibodies (antibodies are substances made by the immune system as a reaction to something it considers toxic to the body. In this case the gluten protein.) suffered a risk factor of nearly double for developing schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders later in life.

The circulating high number of antibodies in the mother’s blood is transferred to the developing baby and can act as a type of programming for what will occur in the child later in life. In this case gluten was seen to inflame the nervous system and serious mental diseases were the result.

During pregnancy an interesting phenomenon occurs whereby the immune system is less aggressive than it is normally – this is called down regulation. This is a good thing because it allows the mother’s body to not reject the foreign entity (the fetus) that is growing within. The downside of this is that women who had trouble tolerating certain foods find that they can ‘cheat’ with relative impunity.  In fact, I always have cautioned my pregnant patients against cheating while pregnant and have explained that just because they don’t ‘feel’ the effects of having cheated, it doesn’t mean that their body and their baby’s body isn’t being negatively affected.

This research certainly corroborates the point in a dramatic way. Imagine having the ability to create or prevent mental illness in your child!

Here at HealthNOW we love to prepare women for getting pregnant. It’s gratifying to know that we are not only improving mom’s health, but also that of her future child. Depending on the woman’s level of health, the process may take a few months or up to a year. But when you appreciate that a healthier mother strongly influences the health of her child, it’s all worth it. And dads are not ‘off the hook’ here either. It is very important that the genes that the father is contributing to the child are healthy also.

More and more we are coming to appreciate that genes can be altered as regards to their expression. This means that just because a disease runs in your family, you don’t have to pass it along to your children. But, unfortunately, with no effort towards improving your health, you can very well subject your children to a worsened health state and this is what we are currently experiencing in this country.

Please share this information with those you know. While it is critical to discover if you are gluten intolerant there are several other aspects of health that should be addressed prior to conceiving. If you know of anyone who could benefit from improved health, please tell them about our free health analysis – call 408-733-0400. We are here to help!

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the e-Book: “Gluten Intolerance – What you don’t know may be killing you!”

2 Replies to “Gluten Intolerance: Preventing Schizophrenia and Mental Disorders in Pregnancy”

  1. I am not a doctor, but, besides the inflammation, I would be concerned about the mother not receiving enough nutrients for the baby due to malabsorption, if she eats gluten during her pregnancy although she is gluten intolerant.

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