Brain Allergies

What are Brain Allergies?

Most people with allergies have had the experience of feeling sluggish, tired or irritable after exposure to something they are allergic to. This is the slightest hint of what brain allergies are like. People with psychoactive allergies can experience anything from depression to hyperactivity as a result of a food or environmental allergy.

What is a Brain Allergy?

A healthy diet gives you energy and clears the mind, while sugar-laden treats and heavily processed foods leave people feeling sluggish, tired and dull. Brain allergies take this experience one step further: they are foods that actually trigger emotional or mental symptoms in allergy sufferers.

Brain allergies are almost always overlooked because few doctors understand them, but there is a scientific basis for this misunderstood type of allergy. Dr. Joseph Egger, who has studied the effects of allergies on childhood migraines, epilepsy, and hyperactivity, says research indicates that, “Particular types of adverse food reactions sometimes correlate with neurological and psychiatric symptoms.”

Patients with depression and other mood disorders who don’t respond to conventional treatment like psychotherapy or drugs may be suffering from an undiagnosed brain allergy that is contributing to – or outright causing – their condition.

Depression, ADD, ADHD, Bipolar Symptoms

Like other sensitivities, brain allergies aren’t always severe; they can be mild, with symptoms like irritability or mood swings that are easily ignored and don’t require treatment. In other cases, the symptoms are severe.

Brain allergies are especially common in children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, and tend to run in families, just like other allergies. According to U.K. nutritionist Patrick Holford, the most common brain allergy foods include wheat flour, dairy products, sugar, eggs, corn, food coloring, peanuts, chocolate, beef and oranges.

Where brain allergies are at fault, treating the allergy not only eliminates mental health problems, it also clears up any skin conditions, headaches, sinus problems, immune weakness, or other allergy-related symptoms that exist at the same time.

Treating Brain Allergies

There is no “one size fits all” treatment for depression, ADHD, or other symptoms caused by brain allergies. Every person is different: while some people outgrow allergies, others may have to avoid certain foods for life.

The best approach for anyone who suspects a brain allergy is to completely eliminate the food (or other allergy trigger) from your lifestyle. Avoid the food for at least three weeks and notice if any changes occur. If symptoms stay the same, add the food back into the diet, and pay attention – you may notice a difference that was too gradual to be apparent before.