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Opiates...in cheese?


Cheese used to = Love in my world. Give me a piece of cheese for a snack and I'll be happy. Then I found out about Beta-Casomorphine-7. BCM7. Sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, but it's a naturally occurring protein in cow's milk that acts like an opiate. It's an "opioid peptide" (protein fragment) and is derived by digesting the casein from milk. So what's the big whoop?


1. Opiates are highly addictive. 2. Studies are now linking health problems such as cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, diabetes, autism, auto immune disorders, Alzheimer's, allergies and a bunch of other diseases--to casein. Casein is in cheese and other dairy products.


One such study, from sciencedirect.com reports that "Food-derived peptides, such as β-casomorphin BCM7, have potential to cross the gastrointestinal tract and blood–brain barrier and are associated with neurological disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders. We previously established a novel mechanism through which BCM7 affects the antioxidant levels in neuronal cells leading to inflammatory consequences." (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286315003058)


Those "inflammatory consequences" might be a link to my Mom's Alzheimer's and arthritis which is curiously suspicious. She loved Moose Tracks (or any ice cream) as well as cheese in all its forms. It's my job as a good armchair researcher, parent, grandparent, and wellness entrepreneur to find out how these things relate and/or scale. Could my innocent cheddar and Havarti in the fridge possibly break down in my gut, leak bad stuff into the blood stream, float to my brain and cause damage? Could it be doing the same thing in our children? Are we injuring ourselves and our kids with what we snack on?


Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (nutrition) says yes. Her son was born with autism. She found answers in the state of the digestive system and her son recovered from autism. In her 2004 book Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural treatment for Dyspraxia, Autism, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, Schizophrenia, McBride names the underlying disorder GAPS or Gut and Psychology Syndrome. I found this book when researching how to rid my body of candida and learned about beta casomorphins while reading. Life got busy and I never finished it. But the science of opiate-like substances in dairy stuck in my head and resurfaced this week.


As I struggled to do intermittent fasting during the past year, I found the initial culprit to be heavy whipping cream. I had to have my coffee and heavy cream first thing in the morning. I tapped on this issue with practitioner friend Nicola Vitkovich #fasterchanges and was able to give up the cream and drink black coffee for a while. Then the pandemic hit, and I started drinking heavy cream again in my coffee. Sometimes I'd even make an Italian soda with it. I was attached. It brought me solace during the uncertain sheltering in place orders. I was hooked again.


As I looked at my language--hooked again--I remembered beta casomorphine 7. Yep, I needed something to dull my anxiety. Morphine is a narcotic that can treat moderate to severe pain...could it be that I ramped up consumption of heavy cream and cheese to dull my emotional pain during the isolation of the pandemic? Curiosity set in.


Once I released the attachment I had to heavy cream by tapping with practitioner friend Christin McLeod #adventuresinhappiness, I haven't had heavy cream and have been able to fast more easily. The next thing I have to look at is cheese, keto ice cream, butter, and sour cream--it takes up the most space in my fridge. If the opiate/beta casomorhins in cheese have been medicating me during the pandemic, I need to remove them from my diet and see how my body responds.

I have a bit of tapping work to do as I pack up the dairy products sitting on my counter, staged for another home. But that's okay. Wellness is a walk and I embrace it, even if I have to let go of cheese.


mary@mcintegrativewellness.com

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