One of the most fascinating target organs for allergy is the brain. I have seen allergy lead to sexual peculiarities, murderous assault, schizophrenic psychosis, woolly thinking, hallucination, hyperactivity, depression, anxiety, learning difficultie
I've observed varying stages of excitation and depression during allergic and hypersensitivity reactions, passing through gradually deepening levels as the brain became more and more overcharged or somnolent. Moreover, people "roller coaster ride" between stages.
Some of my patients, given one of the offending foods or chemicals, appear excited, giggling and intoxicated one minute and slumbering soundly, the next. Indeed the inebriation effect caused by foods has repeatedly been taken as drunkenness.
Almost invariably, the allergy problem for these patients is compounded by other factors, for example malnutrition and hypoglycaemia. The late Carl C Pfeiffer was noted for his work in this and related nutritional topics concerned with mental illness, especially schizophrenia. He made famous the "mauve factor", which was discovered in the urine of schizophrenic patients (the extracted urine turned mauve with a reagent). The actual substance discovered was pyrrole and the condition known as "pyroluria". Pfeiffer identified the symptoms of pyroluria withdrawal, melancholic, blinding headaches, nervous exhaustion, abnormal sensitivity to stressful changes, palpitations and digestive disorders, even handwriting abnormalities.
The importance of the possible role of pyrroles in mental disease is that they reduce available zinc and B6. Large supplements of these two essential nutrients are thus very beneficial to those with schizophrenia and pyroluria.
Pfeiffer also stressed the possible role of histamine in mental disorder; 50 per cent of mental patients tested by him had high levels (histadelia). Pfeiffer showed that low levels of histamine caused some of the symptoms of schizophrenia itself, such as the feeling of being mind controlled by other people, seeing or hearing things abnormally, and undue suspicions. This group are said to respond well to a nutritional programme containing large doses of niacin, niacinamide, folic acid, B12 , zinc and manganese daily, and a high protein diet.
The histadelic patient, on the other hand, has phobias, with suicidal depressions.
Pfeiffer treated histadelics with a low protein, complex carbohydrate diet (whole grains), calcium supplements, methionine andanti convulsant drugs.
It's important to keep in mind that Pfeiffer's ideas were notional only. Although he got good results, he never subjected them to adequate scientific tests.
The psychiatric profession is currently investigating the role of abnormal metabolic pathways involving a number of neurologically active "transmitters" such as dopamine and serotonin in mental illness. This particular approach is paving the way for much complex pharmacology, enough to maintain centre stage for many decades to come, at the expense of more holistic approaches.
Not all psychiatric manifestations are organic, of course. But all psychiatric illness, in my view, is complicated by allergies or biochemical imbalances, and this aspect of an individual's illness will only respond to a holistic or ecological approach. Drugs are the last thing that these individuals require; yet that is usually their fate. How many individuals could be totally cured of their mental afflictions by the allergy and environmental approach is a matter of some conjecture, but probably the majority.
Many violent and destructive individuals in society are simply manifesting the effects of brain allergic reactions. I myself made medicolegal history when in 1986 the Crown Court in Ballymena accepted my evidence that a youth who had tried to strangle a member of his family had been made aggressive by a potato allergy. Since that time, other instances have appeared. Doctors and the police should be made aware of what brain allergy means in terms of human behaviour.
Dr Mumby is the author of The Allergy Handbook.