Uninvited Partiers


Last week I posted about a polymorphism that occurs in the opioid receptors in the gut, the highest prevalence of which occurs in fair skinned, freckled, red-heads. I’ve been doing more research and the little dots seem to be connecting.

A review in Neuroscience Letters explains that the gut is a neurological organ; kind of like a second brain. That puts a whole new light on going with your “gut feelings”, doesn’t it? One side effect of opioid (drugs like codeine) is that they slow down intestinal motility and alter the normal fluid absorption in the gut. Then, I found this article which mentioned that Ascaris suum, an intestinal parasitic worm, EXCRETES morphine! The little bugger has no receptors for it, so it’s making it to alter the environment inside its hosts. So, one could conjecture that the uninvited guests want to make the most out of your food, so it spikes the punch in hopes you get soused. Then they throw a party and expect you to be happy about it.  Those guys are really rude. My genes must be really poor judges of character. After all, they think gluten and casein are also morphine-like. Jeeze, they’ll do anything for a fix.

Since I’ve been evicting these uninvited revelers, that should mean no more spiked, punch, right? It seems so. Over the Thanksgiving break I made German potato salad and cornbread muffins. I ate both and even took a bite of corn on the cob, but the frozen corn I bought was bleh. I chased every meal with some crystallized ginger, but that was the extent of my “doctoring”. No hot flashes or sudden nausea (guess what can cause hot flashes–yep you guessed it– morphine). The worst was a bit of indigestion and some gas, kind of like when you eat beans. I didn’t eat a lot of either, but as little as a month ago one bite with traces of potato could trigger that reaction.

The ultimate test happened accidentally. I’d eaten turkey for lunch AND dinner three and half days in a row. It was awesome turkey, but I really needed a change of pace. I got sushi. The guy forgot not to add the crunchies, which have a small amount of wheat in them. The last time that happened, within ten minutes my waist looked like someone had pumped me full of air,  I had the hot flash/nausea reaction and I was sick for two days. I picked up some ginger to supplement what I had at the house, ate a fair amount, and I was good! I’m not going to go wild and eat whole wheat bread or some such craziness, but I don’t have to suffer anymore either!

Forget morphine. I rode a giddy high of relief all weekend that I’d had potato salad. I’m not even that big of a potato fan. Okay, I confess, it’s the hope that I can eat cheese again (in moderation) that had me walking on cloud nine.

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