Autism and Diet
Gluten Free Cassein Free Diet and Autism
Autism is a disease that effects 1 out of every 150 children in the United States. This is a marked increase over the incidents of autism during the 1970s and 1980s. During the seventies and eighties only 1 out of every 2000 children were diagnosed with autism. This leads to the question of whether there are really more children with autism or whether diagnostic tools make the diagnosis more available. The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) have broadened the diagnosis of this disease and now call it autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The causes of autism are not readily available and only 10% of children diagnosed with the condition have a causative diagnosis. The remaining 90% of diagnosed children do not yet have known causes.
Does a gluten free, casein free diet help with autism? The answer to that question is not clear. It is clear that many people suffer from GFCF allergies. It is also clear that many autistic individuals suffer from gastrointestinal difficulties that may be caused from sensitivity to wheat and dairy products.
While it cannot be verified that these diets work, it is true that many children suffering from autism also suffer from GI problems that benefit from dietary changes. These dietary changes also relieve stress and offer better health. This may also impact the cognitive abilities of individuals suffering from autism.
The Opiate Theory
There is a theory that when an individual suffering from autism consumes wheat or dairy products they enter the gut and break down into molecules that are similar to opiate-like drugs. According to the theory children with autism have compromised digestive systems known as “leaky guts” that allow proteins to leave the GI tract and enter the rest of the body where they act like opiates or drugs in the afflicted individual’s system. These molecules are not excreted but are absorbed into the system where they cause a condition similar to a “high”. Accordingly, when these foods are removed from the child’s diet their behavior and cognitive abilities improve.
Wheat, Dairy and Peptides
Here are a few facts.
Wheat and dairy do break down into peptides which, look a lot like opium-like drugs. These are called gluteomorphines and cassomorphines.
Some children with autism (though not all) do have gastrointestinal issues.Some of these children have leaky intestines.
Some studies show that the peptides in question are found in unusually high amounts in the urine of autistic children, but those studies included only children with existing gastrointestinal issues. A study that included a broader group of autistic children did not show an increased level of peptides in the urine.
In spite of these facts, there is no empiric evidence to support a causative relationship between these proteins and autism. One cannot suppose a child is suffering from an addiction to certain foods just because he craves these foods. However, there is something to be said for the GFCF diet. Allergies to gluten and cassein are not uncommon, and those allergies often manifest themselves in diarrhea, constipation, bloating and other symptoms.About 19 to 20 percent of autistic children seem to have significant gastrointestinal issues.
Gluten free cassein free diets are difficult and expensive to follow. However, some benefit may be shown after three months. And again children tend to learn new skills in three months anyway so it is difficult to tell is that would have happened without the special diet.
Utilizing a special diet is interesting and is certainly being explored by researchers. More information will become available in time.
- Chief Dietician
Diet and nutrition information from a dietician.
- Celiac Disease and Gluten Free Living With Type I Allergies
For a woman who has lived her life with seasonal allergies it came as something of a shock that the allergies were really food sensitivities. Learning to live gluten free has been an adventure that was difficult at times and rewarding.
- Autism | Gluten-Free Diet and Children with Autism | Healing Thresholds | Connecting Community and S
Children with autism may have gastrointestinal difficulties making it hard to digest wheat, rye, oats, barley. A gluten-free diet eliminates many grains.
- Healthcare In The Twenty-first Century
The American healthcare discussion is viewed with great interest and trepidation for many Americans. Older Americans are wondering what will happen to them if access to medical care or treatment is limited or...
- Diet And Autism Research Focuses On Which Foods May Affect Autistic Behavior
Can autism be "cured" with diet? Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston embark on a double-blind study to find out if wheat and dairy products can affect autistic behavior, as some parents believe.
Many practitioners recommend a gluten (wheat) and casein (dairy) free diet for children with autism. But in the USA, wheat and dairy are everywhere! An expert shares tips on starting and managing a GFCF diet for children with autism.
- Autism Fact Sheet: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
- Sarah Palin Going Rogue
Love her or hate her, Sarah Palin cannot be ignored. From the moment she was asked to become a part of the John McCain campaign for the presidency in 2008, Sarah Palin has not been out of the spotlight for a...
- Allergies and Asthma, and Post Nasal Drip
Post nasal drip is a common cause of coughing as well as other allergies and asthma. Here are suggestions to help you control your environment and cough.
- Alzheimer's A Fast Growing Disease
Alzheimer's has become the fastest growing disease in the country as the Baby Boomer population enters the golden years. During the next two years the oldest members of this group will turn age 65. At present...
- Get The Facts About Pernicious Anemia
Pernicious Anemia is a little known disease that afflicts many people in the United States and around the world. In 1996 approximately 399,455 people were living with pernicious anemia. That translates to...
- Pros and Cons About Getting Swine Flu Shot
Four versions of the H1N1 vaccine have been approved by the FDA. These vaccines are expected to become available in early October. These versions are: Sanofi Pasteurs injected vaccine: Approved for...
- Can Peanuts, Honey, and Dates Be Part of a Diabetic Diet
Nutrition planning can be confusing when juggling carbs, calories, and cholesterol on a diabetic diet. Many people believe that there are foods that must be banned from your diabetic diet. A common...
More by this Author
What’s wrong with me? My nose runs. Drainage slides down the back of my throat. I cough till my belly feels like it is turning inside out. I heave and heave and nothing comes up! What is wrong with me? If you have...
Pernicious Anemia is a blood disorder that doctors rarely test for and thus is considered to be a rare blood disease that may be detected by a blood test for B12 (Cobalamin) level.
Blood feuds have been around for millenia. While we are familiar with the Hatfields and McCoys, we do not understand that much of our international infighting is based on ancient dislikes and prejudices.