Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders


Why Some AS Children Benefit from a Gluten & Casein Free Diet

"I have a recently diagnosed son and have just joined this site. Why all the talk about a gluten free and casein free diet for children with AS? Just curious."

There is a body of research that suggests that diet can affect a child's behavior. Allergic reactions to certain foods and sensitivities can make it worthwhile to monitor your son's diet and his reaction or subsequent behavior. Gluten and casein are two ingredients that are getting a lot of attention in the autism community.

Some parents, doctors and researchers say that children with Aspergers (AS) and High-Functioning Autism have shown mild to dramatic improvements in speech and/or behavior after these substances were removed from their diet. Some parents report no benefits from the diet.

Gluten and gluten-like proteins are found in wheat and other grains, including oats, rye, barley, bulgur, durum, kamut and spelt, and foods made from those grains. They are also found in food starches, semolina, couscous, malt, some vinegars, soy sauce, flavorings, and artificial colors and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.

Casein is a protein found in milk and products containing milk, such as cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, whey and even some brands of margarine. It also may be added to non-milk products such as soy cheese and hot dogs in the form of caseinate.

The theory is that some kids with autism and PDD can't properly digest gluten and casein. As a result, this may alter the child's behavior, perceptions, and responses to his environment. Research in the U.S. and Europe has found substances with opiate activity in the urine of a significant number of children with autism. A doctor can order a urinary peptide test that can tell if proteins are not being digested properly in a child.


Caren Tarvin said...

Unfortunately, most of the "research" was by noted fraud and former doctor Andrew Wakefield, the same charlatan that claimed vaccines caused autism while trying to promote his own MMR vaccine. As his fellow scientists failed to duplicate any of his vaccine results, he switched to his "leaky gut" theory, which is also backed by no real science.

Wakefield taints the entire process, but there's no reason your child might not have food intolerances or be especially sensitive. My HF Aspie son is extremely sensitive to temperature--and it's not just in his head. He turns bright red in temperatures that aren't adversely affecting the rest of the family.

Avoiding all dairy or gluten is difficult, but becoming easier. The best way to see if it helps is to try it out for a couple weeks. If your child shows improvement, go for it.

integratedlife said...

Andrew Wakefield was not trying to promote an alternate MMR vaccine he was crucified for stumbling across and daring to question the presence of the live measles virus found in so many AS kids... That said he is far from the main source of research done on gut health and AS as well as a number of mental health behaviours and phenomenon including schizophrenia and bipolar all of which have been known to respond well to an adjustment in diet as well as elimination of gluten and or casein. dr Natasha McBride and the book The Gut and Psychology Syndrome would be where I would start however there are many many more to review from there.

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