Autism and Gluten

Autism and Gluten

Studies have shown Autism can be aided by a gluten free and casein free diet (GFCF Diet). In US, many physicians are prescribing this GFCF diet to children with Autism with some degree of success in 8 out of 10 autistic children. The "Defeat Autism Now!" Protocol recommends that every autistic child be placed on a gluten-free, casein-free diet for at least 3 months.

From personal experience, we recommend a trial of six to twelve months initial period to get rid of the gluten within the body. Getting started can be difficult and tricky. The understanding of foods and products with gluten is a learning process. Trial and error, endless sourcing for products and possible cross contamination in a shared kitchen does not help either. But with determination, you will see the rewards and vast improvement of your child. We sincerely encourage parents to give it a try.

How is Gluten Free and Casein Free Diets related to Autism?

Gluten and Casein are both proteins. Gluten is a protein fraction found in all wheat, rye, barley, and most oat products. Casein is a protein fraction found in all dairy products. To most Autistic children, gluten and casein are the equivalent of poison. They leak into the gut, undigested, and attach to the opiate receptors of the autistic's brain. Essentially, many autistic children are "drugged" on wheat and milk products, as if they were on a morphine drip.
Although parents have been reporting a connection between autism and diet for decades, there is now a growing body of research that shows certain foods affect the developing brains of some children and causing autistic behaviour. This is not a result of allergies, but because many children are unable to break down certain proteins effectively.

Researchers in England, Norway, and the University of Florida had previously found peptides (breakdown products of proteins) with opiate activity in the urine amongst a high percentage of autistic children. Opiates are drugs, like morphine, which affect brain function. Recently, these findings have also been confirmed by researchers at Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. The two main perpetrators seem to be gluten (the protein in wheat, oats, rye and barley) and casein (milk protein.)

Gluten And Wheat can be additive

"But milk and wheat are the only two foods my child will eat. His diet is completely comprised of milk, cheese, cereal, pasta, and bread. If I take these away, I'm afraid he'll starve," were the comments issued by an anonymous mother in an interview with Karyn Seroussi for the Autism Network for Dietary Intervention.
Karyn responded, "There may be a good reason your child "self-limits" to these foods. Opiates, like opium, are highly addictive. If this "opiate excess" explanation applies to your child, then he is actually addicted to those foods containing the offending proteins. Although it seems as if your child will starve if you take those foods away, many parents report that after an initial "withdrawal" reaction, their children become more willing to eat other foods. After a few weeks, many children surprise their parents by further broadening their diets.

Milk is essential for a child

Many believe that milk is essential to good health and many parents seem to believe that it is their duty to feed their children as much cow's milk as possible. However, lots of perfectly healthy children do very well without it. Cow's milk has been called "the world's most overrated nutrient" and "fit only for baby cows." There is even evidence that the cow hormone present in dairy actually blocks the absorption of calcium in humans. Removing dairy will mean the removal of ALL milk, butter, cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, etc. It also includes product ingredients such as "casein" and "whey," or even words containing the word "casein." Read labels - items like bread and tuna fish often contain milk products. Even soy cheese usually contains casein.

Many are willing to try removing dairy products from their child's diet, but could not remove gluten. It seems like a lot of work and complicates our already busy lifestyle. Many people wonder if this is really necessary. For certain children, these foods are toxic to their brains. For some, removing gluten may be far more important than removing dairy products. It is possible that for this subgroup of people with autism, eating these foods is actually damaging the developing brain.

Most common rewards after switching to GFDF diet are better awareness, better sleeping patterns, improvements in behavioural issues and a broadening of dietary choices.

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