Does Gluten Free/Casein Free Diet Really Help Autism?
Many in the medical community debate the effects of a gluten free/casein free diet on autistic kids, but I fail to see why. Story after story documents the enormous changes that parents see in their autistic children when their diets are altered. Even those of us with gluten sensitive kids who don’t have autism often see improvements in focus, memory, energy and general physical and mental well being when we change our children’s diets. For some reason, studies continue to differ on the benefits of this type of diet on autism.
Click here to read a May 19th ABC News article that cites a new study that reports NO easing of gastrointestinal or behavioral symptoms for autistic children on a gluten free/casein free diet.
However, Louise and Matt Babbitt will tell you that the studies, whether they recommend or deny that a GF diet helps autistic kids, are irrelevant when it comes to their son Noah.
Noah could not communicate and would not make eye contact. “Once Noah was diagnosed, his parents started researching his form of autism and discovered one theory that called for autistic children to be on a gluten and dairy free diet. Researchers believed the wheat and the protein from dairy has some kind of effect on the development of an autistic brain. “
The Babbitts put Noah on this diet just after his third birthday. The results were “phenomenal.”
“Both Louise and Matt realized how important it is to keep Noah on a strict gluten and dairy free diet. Last summer they went to an ice cream store that served dairy free ice, but they forgot to bring a gluten free cone with them. Louise told Noah not to eat the cone and never really thought anything of it.
“Being a child and forgetting, Noah ate the cone and within 15 minutes they “had lost all communication” with him. “
“Now, at five and a half years old and in senior kindergarten at St. Anthony’s School, Noah has a full vocabulary and many friends in his class. Although he excels beyond his peers in math and reading, Noah’s teacher and parents decided it would be best to keep him in with kids his own age to keep his social skills developing.”
The Autism Society of America takes the position that “Individuals with ASD may exhibit low tolerance or allergies to certain foods or chemicals. While not a specific cause of autism, these food intolerances or allergies may contribute to behavioral issues. “
“Research in the U.S. and England has found elevated levels of certain peptides in the urine of children with ASD, suggesting the incomplete breakdown of peptides from foods that contain gluten and casein. Gluten is found in wheat, oats and rye, and casein in dairy products. The incomplete breakdown and the excessive absorption of peptides may cause disruption in biochemical and neuroregulatory processes in the brain, affecting brain functions.”
The Autism Society recommends removing gluten and casein from the diets of children with Autism.
Can a Gluten Free Diet Help Autism? by Dr Hirani
The reasons why a GF diet works for 3 out of 4 patients that Dr. Hirani treats.