Can Gluten and Wheat Free Diets Help Fight Autism?

by Guest Author on October 6,


Can Gluten and Wheat free diets help fight Autism?Can Gluten and Wheat free diets help fight Autism? The number of children diagnosed with autism this year will be about 1 in every 250. That rate is expected to increase by as much as 10 percent per year in the future. With so many children being affected by this disorder parents and physicians are anxiously seeking better ways to treat and prevent this condition.

The cause of autism is elusive and results from orthodox treatments are inconsistent. Some parents, however, are seeing positive outcomes by providing their children gluten and casein free diets.

A Mother talks about Diet and Autism

Actress Jenny McCarthy wrote a book called Louder than Words that focuses on her son Evan’s experience with autism. In the book she discusses his diagnosis and her quest for answers about the condition.

Ms. McCarthy says a combination of therapy, medications, supplements and a gluten and casein free diet has helped Evan win his battle with autism. Though he previously only communicated a single word at a time he now conducts normal conversations while keeping eye contact with the person to whom he is speaking. According to his mother, Evan is now a normal, happy child.

Should You Put Your Autistic Child on a Gluten/Casein Free Diet?

No one knows for sure why the elimination of gluten, a protein often found in some grains, and casein, a protein in dairy products, has such a positive impact on children with autism. It is speculated, however, that those two elements may have a morphine-like effect on certain youngsters.

It’s been discovered that many children with autism have what’s known as leaky guts. That means the membranes of their intestines are weakened and allow peptides that have been broken down from digested gluten and casein to escape into their bloodstreams.

When that happens, children can react in one of two ways: they may go into a zombie-like state or they may lose self-control. Research has not reached any solid conclusions about why gluten/casein free diets may have such positive results for some autistic children. They are not yet certain why the modified diet really works or if it is a long term solution to the problem.

If you are searching for ways to help a child with autism, however, this is a safe remedy to try and a number of people swear it has proven to be the best treatment regime they’ve found. There are excellent substitutes available for both gluten and casein so there is no danger that your child will become malnourished.

If you decide to try it, one warning is to wean children under the age of 5 off the gluten and casein gradually. In very young children a sudden stoppage of these foods could create a withdrawal-like effect and make symptoms worse. Start by removing one food product at a time until all sources of gluten and casein have been eliminated from their diet. Follow the new diet for a minimum of six months to see what results develop.

This diet is inherently healthy with no harmful side effects. Although you may choose to have your autistic child tested for leaky gut syndrome it isn’t really necessary. There is no danger in having your child follow the diet and see if there are positive results.

Numerous parents report that their children are overcoming the symptoms of autism when they stick to this diet. They say their children’s communication has improved significantly, they are functioning at higher levels, and they interact more frequently with other people.

The medical community is taking note of these positive results and many physicians are now recommending a gluten and casein free diet for autistic patients. Although it is too soon to guarantee this regime is a cure for autism, the outlook is certainly positive.

About the Author: Ruthanne Matalka has an autistic son and found his symptoms are better controlled when he eats a balanced diet. She currently works in dietary services in her local hospital and hopes to go to school to become an ultrasound technician. Visit for valuable insight into this rewarding career path.


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