What does diet have to do with behavior?
In the research study below, a case is presented of a 5-year-old boy diagnosed with severe autism at a specialty clinic for autistic spectrum disorders. After initial investigation suggested underlying celiac disease and varied nutrient deficiencies, a gluten-free diet was instituted along with dietary and supplemental measures to secure nutritional sufficiency.
The patient’s gastrointestinal symptoms rapidly resolved, and signs and symptoms suggestive of autism progressively abated. This case is an example of a common malabsorption syndrome associated with central nervous system dysfunction and suggests that in some contexts, nutritional deficiency may be a determinant of developmental delay. It is recommended that all children with neurodevelopmental problems be assessed for nutritional deficiency and malabsorption syndromes.
Another research study found a strong correlation with autism and intestinal permeability – AKA leaky gut syndrome. The conclusion of the study is below:
The results obtained support the leaky gut hypothesis and indicate that measuring IPT (intestinal permeability)could help to identify a subgroup of patients with autism who could benefit from a gluten-free diet. The IPT alterations found in first-degree relatives suggest the presence of an intestinal (tight-junction linked) hereditary factor in the families of subjects with autism.
J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010 Oct;51(4):418-24.
Gluten Free Society’s Stance
This is a great case study example of gluten associated autism. The authors make an excellent recommendation in testing all children with abnormal neurodevelopment for nutritional deficiencies and malabsorption related diseases. This type of testing can be performed by Spectracell laboratories in Houston, TX – www.spectracell.com You can use the labs physician finder to identify which doctors in your area are capable of performing this testing.
What to Do If Your Child Has Been Diagnosed With Autism
- Test for both gluten and dairy sensitivity immediately. It would also be prudent to test for other food allergens.
- Remove sugar and artificial dyes from their diet.
- Remove processed foods from their diet.
- Stop any treatments (dental or medical) that introduce mercury into the body. Vaccination and flu shot are common sources.
- Test for vitamin and mineral deficiencies – especially B-vitamins. The bodies production of neurotransmitters (chemicals that allow proper communication in the nervous system) is largely dependent on vitamin B-6, folate, B-12, B-5, B-1, zinc, copper, magnesium, omega fatty acids, and vitamin C.
It is also important to remember that gluten has been shown in numerous research studies to damage nerve tissue. Anyone with neurological illness of unknown origin should be genetically tested for gluten sensitivity.
All the best,
Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior
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