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Autistic Spectrum Disorders and food sensitivity
Within the autistic community there is a body of children (and, increasingly, adults) whose condition can be affected by their diet. This group appears to consist mainly of those with regressive autism (who only became affected by the condition around the age of two) and those whose neurological and behavioural problems are accompanied by severe digestive problems often including intractable constipation.
These children appear to be unable to metabolise, or digest, some of the major food proteins - gluten and casein in particular. (Gluten is the glue-like protein that is found in wheat and many grains, widely used in food manufacturing; casein is one of the proteins found in milk, also widely used in food manufacturing.) Instead of being processed by the digestion in the normal way, the gluten and casein appear only to be partially metabolised, turning into morphine like substances which escape through the ‘leaky’ wall of the gut into the blood stream and thence to the brain.
Because the digestive system is not functioning properly, these people are also unable to dispose of, or excrete, many of the chemicals found either in their food or their environment. The chemical additives, colourings and sweeteners found in food can therefore also affect their condition.
Diets which exclude many or all of these substances have been found to be effective for some of these children - and adults. For some the improvements have been significant, but not earth shattering. But for some children the diet has been totally successful and what appeared to be a profoundly autistic child has become, and remained, ‘normal’ as long as he or she remained on the diet..
Some other helpful websites focusing on diet:
Divorce when autistic children are involved. Helpful pointers from a Californina attorney. April 2017
Taking autistic children to the dentist. Advice on minimising the trauma of dentist visits for autistic children. April 2017
Nutritional and dietary approaches to the management of autism – Dr Janice Joneja. November 2014
Autistic 7-year-old significantly improved by Faecal Microbiota Transplants used to combat his Clostridium difficile infection and chronic constipation. June 2014
An extract, by Paul Whiteley of ESPA Research, from a new book, Autism: exploring the benefits of a gluten- and casein-free diet. A practical guide for families and professionals by Paul Whiteley, Mark Earnden & Elouise Robinson. May 2014
The essential diet for children with autism - a very helpful diet article by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride on the Autism File website. May 2012
Hyperbaric oxygen and inflammation – Jane Dean explains how it can also be used to treat allergy and, maybe, even autism. April 2012
Surfing proves to be very helpful for autistic children - watch the interview
A helpful article from Suite 101 on MSG - one of the main ingredients to be avoided on the glute/casein-free diet for autism. 2009
Report on Secretin in the treatment of autism: Brief report on the new use of Secretin’s positive effects on autistic patients – Latitudes 1999
First Published 1999Top of page
Unexpected improvement in core autism spectrum disorder symptoms after long-term treatment with probiotics.
Can broccoli extract really help autism? October 2014
A first-ever vaccine created by researchers for gut bacteria common in autistic children may also help control some autism symptoms. April 2013
New research suggests that the area of the brain that controls social behaviour is not as damaged in adolescents with ASD as was previously believed and, by playing to their strengths – high intelligence and very specific interests – these adolescents are as capable of forging strong friendships. 09/12
Oxytocin - a naturally occurring substance produced in the brain and body - increases brain function in regions that are known to process social information in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). 05/12
Giving children with autism greater opportunity to control and add content of their own to the games they play could improve their ability to socially interact – although the fact that the interactivity is currently activated by wifi is unfortunate as the cell membranes in children on the spectrum are a third thinner than neurotypical children so wifi technology is not suitable for them to use. (Courtesy Cathy Stastny) 02/12
Children on the autistic spectrum may be fussy eaters but do not appear to suffer nutritionally
Chelation therapy helps excretion of heavy metals and overall symptoms in children with autism
Guernsey milk and autism
Toxic metals and autism
The Lyme-Autism connection
DMG and autism
Enzyme modification reverses autism in mice
Probiotics and autism
A hug a day keeps anxiety at bay
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