(NaturalHealth365) The number of children ages 6 to 21 in the United States receiving special education services under the autism disability category increased 91% between 2005 to 2010. Could proper nutrition solve this growing health problem?
In speaking with parents and other practitioners, most children with autism suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) issues and gluten intolerances, so that will be our focus today.
One study states that up to 84% of children with autism suffer with GI issues.
So, what is the association between autism and gluten?
A study published in June of 2013 revealed that children with autism have elevated antibodies to gluten compared to children without autism. The research also revealed an association between the elevated antibodies and gastrointestinal problems in children with autism.
The lead researcher of the study stated the antibodies to gluten and GI symptoms point to immunologic and/or intestinal permeability abnormalities in kids with autism. This study did not establish a link between autism and celiac disease, but rather confirmed what many parents have been saying for years; their children with autism react to gluten and suffer from leaky gut.
Another study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, earlier this year, states that a gluten free diet can ameliorate core and peripheral symptoms of autism and improve the outcome in some cases of autism. The paper further states that statistically significant positive changes to symptom presentation following dietary intervention include: improved communication, improved attention and a lessening of hyperactivity.
Can gluten sensitivity and celiac disease in children with autism be prevented?
Another study published in June of 2013 discovered that colostrum could be of great benefit in preventing celiac disease. Researchers discovered that early-life nutrition coupled with human colostrum have a positive influence on the duodenal villi that might limit or prevent celiac risk with autism.
Other research mentioned in the study states that breastfeeding modulates the early exposure of the baby’s intestinal mucosa and helps to protect the gut by preventing inflammation. Breastfeeding also diminishes the passage of gluten peptides and prevents the development of celiac disease.
Gluten and casein impact more than just autism
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) published a paper that states increasingly, the exposure to gluten and to other food antigens such as casein from cow’s milk have implications in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric diseases, including autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This same paper discussed that exposure to Toxoplasma gondii is a known risk factor for the development of schizophrenia, presumably through a direct pathological effect of the parasite on brain and behavior.
A co-association of antibodies to wheat gluten and to Toxoplasma gondii in individuals with schizophrenia was uncovered, suggesting a coordinated gastrointestinal means by which T. gondii and dietary gluten might generate an immune response.
The value of going gluten free
Gluten free products have become widely available through most supermarkets and online retailers and the taste of these products has improved dramatically.
Gluten free pancakes made with coconut milk or another milk substitute is a good alternative for breakfast as are turkey bacon or chicken sausage without nitrates. Good gluten-free pizza crusts and breads are also tempting for many kids.
If you buy one your child doesn’t like don’t despair, try another brand or try making them at home for your child. In addition, fresh fruit and vegetables are a wonderful gluten free choice.
You may also want to try some digestive enzymes – which will help break down gluten and probiotics are also good additions to your supplement regime, if your child has gluten sensitivities. For a digestive enzyme, I recommend “Carbo-G” and for a probiotic – try HLC High Potency.
If you’re looking to check your enzyme levels – take a complimentary enzyme deficiency test – found on my website.
The homeopathic ‘wheat’ in different potencies has also helped many children in my practice. There are so many natural options to help our children today. At Healing 4 Soul, our motto is: We are here to educate, not medicate!
For more information about going GF, please take a look at – “Does eating gluten free and casein free help children with autism”
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About the author: Sima Ash of Healing 4 Soul is a clinical and classical homeopath and certified clinical nutritionist who utilizes a unique approach pioneered by Tinus Smits, M.D. called CEASE therapy. The aim of CEASE treatment is systematic detoxification of the causes of illness, leading to step by step improvement and restoration of health in the individual. For additional information, please visit – Healing4Soul.com. You can follow Sima on Facebook at ‘Cease Therapy California’ and through her weekly blog on NaturalHealth365.com
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