Home Life Style Autism Patients May Benefit From Adopting A Gluten-free And Casein-free Diet

Autism Patients May Benefit From Adopting A Gluten-free And Casein-free Diet

Affiliate Disclosure

In compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume the following about all links, posts, photos and other material on this website: (...)

4393

Autism Patients May Benefit From Adopting A Gluten-free And Casein-free Diet

Researchers at Penn State discovered that symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) could be improved by eliminating gluten and casein from the children's diet. The effectiveness of this kind of diet was documented using survey data from parents. Gastrointestinal symptoms and allergies are more common in children with autism spectrum disorder. Some experts believe that peptides derived from gluten or casein can trigger an immune response or may cause gastrointestinal symptoms and behavioral problems.

Child with Autism

Child with Autism

The data used in this study came from 387 parents or primary caregivers of children with ASD who completed an online survey containing 90 items regarding the child’s gastrointestinal symptoms, food allergy or suspected food sensitivities and the children’s adherence to diet. The result, published in the journal of Nutiotional Neuroscience, was that gluten-free and casein-free diets not only improved the gastrointestinal and allergy symptoms, but also increased the social behavior of these children – attention spam, language production, eye contact. The effectiveness of the gluten-free, casein-free diet is notably greater in children that associate gastrointestinal ans allergy symptoms compared to those that do not show these symptoms.

These new findings throw a different perspective on autism. Laura Cousino Klein (associate professor of bio-behavioral health and human development and family studies) suggests that autism is not only a neurological disease, but that it also involves the immune system and gastrointestinal tract: “There are strong connections between the immune system and the brain, which are mediated through multiple physiological symptoms”. Lowering the intake of gluten and casein, the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract is reduced and thus the body is more receptive to ASD therapies because the brain processes are no longer altered by the discomfort generated in this area.

The team also discovered that by eliminating all gluten and casein from the diet is more effective in improving social behaviors than just reducing their intake. Another important factor is the duration of the diet, parents who implemented the diet for less than six months reported less improvement of their children’s behavioral  symptoms. It has also been discovered that eliminating both casein and gluten is more beneficial than eliminating just one of them.

The research focused on gluten and casein because these two are the most immunoreactive, but there are also other proteins – like soy proteins – that may also have an impact on the disease’s evolution.  “A child’s skin and blood tests for gluten and casein allergies can be negative, but the child still can have a localized immune response in the gut that can lead to behavioral and psychological symptoms. When you add that in with autism you can get an exacerbation of effects,” said Klein.