Could some cases of autism really be celiac disease?Posted on January 5th, 2010 by Alison Read 6 Comments - Add Your Own »
There is controversy about whether or not a gluten-free and casein-free diet can “cure” autism. My personal opinion is that anyone who has a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder should try the diet. I am not saying it will be easy — but what if your child’s condition could be improved, or yes, even “cured” by changing what he eats? As someone who experienced radical changes in my health, both physical and mental, by eliminating gluten, I can’t help but believe that many autistic children would also benefit from dietary intervention.
If you want to know about how autism could really be undiagnosed celiac disease, click on the link to an article in the Journal of Child Neurology. The article, “Celiac disease presenting as autism,” discusses the case of a 5 year-old severely autistic boy who actually had underlying celiac disease. It was the nutritional deficiencies caused by celiac disease that led to his neurological problems. The authors of the article explain how nutritional deficiencies can cause certain behaviors.
In one paragraph, they state: “The brain is a biological organ that requires complex interaction of numerous biochemical nutrients to carry out physiological processes. Emerging evidence confirms that deficiency of assorted nutrients such as folate, vitamin D, or essential fatty acids may impair various biological processes required for normal metabolic and neurological functioning. Just like digestion and respiration, moods and thoughts have biochemical substrates; deficiency of nutrients required to carry out biological functions in the brain may result in neuropsychiatric syndromes like autism, characterized by disordered moods, thoughts, and behaviors.”
It makes sense!
This particular article references only one boy, but you can find many personal stories about the successes of the gfcf diet in treating autism in the Success Stories on gfcfdiet.com.
Another important thing to remember is that many people who test negative on the blood tests for celiac disease may still have a gluten sensitivity. I don’t believe that anyone should rule out a gluten-free diet just because of a negative blood test. That goes for everyone with symptoms or health issues, not just autistic children.