Autism Speaks is closely monitoring developments around COVID coronavirus and have developed resources for the autism community. Please enter your location to help us display the correct information for your area. How do I know when to take him off? Much has been said about the gluten free, casein free GFCF diet and its use to help individuals with autism. The GFCF diet was first developed for people with celiac disease, a disorder that involves a severe reaction to gluten in the diet. Gluten is found in wheat products such as bread and other bakery goods but also in a wide variety of other food products. Casein is a protein most associated with dairy products and also has potential to cause severe reactions in certain individuals. When used appropriately, the GFCF diet is safe and can help avoid these severe health problems. The theory behind its use in autism is that if a person is having GI responses to these products, the resulting inflammation may damage the lining of the intestine and, so, lead to absorption of molecules that are not normally absorbed by healthy intestines. Some evidence suggests that these molecules or the inflammation they cause can interact with the brain in ways that cause problems such as anxiety, mood abnormalities, mental difficulties and perhaps worsen the behavioral symptoms of autism.
By Kelley L. Parents of children with autism often feel a sense of urgency to find a treatment that will help their children realize their fullest potential and live an independent life. This sometimes makes families anxious to try new treatments that tout promising claims, and makes them impatient to wait on scientific evidence to support these claims. Additionally, Perrin et al. The exact etiology of autism is still unknown, leading researchers to consider many possible factors, diet being one. Food restriction as a strategy for changing behavior is not new, with research dating back to the s. Panksepp proposed that symptoms of autism may be due to excessive opioid activity. Shattock and Whiteley proposed that children with autism have abnormal leakage from their gut due to increased intestinal permeability.
Download a PDF of this article. The gluten and casein free diet is one of the most researched dietary therapies used with autistic people. There is a subset of autistic children with gut problems who may benefit from a trial of a gluten and casein free diet. These results are consistent with other anecdotal reports and surveys worldwide Whitely et al , Knivsburg et al , Whiteley et al Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley and foods made from them, for example bread, pasta, biscuits and breakfast cereals. Casein is a protein found in cow, goat and sheep milks and foods made from them, for example cream, yoghurt and cheese. This article is based on clinical experience and discusses both some of the factors that can cause gastrointestinal problems, and important considerations when deciding whether to trial a gluten and casein free diet. This is supported with a case study which illustrates how a gluten and casein free diet can be beneficial for some individuals. Further research is needed as studies have been inconclusive Whitely, Gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, diarrhoea and a bloated stomach are quite common in autistic people and can affect their mood. There is not enough evidence to recommend the gluten and casein-free diet for all autistic people but some do report feeling better when following it.