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Gluten Free, Casein Free (GFCF) Diet for Autism – How Does It Help?

Posted on 27 October 2009 by admin

We talk a lot about the gluten and casein free diet for children on the Autism spectrum and there are a couple of reasons why. One is that it is a tried and true remedy. There is statistical data that has been accumulated over the past number of years that has shown for a wide variety of kids, upwards of 65%-75%, report a positive improvement as a result of implementing the gluten and casein free diet. This improvement can be seen in better eye contact, better language skills, more attention, better focusing, better awareness environmentally and an overall improvement in health and particularly bowel function just by implementing the basic gluten and casein free diet. Now what is gluten and what is casein? Gluten is a protein found in wheat and casein is a protein found in dairy and in this case we are talking about cow dairy. Other types of grains, rye, barley, etc. will also have gluten like substances which means when you are on a gluten free diet you need to eliminate these as well. With casein you are essentially eliminating cow dairy for most kids. There is a chemical effect that gluten and casein can have that is apart from the immune system so much that you might be thinking about a food allergy or food sensitivity. But there is something called a peptide effect where the particular type of protein or a sequence of amino acids called a peptide that is found within these chemicals. This chemical structure looks really very similar to some of the opiate chemicals in the body. That is why they refer to the peptide of gluten as gluteomorphine and the peptide of casein as casomorphine because they look similar to morphine. Gluten and casein can have a drug-like effect like morphine or other opiate chemicals. We know that this peptide effect can have a direct impact on brain chemistry which affects attention, focusing, concentration, language skills, etc. So when you remove gluten and casein from your child’s diet, you are removing them not just because there is an allergic sensitivity. You are removing gluten and casein because chemically they have an adverse neurological effect on these kids. You are removing gluten and casein to remove that drug like effect with the hopes that it helps in the areas of attention, focusing, eye contact, environmental awareness, etc. The gluten and casein free diet is a very important part of an early biomedical intervention and something you can implement on your own. It can be quite helpful with respects to your child’s overall ability to function and to get them on the road to health and wellness.

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