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October 29, 2012

Casein and Gluten Free Diet: Can They Help Children Suffering from Autism?

kids-autism-vegetarianAutism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a very commonly observed developmental disorder that affects children below three years. Leading to impairment in certain social and communication skills, autism has become one of the most challenging problems in the world because the exact cure for it is yet to be determined. It’s caused mainly due to inadequate diet, changes in digestive tract and mercury poisoning. The problem can lead to serious complications in a child. Hence, it is extremely crucial to find a way to fight this problem that is eating into the innocence of childhood.

Casein & Gluten: the Harmful Proteins

According to recent findings, researchers have found a possible solution to the problem of autism. It entails the consumption of a gluten and casein free diet. Gluten is normally avoided by people with gastrointestinal disorders but studies have now proven its worth even for curing the problem of autism. Gluten and casein are both common proteins found in some of the common food items. Gluten is found mainly in grains like barley and rye, whereas dairy products like cream, cheese etc. are shown to be rich in casein. The benefits of a diet free of these compounds have attracted a lot of attention from researchers all over the world.

Benefits of Casein and Gluten Free Diet for Autism Patients

Our body works in strange ways and hence it is necessary for us to analyze and understand these reactions and strange functioning of our body in order to avoid complications and to cure disorders. The studies conducted by the Autism Research Institute in the United States have proved the benefits of the gluten free, casein free (GFCF) diet for children suffering from autism.

1) Reducing Abnormal Protein Processing

Children with autism are generally found to be highly sensitive to food items with such proteins because of the way they get processed in their body. These proteins are not treated by the brain normally and usually lead to abnormal social behavior. Thus, giving a GFCF diet would reduce such abnormal processing of the proteins and can actually lead to improved symptoms and behavior.

2) Reduced By-Product Formation

Scientists have explored that the presence of these proteins in the diet of a child suffering from autism can lead to the production of byproducts called Casomorphines that lead to the blockage in pain messages and can even cause problems in normal social interactions. The formation of these byproducts can be eliminated by using a GFCF diet for the children.

What should be done?

Though there is no concrete data or evidence to prove the significance and benefits of using a GFCF diet for children with autism, it has come to the fore as a ray of hope for innumerable parents around the globe. Doctors suggest the use of such diets in order to maintain the well being of such children. The supermarkets are filled with food options that don’t contain gluten and casein that can be used instead of regular products. Yes, it may become slightly more expensive to use gluten free products but at the end of it, good health of your children is any day more significant than money.

Catherine Bert is the author of this post. Along with providing tips related to health care and medical for children, she supports CHAI, which runs Maternal and child health programs to help people gain access to essential medicines and health services.

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