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Gluten-Free and Autism


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Gluten-free Diet For Autism

Autism, a disease commonly seen in children, is aggravated by consumption of gluten as part of diet. Gluten is a certain trigger for this disease and it is scientifically proved too. Higher levels of autism are seen in children who are exposed to toxins like lead, mercury, pesticides and second hand smoke. As part of treatment of autism patients, certain nutrients such as zinc, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium are recommended. Apart from these, avoidance of gluten is also an important part of treatment for the autism patients.

Earlier when physicians recommended the gluten-free diet they believed that about three fourth of the children with autism will be benefited from it. But with time the belief has become so strong that physicians now believe that Autism could be defeated when autistic children are placed on a diet that is gluten-free and casein-free. Patients will show great improvement in 6 months of starting on such a diet, which include speech and perceptive skills.

Relation Between Gluten And Autism

Gluten is a protein which is present in grains of wheat, oats, rye and barley. To a great majority of Autistic patients, gluten is as much a poison. It kind of leaks through the gut undigested and clings to the receptors of opiates in the brain. So when children are fed on gluten products the brain is affected resulting in autistic behavior. This should not be misunderstood to be an allergic reaction, but in fact due to inability of metabolizing the gluten by autistic children.

Treating Autism By Removing Gluten From Diet

As the autistic patients do not have enough of detoxification enzymes and antioxidants, they are more prone to food chemicals such as gluten toxins. In addition, due to lower level of detoxification enzyme, it becomes difficult to break down the gluten. Treatment programs for autism require three kinds of actions including evaluating the diet rebalance the nervous system and improve the intestinal health.

Gluten-free Diet And Autism

To improve the condition of autistic child, it is important to eliminate gluten from his diet. Gluten is basically found in wheat, barley and rye grains. In addition, it is also contained in several prepared foods. Initially, it seems difficult to identify and segregate gluten containing foods. Taking a gluten-free diet can be an answer to combat autism, though it is not the cure for Autism. However, to observe the improvement in autism condition of your child, you need to follow gluten-free diet for several months together. This is because gluten already present in body takes considerable time to get removed.

Why Gluten-Free?

When an autistic child eats gluten foods, he or she reacts differently than a non-autistic child. A gluten-free diet is recommended for Autistics because most often these people suffer from intestinal disorders such as chronic gastrointestinal inflammation, poor digestion and poor absorption of nutrients. Continuous eating of gluten, that is a protein, can trigger allergic reactions.

Success Rate of Gluten-free Diet In Autism

Following a gluten-free diet for Autism shows different rate of success with different children. Some of them show immediate and notable improvement while some show only a limited improvement.

Basic Guidelines To Prepare Gluten-free Foods For Autistic Children:

  • Get A gluten-free kitchen - Consider making a gluten-free kitchen. Stock only gluten-free foods in your kitchen.

  • Get a gluten-free preparation area, gluten-free wash area and use only gluten-free products on the counter - To avoid contamination of the utensils and food, keep them separate from other utensils used for cooking traditional food. Also, rewash them immediately before you use them.

  • Search for gluten-free recipes - While preparing a gluten-free recipe, even the seasoning should be gluten-free.

  • Instead of using precooked, packaged or canned foods, use only fresh ingredients to cook the food.

It is important to have completely gluten-free approach for treating a child with autism.

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