Autism is a disorder that is causing more and more concern in the U.S., provoking much research and debate. Recently, various studies, particularly those conducted in the field of alternative medicine, have suggested that there may be a link between autism and food allergies, specifically to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Researchers are showing that allergies may be responsible for causing or worsening autism.
Autism is a disorder that affects cognitive development and functioning in children, leading to problems with social interaction, communication skills, and behavior patterns. Until recently, autism was thought to be genetic, but now studies are showing that there may be environmental factors that influence the disease.
In the studies linking gluten allergies with autism, it has been demonstrated that these food proteins are broken down into smaller proteins (peptides) that function like narcotics in autistic, causing or worsening the symptoms of autism.
An allergic reaction to gluten can affect the entire body, leading to a variety of both physical and mental symptoms. Many of the mental symptoms, such as “brain fog,” are often mistakenly associated with children’s psychiatric disorders. Studies have shown that whereas gluten-intolerant adults are afflicted more usually with physical rather than mental symptoms, gluten-intolerant children more often suffer from the mental rather than physical symptoms of gluten sensitivity.
The remedy for gluten intolerance is a gluten-free diet. Parents with gluten-intolerant children find that shortly after cutting gluten from a gluten-intolerant child’s diet, a mental change is quite noticeable. The cognitive difficulties, odd or antisocial behavior, communication problems, and difficulties in school rapidly disappear.