Link Demonstrated between Child Psychiatric Disorders and Gluten Sensitivity



     Recent research is now indicating that there may be a link between Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other developmental and child psychiatric disorders and an allergy or sensitivity to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye, and wheat, and it is estimated that millions of Americans have a sensitivity or allergy to it. Gluten intolerance can affect the entire body, leading to a variety of troubling physical as well as mental symptoms.

     Upon a change in diet, various developmental disorders have been documented to lessen in some cases. Some of the disorders the symptoms for which were relieved are autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), non-verbal learning disorder (NLD), and pervasive development disorder (PDD).

     These studies which link gluten intolerance to autism and other child mental disorders have noted that gluten-sensitive children will also display physical symptoms such as bloating, frequent gas, constipation, diarrhea, dark shadows under the eyes, excessive sweating, and pale skin. These physical problems can clue parents into whether their autistic or ADHD child may have a gluten allergy.

     So what can you do if you suspect that your child has a gluten allergy? Thankfully, a gluten allergy can be confirmed with a simple blood test. Also, gluten can also be eliminated from the diet and then the child observed for improvement. It is important to check with your doctor before significantly changing the child’s diet.

Tina Turbin

Posted in Children's Author, Children's Health, Education, General, gluten-free, healthy eating, Helpful Tips, moms, parenting, Research

26 Responses to Link Demonstrated between Child Psychiatric Disorders and Gluten Sensitivity

  1. Nancy says:

    Wow, this is a wonderful post here. How many so-called psychiatric disorders I wonder could be caused by food allergies or malnutrition?

  2. Caitlin says:

    Tina I’m SO glad to see this. Before my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease, I was told by her teachers and administrators that she probably had Turrets and ADHD and how I needed to put her on medication. I knew my daughter was totally mentally stable, she just had troubles concentrating and would get antsy sometimes. Plus I don’t trust medications that are classed in the same category as cocaine. Turns out of course it was CD all along. I hope other parents see how important checking for food and gluten issues is instead of believing your child has a mental disorder.

  3. Jessica says:

    This is very interesting to note. It really makes you wonder how much of these disorders may have a food issue behind it. After all, psychiatrists don’t even have testing for things like “chemical imbalances.” It seems much more conclusive to get blood testing and see what nutrients your child is lacking or what he’s sensitive too.

  4. Jessa Shereshevsky says:

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this, Tina!

  5. Sarah Ann says:

    Thanks Tina for sharing this. I knew one woman who had depression for 2 years before she got a celiac diagnosis. 6 months after the gluten free diet she was totally better!

  6. Mary Beth says:

    I’m really interested in this topic. I wonder what other sensitivities may be behind in children not performing well in school or having behavioral problems…

  7. Dana says:

    I’ve heard that inability to concentrate and irritability or behavioral problems is in fact one of the listed symptoms of celiac disease in children!

  8. Tabitha says:

    Yes behavioral and irritability issues are definitely symptoms of CD in children.

  9. Amanda Thompson says:

    I am happy to see this post. I know there are a lot of mental symptoms associated with celiac disease, and a woman I knew used to be depressed until she got diagnosed and cut out gluten. It was an amazing transformation.

  10. Sandy Sylmar says:

    I forgot how extraordinary your blog was. I was overwhelmed with work and just stopped going online, and now that I can read your blogs again I’m so happy. This is some great advice out there for parents AND teachers!!!

  11. Mollie says:

    Hey, I am fairly new to your blog and I couldn’t help but leave a comment saying I’m so pleased to hear that you are encouraging people look into other causes for children’s mental illnesses rather than giving them medication. Much of the medication is actually dangerous and the side effects unknown. Meanwhile children with other issues, such as malnutrition or celiac disease, continue to suffer without being diagnosed.

  12. Greta says:

    So interesting. I’ll keep this in mind. Wish more teachers and administrators had access to information like this.

  13. Flora says:

    Very interesting! I’ve heard a little bit about this myself and it seems to really make sense.

  14. Holly says:

    Thanks Tina for this interesting read! Really makes you think!

  15. Sasha says:

    This seems very reasonable and I’m glad to see something like this that makes you think about things in different way.

  16. Teresa says:

    It seems that there could be all sorts of underlying reasons behind kids “mental disorders.” Some kids have trouble in school and act out because they don’t understand their schoolwork, some kids have problems in the home, etc. It seems that before we ever consider that our child has a real disorder, we should see what is causing it, such as gluten issues or celiac disease.

  17. Denise Chappell says:

    Good to know! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  18. Lisa Benardi says:

    It’s great to get this other perspective on children’s disorders. Thank you.

  19. Judith says:

    This is something I’ve been telling people for years. It just doesn’t make sense to give children DRUGS when there’s no actual testing for mental disorders that show it’s physical in nature and can be cured through physical means. At the same time, allergies and deficiencies can be tested for and easily treated.

  20. Jackie says:

    Hi, Tina, my son Logan is a very big Danny fan and I just wanted to say thanks for your delightful blog with important issues such as this one.

  21. Sharon Silvers says:

    I’d really like to hear more about this subject!

  22. Cheryl says:

    Hmmm really makes you think twice about trusting advice from “professionals”…Always get second or third opinions!

  23. Nori says:

    Hi, Tina, this sounds like something that really interests a lot of people and that makes me glad because it’s been a concern of mine for quite some time. I can’t wait to see more research in this area.

  24. Mandy Lewise says:

    I recommend people check out Tina’s blogs on hyperactivity and food coloring from late December:

  25. Veronica says:

    Wow glad to hear your viewpoint too. There are definitely many behavioral symptoms associated with celiac disease.

  26. Fran Wysse says:

    Just wanted to add that other food allergies are linked to disorders such as ADHD and Autism. Also celiac adults can experience depression.

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