Archive for July 31st, 2008

A Diet that Helps Autism

There are many ideas regarding how to treat autism, and since each individual with autism is unique, the treatments that work on each individual are unique and different for them only.

There is one treatment that has been getting quite a bit of attention lately.  This treatment is called the autism diet and it is basically a wheat-free and casein-free diet.  What proponents of the diet say is that since they have used this diet to deal with their children’s autism symptoms, the children have become calmer, less hyper and have experienced less meltdowns.

Gluten is a protein that is found in various grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats, and it also holds breads together and softens them.  Casein is also a protein and it is found in dairy foods, for example, it is found in cheese and it makes the cheese melt.

Many doctors feel that these two proteins help calm the brain of an individual with autism, the way an opiate would calm a person who took it for pain.  For some reason it seems that these proteins do not get totally digested and, as a result, can have an effect on the brain, very possibly changing how some children with autism think and how they act and react.

When studies were done on laboratory animals and the animals were injected with these proteins – casein and gluten – the laboratory animals behaved like and showed symptoms of autism and/or schizophrenia. 

The idea that diet can have an effect on the symptoms of autism has been around for quite a while, however not many mainstream physicians have supported or believed it.  Biomedical experts now believe that autism is not just a behavioral issue, but also a medical and biological one, which would explain how diet could help control the symptoms.

The idea that diet can help autism is beginning to be embraced by more and more parents and physicians.  There are classes that can help parents with everything from research to recipes.  Most of all, parents are seeing changes in their kids who have autism.

Just as Lamaze took some time to be accepted and embraced some years ago, the gluten free and casein free “autism diet” may take some time, as well, however, acceptance is growing and results are favorable.  We seem to be learning more about autism and moving forward toward new discoveries every day.

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