A plethora of information is on the internet, in magazines, on the radio and television about whether or not gluten and dairy products play a role in autistic behavior. Neurotransmitters and neuroreceptors in the stomach correspond with those in the brain – this information leads folks to believe that some kids will benefit from the diet. Current research looks at the influence of gluten and milk proteins in the intestinal function. Gluten is a protein in wheat; casein and whey are proteins in milk. Serious evidence needs to be obtained about the diet and the effects it has on each individual child.
Each child on the Autism Spectrum has a different chemical makeup, thereby, certain foods and vitamins affect each child differently. One child may respond well to the diet’s vitamins, although for another, it may increase aggressive behavior. While others see an increase, over time, it steadily decreases; others may plateau to the point of the behavior entirely diminishing. Although some children do benefit from this diet, other children have significant changes in behavior or personality, and may even gain or lose weight. If you are thinking of putting your child on a diet or on vitamin therapy, consult with a nutritionist before starting therapy.
Many children have gastrointestinal problems such as constipation and diarrhea. One of the hallmark signs of Autism is rigidity – in routines, foods, activities, and transitions. For children, having a rigid diet is one of those routines that they do not want changed. Many of them do not get the needed nutrients from a variety of foods, therefore, they are not receiving the benefits intended with a well-rounded diet. Some children will only eat salty, crunchy foods, while others will only eat foods that are red and round. Whether these problems are linked to brain development is a question that is being researched.
Children with Autism also have a flavor for objects and items that are not foods – such as chemicals – glass cleaner, dusting spray, soap, lead paint, dirt, metal, etc. Something in their body is either lacking or missing altogether, which is why the body is seeking to replace what is lost. This is similar to you craving something salty, if your body is lacking salt, then you find yourself craving products such as condiments or meats high in salt. Does the diet eliminate this craving?
Vitamin therapies include combinations of Vitamin B and magnesium as they produce improved performance and attention, and decrease bad behaviors. Dramatic improvement occurs after a child is free from chemical additives and allergenic foods eliminated from the diet. Some diets are comprised of 50-75% raw foods (not including raw meats). No junk foods, sugar or white flour products are given, and only steam -distilled water is given to drink. Choline, DMG, magnesium plus calcium, vitamin B complex plus niacinamide, B3, B5, and Vitamin C are the most important supplements to help improve brain function and circulation to the brain. DMG is an oxygen carrier to the brain, important for normal brain and nervous system function.
There are other types of cleansing and fasting diets and treatments to rid the body of chemicals, but as always, please check with your doctor before starting any diet program. Remember – your DNA is much different than your Autistic son or daughter’s DNA. What may not work for them, may work for you. Do not try their drugs or supplements, in the dosages their doctors prescribe for them. You trying their therapy and drugs is NOTan indication of how well the diet will work for them.