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Friday, May 29, 2009

Casein Free and Gluten Free Diet: Affect on Children with Autism and ADHD

1. What is a casein free diet?
A casein free diet is where dairy (protein) is removed or any other food product containing casein.
Fortified cereals, ice cream, processed meats, salad dressings are just a few of the foods that could contain casein. In order to know for sure if a particular food contains casein be sure to read the label. It sometimes is not obvious that the particular food item contains dairy product or casein.

2. What is a gluten free diet?
A gluten free diet eliminates the wheat, barley, rye, oats, and any products made from these grains.

3. How do these products affect kids with autism?
The most studied theory is that eating or drinking milk protein leads to high levels of protein by-products, called casomorphines, in some children with autism. These by-products may then affect behavior like a drug would. Specifically, in these children, casomorphines could reduce their desire for social interaction, block pain messages, and increase confusion. If milk protein is taken out of the diet, the idea is that this will reduce the level of casomorphines, and behavior will improve as a result.

Some children with autism and ADHD experience gastrointestinal difficulties, irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, blood toxification and allergic reactions to foods.

4. What may be in dairy that may cause these problems?
About a dozen pesticide residues are commonly found in non-organic cow's milk. (The source of these pesticides, of course, is the food that the cows were given to eat.) Also commonly found are hormonal residues from hormones that were given to the cows prior to milking, as well as antibiotics. Finally, from cow's milk products like cheese, cream, or butter packaged in plastic containers, residues of the plastic itself are found in the dairy products. These residues are called packaging migrants, and they include the substances DEHP and DEHA (diethylhexyl phthalate and diethylhexyl adipate).

5. Research for Casein or Gluten Free Diets?
Autistic Spectrum and Dietary Intervention -

The most important thing to remember about any intervention is for the child to be examined by a qualified practitioner to ascertain the degree if any of intolerance to casein or gluten. Nutrition must be examined to aid in children's ability to cognitively process and self-regulate but again it depends on the child and their own particular needs.

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