For several years many parents, nutritionists, doctors and caregivers of special needs children have realized the benefits, and sometimes phenomenal results, of a gluten and casein free nutritional program for their children. Recent studies have validated the connection between a compromised intestinal tract and neurological disorders related to Autism Spectrum Disorders including Autism, ADHD, ADD, PDD as well as food allergies.
These intestinal diseases include celiac disease and phenylketonuria. Celiac disease creates severe damage to the gut wall because proteins are not broken down. These proteins create a high level of inflammation by remaining in the gut which leads to chronic and irreparable damage. With Phenylketonuria, most proteins are broken down with the exception of one remaining amino acid that the gut cannot handle, phenyl alanine. This amino acid passes through the gut wall causing irreparable damage to the central nervous system. In some cases a protein fragment known as gluteomorphine (gluten) and caseomorphine (casein) crosses the gut wall. These are very addictive opioid peptides which create food cravings as the body adjusts to higher and higher levels of this type of morphine. As the body struggles to meet the morphine-like demands of the addiction, it creates the irrational cravings of the very food that is causing the harm.
These opiates affect neurological development and lead to behavior problems, allergies, learning disorders and aberrant behavior. The breakdown in the gut function also compromises the body’s ability to combat yeast and bacteria. This sets the field for chronic ear infections as well as the inability to absorb nutrients.
Just given this brief information on gluten and casein helps many people understand the profound benefits that a gluten-free casein-free nutritional program can have on behavior and learning capabilities.
It is through great effort and meticulous care that a GFCF program can be established for your child. The challenge many people face is the fact that gluten and casein are hidden in many foods. Casein is in all dairy products. Gluten is found in most processed food, soy sauce, flavorings, vinegar, some cold cuts, prepared stocks and soups. It is also used as a binder in some pharmaceutical products and can be found in non-specified food starch, i.e. modified food starch, caramel coloring, hydrolyzed or vegetable protein.
The effort put forth to create a GFCF nutritional program for many parents and caregivers is well worth it. Many case studies have reported improved behaviors, sleeping through the night, more social interaction and often dramatic improvement in verbal skills. Many parents have reported their children talking for the first time after beginning the GFCF program.