Foods and nutrients can impact the symptoms of autism. The foods and substances that children eat directly impact what happens in their brain. GFCF basics can help you get started with this important dietary approach. Foods containing gluten (found in wheat, barley and rye) and casein (found in milk and dairy products) are removed from the child's daily food intake.
The suggested link between gluten and casein and autism emerged in the 1970s. The theory—which remains unproven—was that children who have ASDs are unable to break down the dietary proteins in gluten and casein, causing the formation of opioid-like peptides (amino acids that are similar to proteins). The most popular rationale for this diet is the “opioid-excess theory”, which states that excess opioid-peptides, caused by the incomplete breakdown of foods with gluten and casein, trigger autistic symptoms (Panksepp, 1979; Reichelt, Ekrem, & Scott, 1990; Shattock, Kennedy, Rowell, & Berney, 1980). Another popular theory is that children with autism have “leaky gut syndrome”, which involves opioid-peptides crossing the intestinal and blood-brain barriers, and ultimately affecting the endogenous opiate and central nervous systems. Some assert this “leaky gut” may help explain why many children with ASD have gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation in addition to social and communication deficits (Horvath & Perman, 2002).
The largest trial was conducted by Whiteley et al. (2010) with 72 subjects, and results were positive; indeed, children demonstrated improvements in the following: language, attention, concentration, interaction, communication, hyperactivity, motor coordination, repetitive behavior patterns, social integration, and self-injurious behavior/altered pain perception.
The healthy gut contains both yeast and good bacteria, in balance with each other. In many Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) kids, however, one or the other can be out of balance. Bacteria can overgrow, or there can be a complete lack of bacteria. Also, bad bacteria can develop and take over, rather than good bacteria, causing major problems for the children. Bacteria live in the intestinal tract, sharing space with the yeast. Antibiotic use makes yeast worse, or can start off an unhealthy reaction causing yeast overgrowth. Antibiotics kill bacteria, both good and bad, but not yeast. When using antibiotics, the bad bacteria can take over the system and yeast can grow to fill in the space left by the removal of the bacteria.
There are many strains of yeast that live in the digestive tract including candida, which appears to be the most common (Holly Bortfeld, 2013). In Candida diet, sugar (Honey, Syrup, Chocolate) fresh fruit, grains, starchy vegetables, sweetened beverages etc. should be avoided.