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  • Writer's pictureDr. Teresa Rispoli

Autism & Gluten Intolerance Connect

Going gluten-Free is gaining populatity for a reason. Medical research and anecdotal evidence shows that thousands of people have had improvement when elimimating gluten from their diet. Because of this evidence, parents are turning toward a gluten free diet to help alleviate symptoms of autism and other learning disorders in their children. To a large degree, many in the medical community have ridiculed this, stating that diet and the autistic spectrum have nothing to do with one another. I beg to differ!

What Does Gluten Have To Do With Behavior?

One person’s food can be another person’s poison. Certain foods or chemicals in food can be why your child has angry outburst, becomes very drowsey or hyperactive. That's why it is best to test not guess. Unfortunately standard allergy tests only test for IgE antibodies which may not be the culprit. Intolerances to foods can be delayed and IgG or IgA, or a specific chemical in the food may be causing the problem. Celiac testing is not always the answer because it may be a food intolerance!

In the research study below, a case is presented of a 5-year-old boy diagnosed with severe autism at a specialty clinic for autistic spectrum disorders. After testing gluten intolerance was determined to be causing inflammation to the small Intestinal lining which caused Leaky Gut and malabsorption and varied nutrient deficiencies. A gluten-free diet was instituted along with dietary and supplemental measures to secure nutritional sufficiency.

The patient’s gastrointestinal symptoms rapidly resolved, and signs and symptoms suggestive of autism progressively abated. This case is an example of a common malabsorption syndrome associated with central nervous system dysfunction, and or Leaky Gut Syndrome and suggests that in some contexts, nutritional deficiency may be a determinant of developmental delay. It is recommended that all children with neurodevelopmental problems be assessed for nutritional deficiency and malabsorption syndromes, as well as Gluten intolerance and Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Another research study found a strong correlation with autism and intestinal permeability – AKA Leaky Gut Syndrome. The conclusion of the study is below: CONCLUSIONS:

The results obtained support the leaky gut hypothesis and indicate that measuring IP (intestinal permeability) could help to identify a subgroup of patients with autism who could benefit from a gluten-free diet. The IP alterations found in first-degree relatives suggest the presence of an intestinal (tight-junction linked) hereditary factor in the families of subjects with autism.

What To Do If Your Child is Diagnosed With Autism

  • Test for both gluten and dairy sensitivity immediately. It would also be prudent to test for other food allergens.

  • Remove sugar and artificial dyes from their diet.

  • Remove processed foods from their diet.

  • Stop any treatments (dental or medical) that introduce mercury into the body. Vaccination and flu shot are common sources.

  • Test for vitamin and mineral deficiencies – especially B-vitamins. The bodies production of neurotransmitters (chemicals that allow proper communication in the nervous system) is largely dependent on vitamin B-6, folate, B-12, B-5, B-1, zinc, copper, magnesium, omega fatty acids, and vitamin C.

It is also important to remember that gluten has been shown in numerous research studies to damage nerve tissue. Anyone with neurological illness of unknown origin should be genetically tested for gluten sensitivity. Source:

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010 Oct;51(4):418-24. All the best,

If you found this article helpful, please like or share it with a loved one who might benefit as well. Together we can help more. Follow us on Facebook Join our Newsletter "Your Health Matters" About The Author

Dr. Rispoli Holistic Nutritionist, has 30 years of clinical experience in Functional Medicine and Functional Nutrition Counseling. She will help guide you during your nutritional counseling session to make the right choices for your individual needs. Teresa Rispoli will work with you to teach you which program is right for you so you can make informed decisions regarding your health.

Teresa Rispoli has a Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition, Naturopathy, Holistic Counseling, and is a Master Herbalist, Licensed Acupuncturist and Esthetician, and Functional Nutritionist. She is the founder of Complete Health and Functional Nutritionist Academy. As a Functional Nutritionist, she believes in Functional Medicine approach, which is getting to the root of your health problems. Her comprehensive, personalized approach to finding the right solution for you will help you achieve a level of health, unlike you have ever known. What's more important than your health? Interested in learning more about becoming a Certified Functional Nutritonist? Learn More Here Sign up for our FREE Webinar Leaky Gut Syndrome Solutions

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Dr. Teresa Rispoli,
PhD., ND, LAc.

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