Many parents report that a gluten-free, casein-free diet reduces problems with their autistic children. Some doctors are not convinced, while others take the attitude that if it seems to help, go ahead and do it.
A study at the Department Magrassi-Lanzara, Gastroenterology, Second University of Naples, Italy shows a link between autism and leaky gut syndrome, which is related to gluten, as we shall see.
The study measures “intestinal permeability”, also known as IPT. High IPT means the gut allows large molecules, such as lipopolysaccharide, frequently a component of bacteria outer membrane (or “skin”).
According to this study, 4.8% of “normal people” (non-autistic, without a close relative to autistics) have abnormally high IPT, in other words, the majority of us have guts that don’t leak. However, 36.7% of people with autism have high IPT, meaning over a third of them have leaky guts. While this says little about the majority of autistics, it does indicate that a very large minority, as in one third of autistics, have a leaky gut.
The study notes that this large minority of autistics could benefit from a gluten free diet.
What this means to you if you have autism or know someone who does, is that going on a gluten-free diet has a roughly one out of three chance of being helpful. One can also assume that if either parent has symptoms associated with leaky gut syndrome, they should keep their children on a gluten free diet in the hope that this will reduce their chance of getting autism, at least this is one of the conclusions that I draw.
What is your experience with autism, gluten free diet, and leaky gut syndrome? Please leave a comment.
- Alterations of the intestinal barrier in patients with autism spectrum disorders and in their first-degree relatives