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Hi, I’m Craig Kendall, the author of The Asperger’s Syndrome Survival Guide. In today’s issue we will discuss…

Will a Gluten and Casein Free Diet Help Your Child’s Asperger’s Syndrome / Autism Symptoms?

As a parent of a child with Asperger’s syndrome, does this picture sound familiar to you?

Would you be surprised if I said you might be able to clear up the majority of those symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome simply with a gluten and casein free diet?

You might have heard about other parents who went gluten free before but weren’t really sure what it was all about. Well, what is gluten and casein?

Gastrointestinal Problems and Asperger’s Syndrome / Autism Kids

For some reason, many kids on the autism spectrum (either with Asperger’s syndrome or autism) lack the enzymes to process these ingredients in the proper way, and it can lead to an awful lot of problems.

You can do a gluten intolerance test for your child, but they are not always accurate. If you really want to see if your child’s Asperger’s syndrome symptoms will improve on this diet, you need to try it for several months. Not all kids will benefit from this diet, and not all will benefit in the same way.

Everyone with autism responds to treatments in a different way. But it’s worth it to try, because you may end up with a substantially different, and improved, child then what you started with.

Five Success Tips for Gluten Casein Free Diet  

  1. If you are going to do the diet, make sure you can do it all the way. It’s really important to be able to do the diet 100%. So that means that if you are divorced and share custody, you’ll want to get your ex-spouse on board. You’ll want to make sure all members of your family will follow it for your child with Asperger’s syndrome.
  2. Doing a gluten and casein free diet does not have to be as frighteningly expensive. Some think these diets cost a fortune. By buying foods from local farms, and making a lot of foods yourself out of basic ingredients, you can save a lot of money. Not everything has to come out of package.
  3. When doing this diet, don’t just think in terms of gluten and casein free. Think in terms of how you can be nutritious across the food spectrum. You are aiming to take as many toxins out of their diet as you can. So this means trying to eat organic if you can, eat lots of fresh produce, and don’t eat very many artificial ingredients or processed food. You may also need to treat other digestive problems common with autism at the same time.
  4. Don’t try to do this all at once. Try to do it in stages. If you try to do it too fast, it will be overwhelming and you will be more likely to fail. Introduce new foods into the diet gradually. Once you’re comfortable with the diet, you can go 100%, but allow yourself a warm up period. And remember, children with Asperger’s syndrome and autism do not like a change in their routine. Inform your child in advance that their diet will be changing and don’t surprise your child with rapid changes.
  5. Try a variety of foods…don’t get stuck in a rut always preparing the same meals. There are a lot more alternatives to gluten and casein than there used to be. Your child will not want for alternatives!

For More Information to Help Your Child with Asperger’s/Autism

For information on how exactly to do a gluten and casein free diet, there is plenty of information on the Internet about that. There are lists of foods to avoid and lists of foods that are safe, as well as lots of recipes by parents that have come before you. Do not be afraid, try out this diet if your child is exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned above, and see if works for you. 

31 Responses to Child with Autism or Aspergers – Gluten and Casein Free Diet – 83

  1. LeeAnne says:

    I am blessed to have a 10 year old son who is an extrovert and has Asperger’s. His main component was anxieties and sleep issues. Combination of high quality fish oil, 3 oz of Monavie juice for antioxidants, quality greens multivitamin and natures parade tummyzymes (digestive enzymes/probiotics) with each meal and snack. Glad you mentioned the PANDAs– as not mainifesting (having normal symptoms) of strept is one of those…2 months after I made the changes and he showed wonderful improvement in his symptoms… he got his first case of rip roaring strept throat. I was probably the only parent ever happy to have their child develop strept as i saw it as progress. So when he gets out of sorts i got through this checklist: 1) Tired? 2) Stept? (I have my own strept kit at home to test)…adn when all else fails- I take him to his chiropractor and it is usually his neck is alittle off. Back to the strept…look for seasonal variations when they show these spikes…good clue of when to check. Unfortunatly…stool cultures may have to be the way to go as the throat culture can show negative when they do have the strept bacterial in the body. We do focus on the Eat Right for your Type O diet (D’Adamo) to emphasize the foods that are beneficial… tons of fresh fruits and veggies, limit casins, supplement calcium for growing bones but mitigate gluten with digestive enzymes.

  2. Joyce Lloyd says:

    I am an adult with Aspergers. I have gone gluten free because it does help me.. I am able to use goats milk which has smaller globules(so I am told). I do not use regular cows milk but yogurt and kefir seem to be okay. If you are using alternative flours, consider getting some xanthum gum. It is expensive, but a little goes a long way when added to the flours that you use.
    Joyce

  3. Sue Solin says:

    For those of you looking for meal/recipe suggestions take a look at the happy herbivore website (happyherbivore.com) and the 2 cookbooks associated with it. Some of her recipes have gluten (it’s not a gluten free diet but the whole wheat flour she calls for can be replaced with gluten free) but none of her recipes have casein and she doesn’t use oil to cook with. Best thing is most of the ingredients are easy to find. I live in a small town without many options for groceries and have been able to cook most of the recipes!

    http://happyherbivore.com/

    My 24 year old son has aspergers (we didn’t realize exactly what was going on with him until he was 22) and I’m hoping to convince him to try this diet. I’ve been on it since early February and my ability to concentrate has increased, I have much more energy and my intestinal issues are clearing up!

  4. Jenny says:

    I recommend a paleo diet to all my clients and students. Basically no grains, no dairy and no legumes. I have found it to be much more effective in terms of overall health for people with Austism and Asperger’s as well as migraine sufferers, people with diabetes, arthritic, polymyalgia etc. Check out http://robbwolf.com/

  5. brigitte ruttgardt says:

    I have a lot of recipes because it’s difficult to find products or they are very expensive. I live in Peru and we have a lot of native flours without gluten. I would recommend also not to use sugar. Sugar increases bacteria and candida growth and can change the behaviour. It’s very important too to take some extra vitamins but it’s better to consult a professional expert.

  6. Marlo says:

    I have had my 11 year old daughter on a yeast free diet for a year. We noticed a difference within days. But the biggest change came about six months into it. My child is less foggy and more open to taking in information. We knew we where on the right track when for the first time every she made a friend. We are ready to take the next step and try a gluten free diet.

    • Craig Kendall - Author says:

      I have noticed the same thing. But you have to be careful about how long some of these changes will take before you notice a difference in your loved one. People on the autism spectrum are all different. For some, the improvements are noticeable almost immediately. For others, it is several months before subtle changes are noted and a full year before huge differences become apparent. My strong belief is that every person on the autism spectrum should be on a careful diet and should be taking Fish Oil, Vitamin E and other supplements that have been show to help those with autism.

  7. Kimberly Schank says:

    My 19yr. old son has Asperger’s. He was diagnosed when he was 16yrs. He has problems with constipation, daily. I would like to get information for him. If you have recipes, I would be eternally grateful. Thank you. Sincerely,
    Kimberly Schank

    • Craig Kendall - Author says:

      I do not have recipes but I definitely recommend fish oil and Vitamin E. They are very important. I have given my son fish oil and vitamin E since he was a small child. We believe this has helped him a great deal. It tends to calm him down and relieve some of the anger issues he faces. Give it a try.

      • Beth says:

        What quantities of fish oil and Vitamin E do you give your son? Do you also follow the Gluten and Casein free diet?

      • Craig Kendall says:

        I have found a supplier of supplements that I trust and would recommend. The attached article mentions the quantities of Fish Oil and Vitamin E.

      • Andi says:

        I have a daughter, 23, with Aspergers. Her 2 most favorite foods are Mac & Cheese as a comfort food. And she drinks large glasses of milk. Her weight has become an issue. It’s very hard to get her to understand and see why it would be in her best interest to diet. EVERY suggestion from me becomes and argument or sets her off in some way. She is very easily angered. Although over the last 2 weeks, we have begun to make some progress by making little changes in her diet, she has begun working full-time and she has been using the wii for exercise an hour each night. I’m not sure that we would be able to go 100% on the gluten/casein free diet but I am glad to see that fish oil and vitamin E are suggestions of some help. How much is recommended per day for each of these? I’m very thankful I came across your posts. I am learning things I wish I had known for years.

      • Marianne Bernaldo says:

        Hi Andi,

        I would consult with a nutritionist in regards to the dosage of any vitamins.

        Thanks

    • Rita says:

      My 10 year old son has constipation issues also. We recently (6 weeks ago) started yoghurt with six live cultures including lactobacillus acidophilus. These cultures are found in Stonyfield, Mountain High, and Brown Cow brands of yoghurt found at Walmart. I make a smoothie using approx 3/4 cup yoghurt and 2 cups of frozen berry medley once a day. His stools are now soft and as an added benefit he hasn’t had bedwetting issues in almost 3 weeks! Good luck to you.

  8. Justine says:

    Thanks so much for the info…kindly avail me with the list of foodsthat are safe and those that aren’t safe

  9. Karen Miller says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS INFORMATION!!! PLEASE POST IT AGAIN AND AGAIN!!! PARENTS NEED TO START HERE AND NOT WASTE YEARS MANAGING BEHAVIORS THAT CAN IMPROVE BY REMOVING GLUTEN AND CASEIN, AND ADDING NUTRIENTS. I WASTED VALUABLE TIME.PLEASE SHOW THAT YOU WANT CHILDREN TO RECOVER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AND NOT ONLY EARN YOURSELF A LIVING.

  10. Mary Tucker says:

    I would like iformation on the gleutin free and caesin diet. Mary Tucker

  11. A Griffiths says:

    We have 1 son with diagnosed aspergers and 1 son who, tho undiagnosed, we strongly believe to be on the autism spectrum. Their mood swings, lack of focus and hyperactivity are what they, and us struggle with most of all. It makes a massive positive difference to all our lives when their behaviour is calmer and more focused and they say it too. They are fabulous young boys whose behaviour can sadly sometimes distract from that fact so we are definitly going to try this diet to see if it will help.

  12. Jennifer Shetler says:

    I like more iinformation

  13. María Flores says:

    My son is 4 years old. We have been on this diet since he was two. It has helped a lot. Today no one can tell he has aspergers. We live in Mexico and it is very difficult to find gluten free products. I try to do my best everyday to help him. I highly recomend this diet. It definetly changed our lives.

  14. Arnold Bomze says:

    To Whom It May Concern: RE: Asperger’s Diet Please send list of Websites. Thanks

  15. Lourdes Boodram says:

    Can someone help me find a list for the foods to avoid list and foods that are safe.Please let me know. I just need a website name. Thanks a bunch.

    • LeeAnne says:

      Eat Right for your Type…. according to your blood type but the gluten free focus is in the “O”… $5 “pcompanion guide” I slide in my purse for reference when I am shopping.

    • Jan Coulter says:

      Would like to have to have info on what foods to avoid for my grandson (11 years old)and also what are the foods he should have daily to help him, he is in the lower spectrum of aspergers.

  16. Norma Roberson says:

    Please list the foods I should avoid for our Aspergers child?

  17. brenda says:

    hello, i would appreciate information on this. actually, i am 40 and have been suffering myself with gluten intolerance probably for more than 10 years. unable to get a diagnosis, from at least 4 different docs, here in guelph ont. i figured it out on my own. with more than half of our food products already gluten free in the home. and my daughter is liking many of these products already. my guess is that she feels better after eating a gluten free meal than the other. however, interesting about casein. we have actually increased milk consumption in the home due to a lack of other choices. i do know other parents, however, who do not give their children milk products because they believe it is meant for baby cows. i have to say my daughter prefers goats marble cheese over the cows milk one anyways, that’s great. thank-you again for the information it has been very helpful.

  18. Christina Sullivan says:

    I’m so glad you posted this (gfcf diet). I think it’s particularly helpful for those who have children that appear only mildly on the spectrum or who have diagnosis of Asperger’s. This diet can be so helpful to many, despite what mainstream media and medical reports. Parents surveyed report improvements in some or all of the above of what you cited above.

    Another good topic for future newsletters would be how bacteria can contribute to sudden onset OCD, tics and other undesireable behaviors. There are dozens of bacteria, often found in the gut/digestive system, that are implicated in asd’s. PANDAS, now referred to as PANS and the other varieties can contribute to symptomology. When treated, symptoms improve and quality of life for our guys is better. My son struggles wiht recurrent clostridia, leading to night wakings, irritability, aggression, ocd, tics, bloated belly. It comes up about 3-4 times a year. The onset of tics and ocd has been sudden onset but the irritability and difficulty with transitions/changes/inflexibility is more insidious. Hope this helps…

  19. Elizabeth u says:

    Will this diet help adults with aspergers?

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