Those who are propagating the gluten-free and casein-free diet say that these proteins can be hazardous because they can produce chemicals that are potentially hazardous to the body. The risk would have been eliminated if their digestive system is working properly. However, it isn’t–as the leaky gut symptom of autistic children can prove. When these proteins are not digested properly, they become gluteomorphines. This is a protein by-product, or a peptide, and it has drug-like effects. Experts claim, including the medical researcher Kalle Reichelt, that this peptide can produce opioid-like effects, which blocks the pain receptors of the body and hinder their cognitive, motor, and linguistic skills, as well as their behavior and concentration.
So when an autistic child is given a gluten and casein free diet, the opposite holds true. Their symptoms become less evident. They become more socially adept (as compared to their previous state) and their cognitive and motor skills are vastly improved. They can also concentrate more, lessening the occurrence of their repetitive actions.
Of course, parents of autistic children would wonder if removing wheat, rye, and milk products (the source of gluten and casein) in their child’s diet could cause more harm than good. Also, wouldn’t it be difficult to completely remove these food items, considering how wheat and milk products are common in most children’s meals? Studies did show that children without gluten and casein receive less calcium and copper. However, a proper diet could still provide an autistic child with all the nutrition he or she deserves. Giving a child on a gluten- and casein free diet food supplements can be beneficial, in order to replace the vitamins and nutrients that could have been acquires through wheat, milk, and other similar products. The effects of a gluten- and casein free diet would not immediately occur. Others also say that it may not work for some. Nonetheless, the encouraging results from these studies prove that a gluten- and casein free diet definitely worth the try.
But how can a gluten- and casein-free diet cure autism?
According to a number of researches done by the Autism Research Institute, gluten and casein produce toxins that can damage parts of the body. These toxins seep through vital organs, including the brain, which could have caused autism. A research in Canada validates this claim–when gluten and casein were given to test rats, their brain became inflamed, a condition that also happens to the brains of people with autism. By removing gluten and casein in one’s diet, one can also avoid these harmful toxins.
Of course, a gluten- and casein-free diet (also known as the GFCF diet) would take time before its effects become evident. Also, some patients are not responsive to this treatment; something that can be attributed to the claimed number of reasons for the development of autism in a person. This is why the GFCF diet is usually done together with other Defeat Autism Now (or DAN) treatments, such as chelation (a treatment to remove heavy metals from the body) and the use of supplements such as probiotics and amino acids.
The GFCF diet should be done for a minimum of six months in order to take effect; something that others find difficult since gluten and casein (proteins found in wheat, rye, and milk) food products are among the main proponents of any child’s child. This is why DAN doctors also suggest the use of vitamin supplements, to give the patients the necessary nutrients they are missing from not taking dairy products and wheat, among others. Drug manufacturer Kirkman also creates food products that do not contain gluten and casein.