As many on the gluten-free diet are noticing, our food is in the spotlight -- We are on the diet because of Celiac Diesease. The gluten-free diet has also been shown to be an effective intervention for those on the Autism Spectrum and many other diseases and disorders. For the purposes of this post, I'm going to stick to providing resources that discuss the relationship between the gluten free diet and Autism/PDD.
According to one theory, some people with autism and PDD cannot properly digest gluten and casein, which form peptides, or substances that act like opiates in their bodies. The peptides then alter the person's behavior, perceptions, and responses to his environment. Some scientists now believe that peptides trigger an unusual immune system response in certain people. Research in the U.S. and Europe has found peptides in the urine of a significant number of children with autism. A doctor can order a urinary peptide test to see if proteins are being digested properly. (AutismWeb)
...[M]any families report that dietary elimination of gluten and casein has helped regulate bowel habits, sleep, activity, habitual behaviors and enhance overall progress in their individual child. No specific laboratory tests can predict which children might be observed by their families to have a positive response to dietary intervention. For that reason, many families elect a trial of dietary restriction with careful observation by the family and intervention team. (Autism Speaks)
As someone with Celiac Disease and Crohn's Disease, I am well aware of the difference between a treatment and a cure. The gluten-free diet is a treatment. It doesn't work like antibiotics in ridding the body of bacteria. Cheating on this diet doesn't mean a potential for a few extra pounds; it means the return of all the symptoms and possible harm to the body's digestive tract.
The gluten-free diet won't cure Autism, but it has great potential to be a leading treatment.
*Postings on this site are purely for informational purposes and do not claim to be diagnostic in any way, shape, or form.