It seems appropriate this week to start this blog with a whole hearted note of thoughts and prayers for those families and friends of the 3 students that were lost last week in a tragic accident. With many families and friends missing those 3 young adults we are all more aware of how precious life is and to hug those in your life. I am truly sad and sorry for the loss.
I was trying to think of something helpful to write about, and since my passion is with kids on the spectrum, I will focus on that this week.
I have had a few discussions this past week with people I’ve met regarding kids and behaviours. Some not so wanted behaviours.
In my own experience, and in my nutritional training and related ASD/spectrum studies, the area of diet and nutrition is an incredibly and pretty much the most successful way to address a number of behavioural issues.
If you have heard of Gluten and Casein Free diets, that is the main biggest helper in the area of behaviour and seeing improvements in kids. I saw it in my own family, and I see it with clients.
There have been questionnaires asking parents with kids who have reduced or removed their spectrum diagnosis, and above all, 75% plus say the Gluten and Casein Free diet was their biggest benefit.
The answer is the opiod effect that happens. There are 2 parts to the opiod effect:
1.) Poor and sluggish digestion where large food molecules are not broken down fully. This includes proteins that would normally be broken down into amino acids. If not broken down, the main proteins in certain grains such as wheat (gluten), and the main protein in dairy products (casein), are left in tact as an undigested protein.
Now, we need proteins broken down into amino acids in order to group them with other amino acids in order create building blocks to help us rebuild and repair our bodies every day.
However, those undigested proteins create a mess if they are left to travel into our intestines and into our blood (if you have leaky gut - see 2nd part below). These proteins then may attach to opiod receptors, as well as be mistaken by our own immune system, and attacked, and as they look like our own proteins. This can result in auto immune diseases where our bodies are attacking our own tissues.
2.) Leaky gut is the 2nd piece to this process. If you have gut issues, inflammation, auto immune diseases, you likely have a leaky gut. This is where the normal tight junctions between the cells of your intestine are inflamed and thus cause gaps between them where the larger particles, such as undigested proteins, can get through and into your blood stream. Once in the blood stream, they can make their way to the blood brain barrier and end up linking to those brain cell opiod receptors.
If you notice these types of behaviours in your child, a gluten and casein free diet is certainly something worth looking into:
•Addiction - to those gluten and casein foods - white flour products and dairy products such as milk and cheese
•High Pain Tolerance - no real reaction when doing something that should have caused pain
•Inattention/Spacey behaviour - not hearing name when called, staring into space
•Aggression (self and others) - biting others, aggression, angry for no real reason
•Stimming- (visually as well as hand types of movement
•Mood changes - swinging back and forth between laughing and upset
•Poor eye contact and other eye symptoms such as sideways looking and not being able to focus
There are a number of resources and steps for doing a gluten and casein free diet. I will get more into that in next weeks blog.