Thoughts on celiac and autism

So here is a case study of a 5-year-old boy whose symptoms led to a diagnosis of severe autism but who was actually suffering from gluten sensitivity (improper diet) leading to digestive dysfunction and nutritional deficiencies. As I’ve stated before, it’s not that I’m suggesting that “Gluten Causes Autism” but rather that “improper diet, digestive dysfunction, food sensitivities, and nutritional deficiencies can manifest symptoms, especially in young children, that may be receive a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder.” For those parents with children that have received such a diagnosis for a child it is important to at least examine the possibility that the root cause is a problem with diet, digestion, nutrition, and/or immunity.

A case is presented of a 5-year-old boy diagnosed with severe autism at a specialty clinic for autistic spectrum disorders. After initial investigation suggested underlying celiac disease and varied nutrient deficiencies, a gluten-free diet was instituted along with dietary and supplemental measures to secure nutritional sufficiency. The patient’s gastrointestinal symptoms rapidly resolved, and signs and symptoms suggestive of autism progressively abated. This case is an example of a common malabsorption syndrome associated with central nervous system dysfunction and suggests that in some contexts, nutritional deficiency may be a determinant of developmental delay. It is recommended that all children with neurodevelopmental problems be assessed for nutritional deficiency and malabsorption syndromes

Celiac Disease Presenting as Autism (Journal of Child Neurology)

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