Monday, September 13, 2010

Autism Diets Article Part 3: Peptide Opioid Response

Laura Schmitt NE

If you missed the Autism Diets Article part 2,
click here.

The Peptide Opioid Response is a phrase that tosses about among autism diet articles and books. While the wording is familiar, the understanding of the underlying intention seems clouded. It’s hard to understand just what that implies for children on the autism spectrum. To explain, in very simplified fashion, it boils down to an inability to digest properly and a bit of chaos with that digestive process. In simple terms, it is theorized that the proteins called gluten and casein are not properly passed through the digestive system by those individuals who have difficulty digesting it. The proteins are not broken down into amino acids as fully as they should be, and it is said by some that they free flow in the blood stream of an individual who has difficulty digesting these proteins. Once flowing in the bloodstream, they are said to lodge into areas of the brain where they can release false neurotransmitters.

This theory suggests that these proteins create addictive behaviors and a dulling of pain sensation for some individuals, among other side effects. The process is compared to being drugged. There is a strong differing of opinion in literature about this theory. I have not read enough evidence to fully support this, but I have seen the addictive and extreme self limited diets of children on the spectrum. Often, it is the case, that a child will eat only gluten and dairy based foods and they refuse to eat vegetables and meat. Regardless of the peptide opioid theory, a self limited diet that excludes so many important nutrients through foods is a cry for change. By removing the seemingly addictive foods and replacing them with like foods made from low allergen ingredients, many children are able to expand their diets and many parents report great improvements in behavior with the changes.

This leads us directly into the first of the 7 main autism diets, gluten free and casein free. As reported in Jepson’s Changing a Course for Autism and Matthew’s book, Nourishing Hope For Autism, the Gluten Free Casein Free Diet is the first stop on the journey to dietary healing. Some biomedical treatments will not begin until the GF/CF diet has been implemented, as the success rate reported is so high among those families who implement the program.

In the next issue we will delve further into the GF/CF diet, who it can help, and how to implement the diet in a healthy manner.

To read more about the science behind the Opioid Response and the difference in protein between cow milk and goat milk, read Julie Matthews article toward the bottom of the newsletter at this link, title Udderly New Insight About Milk and Autism

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