A few weeks ago, high-functioning and burgeoning celebrity autistic, Temple Grandin, gave a great interview in the Wall Street Journal. It is mentioned that:
While she's adamant that there is no magic cure for this disorder, Ms. Grandin says she has seen some "very big improvements" with special diets, like wheat-free and dairy-free.
Very interesting. Have any of you experience with attempting to treat/ameliorate autism with Paleo diet?
Sidenote: I have a friend who is a self-diagnosed Asperger, and he swears that he is less Asperger-y, since eating Paleo.
I´ve Asperger´s. Best results with ketogenic diet + n-3, B6, magnesium. Sunshine and movement helps too.
From an evolutionary point of view I wonder if there is a positive feedback loop between agriculture, autism, and technological progress leading to yet better crop yields.
I could totally see ASD as a disease of civilization on one hand, but also an evolutionarily conserved, kin-selected adaptation on the other. Yes you want square-jawed hunters and warriors, but you also want a shaman/nerd who can calculate agricultural tax revenues and design irrigation systems, set bones, and cure simple diseases...
I think this topic broaches a bigger picture: the explosion of autism, allergies, whatnot in children born much after 1980 (whether actual or imagined by modern hyper-protective hovercraft parents) didn't just come out of the ether. My non-scientist theory: the Std American Diet has produced an entire generation that will suffer ill health for life due to the diets of their mothers while in utero, and it's still ongoing. Treating this with a primal diet certainly won't hurt but I would aver that the damage has been done by birth.
My parents (I was born in 1962) ate a diet contemporary with the times and fads I suppose. My mother smoked a pack of Salems a day and split a pitcher of martinis (the real kind, with the little onion, not the sugar-bomb "chocotini" variety) or a bottle of wine with my dad every evening while carrying me. I don't know what they specifically ate, but I popped out the baby cannon just fine at 6lbs and neither me nor my little peers suffered any of the rampant syndromes, allergies, diseases so common in children now. Interesting also that modern average birth weights are far higher now than historically.
I work with a couple where the wife is about 7 months pregnant and wince internally at the absolute garbage they both eat at lunchtime. I'd imagine their other meals are just as toxic. They are both moderately overweight and she has gained a lot of weight with the pregnancy, though they're not clinically obese. I hope that a few years from now they will not be talking about their son's ADD, autism, allergies, whatnot.
My $0.02, worth what you paid.
My son is an Aspie. We're going to try GF/CF this summer -- once the school year ends. (Everything I cook is paleo but that's not everything he eats right now... he's 7, easier to manage his food during summer break.) I have celiac and while he tested negative for it, I'm convinced that something gluten-related is going on there.
Although she doesn't call it paleo, in Gut and Psychology Syndrome Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD recommends a very paleo-like diet for Autism, A.D.D., Dyslexia, Depression, Schizophrenia, etc. Her clinic specializes in "Nutrition for Children and Adults with Behavioral and Learning Disabilities, and Adults with Digestive and Immune System Disorders." Her book has detailed information about how digestion works, the problems that grains and dairy can cause, and a fascinating section about how health problems can accumulate from one generation to the next.
If healthier living and eating improves brain function and mental stability, then I would expect to see benefits in everyone, but for those who have more problems, every bit of improvement probably goes a lot further towards daily functionality than those who had less problems to start with. I don't know if I would say that gluten and other foods CAUSE these problems like autism to start with (remains to be seen), but being healthy can have benefits across the board for many people. Of course, gluten and carbs and whatnot may also have had other earlier roles in the health of the mother and father and their eggs and sperm and the environment of the child in the womb as its brain developed, etc.
But on the flip side, I agree with Meng Weng Wong when she talks about the benefits to society that many aspergers and high functioning autistic types can have. Many of them are geniuses in their area of interest and their intense interest causes them to soon become experts and innovators. I would suspect that in ancient societies, these people would have greater and more useful roles as inventors and shamans. As well, perhaps in a more natural and more healthy environment, many of their symptoms would not have developed to quite the extreme level that we are seeing more of today either. -Eva
Gluten and casein free diets are very helpful in my experience. It all goes back to the leaky gut, and opioid peptides (from gluten and casein) flowing to the brain, eventually accumulating in very large amounts, and the theory is that this can retard brain function in certain ways, specifically the social "deficiencies" AS/Autism sufferers (including me, to an extent) experience.
I can be off gluten for months at a time (which I have been lately) and eat it in relatively large amounts (like I did this weekend) and have no gastrointestinal distress whatsoever, which leads me to believe that I'm not gluten-intolerant in the traditional sense; but I know that if I begin to regularly consume it, I'll (most likely) start experiencing that cave effect, where I have a hard time talking to people and become very awkward. It's all anecdotal, but it's got me pretty convinced.
Then again, I've got an adrenal fatigue/cortisol/stress issue and have for a long time, and maybe gluten (and some small intolerance to it) is just aggravating that, hurting my social skills. All I know is that if I had a child with AS, my first step would be removing gluten/casein.
I don't have any immediate knowledge of autism, but have been interested in it for a few years due to my neighbour's grandson having it. I babysat the boy briefly in the past and am aware of the difficulties of that behaviour.
I also have read various articles that indicated perhaps dairy and wheat products contribute to autism.
In the course of looking up information for his mother and grandmother I came across the following article http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/newsletter/another-autism-case-report.shtml Vitamin D may affect autism as well.
Hopefully the solution to this disease will be found soon, as it seems to be more prevalent now than in the past.
Have you looked into MSG sensitivity? Ive been reading alot lately on MSG, and it seems that MSG sensitivity is linked correlative to a significant # of Autistic situations as well as a ridiculous # of other health issues.
The other slightly shocking(slightly because we already know the evils) is that Wheat, Corn, Soy, Casein are all ridiculously high in natural free glutamic acid, converts to MSG.
Those big nastys we shouldnt be eating... and the Gluten Free, Casein Free recommended diet, which works for some and not others, could be as simple as those people eliminating the MSG and yet replacing it elsewhere, seeing only minor benefit from the Wheat/Casein removal, but not remission or stronger results because the MSG is still present.
Aspartame, that nasty artificial sugar, also converts to MSG, yet another reason to avoid.
Paleo Pancakes - No egg, No dairy recipe? 10 Answers