Food Intolerances/Allergies in Autism

Food allergies/intolerances are a common issue in children with Autism.

Testing Options:

  • Skin Testing - Traditional pin prick skin testing is ideal for identifying true IgE mediated food allergies. However, it will not identify food sensitivities.

  • Blood Testing - Available for both IgE and IgG testing by many commercial labs. For IgE reactions, skin testing is more accurate than blood. For IgG, blood testing is useful, but has some limitations.

  • Electrodermal Testing - Non-invasive option for both IgG and IgE reactions. Testing accuracy can vary with the practitioner.

  • Diet Diary - Can be a useful, though laborious tool, in identifying food reactions.

Treatment of Food Allergies/Intolerances in Autism:

  • Avoid allergenic foods.

  • Consider digestive enzyme supplementation.

  • Optimize the GI tract - Healing the inflammation in the intestinal lining ("leaky gut") can reduce food sensitivities significantly.

  • Rotate foods every 3rd or 4th day to reduce likelihood of sensitization to new foods.

  • Eradicate underlying chronic bacterial and/or viral infections causing the inflammation and "leaky gut."

  • Low Dose Allergy Immunotherapy (LDA) - LDA helps restore immune tolerance to foods and environmental triggers.

The Autism Diet

Instituting a Gluten-Free, Casein-Free (GFCF) diet is the first step in treating your child. It is also probably the hardest thing you will be asked to do, yet studies show that the majority of kids respond favorably with potential improvements in eye contact, behavior, auditory processing, and other areas. We strongly recommend that the whole family make these changes so that the child does not feel singled out or punished. If parents use a systematic approach to researching the topic and then designing a two-week menu before going shopping, the transition goes much easier.

We have also found that it is much easier to simply eat different kinds of foods that are GFCF rather than trying to eat the same foods that are made of GFCF ingredients. For example, instead of having sandwiches try soups made from vegetables with beans/lentils and/or meat. Alternatively, instead of Italian foods that tend to be rich in gluten and dairy products, try Chinese stir-fry or Mexican foods that have many more GFCF options.

List of Healthy GFCF Foods:

Grains:

Millet, quinoa (white and red), brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, corn.

Pastas:

Brown rice pasta, quinoa with corn pasta.

Vegetables:

Green beans, carrots, parsnips, winter squash - butternut, acorn, sweet potato, yam, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, asparagus, artichoke, cucumber, celery, garlic, onion..

Leafy Vegetables:

Green leafy veg - lettuces, spinach, chard, kale, collards..

Nightshades:

Peppers, tomatoes, potatoes - red skin, eggplant..

Sprouts:

Alfalfa sprouts, sunflower seed sprouts, daikon sprouts.

Legumes:

Lentils, black beans, kidney, pinto, adzuki, dried beans.

Meat/Fish/Poultry:

Egg, tilapia, petrale sole, chicken, turkey, chicken/turkey sausages, beef, buffalo.

Fruits/Nuts:

Banana, orange, apple, lemon. avocado, berries, grapes, cherries, coconut, almonds, walnuts.

Asian Food:

Chinese food with brown rice, Indian curry (be careful here as some sauces do contain gluten).

ASD Research:

The medical research is beginning to point to chronic viral infections in children with Autism as playing a significant role in causing inflammation both in the gut as well as in the brain. Properly treating these viruses may very well eliminate the inflammation ("leaky gut") and dramatically reduce the GI symptoms associated with food sensitivities.

role of mercury

Evaluation of antibodies to cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus in patients with autism spectrum disorder.
Valayi S, Eftekharian MM, Taheri M, Alikhani MY.
Hum Antibodies. 2017;26(3):165-169. doi: 10.3233/HAB-180335.
PMID: 29689713

prevalence

Prevalence and titre of antibodies to cytomegalovirus and epstein-barr virus in patients with autism spectrum disorder.
Gentile I, Zappulo E, Bonavolta R, Maresca R, Messana T, Buonomo AR, Portella G, Sorrentino R, Settimi A, Pascotto A, Borgia G, Bravaccio C.
In Vivo. 2014 Jul-Aug;28(4):621-6
PMID: 24982232

retrospective

Retrospective diagnosis of congenital cytomegalovirus infection in children with autism spectrum disorder but no other major neurologic deficit.
Sakamoto A, Moriuchi H, Matsuzaki J, Motoyama K, Moriuchi M.
Brain Dev. 2015 Feb;37(2):200-5. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2014.03.016. Epub 2014 Apr 24.
PMID: 24768169

association

Association of autism with polyomavirus infection in postmortem brains.
Lintas C, Altieri L, Lombardi F, Sacco R, Persico AM.
J Neurovirol. 2010 Mar;16(2):141-9. doi: 10.3109/13550281003685839.
PMID: 20345322

potential

Potential viral pathogenic mechanism for new variant inflammatory bowel disease

prevalence

Prevalence of Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection Assessed Through Viral Genome Detection in Dried Blood Spots in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

epstein

Epstein-Barr Virus Infection is Common in Inflamed Gastrointestinal Mucosa