Autism and Gluten Sensitivity: Related?

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Many children with autism suffer from gastrointestinal problems. In response, the gluten free diet has gained popularity within the autistic community. A recent study may validate this trend linking autism and gluten sensitivity. Researchers found that children with autism have higher levels of antibodies to gluten proteins than children without autism. Celiac disease did not play a role in these findings.

The study establishes a link between these antibodies and gastrointestinal problems. However, more research is required to determine what relevance these findings have toward treating autism.

“The IgG antibody response to gluten does not necessarily indicate sensitivity to gluten or any disease-causing role for the antibodies in the context of autism,” said Dr. Alaedini. “But the higher levels of antibody to gluten and their association with gastrointestinal symptoms point to immunologic and/or intestinal permeability abnormalities in the affected children.”

In other words, there may be a link between the immune system and autism. If established, it may yield treatment options for some of the patients. Such a breakthrough would be an exciting development for the autistic community.

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