eISSN: 1897-4317
ISSN: 1895-5770
Gastroenterology Review/Przegląd Gastroenterologiczny
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vol. 5
Review paper

Gluten-free diet in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders – a short overview

Kamil K. Hozyasz
Halina Gryglicka
Joanna Żółkowska

Przegląd Gastroenterologiczny 2010; 5 (4): 195–201
Online publish date: 2010/09/07
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There are two groups of patients with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) referred to clinicians for information about intervention with a gluten-free diet. The ASD children and their parents are the majority. Previously undiagnosed teenagers and young adults, who fulfil the criteria of a mild ASD and have experienced improvement in social interaction and general well-being after a self-administered gluten-free diet, are the small minority. We observed only a small number of patients (6 males) from the last group, who looked for explanation and laboratory confirmation of their gluten intolerance. They reported to be very sensitive to unintentional gluten consumption. This article provides a summary of current systematic reviews and original papers on the effects of a gluten-free diet in the treatment of ASD. Accumulating evidence suggests that in a portion of patients gluten may contribute significantly to autistic behaviour and should be eliminated from the diet. Irregular sleeping pattern, episodes of aggression and acute behavioural changes, biological food intolerance, and positive results of laboratory tests for food allergies are considered to be helpful in identifying responders to a gluten-free diet among children with ASD. Future investigations should use validated and reliable outcome measures to determine the benefits of a gluten-free diet in patients with different types of ASD

gluten-free diet, autism, food intolerance

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