The Link Between Autism and Food Allergies

gluten-freeThough it’s not completely proven, there have been studies that show a strong connection between food allergies and autism symptoms. One of the most frequently heard connections is that between Gluten (wheat) and Casein (milk) products. These food proteins are broken down into smaller proteins, also known as peptides. The two peptides, glutenin and gliadin, and leak into the gut and attach to the opitate receptors of the autistic child’s brain. This is very similar to the body being on a morphine drip. The peptides act as a Narcotic to the autistic body.

One of the primary steps in the Defeat Autism Now! (DAN) Protocol is that the autistic child be placed on a Gluten Free, Casein Free diet for at least three months. Many parents have been reporting a link between Autism and diet for years, but it’s now being found that children who consume gluten and casein regularly have more severe autism symptoms. Some of the research reports that claim to “disprove” this theory, also depend a lot on the idea that this is an allergic reaction that is being claimed to exist. Quite the contrary. In fact, it’s not due to an allergic reaction that the symptoms worsen. It’s because the autistic body cannot break down the proteins properly from gluten and casein.  It’s not necessarily an allergy so much as an intolerance.

When parents make the move to take their children off of Gluten and Casein completely, they’re often worried. One of the main concerns is that their children love gluten and casein products. Many parents have a difficult time getting their children to not eat gluten and casein, as if they’re addicted to it. This is more than just an analogy. It could be completely true. Remember, when gluten and casein break down, they leak into the gut and attach themselves to the opiate receptors of the brain. The same receptors that morphine, codeine and heroin attach themselves to. Your child could literally be addicted to gluten and casein.

Researchers are firm in their statements that “autism is not caused by an allergy.” When some parents read about the effects of gluten and casein, they assume their child is allergic to the foods and that’s the cause of Autism. They take their children off of the foods and expect a cure. Again, as far as we know, autism is not caused by an allergy. However, children with Autism Spectrum Disorders are very sensitive – especially in their immune system in how it reacts to the environment.

One of the primary focuses of the Autism Alternative Medicine field is exploring ways in which we can treat our children’s autism symptoms and getting to the source of the problem. While there have been some reports that go against the connection between food allergies and Autism, there are still researchers who very much believe that there is a valid connection and they’re exploring this intensely.


  1. Abeer says

    Dear Dr.
    My son is 4 years and 8 months , he is not on FGFC diet recently he started to speek with sentences in general he is getting improved.
    my question is: since he start talking and he is not on FGFC diet do i need to put him in this diet??
    or since he is doing well without the diet that means he has no glutien or casien sensitivity???

    Awaiting for your replay
    Thank you

  2. says

    I have tried for 2 years on Gluten casien free and milk, but we did not see a big difference, where we have taken my doughter for Analasis Tests, said that my doughter can know consume dairy products, but try to give as much Organic as possible.No wheat no Gluten sometimes its hard because my doughter likes the other foods, so as long as she takes Houston Enzemes, capsuels then that helps to breakdown the peptide that does not get to the brain barier. I must say I have seen yery littule change, as my doughter has Regressive Autism and Matochondrial Disfuntion.

  3. admin says

    Hi Mrs. Liset, Your daughter autistic condition is more complicated to stabilize or treat. Don’t give up hope and my advice is to do everything else possible so her body get a chance to heal.

  4. admin says

    Hi Abeer, It is difficult to tell without any celiac panel testing and IgG allergies testing. Otherwise, you could try the diet for 2 weeks to see if there is any difference. Good luck.

  5. says

    Hi I will never give up on my doughter we know my doughter wos genetically predisposed we found out in the analisis test, we olso do valkion oxigan single oxigan it helps a bit, my Husband are hoping to soon start a block, for my doughter, and I have heared that in china they having wounderful results with Adult Stem and so I have sent an Email to the Director in Dallas of if its possible for my doughter to have stem cells, and how we go about the funding. As we do not have that kind of money, I have seen on the Internet that they have had yery good results with children servere regressive Matichondrial disfunction. Could you please let me know if eny one knows who can help us fund this treatment, as it would give my doughter a better quality of life.

    Please could you Reply to this message

    Yours Sincerley Mrs Rosetta Liset.

  6. Samar says

    hi doctor

    my son is 6.5 years old , after making the lab test for him , its shown that he is alergy to casine only but the gluten was ok , but his doctor said that itis better to make diet for both gluten and casine , what do you think , do i have to make diet for my son also for gluten as long as he has not problem with it ?

    another question , if one autistic follow the diet for couple of years with no effect is it useful to continue with it or stop it better ?


  7. Monica says

    What about if we try our best to reduce gluten and casein but we are not entirely gluten and casein free? Is it helping?

  8. Phen says

    Dear Dr.,

    Thank you for the articel, Please please help us by explain this to us. we have done IgG4 foods allergy test for my son, the resulf came out possitive to many foods mainly protien. His index showing at 42 ( 1-100) The doctor says my son is having leaky gut and another doctor says this test does not tell anything. Do i really need to take out foods which show possitive from this test? I am so confused.

    Thank you very much.
    Kind regards from Germany

  9. aamir aziz says


    my daughter is nearly 07 years of age and is unable to speak even a word. she like food like milk and diary products. should i stop her from these food or continue with this.because Doctors here never stopped me to do guide.

    thanks and regards

    aamir aziz

  10. nadia says

    hi doctor my son is 5 years old he is on gf/cf diet for almost 3 years as soon as we know that he was at risk of developing any kind of PDD; the result was amazing; an improvement happend after two days of taking away his diary which he used to love .so now at age of 5 he is a happy child ;going to ordinary kindergarden even without telling any teacher about his previous case . I know that my son is one of rare cases that responded dramatically to diet but I advice every parent to try this diet at least for 3 months before saying that does not work with my child

    kind regard

  11. admin says

    Start with a Gluten Free / Casein Free diet. All dairy, wheat, rye, barley and oats eliminated from the diet.
    Also try a video called “Teach 2 talk” this can be purchased on the “Generation Rescue” website. This has
    proven successful in teaching children with autism to speak. Please forward any other questions to

  12. admin says

    We have seen positive results from removing foods with these allergy tests. Your child needs to address the leaky gut syndrome
    in order for him to absorb any nutrients from his food. Please see a doctor who is well versed in treating this syndrome. If we can be of
    further assistance, please contact us at

  13. admin says

    The Best is to eliminate the Gluten and Casein of course, if you want to start by reducing it slowly and
    work towards complete elimination that would be fine, however complete elimination is the only way
    to get best results

  14. admin says

    Continue with the Doctor’s recommendation of removing Gluten and Casein. Other treatments of dietary supplements will assist in
    improving autistic symptoms. do not worry about what to do in a couple of years, it is better to focus on today and remain consistent with
    treatment for best results.

  15. admin says

    Hi Phen,
    If you have a lot of high indexes (80+) for the food allergy testing then we can safely deduce your son has LGS. You could start slow by taking out those obvious, high index allergic food first and the make sure to rotate his diet maning don’t eat the same food more than once or twice every 4 days. There are other tests we could do like a Comprehensive Stool Analysis to get more idea about the LGS.

  16. admin says

    Hi Mrs. Liset, check out Generation Rescue to see if they can partial fund your “cure”.

  17. Kerry Hickman says

    Hi there

    I have just read this full post. My son is 6. We started with the GFCF diet after reading an article and within a couple of days the development in his speech was incredible and his eyes seemed much clearer straight away. That was three years ago and he has been GFCF free. It is quite difficult at first as learning anything is, but you can soon learn how to substitute favourite meals and I’ve done a number of GFCF birthday parties quite successfully. There are loads of Gluten Free recipes online and lots of cookery books around now as well as products at the supermarket. That was for the ladies that were asking. For myself I’d like to ask. My son has been taking various supplements prescribed by naturopaths for leaky gut, candida etc etc etc, he seems to have lots of food intolerances too, does not cope well with sugar and is sensitive to high salycillate foods. As he gets better will he be able to tolerate more foods, or will I have to keep him off the foods which he struggles with always. He is doing well academically, but his social skills are pretty dire. If you have any suggestions of how I can help him with those, that would be awesome. Thanks very much.

  18. admin says

    Hi Kerry, try training his social skills at home first and there are tons of home exercises you can access from autism conference/trade show, and then get professional help via occupational/speech therapists. I know this is vague but try reading about some of my earlier blogs about using toys, dvds etc.

  19. siti says

    Dear Doc,

    my son is almost 4 years old now and he is taking isomil (soy milk) since 2 years old and very small amount of gluten.(he hates bread)..he still not able to talk and does it means we need to rid off the soy milk?

  20. admin says

    Dear Siti, normally I do not encourage prolong usage of a certain food item and in your case you had been using isomil too long which could create problem like food allergy. I wondered why he cannot talk. You must always have variety in his diet.

  21. Cristina L says

    Hello Doc,

    My three year old son was just recently diagnosed with ASD. I am looking at placing him in the best school for the upcoming year as he seems to be doing very good with in his school now. Trying to say several words after two months. I have been looking at different options with the gluten free diet but my worry is not being able to find products that are gluten free and not having the support I need to help guide me along. I live in Canada and the closest available DAN doctor is two Providences away. Do you have any suggestions for support or any ideas as to where to find gluten free products.

    Thanks Cristina

  22. admin says

    Hi Cristina, there are lot of resources available and in fact, now most health food stores carry GF food. Here is a good start and checkout their links. Try Goggling or even checkout the ARI website. If you need help in other guidances, you could hire me. Best wishes!

  23. says


    Make sure you have your son tested for Celiac Disease as well. My son was diagnosed at 3 as ASD and right before his 7th birthday we finally received the correct diagnosis of Celiac Disease. Over the last two years he has grown 6 inches, gained 30 pounds, won a spelling bee and has turned in to a completely different child.

    IF you want lots of great hints for going gluten free a bit easier, join your local Celiac group in your community. Ours is gluten free Indy in the Indianapolis area but the groups are located all over. It’s not just for Celiacs but for anyone trying to reduce their wheat/gluten intake due to allergies or other reasons.

    We are hosting a HUGE Gluten Free Expo in Indy coming up in October. IF you are close to the Midwest we’d love to see you there.

    Best to you and yours,

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