This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Risks of Gluten for Everyone

In this TED talk, Dr Rodney Ford of New Zealand argues that eating gluten is not good for anyone, that eating it is taking a risk.   In the 1950s, a dutch physician named Dr Dicke was the first person to figure out that celiac disease was caused by eating wheat, specifically the gluten part.  Half of the protein in wheat is gluten. In the 1960s they began doing biopsies and found that in Celiac Disease, gluten was causing damage to the intestines, and the biopsy became the gold standard of diagnosis.  When we eat gluten, it doesn't get fully digested.  If it gets into the bloodstream the body makes antibodies to it and these can be tested for (via Anti Gliadin Antibody Test).  His patients whose biopsies are negative for celiac disease, but positive for anti gliadin antibodies, respond to the gluten-free diet the same way that people with celiac do.  He presented research he did showing that of 1000 kids who came through his clinic, who did not test positive for celiac, recovered on a gluten-free diet.  When his research was met with skepticism and insistence that only children with celiac warranted a gluten free diet, he decided to call what he found "The Gluten Syndrome".  He and others were finding that much of the damage from gluten is to the nerves.

Recently there has been a lot of attention paid to the many problems associated with wheat and gluten.  He references the books Wheat Belly, Grain Brain, and Toxic Staple as examples.  Dr Alessio Fasano, director of The Center for Celiac Research in Boston MA, argues in his book Gluten Related Disorders that 10% of people in North America are suffering from gluten-related disorders. Nobody can digest gluten, he calls it a waste of chewing.  Dr Fasano showed that everyone who eats gluten gets an inflammatory reaction in the gut due to zonulin.  Zonulin loosens the tight junctions between cells that line your intestines and makes your gut leaky.  A researcher in Spain classified gluten as an anti-nutrient, arguing that is actually has negative effect on nutrient status.  There are other proteins in wheat that are just as harmful.  Gluten, it's antibodies, and it's partially digested pieces all harm the brain more than any other part of the body.  Gluten has also been shown to trigger auto immune disease.  He draws a parallel between the risk of smoking and the risk of eating gluten, and says why take that risk?