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Could Gluten Be Causing Behavior Problems ?
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Hi there. I've been recently diagnosed with Gluten Sensitivity (and casein and soy and yeast and eggs) and it has got me thinking about how alot of problems in my past were caused or aggravated by my diet. Now I'm starting to wonder if gluten could be causing some problems in my daughter - I'm carrying two copies of the gluten sensitivity gene, so she's got at least one copy from me.

My daughter is an extremely bright nine-year-old, and we homeschool. Her work is becoming increasingly sloppy and careless. When we have discussions on literature, she cannot seem to concentrate and can't answer the most simple questions over what we have read. She also gets very angry whenever I insist that she redo her work correctly. I'm inclined to say, "fine - if you won't work for me, you can go back to public school", but I don't think that would really be best for her. But I'm tired of the constant battles.

She has no tummy problems, but does have chronic runny-nose allergies controlled fairly well by Claritin. I would really appreciate hearing from anyone who may have had the same problems with a child.

Susan

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My son did have GI issues but his behavior is surely affected by gluten. I can tell right away went he has ingested gluten. He just turned six and when he is glutened he is bouncing off the walls. He becomes extremely hyper active and cannot get anything done. There are plenty of people on here that will tell you that children did not have the classic GI symptoms. With you being a carrier you might want to either get her tested or try a gluten-free diet for a while and see if there is a change.

Nicole

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My kids are much younger than your daughter, but really my 2yo son's only symptom before we had him tested (because of me and my 4yo having gluten sensitivity) was his introverted personality. Being shy myself, I didn't think much of it. But after he had positive tests and we put him gluten-free, his personality completely changed. He's now a goofy, rambunctious, average 2yo boy. Even the teachers at the drop-in daycare were amazed at the change. They say he's like a completely different child.

My daughter had the tummy aches and was hyper, and freaked out and cried over every little thing. She's has calmed down considerably and doesn't get upset unless it's something that you'd expect a child to get upset over.

For myself, I started having problems in school around 2nd grade. I couldn't remember anything, couldn't concentrate. It just got worse and worse because what you learn in 3rd grade is built upon what you're supposed to remember from 2nd grade. It doesn't take long for that to effect your self esteem. I really just believed I was stupid. My parents and teachers thought I was just being difficult or lazy or didn't care for some reason. They said I had a high IQ based on some tests that I don't remember doing. I thought they must have mixed up my tests with someone elses. When I graduated from high school I just thanked my lucky stars I got through it, and didn't even bother with applying to even a single college. I figured if regular school was so hard for me, there was no way I was going to embarass myself by attempting anything more.

No tummy problems whatsoever as a child, up until I was 17. I had mono and had a messed up stomach ever since then. I also developed anger issues as an adult, which went away after going gluten-free.

I would really encourage you to put her gluten-free for a few months (my son improved slowly over a couple months) just to see if it helps.

Hope she starts doing better soon.

Nancy

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My 11 year old son had similar issues last year. His teacher asked if I would consider having him tested for ADD. He is bright, but couldn't focus, was getting disruptive and his grades were slipping quite a bit.

I had seen the same thing at home, and since I am gluten intolerant, decided to try the diet with him as well. His pediatrician agreed that it would be a good idea to try before ADD testing. Within days his teacher noticed a difference. After a few weeks she said that she couldn't believe the change and said that he was "a completely different child". We've experimented with trying to add gluten back, but his behavior changes. Even his older sisters can tell when he's cheated.

An interesting note though - he did not test positive on the celiac panel from the pediatrician or the stool test from Enterolab. The diet test was the only positive one. (He does have 2 copies of DQ1 though.) Not scientific, but still convincing to me.

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Hi

My advice would be to TRY the gluten-free diet.....

My ds is 3yr old and is a completely different child when he has gluten

He is hyper, doesn't listen/focus...is plain old FRESH...if u know what I mean :)

good Luck

My 11 year old son had similar issues last year. His teacher asked if I would consider having him tested for ADD. He is bright, but couldn't focus, was getting disruptive and his grades were slipping quite a bit.

I had seen the same thing at home, and since I am gluten intolerant, decided to try the diet with him as well. His pediatrician agreed that it would be a good idea to try before ADD testing. Within days his teacher noticed a difference. After a few weeks she said that she couldn't believe the change and said that he was "a completely different child". We've experimented with trying to add gluten back, but his behavior changes. Even his older sisters can tell when he's cheated.

An interesting note though - he did not test positive on the celiac panel from the pediatrician or the stool test from Enterolab. The diet test was the only positive one. (He does have 2 copies of DQ1 though.) Not scientific, but still convincing to me.

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I agree that you should try the diet with her. My 10 and 8 year old girls both have behaviour issues when they have gluten/casein and one of them soy. My 10 year old used to be defiant, angry, moody, irritable, etc and now is very easy-going and pleasant to be around unless she has some gluten or casein. My 8 year old shows signs of ADHD when she has eaten something she shouldn't. My younger one had tummy issues which is what led to us doing the gluten-free diet but my other daughter and I did not.

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My son was diagnosed with Celiac in July 2006 and we have noticed a huge improvement in behavior & school work since he went gluten-free. That, aside from some vague stomach issues, was really the only symptoms.

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We started the diet today - I'm putting her on the same diet I follow: no gluten, casein, soy, yeast or eggs. So now we're in the same boat. Tomorrow she has to sit through a pizza party, poor kid. The bright spot is we'll be sitting at the "weird food table" with other kids who are avoiding gluten and casein also.

Now, what about sugar ? My daughter has been saying "I'm hungry" all day, and I've been feeding her Peanut Butter Panda Puffs. Do y'all avoid sugar too ?

Susan

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Now, what about sugar ? My daughter has been saying "I'm hungry" all day, and I've been feeding her Peanut Butter Panda Puffs. Do y'all avoid sugar too ?

When I first started with my son, I gave him more sugar than usual. I think it made him feel less deprived. We've gotten back to a good balance now, which includes a little more sugar than I would like, but WAAAAAY less than the average kid. Instead of Panda Puffs, have you tried popcorn? Still something to snack on, but cheaper (if you pop it yourself) and lower in sugar. The other things all my kids like to snack on are baby carrots, apple slices, bananas, raisins, sometimes cut-up yam slices, rice cakes with peanut butter and celery with peanut butter. (BTW- my kids do snack on Gorilla Munch and Panda Puffs sometimes too. They're pretty yummy.)

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We do not avoid sugar. I figure with all that they have to give up, I am not going to add to it. I even provide more sweet things than I did before, because before, they were getting it every where else and I didn't feel the need to. Now, I think it is important that if the kids at school have cake, my daughters either have cupcakes in the freezer at school that they can have, or they can have an equivalent treat at home.

I really focus on what they can have so, especially in the beginning, if we were out and they saw some candy that met our requirements (gluten-free/CF), I would buy it. They didn't always get to eat it right away but at least I wasn't saying to them again that it had gluten/casein in it.

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Well, I started my daughter on a restricted diet Friday, and today WE HAD A GOOD DAY !!!!!! The first in WEEKS !!!!!! Oh, please let this not be a fluke !!! She is missing her Cheez-its, but agrees that having fun instead of fighting is definitely an improvement. I think I will still have her tested through Enterolab, in case she doesn't have all the same sensitivities that I have.

Susan

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I'm so happy for you and your daughter. :)

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We have a 9 yr old boy and homeschool, too! And we have similar issues...not being able to concentrate, not being able to sit still, etc. It is remarkably worse if he has been glutened! Also, he has angry outbursts if he's been glutened or if he has anything with red food dye.

I'm so glad you're seeing positive change already!

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HI, I decrease my dd's gluten right after school got out last year and then she went 100% gluten-free right before school and wow, I did see a nice change. Very little emotional outbursts anymore and she much nicer over all. I can tell when she's been glutened though, she's angry and seems like she gets overstimumlated and yells a lot. Then I say, ok, what'd she eat today and what was on the label.

Usually, she's shared some lunch with a friend at school. Once I asked her about it and she said, I had a wheat cracker (those in the yellow box). Well, at least she told the truth, but look out for us for a day or two.

Nicole in Michigan

p.s. dd is 7

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Hi,

My daughter who is now turning 3 was diagnosted in August. She did have tummy troubles. When she does get gluten in her system she is very foggy, can't concentrate (count, alphabet, or answer questions) she is also a very angry little girl with horrible tamtrums for about 3 weeks after. My younger daughter (17 months) had severe allergies. She was on 2 allergy medicines twice a day and on Zantac for severe acid reflux. Since going gluten free she is on no medicines and has no symptoms. She did not show any tummy signs though. Hope this helps you some.

Amy

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Well, I started my daughter on a restricted diet Friday, and today WE HAD A GOOD DAY !!!!!! The first in WEEKS !!!!!! Oh, please let this not be a fluke !!! She is missing her Cheez-its, but agrees that having fun instead of fighting is definitely an improvement. I think I will still have her tested through Enterolab, in case she doesn't have all the same sensitivities that I have.

Yeah! I was going to say get her on a gluten-free diet but it's great you already have. Both my daughter and nephew had sever problems with schoolwork before going on the gluten free diet. My nephew was falling asleep in class, sloppy work...handwriting especially, inable to concentrate. You name it! And he was a straight A student proir to the diagnosis. Now he's on a gluten-free diet and he's back to normal, grades and all.

My daughter on the other hand was falsely diagnoised with Autism...mostly because she was unable to speak or concentrate. Now that we have her on a gluten-free diet, as well as other supplements and a few therapies for metal poisoning, she's talking, making eye contact, and beginning to cuddle again. :D We actually have our baby back again and they're taking her out of special ed classes at school.

PS if the Cheez-its are just a gluten issue, not a lactose or caisen issue, there are a few gluten-free cheese crackers. They don't really compare, but they will curb a seroius craving.

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We have a 9 yr old boy and homeschool, too! And we have similar issues...not being able to concentrate, not being able to sit still, etc. It is remarkably worse if he has been glutened! Also, he has angry outbursts if he's been glutened or if he has anything with red food dye.

I'm so glad you're seeing positive change already!

I have just made the red dye discovery with my 8 yr old ds! And I don't know if it is just red dye or all food colors in candy etc. For holidays and special occassions I let him have things with food coloring but in between I'm trying to substitute goodies that don't have food color. Interesting to see that someone else is noticing this too. :)

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I suggest getting her tested for celiac disease. "Brain Fog" is one of my symptoms. I also get irritability, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and nervousness.

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I can see you've had lots of feedback, but I wanted to say gluten was ruining our family. Our daughter was turning our home upside down and we were so frustrated. She couldn't focus, was frustrated easily, cried constantly, etc. After her diagnosis of celiac and going gluten free she is back to our pleasant, happy, focused child. She is so much more reasonable (of course 5 yr olds can sometimes be impossible anyway) but we can definately tell when she has been glutened. She gets a crazy look in her eye. She says it feels like there is cotton in her brain. We consider Gluten=poison in our home. It can ruin a weekend. Good Luck!

Cali

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