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Does Going gluten-free Change Child's Behavior Quickly?


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#1 cgwilde

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 09:31 PM

Hello all, I am new to this forum and the gluten-free world. My son has been very irratible his whole life and has always been very low on weight charts. He has also had extreme eczema his whole life, hence, why I had him tested for allergys. We have been gluten-free for 4 days now and he is a different child. Is it just my imagination or can going gluten-free totally alter a child's behavior so quickly? His skin looks better and he seems much more pleasant and relaxed. He also seems to be eating more food.

While going gluten-free, can lactose intolerance emerge? He suddenly does not want milk and told me that it hurt his tummy. I am not sure what to think.. if it is common or he just being 3?!

Thanks for any help you can give
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#2 mushroom

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 09:55 PM

Hello and welcome to the forum.

Yes, although no personal experience, I have heard reports of miraculous behaviour improvement in a very short time; also of improvement in autistic children. Gluten really can have that much of an effect on some of us.

As for the lactose intolerance, that is often disguised by the gluten symptoms (and caused by them also). The enzyme that digests the lactose in milk is produced on the tips of the villi in the small intestine, which is the part that becomes grossly damaged by gluten. Until they heal, those who have this damage most often cannot tolerate milk, cream, ice cream. And some people cannot tolerate any dairy; it is different for all of us. However, you might try him on some yogurt and some hard cheese and see how he reacts.

I am so glad for you that your little guy is responding so well to the diet. :)
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#3 The Kids Folks

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 04:31 AM

I would definitely say yes! It can change a childs behavior, demeanor and sleep very quickly! Kids don't always have words to let you know that they aren't feeling well when they are eating gluten and then act out because their little bodies are hurting.

When our son was eating gluten he was "just a serious kid" didn't smile or laugh a lot. Then he went gluten free and he is now giggling, smiling and laughing from the moment he wakes up, when reading the Sunday comics or playing with his sister!! Sadly, until we heard his laughter again we didn't realize that it was lost! Our peds explained it this way - you slowly start to feel bad and then it just becomes your norm, and until you are feeling healthy you don't realize how sick you really felt!

I know this is true - Our whole house is gluten free and are all much happier healthier people!!

Good luck on your new journey and best of health to you all!! :D
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#4 jkt

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 04:58 AM

Congratulations! Sounds like the new diet is truly helping your child.

My 7-yr old showed signs of improvement within a week and it has changed his life. Once your child's body can start getting rid of the gluten because you're not adding to it, he's going to show signs it's working.

Doesn't it feel good to finally find something that is helping your child and not increasing medication or doctor visits?

Jean
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Started gluten-free diet March 2009 with my 7+ yr old son
Positive effects in him immediately, positive effects in me 1 month into it
True believer of this diet

#5 Rondar2001

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:42 AM

Gluten can definitely change a child's behaviour. One of our main complaints before our dd was diagnosed was how moody she could be. Since being gluten free, this has improved dramatically. Now one of the tipoffs to me that she got glutened is the completely irrational moods come back with a vengence. There is no pleasing her when that happens and I just keep telling myself it will pass in a few days.
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#6 cgwilde

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 06:39 AM

Thanks to you all for your help and advice. I will be posting more in the future. This webpage seems like a God-send. We were invited to birthday party at Chuck-E_Cheese next week. I guess I will be calling the restaurant to see if I can bring in our food. I am really nervous about how he will react to having special food at one of his favorite places. Hopefully by next week he will see how much better he feels and will understand.. again, he is still 3 yr old!!
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#7 OptimisticMom42

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 06:51 AM

Thanks to you all for your help and advice. I will be posting more in the future. This webpage seems like a God-send. We were invited to birthday party at Chuck-E_Cheese next week. I guess I will be calling the restaurant to see if I can bring in our food. I am really nervous about how he will react to having special food at one of his favorite places. Hopefully by next week he will see how much better he feels and will understand.. again, he is still 3 yr old!!



Hello cgwilde,

Could you plan something even better than Chuck-e-Cheese? So you could pop in, deliver the gift, play for a few minutes and then "have to go get......grandma, the new puppy, his own shovel and pumpkin plants" Maybe the one near you is better, the one near us is like the inside of a old toaster. Crumbs everywhere. I would be afraid to spend much time there.

Take Care,
OptimisticMom42
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#8 CMG

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 01:42 PM

I have been brining food to birthday parties for my daughter since she was a year old - first because of dairy allergy, now gluten, too. I have never checked with the party locations in advance. If anyone asks, I just tell them my daughter is allergic to dairy and wheat and therefore can't eat standard pizza.

I have been buying frozen gluten free pizza (I think you can get gluten free and dairy free), cook it before the party and bring it with us. That way she has pizza like everyone else. My daughter is now 6, and she does recognize that she doesn't feel well when she eats gluten. (Dairy seems to be less of a problem now.) At a recent party, the birthday girl's mom offered my daughter pizza and she responded "No, I have my own."

Just for the record, I also bake gluten free cupcakes and keep them individually wrapped in the freezer. Whenever we have a party, I just take one out the night before.
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#9 newlyfoundglutener

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:07 PM

I have recently been reading a lot about gluten sensitivities/intolerance, etc. and ADHD. I would like to have my son go gluten free. I was diagnosed last year with Celiac and have been reading every reputable site I can find for information.

Here is my problem: our son, who is ten, also has Asperger's & ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). He refuses to eat anything new. And the once in a blue moon moment that he does decide he'll try something, he won't eat anything else and get tired of it very quickly. So, to give you an example: he did not even try a french fry until he was two years old. If I hadn't nursed him as long as I did, I honestly don't know how he could have gotten any nutrition.

Nowadays, his favorite food "group" is carbs! Ramen noodles, breaded chicken fingers, & buttered bread are his mainstays. We've tried to get him to eat better but it always ends up in a power struggle. He absolutely refuses to try anything no matter what you say to him until HE decides to do it.

He is in therapy for all of his issues, but after reading the info I have lately (especially these two articles: Pub Med article & Interview with Celiac Specialist) I believe it is time to focus on his eating habits again.

Does anyone have similar issues with their children? Any suggestions to get him to eat? As you can imagine, we feel as though we've tried everything.

Take care,
Tracy
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#10 CMG

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:26 PM

Bell & Evans makes gluten free chicken fingers, which my girls both love. Try rice noodles / rice pasta instead of standard pasta. If he likes the ramen packets, try Thai Kitchen rice noodle bowls instead. Also gluten free mac and cheese - my girls favorite is the DeBoles brand. If there is a Trader Joes near you, the Trader Joes brand gluten-free mac and cheese actually is made by Annie's.

Bread is harder. I usually make my own, but the whole foods breads are pretty good. Whole foods also makes gluten-free cream biscuits that my kids really like. Once we made the transition to the gluten-free versions of things that they like, we were able to break the carb addition, too, and they eat a much more varied diet now.

Good luck!
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#11 mommida

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 05:19 AM

Yes behaviour can change quickly after ingesting gluten or taking gluten out of the diet.
GLUTEN WITHDRAWAL is real and can make people miserable. These are the individuals who have an opiate affect from gluten and casein. (I have noticed this in myself. I get a great feeling of near uphoria, and my brain feels alive with an extra energy ZING.)
Gluten free my kids are more energetic, happier, even tempered, and the dark eye circles go away.
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#12 lizajane

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 07:21 PM

my son became a new child in 3 days. he started to sleep all night for the first time in his life. he is never irritable for no reason anymore (he is still a normal 4 year old when tired!!) he is super sweet all day! he is SO FUN to be with, i can hardly stand to think about how much time we wasted feeling bad. i think it was my pregnancy with him that triggered my celiac and i was a sleepy, fatigued, irritable mess before my diagnosis. as soon as he hit age 2, he was a disaster. it he gets gluten, he turns right back into the little dragon that he was before. and usually, the next day he is back to his sweet little yummy self again.
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#13 mamaesq

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 07:37 PM

Yes behaviour can change quickly after ingesting gluten or taking gluten out of the diet.
GLUTEN WITHDRAWAL is real and can make people miserable. These are the individuals who have an opiate affect from gluten and casein. (I have noticed this in myself. I get a great feeling of near uphoria, and my brain feels alive with an extra energy ZING.)
Gluten free my kids are more energetic, happier, even tempered, and the dark eye circles go away.


I noticed this tonight!! I started my 4 year old on a trial gluten-free diet after discussing it with my pediatrician (I posted about this below). I have been gluten-free since October when I was diagnosed and have been convinced that he is at the very least gluten intolerant. Tonight I was putting him to bed and I thought that his eyes looked a lot better. His last day at daycare was Friday (he never napped there) and we hired a nanny and he has napped every day this week. It could be the naps, but I was surprised at how the dark circles seemed to be going away. I think his whole coloring looks a lot better.

He was laughing a lot tonight, which was nice to hear!
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#14 shayesmom

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 02:07 AM

While going gluten-free, can lactose intolerance emerge? He suddenly does not want milk and told me that it hurt his tummy. I am not sure what to think.. if it is common or he just being 3?!


This part of your question is something that came up with my dd also. Yes, other food issues can come up. Lactose intolerance is one....or casein intolerance....or a casein or whey allergy. In our case, it was a "mild" whey allergy along with casein intolerance. Symptoms were tummy ache, night waking, mood swings and rashes.

I have to give you kudos for trialing the diet. And I'm glad that you're seeing the benefits so early on. From what I'm observing, it seems that the kids who have the celiac genes are more likely to respond quickly. Those on the autism spectrum (without the genetic predisposition for Celiac) seem to take a bit longer. With my daughter, there were HUGE differences in the first 24 hours. Words cannot express the guilt I felt when I realized that my 15 month old had been giving me all sorts of clues as to her not feeling well....and I just hadn't seen it. I would recommend that you explore the issue of the tummy aches thoroughly. If you don't and milk is also a problem....the guilt you'll feel just isn't worth it.
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#15 welshbird

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 11:34 PM

Hi, my five year old boy improved very quickly after removing gluten from his diet but there were still issues. It wasn't until we cut out dairy as well that his behaviour is now constantly brilliant. He did say that his tummy ache and headache had gone away a few days after stopping dairy, and when we retried Dairy this returned, along with his facial rash and out of control behaviour and his aggression to life.

We have now been very strict with this diet since February and once you have adapted things it really isn't that difficult. I had been buying a lot of ready made treats (cakes, pastries etc) that was never that nice and not eaten by my boy which put me off trying to bake as I thought that this was how they tasted - so he had none. I finally tried baking some simple fairy cakes which everybody loves (friends, brother etc) and everybody puts on their own icing. Since then I no longer buy treats but bake them. Gluten free flour and dairy free marg is no different when there is a bit of sugar and fruit to cover it all up.
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