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Instant Behavior Change In Son After Going Gluten Free.
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My wife and I recently decided to have our whole family go gluten free. I'd been gluten free for quite some time now, but we'd wondered if doing this for our son might help with some of his behaviors. He is not diagnosed with any autism spectrum disorder. He is profoundly gifted (he took a community college math course at age 7) and so we are never sure what part of his behaviors are from being so extremely gifted and what might be some form of aspergers. Nevertheless, we thought we would try the gluten free diet (as we are already vegan - so we'd long since given up dairy). Within 24 hours, we already noticed major changes. And this was a kid who would have mega-meltdowns on a daily basis. He would be so easily set off into an explosion of anger and frustration and was unable to be calmed. It was truly a stressful nightmare at times. Yet, 2 weeks into our gluten free trial and he has yet to have a single explosion. A few times we saw what used to be the signs that an explosion was coming and then he'd calm down and be fine. My wife and I are nearly in shock. So, we are wondering if anyone else has had this experience with giving up gluten for a child? Can it really work so quickly and powerfully? And if so, does anyone know why? I know it has helped my interms of my gastrointestinal issues and allergies, but this just seems even more miraculous (especially considering how quickly it happened). I'd love to hear about other people's experiences related to behavior changes from giving up gluten.

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The gluten free diet really calmed my son down. He was a 3 year old toddler at the time, so meltdowns were expected at that age. He is now thirteen and although he was never diagnosed (his younger sister was and that made it a gluten free household) he vomits when he has had accidental gluten. My daughter was so young (and sick) it was like an after thought wondering why there wasn't any more temper tantrums?

In some individuals gluten has an opiate affect. Some individuals have a "withdrawal" period. :huh: (Some autistic children have banged their heads against objects for a week in some cases of withdrwal.)

I am very glad your family has found gluten free living as a positive change. There is no reason to ever doubt that such a drastic change has occured just because there was no medical test preformed. :)

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I noticed a great difference in my oldest son (10), who is also rather bright and has mild aspergers. Before going gluten-free he would get overwhelmed much more easily. If we had more than a couple of people over we could almost count on a meltdown, but now he handles the noise and people very well (although he will still often disappear for a few minutes to regroup).

He is generally much happier and his moods are on more of an even keel. The "serious little professor" nick name described him to a tee, he was almost melancholy before... the type of kid who had his first smile at 4 months old. Now he jokes and plays (he didn't really play before) and laughs a lot. It's beautiful.

His concetration in his school work (in the subjects that don't interest him) has improved greatly too. Since we homeschool, this is a huge relief for me.

Physically, it helped his stomach and headaches to go away. He has put on some weight, and is growing again too (he was dropping down the height chart over the last few years from 80+ percentile to below 50th percentile, so his 8 year old brother is now taller than he is).

It also took making him casein free to get to this point. going gluten-free helped a LOT, but casein free made a big difference too. it might be something to consider since going gluten-free made such a difference, and because you suspect Aspergers in your son.

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My son is autistic. We transitioned VERY slowly to gluten free which made it easier for us but I suspect that's why we didn't see any significant behavior changes. But every time we try to add it back, we see huge changes in behavior. Meltdowns (which is actually not common for him), "spacy", hyper, and emotional. We even did a test once where we didn't tell his teacher. She wrote me a long e-mail telling me she had never seen him like this and asking what was going on. Having that independent confirmation told me that gluten really does affect him.

We'd actually like to be able to add occasional gluten back in. He's 4 now so he doesn't really pick up on it yet that his diet is "different." Since we're pretty sure he's not celiac (doesn't seem to have a problem with cross contamination and we've been able to do very minimal gluten without seeing any effects), I'd love for him to be able to have the occasional "cheat" with his friends.

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I wish there was more research out there on this topic.  It just seems too unlikely that these changes in his behavior could just have happened at the exact moment we made this change.

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Don't over-analyze it or worry about it.  Just be happy :)   Sounds like a great unexpected outcome.

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I wish there was more research out there on this topic.  It just seems too unlikely that these changes in his behavior could just have happened at the exact moment we made this change.

If you look into research on diet and autism, and in books on treating autism, you will find more info there. :)

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I have two boys gluten free. My youngest (age 3) would have terrible meltdowns with no control of his emotions - he didn't know why he was so frustrated. Everyone said it was because he couldn't talk yet so he can't communicate what he has to say. He was also quite pigeon toed. He slips under the radar for autism and is growing well (he did have loose stools all the time and was told he is fine and not to worry by his Ped). I did worry and my nutritionist suggested an alternative doctor. He has been gluten free for six months now and there are rarely any outbursts anymore and his walk is normal.  We cheated over Halloween and that led to meltdowns and stumbling with is right food turned in dramatically which is now back to normal - no more cheating for us!

My oldest son has had joint pains all his life (which also got dismissed at growing pains as there was no inflammation), he has pilaris keratosis (which is "normal" as per the GP - mine cleared going gluten free), and in the past two months he was sinking deeper and deeper into depression and developed rapid blinking/twitching in his eyes. Finding out how bad he feels about himself I took him off gluten (two weeks now) and the eye twitch is almost gone and he is interacting and seems very happy. I can't believe how quick the turnaround was. He felt something was wrong and wants to stay gluten free.

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A drastic change in behavior is what led us to the doctor in the first place.  My then 5 year old suddenly went from being a "typical" boy (no angel) to having terrible melt downs over seemingly insignificant things (wrong toy in happy meal, legos didn't fit together, socks were too hard to put on . . .)  He was angry all the time and his tantrums included kicking, hitting, throwing things, and banging his head against the wall.  Nothing seemed to help, no consequences seemed to matter.   This went on for about a month.  We got to the point where his behavior was so unpredictable, we just didn't go anywhere.  Amazingly, he was keeping it together in school.

 

Then, out of the blue, he started to complain of a stomach ache.  After 3 or 4 days, I made an appointment to take him to the doctor.  By the time we got in, the complaints had stopped, but not the bad behavior.  I mentioned the behavior problem to the doctor (just in conversation, I didn't really think of it as a symptom) and she was brilliant enough to think to test him for celiac.

 

As soon as we were able to go gluten free (took a few more weeks to finish all the tests) we had our happy, friendly, outgoing son back within days.  It was like a miracle.  Our doctor said BEHAVIOR is the number 1 symptom in children . . . far more common than GI issues.

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Celiac runs in my husband's family.  With our son, who was diagnosed early (right around 13-14 months) his behavior was clearly indicative of pain (inconsolable, coudn't get comfortable, waking up in the middle of the night crying in pain); however, my sister in law has a child with autism and celiac.  Her experience was that her son's behavior wasn't obviously pain-related, but his motor coordination, speech and ability to socialize dramatically improved on a gluten free and dairy free diet. 

 

She isn't as picky as me about keeping seperate utensils and other cross contamination issues and I don't think her son's reactions to being accidentally glutened are as dramatic as we see in our son. 

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The answer is yes....it can! I didn't believe it 9 months ago, but it's the truth. It totally happened to us. Our daughter was different immediately. I am thinking out kiddo had the neurological form. Which is why for us it was so immediate. I know it seems impossible but really it, it's totally possible that it can be such a change. I would say expect good days and bad days. But your new normal will be awesome!

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The answer is yes....it can! I didn't believe it 9 months ago, but it's the truth. It totally happened to us. Our daughter was different immediately. I am thinking out kiddo had the neurological form. Which is why for us it was so immediate. I know it seems impossible but really it, it's totally possible that it can be such a change. I would say expect good days and bad days. But your new normal will be awesome!

Thank you. My daughter is 2.5 ad is getting tested Monday. She has been constipated since the day we brought her home. Had unconsolable crying for first nine months, and since 9 months easily upset, moody, unpredictable. I'm hoping we an pin point why, and reading these posts on gluten free diets gives me hope that her days will be brighter for her.

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    • What if it were something else that glutened you?  Maybe you ate too much of a good thing?  I once (three months post dx) ate too much gluten-free fried chicken, vomited, passed out and fractured my back (osteoporosis) in the process.  Paramedics, ER doc and Cardio all thought I was having a heart attack.   No.  It was sheer gluttony and bad bones.  Not good to overload with a damaged gut.    Maybe you did get some contaminated nuts.  Afterall, anything processed is suspect.  What might be well tolerated by some, might be too much for others.  We all have our various levels of gluten intolerance.   The old 20 parts per million is just a guideline, but science does not really know (lack of funding......doe anyone really care enough to find out?)  My hubby has been gluten-free for 15 years.  When I was first diagnosed, I tried to eat the gluten-free foods that I normally gave him.   Problem was he was healed and I was not.  Things like Xanthan Gum in commercial processed gluten-free breads make me feel like I have been glutened, but it is just (and still is) an intolerance.  So no bread for me unless I make it myself using a different gum.   Too lazy, so I do without.   so, ask your doctor if you really want to know or lay off the cashews and test them again in a month using a certified gluten-free nut.  I wish this was easier!    
    • I have intolerances to a few foods now, so I was wondering about that.. I love cashews though, and a month or two ago I was eating them all the time with no problems at all. I mean, could I really have developed an intolerance to them since then? I don't know if they're made on shared lines (it didn't say on the package so I assumed they weren't), but I'll give them a call. I'm really, really sensitive to cross contamination. Even if something is just made in the same facility (but not on shared lines) it will make me sick. If that's not it, then I'm not really sure
    • Research with KP and find a celiac-savvy GI in your area ( read the biographies). and ask your PCP/GP for a referral to that specific GI (not his buddy).  Ask the GI for the rest  of the celiac panel or proceed with an endoscopy/biopsies -- 4 to six.  Keep eating gluten daily until all testing is complete.  Document and request in writing.  Do not worry about symptoms.  There are over 300 of them and some celiacs have none!   Research all that you can about celiac disease.  The University of Chicago has a great celiac website that has testing Information etc.   Poet me know how it works out.  Hope you feel better soon!  
    • I react to both wheat and barley.  I've opted to just go completely gluten free, for the sake of simplicity and my sanity.  I don't have a diagnosis of celiac disease, but I strongly suspect it.  Unfortunately, I'm not willing to endure the misery of staying on gluten long enough to pursue further testing.  I just know I need to avoid the gluten grains, so I do.  
    • I think that we have to remember that celiacs often develop intolerances due to our  damaged guts.  Our guts do not ncessarily heal either (usually adults) for  a variety of reasons even if their symptoms improve (see links below).   Nuts are just plain hard to digest.   I can not tolerate almonds, but can handle walnuts and cashews in small amounts.  I can eat peanuts too, but resort to Peanutbutter after a Glutening as it is easier to digest (maybe I have to learn to chew better!  😀)  My nut symptoms have  nothing to do with gluten as I have purchased certified gluten-free nuts and suffered with the same symptoms.  .   https://www.verywell.com/celiac-disease-when-will-your-small-intestine-recover-562341 http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/treatment/ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23936873 i call the manufacturer when I suspect the manufacturer is sharing the line or if I just want to know.  I bought some Black English walnuts and called the company.  Those are the only nuts they process and they do not have any flavored nuts.   if you really want to test your theory out, buy some nuts from Nuts.com (certified gluten-free).   See if you get a reaction or ask your GI to retest your antibodies (which should be done annually anyway).   I just hate to have Planters get a bum rap when you do not really know for sure.......😥    
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