biomedical treatments for autism




Special diets


There are many diets that can be implemented in autism spectrum disorders and the Autism Research Institute has reported that 69% of kids have benefited from a gluten and casein free diet (GF/CF). The GF/CF diet is one of many diets and is important in order to lay down a foundation, to improve digestion and absorption and to heal a leaky gut. The GF/CF diet is often a good starting point for children but must be followed in the strictest manner. Here is a list and brief explanation of the diets used for children on the spectrum. Many children may need to layer these diets in order to achieve maximum benefits.


Gluten and Casein Free Diet


This diet comprises of removing gluten (a wheat protein) and casein (a dairy protein) from your diet. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, commercial oats, kamut and spelt. Although oats does not contain gluten, it is usually prepared in a facility or grown in a farm that contains gluten. This cross-contamination can be problematic for highly sensitive individuals. Children with intolerances to these 2 proteins may have chronic diarrhea, constipation, excess mucus, abdominal distension and leg pains. Other symptoms such as fuzzy thinking, self-injurious behavior, attention problems, failure to thrive/grow and dental carries are also seen. This diet is a great starting point and is often used as a foundation to the other diets.

A stool test has been developed by a laboratory in the USA that is highly specific for gluten sensitivity. Knowing that the immune reaction to gluten and other foods occurs in the intestinal tract measuring IgA antibodies to gluten in the stool (rather than in the blood) is an ingenious method to determining food issues.


Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)


This diet has been made popular by Elaine Gottschall in her book "Breaking the Viscious Cycle". It comprises of removing all starches and sugars including table sugar, maple syrup, rice, pastas, breads, potatoes, certain beans, rice milk, and cornstarch. The SCD is excellent for children with yeast overgrowth, bacterial imbalances, gut inflammation and chronic diarrhea. A wonderful resource for recipes and how to implement this diet can be found at 


The Body Ecology Diet


This diet incorporates the principles of proper food combining, acid/base balance with low/no sugar and starches and easily digestible foods. Eating fermented foods daily is an essential component of this diet. The body ecology diet is used for intractable yeast and in children where healing of the gut is paramount. This diet can be difficult for children especially if they are not fond of vegetables and it does require some educating on the part of the parents first.


The GAPS Diet


A variation to the specific carbohydrate diet. It is typically used when children have been unresponsive to the SCD. The essential component of this diet is the inclusion of bone broths and fermented veggies to help heal up intestinal inflammation.


The Weston A. Price Diet


This diet is primarily one of unprocessed whole food eating. It includes a lot of fermented foods, bone broths, raw dairy products, pasture fed animal products and soaking or sprouting of grains, beans and seeds for increased digestibility.


The Feinglod Diet


This diet is designed to elimate phenolic containing foods as children with ASD often have difficulty detoxifying these compounds. It is important to remove salycilates from the diet as well while simultaneously enhancing the child's detoxification capacity of these substances. As it is difficult to remove 100% of phenols from one's diet, enzymes are given to help breakdown the remaining phenols. The feingold diet is helpful when a child is suffering from hyperactivity, impulsivity, aggression, headaches, head banging, ADD, night waking, hives, dyslexia, speech difficulties, tics and some seizures.


The Low Oxalate Diet


An oxalate is a salt of oxalic acid that binds to a certain mineral such as calcium, at which point an oxalate crystal is created. These crystals are damaging. When a child has a healthy gut with ample flora, not many of the oxalate crystals are absorbed into the blood. Rather they are metabolized and broken down, bound to calcium and excreted in the stool. However, with a leaky gut, these oxalate crystals enter the blood and are then deposited in tissues causing inflammation and pain. In cells, oxalates lead to oxidative damage, depletion of glutathione and additional pain. This diet should be used when high levels of oxalates have been found on laboratory testing or other diets have not fully resolved issues such as pain on urination, rocking after meals, sleep issues, failure to grow, constipation and diarrhea.


The Paleolithic Diet


This is diet is known as the caveman diet. It's high in fat and low in carbohydrates.The premise is no plant foods are eaten unless they can be eaten raw including grains, starch vegetables, beans and certain fruits and nuts. The diet is heavily focused on meat, chicken, eggs and fish. It is used when beans and grains regardless of soaking are not digestible.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. — Hippocrates, father of medicine, 431 B.C.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. — Hippocrates, father of medicine, 431 B.C.