Autism-Diet.com is dedicated to the research of the late J Robert Cade, MD and R Malcolm Privette, PA-C into the causes and treatment of autism. Please browse the site and feel free to contact us if we can be of further assistance.
For most people, the breakdown of dietary protein into smaller and smaller peptides (amino acid chains) and finally into individual amino acids is a process that is smoothly completed as food travels through the digestive system. However, for an individual with autism, it has been found that partially broken-down components of the original proteins are able to pass from the intestine into the bloodstream. This is caused by an intestinal lining defect and/or incomplete digestion.
In the case of two of the diet’s most common proteins, gluten (from wheat, barley, oats, and rye) and casein (from milk), some of the components that are released into the bloodstream have opioid (morphine-like) properties. Gliadorphin-7 and other similar polypeptides are formed in the breakdown of gluten. Bovine ß-casomorphin-7 and other similar polypeptides are formed in the breakdown of casein. Most recently, deltorphin and dermorphin have been targeted for their potential activity as well. All of these polypeptides contain regions very similar in structure to morphine. These proteins are transported to the brain where they bind to receptors causing an effect that our research indicates is manifested in the symptoms of autism.
By removing sources of gluten and casein from the diet of autistic children, we have had immense success in at least alleviating and at times eliminating the symptoms of autism.