Between writing these blogs and working as a micro- brewery entrepreneur , I also work in Special Education . I love working with people with intellectual disabilities , especially children with autism. Given my condition (I’m affected by the celiac disease ), I was especially interested to hear that sometimes autistic people are more likely to suffer from intolerance to gluten and casein (a protein found in dairy products).

I did some research to understand more about it. What successfully demystified is that people with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD ) generally had problems with their immune system and gastrointestinal tract. Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease , is confusing for many researchers , since it is also related to the immune system. The messages from the brain to the intestine are transmitted incorrectly due to a hormonal problem , but nothing is clinically proven about it. These people mostly have digestive disorders that closely resemble the symptoms of gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

gastric reflux

intestinal inflammation

bloating / swollen belly


aversion to certain foods



leakage of protein in the intestine

6 out of 15 children have these symptoms according to Goodwin and colleagues

The research is controversial , however . Many say that when the gluten free regime is applied to children with autism , behavioral disorders are seen to decrease. However, the majority of these young people do not carry the gene for celiac disease.

What is most remarkable about this research is that secretin, a hormone secreted by the intestine that regulates intestinal permeability and bile secretion, is very low in children with PDD . The administration of this hormone significantly reduces acid reflux and diarrhea.

It is certain that a gluten-free diet could do a lot of good for these people, since it relieves the symptoms on the checklist above . It is recommended to submit to a blood test before following a gluten free diet  in order to avoid various food deficiencies and thus lead to further problems for these children.