Autism Linked To Celiac Disease. What To Do If Your Child Has Symptoms

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A new study confirms what you might already know if your child is on the autism spectrum…

…there is a huge association between celiac disease and autism.


Up until now, mainstream media strongly denied any link between celiac disease and autism.

Studies that were done looking at this link back in 2013 came up inconclusive.

But if you are working with a physician or support group that still doesn’t recognize a significant link between the two, and are ignoring your child’s symptoms, it’s because they are working with outdated data from old studies.


A new study, the largest ever, looking at data from over 35 million patients

(yes that’s over 35,000,000 patients)

found that celiac disease is 20 times more common in those with autism than those without!


This new, incontrovertible evidence of a 20X greater incidence of celiac disease in autistic patients, was presented at the World Congress of Gastroenterology on October 17, 2017: Abstract P2447.

So now you have the inside scoop on what the world’s top GI specialists now know.

If your child has been diagnosed with autism and they have unaddressed symptoms… like cramping after eating, diarrhea, difficulty gaining weight, abdominal pain, refusal to eat certain foods… considering having your child screened for celiac disease.


A simple blood test (serology testing) can tell you quickly if further inquiry is warranted.


Considering celiac disease has a low incidence in the general public (this study found that only 0.2% of randomly sampled patients actually had celiac disease) the fact that autistic patients have 20 times greater risk makes the index of suspicion much higher in these patients.

If your autistic child is expressing discomfort after eating, reluctance to eating, continence issues, or difficulty gaining weight, directly request to your child’s physician that they screen for celiac.

And it’s not just celiac that is increased in incidence in autistic patients, but many other types of immune disorders… including food allergies, skin allergies and respiratory allergies too.


A study (published June 2018 in JAMA Network) looked at 200,000 children in the United States between the ages of 3 years old and 17 years old.


They found a significant association among food, skin, and respiratory allergies and autism spectrum disorder.

Children with autism were:

  • almost 300% more likely to have food allergies
  • 50% more likely to have respiratory allergies
  • and almost 200% more likely to have skin allergies.


The take home message here is that immune conditions, particularly food allergies, have a robust association with autism… and as we discovered in the previous study, so does celiac disease.

These inflammatory bowel conditions may contribute to behavioral issues in children with autism, increasing irritability and causing associated behavioral changes.

Alterations in the gut microbiome, allergic immune activation, and gut/brain interactions affect neurodevelopment and behavior.


Because the gut microbiome of autistic patients has lower diversity than non-autistic peers, researchers were hoping that by improving the gut flora of autistic patients they would see an improvement in both GI and autism related symptoms…

…and that’s exactly what happened.

An 80% improvement in symptoms that showed no decline after the therapy was stopped!


The Study (published in Microbiome on Jan 23, 2017):

  • 18 patients with autism (ages 7 to 17) and moderate to severe GI issues underwent a microbiota transfer therapy
  • The protocol involved prepping the bowels, fasting, then repopulating the gut microbiota with human gut microbiota (orally or rectally) for two days with low dose maintenance oral doses and a stomach acid suppressant for 8 weeks (to increase survival of transplanted flora)
  • The participants were followed clinically for another two months after the microbiota treatment was completed.

The Results:

  • GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation all dramatically improved or resolved (an average of 82% improvement in symptoms) and that improvement was maintained two months after treatment was stopped.
  • Autism spectrum related symptoms also improved with the flora transfer — resulting in significant improvement in 17 different ASD related symptoms such as social skill deficits, irritability, hyperactivity, lethargy, aberrant speech and more (as measured by PGI-III assessment) and those improvements were robustly maintained with no reversion two months after treatment ended.
  • Interestingly, researchers found complete correlation between improvements in GI symptoms and improvements in ASD symptoms… the worse the GI symptoms were, the worse the ASD behaviors were, and the more the GI symptoms improved, the more the ASD behaviors improved. This suggests there is a huge correlation between gut microbiome health and ASD severity, and that by supporting gut flora we can modify and support ASD behaviors.
  • The improvements showed no signs of lessening even two months after therapy was stopped, with 80% improvements still being maintained over 8 weeks after therapy ended.
  • There was no significant difference in outcomes between those who had the therapy administered orally vs. rectally.
  • Over all gut flora diversity improved in all patients, and the increase in diversity was sustained several months past the end of treatment.


The Bottom Line:

The critical importance of the gut-brain axis can not be overemphasized.

Any therapeutic approach to treating neurological or developmental issues must also include support to the digestive system and bowel function.


With all that we now understand about the importance of the gut microbiome on supporting mental function, now we are armed with a new treatment strategy..

enter, probiotics.


Probiotics are crucial to supporting mood, brain function and even memory.

Find my favorite probiotics in my online dispensary — in the cognitive health section — right here.




Now that you know about this huge association between gut health and autism, consider getting tested for celiac disease and while you wait for your results,

go ahead and start that probiotic for support.

This is a holistic treatment strategy that is proven to work and

absolutely does not need a doctor’s Rx.

xoxoxo, Laura


P.S. What other holistic therapies can impact Autism and other spectrum conditions?

I’ve got you covered.

Check out these other articles I’ve written: