Last week was a particularly bad week. It got steadily worse as he ate his way through several foods on his ‘intolerant list’. It was only after the donuts from a well known “the lights are on” donut shop that things really took a turn downwards. I know, I know, totally under my control but sometimes …
At this point I am going to concede that food is still a major contributor in his behavior. Especially his mental health. He is once again, dismissive, aggressive, frustrated at every little thing, intolerant, and depressed. Give the kid wheat, dairy, corn, additives, soy, or any other thing on his list and he spirals fast.
Sadly, when someone eats something and they are allergic or intolerant to a certain protein in that food, or to the food itself, damage to the gut occurs. This causes something known as ‘leaky gut.’ Once your gut is damaged the proteins in food can wreak havoc on the brain.
Celiac.com explains … ” Celiac.com 09/13/2008 – In the last two decades, research has begun to focus on gluten’s effects on the brain, including associations with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Celiac disease itself occurs no more frequently in children with ASD than in neurologically normal children, but it appears there are other reasons to consider excluding gluten from the diet. “Mal-digestion of dietary proteins, particularly casein (from cow’s milk) and gluten-containing foods, produces small peptides (amino acid sequences) that may function as opioids”. This is what is known as “The peptide Theory”, also called “The Opioid Excess Theory”. What this means is that incomplete digestion of specific foods allows the remaining small protein fragments, called peptides, to pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream. Peptides are tiny, but children affected by dietary peptides often have what is termed a “leaky gut”, or a gut that is in some way damaged and unable to fully perform its protective function. In children (and adults) with ASD, gluten breaks down into a peptide called gliado-morphin, and casein breaks down into a peptide called caso-morphin. Eventually these peptides are thought to bind to opioid receptors in the brain, where they are perceived by the body as morphine-like substances. It is this morphine-like or narcotic-like effect that causes many of the typical behaviors associated with ASD. These behaviors can include sensory problems, lack of eye contact, self-stimulation, and altered pain threshold, among others. Repeated exposure to gluten and casein causes a condition similar to opiate addiction – children with this condition often crave the very thing that is causing their problems; consequently, sudden, complete elimination of gluten and casein from the diet can cause withdrawal symptoms. The discovery of caso-morphin and gliado-morphin in the urine of autism patients may be strong supporting evidence for the peptide theory.”
Celiac’s are gluten allergic, but other foods can cause the same problems. An IgG (food allergy testing) test or an IgE test can help determine what foods to avoid. I have heard more than one doctor express that blood tests are better at determining food allergies and the skin prick test is better for detecting environmental allergies. B has done both and the skin test seemed more open to interpretation as reading the reaction takes a skill of nuance. B’s back was covered from top-to-bottom and side-to-side with welts of varying sizes.
The blood test measures IgG responses to food antigens. Is this test really as reliable as we like to think? In our case the foods established on the IgG tend to be ones that we also notice a reaction to at home, usually very quickly after the food has been eaten. However, I am becoming increasingly aware that he also reacts to things that didn’t show as an allergen on his testing, including both cinnamon and garlic.
The debate regarding test results can be a hot button as evidenced in this article, “IgG Food Allergy Testing by ELISA/EIA. What do they really tell us? Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, by Sheryl B. Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, Clinical Laboratory Director. Bastyr University Natural Health Clinic. Adverse reactions to food may initiate a myriad of physiological effects in the body. These reactions may be immunologically or non-immunologically mediated and can result in signs and symptoms ranging in severity from mild to life threatening anaphylaxis. Although the majority of severe reactions are thought to be immunological and mediated via IgE, other immune globulins, such as IgG and IgA, may play a role in adverse reactions to food as well. …”
If you are considering an IgG test this might be an article/debate to read first.
The Great Plains Laboratory, Inc now offers the IgG Food Allergy test w/candida. They say “We have included the IgG antibodies to Candida at no additional charge. High levels of IgG antibodies to the yeast Candida have been found in patients who scored high on a questionnaire regarding symptoms of yeast overgrowth, like sugar cravings which can improve with antifungal therapy. IgA or IgM antibodies to Candida did not correlate with this questionnaire. Yeast antibodies react with virtually all human organs, including the brain. In one study, individuals with pituitary malfunction had Candida antibodies that reacted to a human pituitary protein. … A wide range of disorders have been linked to Candida including depression, chronic fatigue, thyroid disorders, autism, multiple sclerosis, vulvodynia, and others. … Overgrowth of Candida may also cause a rise in cases of food allergies. The antibodies that provide long term resistance to infections, called Immunoglobulin G (IgG), have a much longer half life than the traditional IgE allergy. Symptoms, ranging from headache and nausea to seizure and hyperactivity, may occur hours or even days after the offending food has been ingested. … The complete elimination of IgG positive foods may bring about important improvements in symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, autism, AD(H)D, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and epilepsy as demonstrated in numerous clinical studies. The 93 foods tested in the IgG Food Allergy Test w/ Candida increase the identification of numerous offending foods. This test can be performed using either serum from a blood draw or dried blood from a finger prick.”
What is an IgE test?
An immunoglobulin E (IgE) test measures the blood level of IgE, one of the five subclasses of antibodies. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system that attack antigens, such as bacteria, viruses, and allergens.
IgE antibodies are found in the lungs, skin, and mucous membranes. They are associated mainly with allergic reactions (when the immune system overreacts to environmental antigens such as pollen or pet dander) and parasitic infections.
What is IgA? Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is an antibody that plays a critical role in mucosal immunity. More IgA is produced in mucosal linings than all other types of antibody combined; between three and five grams are secreted into the intestinal lumen each day. This accumulates to 75% of the total immunoglobulin produced in the entire body.
I first ran across food testing when B was about 18 months/24 months old. We had already started eliminating foods based on stomach reactions we noted but our DAN doctor thought that we should eliminate based on test results as well. Later when he was around 5 years old our allergist redid the tests (both blood and skin prick) to determine where he was at at that time. The only difference was the second round of tests revealed a significant allergen response to apples. Once we removed the apples from his diet it did make a significant difference both to his hyperactivity and interestingly, his pencil holding ability.
At this point I think we just need to keep going with eliminating and avoiding what we know causes issues. I am bound and determined to start us all on the GAPS diet soon. That, if all goes according to what I have been reading, should totally heal his leaky gut and hopefully put him on a road to eating a more normal diet.