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NEWSLETTER

The Gluten Made Her Do It

January 31, 2013
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A story in the Anchorage Press News last month told of a mother with boy-girl twins.  The boy was even-tempered and good natured.  But around 18 months, the girl developed a volatile temperament.  When she got upset, she wasn’t just a little upset.  She became hysterical and screamed for hours.

The mother could not find a way to console her.  The baby became rigid and tense when she was picked up.  Was she simply headstrong and prone to tantrums as can be typical of young children? This mom didn’t think so.

She found a pediatrician who would work with her and her toddler.  While he ran tests, she read.   She stumbled on an article about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), which can include intense negative behavioral reactions to the kinds of sensory input that most people don’t even notice.  She read another article in the Huffington Post (March 2012 ) that described a child whose extreme behavioral symptoms disappeared after they took gluten out of her diet.

When she showed these to the doctor, he agreed to try the child on a gluten-free diet.  “After six weeks on the gluten-free diet, her awful screaming and flailing episodes were gone. My daughter started looking me in the eyes again. Underneath her old symptoms was this ebullient, curious, affectionate little girl.   How had something as simple as a grain protein been the cause of behaviors that were so extreme?,” said the mother.

The nutritionist, Kelly Dorfman,  co-authored the Huffington Post article,  and says it’s not uncommon for her to see patients whose only symptoms of gluten intolerance have to do with their behavior and mood.  She describes a client who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a young child; her father was taking medication for anger management. It turned out that both were simply gluten intolerant.

Today we know that celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can affect any system in the body.   It can be responsible for more than 300 symptoms, according to the University of Chicago celiac Center.

I think about the violence and rage we read about everyday and can’t help but wonder if gluten might be contributing to some of this behavior.  Have you ever wondered about that?  Tell us what you think?

Here’s a link to the Anchorage Press News article.

Beth Hillson

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