Study Links Wheat to Autism

Exploring the Relationship Between Diet and Autism

For years now, scientists have known of the link between gastrointestinal issues and disorders of the autism spectrum. A study recently published to the Public Library of Science (PLoS) sought to further examine this grossly underappreciated relationship.

Autism is too frequently shrugged off as a disorder with no known cause. Despite evidence of possible contributing factors–vaccines, nutritional deficiencies, chemical exposure and food intolerances, to name a few–the scientific community remains oddly comfortable labeling autism a genetically inherited disorder.

This study, however, should finally draw attention to the glaring need for further study of the association between the increasing incidence of autism and North America’s addiction to gluten-containing grains such as wheat.


From the onset, the research team set out “to assess immune reactivity to gluten in pediatric patients diagnosed with autism according to strict criteria and to evaluate the potential link between autism and celiac disease.”

And what did they find?

Compared to control subjects, patients diagnosed with autism react much more strongly to the presence of gliadin, a toxic protein found in wheat. The major concern here is that, when gliadin is introduced, the body then produces antibodies that can cross-react with and damage the nervous system.

This effect is even more prevalent in patients experiencing gastrointestinal problems, as they cannot properly breakdown this damaging protein class (known as gliadin) and it may then leak from the gut into the bloodstream.

The hope is that reducing our consumption of wheat may improve central nervous system function and–hopefully–reduce the occurrence of autism.

The full article, entitled “New Study Signals Wheat-Autism Link,” further explores the study’s results, and also explains why those with clinically defined intolerance to wheat (celiac disease and wheat allergy) are not the only ones who should try to avoid eating wheat.

About the Author

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

In 2012, Sayer Ji co-authored “The Cancer Killers” with Drs. Ben Lerner and Charles Majors of Maximized Living.