Sunday, November 25, 2007

The GFCF Diet and How it Helps People with Tourettes

The GFCF Diet and How it Helps People with Tourettes
by: Steve Driskill

Many people diet each and every year. Some diet for personal reasons, others diet in order to lose weight, others diet to lower their cholesterol levels. Diets are now being used to do everything from reduce acne, to control diabetes, and even help control some disorders such as ADHD and even Tourettes.

The diet that is being used to help control some of the symptoms of Tourettes is the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free or GFCF diet. This is certainly not the first diet to attempt to control the symptoms of Tourettes; the other major diet that has attempted this is called the Feingold diet. The GFCF diet removes milk and wheat from the food consumed, while the Feingold diet removes artificial colors, flavors and some of the preservatives found in foods.

Typically, the idea of the GFCF diets is not a treatment that is generally recommended by neurologists or pediatricians. Most doctors prefer to treat disorders and illnesses using more researched methods instead. There are many different diets that have been proven to provide benefits to those suffering from disorders and complications. It is refreshing to some who seek relief in any form they can find it.

Many parents are confused as to exactly what a diet has to do with the signs and symptoms of disorders, specifically behavioral disorders. Typically, the answers lie in the fact that it is generally sensitivity to the particular food that triggers the behavior. A better example that most people can understand is an allergy to fish, or even nuts. Many people exhibit significant allergic reactions to these foods up to the point where death is even possible for some.

While death is never a common symptom it is something that can easily exhibit the severity that food allergies can truly reach. This is the same example with dairy and wheat products in relation to Tourettes. It is suspected that an allergy to these foods produces a chemical reaction that causes a chemical to be released that the brain reads as a neurotransmitter and causes the presence of the tics associated with Tourettes.

Just as most food allergies are only experienced by a few, the symptoms of Tourettes are also only experienced by a few that can be linked to food sensitivities. Not everyone has the same reactions to all foods, however dairy and wheat products are being discovered to be a very sensitive food to many who are suffering from severe Tourettes symptoms. Studies have shown that some reactions to food products can even cause children to be hyper, and have some muscle spasms.

Some of the major indicators that diet has an effect on these disorders is that many who are suffering have been noted to have decreased levels of some nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and even magnesium. It is suspected that the deficiencies in these nutrients is also a factor affecting the symptoms that are experienced by those with Tourettes who see an improvement in their symptoms after beginning a diet such as the GFCF.

Experts who suggest the diet methods suggest slowly eliminating foods from the diet one at a time, so that you can accurately pinpoint the food that triggers the symptoms to spike. They suggest omitting the food from the diet for 4-7 days per food item, and very carefully monitoring the behavior changes that occur due to the food being removed. Some experts suggest replacing the food after you think you have found the trigger food so that you can see if you achieve the same results more than once. This is a good way to check the results.

One suggestion for those attempting to diagnose the food sensitivity themselves is to think back to early childhood days. If when your child was younger, they suffered sensitivities or allergies to specific foods then, it is recommended to cut those foods from the diet first since they may be the culprit of the problems now. This is not always effective, and does need to be done on a trial and error basis until the true food culprit is discovered. However, it should be noted, that no matter how much trial and error you do, you may not discover the food that causes your symptoms.

Not everyone who attempts the GFCF diet has success; however, it seems to be a very successful method that is perfectly natural. It is also a treatment method that does not involve heavy involvement from a doctor, which can mean medical bills are reduced. While it is possible to avoid the use of a doctor as much for those having luck with the GFCF diet they should still seek the advice of a doctor before beginning, or at the very least a nutritionist so that if problems occur they can be corrected quickly.

Remember that with any diet, there is likely to be some nutrients omitted that the body does need in order to be healthy. You must ensure that those missing nutrients are replaced in some form, whether by adding certain foods to your diet, or by the use of a nutritional supplement. Otherwise, you can run the risk of creating other symptoms that must then be treated.

While the GFCF diet is showing great promise in helping many who suffer from severe symptoms regain some control over their lives, it is not the perfect method that has been thoroughly tested. People should carefully do research to learn as much as possible before attempting this diet so that they know exactly what to do if a problem occurs and what results they should expect. It is also recommended that it not be attempted if you are unwilling or unable to track the symptoms with each food change to ensure you are able to accurately note the problem foods.

While care should be taken when attempting this method, there is, nothing that says it is unsuccessful or dangerous. Nevertheless, with any diet, it does have its risks that should be considered carefully before beginning. With proper planning, patience and a willingness to do the appropriate research, it is possible to greatly improve the quality of life of those who suffer from Tourettes.

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