An Interview for UK Health Radio

Autism is one of most prevalent development disorders in the world. There are many beneficial nutritional strategies that may help manage the impacts of autism. Autism influences a person’s ability to communicate and relate to other people. It is a spectrum condition, meaning that whilst all people with autism may have similar behaviours, overall their condition will impact them in different ways. Some people may be able to lead fairly independent lives whilst others may require on-going specialist support. Recent research from the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia suggests many cases go undiagnosed as they are often wrongly identified as ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactive disorder). Figures in 2014 from the United States suggest 1 in every 42 boys is diagnosed with autism with rates for girls being 1 in 189 and this figures is continuing to rise year on year.

Anne Pemberton

Anne Pemberton is a Functional Medicine and Nutrigenomics practitioner with a personal interest in autism. She started her career as a cardiothoracic intensive care nurse and when she was blessed with a son, who was later diagnosed with autism, her career trajectory totally changed direction as she looked to natural therapies to support him. Anne retrained in psychology then later in Nutrition. When her son was diagnosed she recalls the psychologist explaining that mainstream education could be hugely challenging but when he is about 12 he will understand how he can learn and things will change. She kept this close to her heart and explains that this change did happen. Having retrained and developed a personal interest in this field she now works with clients and recommends nutritional interventions as early as possible, ideally before 2 or at least before the teenage years when the brain undergoes pruning. She didn’t intervene with her own son until he was 12 and though this brought added challenges. He is now an adult and is able to work. He holds his own Masters degree in Engineering and a responsible role as a software engineer for a multinational company.

Some of the strategies Anne used with her own son included Irlen lenses , which transformed her son’s vision and impacted significantly on his behaviour. She also followed the Sunderland Protocol developed by Paul Shattock and Paul Whiteley, which focuses on biomedical interventions.

Through her experience, training and clinical work Anne has recognised a strong link between autism and digestive health. She explains that gluten and dairy can be broken down into opiate type compounds in the body especially if digestive heath is not optimal. These can contribute to leaky gut//intestinal permeability, which can create an addiction to these foods and the body craves them more.

Anne suggests some of the root causes to autism may be linked to epigenetics especially due to the multi-factorial nature of the disorder. Prominent researchers and causes have included:

·     Dr. Rosemary Warring – who has focused her work on detoxification pathway

·      William Walsh – whose work has focused on nutrient-based psychiatry and nutritional medicine

·      Dr. Abram Hoffer – role of nutritional interventions

·      Dr. Ben Lynch – specialising in MTHFR mutations, epigenetics and clinical ecology

·      Mould allergies

·      Heavy metal toxicity

Anne’s top tip for all individuals and families is to focus on blood sugar management. If the diet is better balanced and blood sugar balanced this can impact hugely on child’s behaviour. Better blood sugar can also support a better sleep pattern, which is also hugely beneficial for families too.

Elouise Robinson is an established Registered Dietitian with wide-ranging experience in recipe development and analysis. Elouise has co-authored a book looking at how a gluten- and casein-free diet (found in dairy products) can support autism. The book aims to provide people with an autism spectrum condition and teachers, professionals, parents and caregivers of people with autism dietary advice. The book includes a complete and readable overview of the science behind the GFCF diet and how the science can practically be translated into tasty recipes suitable for all the family.

Evidence shows a link with gluten and casein and removing those from the diet can be hugely beneficial. This approach is now becoming more supported by other health professionals and has been receiving some great reviews from other professionals. Making dietary changes can be a difficult process until it becomes habit and families may have multiple problems to address such as texture, colours, flavours etc. A very personal approach is needed and the guidance provided in the book can be a great starting point. Additional support can also be found at The Autism Food Club.

For a chance to win a copy of the book Autism: Exploring the Benefits of a Gluten and casein-free Diet click HERE.

To hear this interview in full visit:

You may also be interested in ‘All about Gluten’ an interview with leading expert Dr. Tom O’Bryan who also touches on the link between gluten and autism.

If you have an interest in a particular topic or comments about the show please email:

To find out more about Anne Pemberton visit:

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To find out more about Elouise Robinson visit:

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Book: Routledge, Amazon







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