Lots of experimenting has been going on in the past few months in this household with regards to diet and allergies. My son has been the guinea pig in these experiments, and luckily he doesn’t even notice. We’ve tried just about everything and finally figured out what works for him.
So, let’s back track a bit. When he turned one he started developing severe eczema. I tried in vain to control it but nothing worked. Eventually they started him on zyrtec to control the nightly itching. It did provide some relief. We decided to cut out milk from his diet around 20 months or so, and had him just drinking almond milk. That REALLY helped. He was tested for allergies, but did not test positive for a milk allergy (just peanuts and eggs), yet clearly his skin did not like it. We continued a bit with yogurt and cheese, and he did okay. Taking out straight milk, made the biggest difference.
When he was 2.5 we went to another allergist. The doc just did a blood test for peanuts and eggs, which revealed a still mild, yet lessened (from the previous results) allergy. He also said..”I don’t see why you can’t give him milk and dairy.” So, we did, and he got a rash all over his face. Yup, that’s out for good. The doc also advised daily full doses of zyrtec and to stop the asthma meds. We did. (Let me say here, that I also have eczema, asthma, and allergies…so none of this is new to us.) Around about this time, my son started a severe and overnight stuttering.
Fast forward a year, and his new doc wants him to do speech therapy for his stuttering. I guess I was around him so long, I didn’t think it was as bad as it was. Around this time I started researching causes of stuttering and dietary changes that may help. The lack of causation in his case made me believe it had to be related to something he was eating or taking. Stuttering has a high correlation with allergies, which was a first clue. Some anecdotal cases I came across shows zyrtec linked to stuttering, and furthermore behavioral issues. While he didn’t seem to show signs of behavioral issues, I realize now, that he probably could have been a lot happier had we taken him off of it sooner. Once he was off, after several weeks, his stuttering markedly improved, and overnight his behavior and temperament improved. He had less anger, and was more outgoing and happy in general.
At the same time we stopped the zyrtec, we started the Gluten free, Casein free (GFCF) diet. I heard this was recommended for autism and since stuttering is a brain related issue, I figured it couldn’t hurt. Also, I thought it would improve his allergies, which in turn may also improve the stuttering. In addition, we decided to cut out major sources of corn. I have a mild corn allergy and intolerance, and I suspect (based on his skin reaction) he is also mildly allergic. We added a vitamin C (a natural antihistime) supplement and continued on with his daily DHA supplement.
He’s about to turn 4 next month and is doing great. His stuttering has gone from a high of 21% down to 6%. He is overall a happier kid off the zyrtec and his eczema has just about stayed the same. I believe The GFCF diet has helped substantially. In the beginning, when he would have a cupcake or something at school, I could immediately tell the difference in his speech. Over the course of about 2 months, he has shown significant improvement in his speech, such that we can start incorporating other gluten foods on occasion with negligible changes in speech. I think the biggest help was getting off the zyrtec and easing into being drug free with a more controlled diet to offset his allergies. We still keep him on the diet by and large, but allow room for treats outside the rules of the diet when the occasion calls for it.
Once I get over the hump of getting successfully into the paleo diet, I hope to incorporate more of the paleo-style eating into our regular family routine. I do try to make paleo dinners, but the rest of the meals for the family are non-paleo (healthy, but non-paleo). As an allergy, asthma, eczema sufferer myself, I’m curious to see if there will be significant improvement in my symptoms over the course of the next 30 days. (Assuming I make it that far!).
Above all, getting of the drugs and controlling diet, was the best decision for my son. His allergies are still controlled, his stutter is almost completely gone, and he’s a much happier little boy. I just wish we had done it sooner!