One symptom of GLUTEN INTOLERANCE may be the ice chewing "pica" (pagophagia). Here's a possible reason:
Gluten is a protein like glue-y substance found in WHEAT, RYE, BARLEY, OATS, BUCKWHEAT, ETC. (Brown rice is gluten-free).
People who have an intolerance to (sensitivity to) gluten, may react with an auto-immune response, when they eat glutenous foods (any of the following that are made with glutenous grains: bread, muffins, bagels, crackers, pretzels, cookies, cakes, gravies thickened with glutenous grains, soy sauces containing wheat, etc.).
In many people who are gluten intolerant, their digestion and absorption is badly affected (from damage to the small intestine), and this can cause an IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA, and other health problems.
Another problem can be that a gluten intolerance can cause stomach problems too, leading to gastric reflux.
When people take "acid blockers" (medications) for their gastric reflux, this stops the stomach from producing the normal acid (HCl/hydrochloric acid).
But, in order for IRON and other important minerals (like CALCIUM, ZINC, MAGNESIUM, trace minerals, etc.) and important vitamins to be absorbed (like Vitamin B-12, other "B" vitamins, etc.), the stomach must have ACID in it.
So, for those who might want to not
be an ice eater, and for family members who want to share this info with an ice eater, I recommend looking at a good forum (nice people, good info) called "Gluten Intolerance/Celiac Disease", over at http://www.braintalk.org
From what I can tell (correct me if I'm wrong), ice eating can have both physical causes, and may also be an eating disorder &/or a type of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).
Also, some types of OCD develop after people have a Streptococcus infection. There's a forum about this, called PANDAS (ior similar name), also at http://www.braintalk.org
Good luck to all.