When it comes to Autism, we’ve said it several times that it’s important to treat the individual symptoms. One of the most commonly experienced symptoms of Autism is Gastrointestinal (GI) problems. The believed source of the problems will range depending on the doctor that you speak to, but a common belief is that GI problems originate due to an Amino Acid deficiency.
Amino Acids are the ‘building blocks of proteins. From them, we get neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters, or lack thereof, are often the cause of many psychological conditions including anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. When the body lacks serotonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine, it effects the messages between nerve cells.
There are 20 amino acids. 10 of them are considered to be non-essential amino acids and 10 are essential amino acids. The difference between the two are that non-essential amino acids can and are produced by the body, whereas essential amino acids are not able to be produced by the body and must be obtained from the foods that we eat.
What do Amino Acids Have To Do With Autism?
Bodies that have some sort of chronic or recurring condition are often severely lacking in amino acids. Conditions such as leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), both which are a common symptom of Autism, can prevent the body from absorbing the key nutrients and amino acids. Because of this, the body’s essential neurotransmitters may be eliminated.
So, just because you are feeding your child the correct foods, or have them on the right diet, does not mean the body is absorbing the essential nutrients needed to produce neurotransmitters.
Amino Acid Therapy Methods:
Logically, the goal of balancing neurotransmitters is to replenish the body when it is lacking. The number one way of achieving this often thought to be prescription medication. However, most, if not all prescription medications aimed at treating neurotransmitter and amino acid deficiency have moderate to severe side effects ranging from sleeplessness to suicidal thoughts.
Amino Acid therapy is often utilized in Autism, and many doctors believe that it is a better approach to treatment as there are no major side effects as their are in prescription medications. Because medications often have a risk of constipation and other digestive issues, medications with such risks seem almost counter productive to solving the issue.
Paying attention to your child’s diet is one of the keys to treating Autism. One approach to a healthy amino acid therapeutic diet is having meals that have a 40%-30%-30% ratio. That is, 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% healthy fat. Turkey and milk are both great sources of tryptophan, which promotes serotonin production. During snack time, try to provide a protein-rich snack rather than a refined sugar snack.
It is also important that when you are replenishing amino acids to your child’s diet, that you supplement high-quality amino acids. This is very important in Autism since, as we stated, the common GI problems that the Autistic body often has is an indicator that the body is already severely lacking in amino acids. Replenishing the body with high-quality amino acids is also great preparation for when the body experiences illnesses, or when amino acid deficiency is even more common.
Taking a look at your child’s diet is only one of the many ways in which you can replenish the body with amino acids. Though it is the first step, once a firm, effective diet is in place, a neurotransmitter test may be conducted to see which individual neurotransmitter levels may be low. From there, you can be directed to give your child a supplement to promote the replenishment of amino acids. Here are some of the key vitamins that the Autistic body needs.
Bone Broth and Autism Diet
An often forgotten source of nutrition is bone broth, or good old fashioned homemade chick broth. These homemade broths are high in protein as well as in calcium and magnesium. These minerals are absorbed into the body. Also in bone broth are glucosamine and chondroiton, both believed to promote relief from joint pain. Gelatin is also in bone broth, and is also a great source of supplementary protein. It’s important to note that you cannot get the same health benefits from boxed or store-bought chicken broth or bone broth. These are often highly processed and some of the health benefits and minerals are often lost.
While there has not been one, widely accepted solution to making the Autistic body healthier, the mere fact Amino Acid Therapy does not have any notable side effects, while medications have suicide risks (see here), should be proof enough that medication might not be the answer.
*It is essential to note that you must speak to your doctor before making the switch between medication and amino acid therapy.DO NOT TAKE YOUR CHILD OFF OF MEDICATION WITHOUT CONSULTING A PHYSICIAN. Doing so can promote withdrawal and severe and life threatening symptoms.