How a Healthy Gut Can Help Children with Autism


Balancing the microbes in the gut can lead to improved digestion, stronger immunity and overall better health. The flora of the gut of a child can be disrupted by things such as antibiotics, mom having a c-section, drugs, processed foods, infections and digestive issues.  What is important for healthy gut repair is a regime that includes many, many different strains of good bacteria.  Probiotics, healthy bacteria, that include multiple strains and between 10 – 50 billion per dose should be administered. These probiotics will function to repair the gut and prevent harmful microbes like yeast or clostridia from over-populating.

The healing process of the gut is so important because the digestive tract is responsible for making the majority of serotonin in the body and helps to produce and regulate dopamine. Both of these neurotrasmitters are out of balance in children with autism. Also important is the gut’s responsibility for regulating inflammation and supporting healthy immune function.

A large number of children with autism have digestive issues. The gut is important in regulating inflammation and according to recent research, it is believed that autism is an inflammatory issue.  An effective regime that involves healing the gut can have a dramatic role in decreasing the inflammatory load and show remarkable progress in helping children recover language, social and cognitive function.

10 Diet Tips for Autism

  1. Remove or reduce foods using an Elimination Diet to see which food controls symptoms and which aggravates them.
  2. A gluten-free and casein-free diet (gluten is the protein in wheat, and casein is the protein in milk).
  3. Eliminate allergenic foods like eggs, fish, seafood, tree nuts, peanuts, and soy.
  4. A low-carb ketogenic diet has been found to be effective for autistic children.
  5. A yeast and sugar-free diet is helpful in some cases.
  6. Some autistic children are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals therefore ensure that the child is getting an adequate amounts to aid their growth and treat symptoms.
  7. Include a diet rich in essential fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and cod liver oil.
  8. A diet rich in fiber helps to alleviate and prevent constipation. Also include plenty of fluids and regular physical activity.
  9. Probiotics help with gastro-intestinal problems because they contain healthy bacteria and can improve the micro flora in the digestive tract in many autistic children.
  10. Digestive enzymes also help to aid digestion.

A Closer Look at the DAN! Protocol

Standard autism treatments focus on behavior modification techniques, improving developmental delays, speech-language therapy and learning to cope with sensory issues. While these therapies can improve the quality of life for a child with autism, they do nothing about the underlying medical conditions and imbalances that challenge an autistic child’s daily life. The Dan! Protocol is a medical intervention that seeks to correct the physical issues not addressed by traditional autism therapies.

The Dan! Protocol’s overwhelming success comes from its unique, individualized approach as well as its biomedical focus. Since treatment is always preceded by extensive lab work, a Dan! doctor knows the biological deficiencies, imbalances and maladaptive responses for each child before an individualized treatment plan is designed and implemented.

There is not a standard protocol for every child. While many autistic children have similar medical issues such as food intolerances, digestive problems, yeast overgrowth and vitamin or mineral deficiencies, children are always treated according to their individual lab tests. For one child that might mean a gluten-free casein-free diet, digestive enzymes and probiotics to help restore intestinal bacteria balance. Another child might need a strong vitamin and mineral supplement, mb-12 injections, IV glutathione and other chelation methods to address a high level of heavy metals in the body.

Each treatment method has a specific medical reason for being used. Yeast overgrowth impairs digestion and creates malnutrition. Food intolerances cause inflammation, absorption issues and pain. When you correct an autistic child’s medical problems, many undesirable behaviors automatically improve.

Leaky Gut Syndrome and Autism

Many autistic individuals have tiny holes in their intestinal tract, and this is often referred to as ‘leaky gut’. Intestinal permeability, commonly called “leaky gut”, means that there are larger than normal spaces present between the cells of the gut wall. When these large spaces exist in the small intestine, it allows undigested food and other toxins to enter the blood stream. This theory suggests that autistic children have tears and holes in their intestinal walls, possibly due to damage from toxins, antibiotic sensitivity or infections (such as an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans). These children may lose healthy digestive bacteria and have damage to the cells that produce enzymes needed to absorb certain proteins (such as gluten) properly.

Gluten is a protein and is contained in grass foods such as wheat, barley, rye and oats. Casein is also a protein and is found in dairy products such as milk, ice cream, cheese and yogurt. In the intestinal tract, gluten and casein breakdown into peptides; and these peptides then breakdown into amino acids.

When incompletely broken down foods enter the body, the immune system mounts an attack against the “foreigner” resulting in food allergies and sensitivities. The release of antibodies triggers inflammatory reactions when the foods are eaten again. The chronic inflammation lowers IgA levels. Sufficient levels of IgA are needed to protect the intestinal tract from clostridia and yeast.

Partially digested protein molecules from gluten and casein, also known as peptides, can reach the brain via the bloodstream. Peptides have a molecular structure similar to that of your brain’s natural opioids (endorphins), so they’re drawn to the brain’s opioid receptors. This can lead to problems with behavior, speech and social skills. Just as opioid drugs such as heroin are addictive, so can foods high in gluten and casein be for children with leaky gut.

Many, but not all children with autism have food allergies, and this supports the hypothesis that leaky gut syndrome may underly symptoms of autism.  The important point is that many parents have seen results from the simple step of putting their autistic child on an autistic diet focusing on leaky gut syndrome. If you have an autistic child, it is well worth your time and their health to explore natural treatment options for them.

How can Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) help patients with Autism?

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is an intensive approach to treating autism with up to 40 hours a week of therapy.  This treatment breaks down a desired behavior into small steps and rewards the child for each successful behavior.

There is scientific evidence that ABA is an effective treatment for autism. A study at UCLA of 19 young children with autism reported that after two or more years of intensive early behavioral therapy 47 % of children were “indistinguishable from their normally developing peers” and another 42 % had made significant improvements.

ABA teaches social,motor, and verbal behaviors as well as reasoning skills. The goal of ABA is to determine what happens to trigger a behavior, and what happens after that behavior occurs which seems to reinforce the behavior. The idea is to remove these triggers and reinforcers from the child’s environment. New reinforcers are then used to teach the child a different behavior in response to the same trigger.

Overall, practitioners suggest that intensive ABA is appropriate for children with more profound autism. Unfortunately, no good research exists comparing interventions head to head. This means that parents must make a choice based on finances and availability of therapy, what works best for the family as a whole, and intuition. (Do you like the idea of a very structured, very intense program for your child? Do you think your child will do well in this program?) All children respond differently to many different therapies and it is good to know that there are other options available to parents such as DAN! and others.

 

What is Defeat Autism Now (DAN!)?

Defeat Autism Now (DAN!) is a project that was founded in the 1960s by Dr. Bernard Rimland. Doctors trained in the “DAN! Protocol,” are taught an approach to autism which begins with the idea that autism is a biomedical disorder. This approach was developed by the Autism Research Institute (ARI) which has more than 1,000 documented cases of autistic children who have recovered.

The belief among DAN! doctors is that autism is a disorder caused by a lowered immune response, issues caused by some foods, and external toxins from vaccines and other sources.

What Type of Treatments do DAN! Doctors Prescribe?


  • Supplements such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and essential fatty acids.
  • Gluten- and dairy-free diets.
  • Food allergy testing.
  • Treating dysbiosis in the gut using non-pharmacological medications (i.e. intestinal bacterial/yeast overgrowth).
  • Heavy metal detoxification.

What can I expect at my DAN! Doctor Appointment?

You can expect that your child will go through some testing mostly revolving around the state of their internal body. A test for hidden food allergies will be conducted to be sure that any dietary changes that are made as part of your child’s treatment plan are beneficial and not more damaging to them.

You should leave with your questions answered and a customized treatment plan for your child’s needs. If you have questions, ask, ask, ask. Remember, these doctors chose to be DAN! doctors. They believe in this treatment method, and want to see your child healthy!

Do You Know the Difference between Autism and Asperger’s Disorder?

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to recognizing the difference between autism and Asperger’s Disorder. As a parent or caregiver, you may be wondering if they are the same or similar conditions. Don’t be ashamed to not understand the difference as many medical professionals have difficulty determining a clear line between the two conditions.

Often, Asperger’s Disorder is described as a less severe version of autism or a high-functioning form of autism. Children with Asperger’s have the desire to fit in and have interaction with others, but lack the social skills to do so easily. They have excellent language skills, but their speech patterns may be unusual and may be hard for them to understand concepts such as humor or irony. They sometimes lack the ability to pick up on social cues that come naturally to others, like how to interpret body language or how to engage in a conversation. Most with Asperger’s possess average or above average intelligence.

Autistic individuals may play in a way that is considered odd and show obsessive attachments to certain objects. They may act as if they are deaf, ignore verbal cues, repeat certain words over and over again, or be entirely non-verbal. There is a tendency to throw tantrums, shake, flap or move their bodies in odd ways and laugh or cry for what seems like no reason. In those who are verbal, a lack of ability to start a conversation is often evident.

The main difference between these two may be that children with autism have language impairment, whereas children with Asperger’s syndrome do not. However, children with Asperger’s syndrome may have difficulty with the attributes of language, such as making eye contact, initiating conversations, or maintaining conversations. Also, these children don’t have deficits in cognitive skills, whereas some children with autism may have cognitive deficits.

Although there are some defining lines, they may not seem all that clear.  This is the reason that the medical profession has had much difficulty in separating them and tend to lump them together. It may be frustrating to be given a diagnosis which has yet to be clearly defined, it is worth remembering that the presentation of the two conditions is largely the same. Therefore treatments, therapies and educational approaches will also be largely similar. It’s important to remember that all people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome are unique and deserve as much recognition as the areas they have difficulty in.

Body Detox Part II: Detoxification Methods

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82% of All Chronic Degenerative Diseases are Caused by Environmental Exposure to TOXIC METALS.” -World

Health Organization 1974

Sure, 1974 was nearly 40 years ago (can you believe it?), but the World Health Organization knew was was happening way back when. This was well before the huge Environmental or “Green” movement that is so common now. The environment

is still a very toxic place, which we clearly laid out last week. You might remember that we shared a lot of places where environmental toxins exist, some of which you might not even have been aware of.

When a child is diagnosed with Autism, it is typically considered to be a behavioral disorder, which in a sense, it absolutely is. Further testing on Autistic bodies have found that many have toxic levels of metals in them. Others have a lack of minerals and vitamins that are essential for proper immune system function. A lot of these deficiencies can be caused be the pollutants that are consumed.

The first step of clearing up a toxic body is knowing that the problem exists. (Remember, Dr. Chun Wong is offering an

amazing deal on his Hair Analysis Test which comes complete with a full written report as well as a Skype or Phone Consultation with Dr. Wong. Check out the special we’re having for our readers here).

After the problem is detected, and before the body is repaired and restored, the toxins must be removed from the body. Detoxifying is an essential part of the healing process. You can’t just simply put healthy vitamins and minerals into the body when it is still toxic. Imagine having a bathtub filled with water, dirt, bacteria, bugs, etc. Simply pouring bleach or cleaning agents into the water will not do the job. You first must clean out the bacteria, and then improve the way in which it is taken care of.

But how do you detoxify the body?

Chelation

Chelation was introduced into practice during World War I when so many people had ingested poison gas called lewsite. BAL or British Anti Lewsite (formally known as dimercaprol) was used to chelate the lewsite. BAL had very severe side effects, however.

After World War II, a number of people suffered from lead poisoning. The chelating agent EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic) was introduced in order to chelate the lead. Because EDTA is a synthetic amino acid and has no mercaptans (mercury capturers), the side effects were not nearly as severe as BAL.

Since then, there have been a number of modifications and researchers are always looking for better treatment methods that have minimal side effects. There is a low occurrence of side effects when chelation is used at the dose and infusion rates approved by the U.S. FDA as a treatment for heavy metal poisoning.

(We’ve spoken more in depth about Chelation on this blog before. Please do check that out!)

Juicing

As the name suggests, juicing refers to detoxing the body by consuming raw fruits and vegetable

s that are highly concentrated. Juices are digested by the body very quickly – in about 25 minutes. Because of this, the digestive system has very little to do with processing the juice. We aren’t talking about juices that are found in stores. These are treated with sugars and other ingredients that do not benefit the detoxification process.

Juicing is most effective and beneficial when it is made from the right fruits and vegetables at home, specifically organic fruits and veggies. Organic fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients and will saturate your body with the healthy enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.

Think about it: doesn’t a nice, long shower with soap and water feel much better than running a wet tissue over your skin for the purpose of cleaning?  It’s a similar situation with consuming organic fruits and vegetables.

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DAN! Protocol

The Defeat Autism Now! Protocol is a series of alternative medicine solutions for Autism. There are several avenues that a DAN! Doctor may explore, but traditionally, the following plan may be enforced.

-Dietary intervention: Omission of Gluten (Wheat) and Casein (Dairy) products from your child’s diet. Additionally omitting junk foods that have refined sugar.
-Vitamin and Mineral Supplements - To balance out the dietary changes, replacement minerals and vitamins that the body may lack will be supplemented. Some of the vitamins and minerals commonly supplemented:  Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B5.
-Chelation - the removal of heavy metals which have proven to be very destructive to the Autistic body (as we mentioned).
-Treatment of intestinal bacteria

The most important thing to remember here is the order in which detoxification should be done. First, determine that the body really is toxic. Then, detoxify the body.  Thirdly, repair the body. Then, replace nutrients. It’s important that this order be taken as any other way would not be as effective. You must rid the body of toxins, start with a clean slate, and then proceed with repairing procedures or practices.

The Effects of Chocolate and Autism

Chocolate

One of children’s favorite foods is usually chocolate. Even as we grow older and become adults, chocolate often provides a little pick me up after a rough day.

The benefits of chocolate have been argued over the years. Some argue that chocolate promotes endorphin production that improves general mood. Others argue that the fat in chocolate doesn’t fit into a healthy diet. In the case of Autism, however, we know that the body functions and processes foods differently.

First off, one of the most important things to understand is that all chocolates are not created equal. Just as if each type tastes differently, each type has different combinations of ingredients. 100% pure chocolate may have some health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,  but the more ingredients that are added, the more the health benefits of chocolate diminish.

During production, some chocolates have high levels of lead which can poison the body. In fact, some chocolate companies have standing lawsuits because of this poisoning.

Also, Chocolate has phenols – a chemical compound found in grapes, wine, bananas, almonds, etc. For children who are sensitive to phenols, which many Autistic children are,  chocolate will ignite the symptoms including hypersensitivity.

Much like gluten, children can also become addicted to chocolate as it raises the same brain chemicals as some drugs do. This can explain why it’s often difficult to remove chocolate from a child’s diet. Additionally, if your child is on the GFCF (Gluten Free, Casein Free) Diet, Milk Chocolate obviously has milk included.

While it seems like rewarding your child with a peice of chocolate may be harmless, you may want to think twice. You may actually be doing more harm than good.

Having a Healthy Body May Be The Key To Treating Autism

autism

In any child, or person for that matter, it is important to keep the body healthy and balanced. We hear all of the time how the body has too much of some things and not enough of others and it causing havok on the body. With more and more research pointing to the theory that Autism is in fact a biochemical disorder, the benefits of  maintaining a healthy body are becoming more documented and studied especially in Autistic children.

Some of the most commonly studied and practiced methods are diet modification, and vitamin and mineral therapy. Each method has its own purpose but aim for the same goal: maintaining a healthy autistic body to reach increased functioning and decreased symptoms.

Diet Modification

We’ve spoken before about the benefits of changing your childs diet. There have been plenty of studies surrounding the omission of Gluten (wheat, bread) products and Casein (dairy) products. In many children with Autism, there are issues with stomach and gut. The first thing that doctors typically suggest is the removal of gluten and casein from the child’s diet.

Some parents report that getting their children to stop eating wheat and dairy products is similar to trying to get an addict off of drugs. Their children seem to fiend for wheat and milk, and parents end up giving in because they finally feel they can give their child something that they need and want. Think again and maybe a little more literal into the “addict” comparison.

When digested, gluten and casein are broken down into peptides; glutenin and giladin respectively, attach themselves to opiate receptors of the child’s brain. This means that wheat and dairy products can act like narcotics and children can literally be addicted to them.

So, how do you get a child off of Gluten and Casein? Luckily, these days there are many wheat and dairy substitutes in grocery stores with the boom of vegetarianism and all-around body health awareness.

Vitamin and Mineral Therapy

Because of the dietary needs and habits of children with Autism, it has been found that a great deal of children are lacking the proper vitamins and minerals in their bodies. Even as fully-grown, healthy adults we often focus on the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals each day. Specific supplements have been documented as helping aid in the alleviation of autism symptoms and increasing the level of functionality.

One specific mineral that has been often studies is DMG (Dimethylglycine). DMG is found, albeit in small amounts in brown rice and liver. Chemically it resembles vitamin B15. Some of the improvements noted by administering DMG (available over the counter in health stores) are attention span, social awareness, eye contact and speech.

Some parents report an increase in hyperactivity with DMG, but have found success with an alternative, TMG (trimethylglycine).  The same improvements have been reported in TMG as in DMG.

There are quite a number of ways to keep the body healthy. Of course, parents are looking for the methods with the highest result. Which method will decrease symptoms and alleviate some of the everyday frustrations that come with Autism? You know that we can’t answer this directly simply cause each child’s body makeup is different. What might be good for one child, may be counterproductive for another. You may have to try one, two, or ten methods. Stay optimistic, even with minor setbacks, that you will find a method that will work for your child.