Environmental Factors and Autism – Part 2

coal-power-plant-and-autism

From the time of conception, babies are de-methylated and as they grow and develop, they go through a process called methylation.  Both methylation and detoxification form an important balance that supports growth and development.  They work hand-in-hand so that as one slows down, so does that other.  Children with autism have shown to have impairments in these cycles, which may begin to explain why children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) are quite susceptible to environmental toxicity.

A 2009 study completed by researchers at the University of Texas, found startling evidence that the environment plays a large role in autism.  The study was designed to determine if living close to sources of mercury pollution in 1998 were related to autism prevalence in 2002. They found that for every 1000 pounds of industrial release, there were a 2.6% increase in autism rates and a 3.7% increase associated with power plant emissions. Overall, for every 10 miles away you got from industrial or power plant sources, there was a decrease in autism rates.

The same researchers revealed an association between environmentally-released mercury and autism rates also in Texas.  For each 1,000 lb of environmentally released mercury, there was a 61% increase in ASD.

Toxins play a large role in the health of our bodies. Lead levels have been linked to ASD, ADHD and learning disabilities.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a study that found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in U.S. hospitals in 2004.  Further tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in this group of children. The umbilical cord blood identified pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage. It is clear that environmental toxicity is impacting all children and adults.

 

Maternal Obesity, Diabetes Linked to Autism, Other Disability

??????????????????Overweight mothers with either Type 2 or gestational diabetes may be more likely to have a child with autism or with other developmental disabilities according to a recent study conducted by the University of California – Davis. Because nearly one-tenth of pregnant women have a form of diabetes and one-third of women of childbearing age are obese, these findings could represent a significant risk for the health of the fetus.

Theories about how the disabilities develop include the idea that elevated maternal glucose levels leads to fetal overexposure to insulin as well as the possibility of less oxygen reaching the fetus due to insulin production and iron deficiency related to diabetes.

The study, published in the journal “Pediatrics,” looked at 1,004 pairs of mothers and children over a seven-year period. For women who do not have diabetes, 6.4 percent is the typical rate of children born with disabilities. For women with diabetes in the study, however, the rate was 9.3 percent of children born with autism and 11.6 percent of children born with developmental disabilities.

Even children of diabetic mothers who were not diagnosed with autism scored lower on tests of language and communication skills.

While the results of the study are persuasive, further testing must be done to establish a definite link between obesity, diabetes and autism or other developmental disabilities.

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.

Feeding the Autistic Brain


Nutritional supplementation can provide big changes for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Many reasons exist for treating ASD with supplementation. Many children with autism are deficient in things like digestive enzymes – resulting in poor digestion and poor absorption of nutrients.

The combination of Vitamin B6 and Magnesium has proven to be of significant benefit to autistic children. B6 is necessary for brain function and there have been numerous studies on B6 use in autism. Research proved supplementation with B6 and Magnesium led to increased eye contact, less self-stimulatory behavior (“stimming”) fewer tantrums, improved speech, a calming effect, and more normal behavior.

  • Vitamin D is helpful in increasing glutathione levels (which assists in detoxification of the body).
  • Vitamins A, C, E, Zinc and Selenium promote a healthy immune system.
  • Vitamins C and E fight free radicals and protect brain cells from oxidative stress.
  • Essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 are essential for normal brain development and help behavior and learning by supporting proper levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.

It can be beneficial to add one supplement at a time in order to keep track of your child’s progress.  Take note of any behavioral changes that occur with the associated supplementation – this will provide feedback on the progress that your child is making. Also, do your homework to make sure you are choosing high quality supplements.

Autism Treatment – Conventional VS Alternative Part II

Last week, we took a look at the two main approaches to treating Autism. The conventional means of treatment often has to deal with treating the symptoms of Autism with medication. Ridding your child of the often damaging and life-altering symptoms seems like it would be a good idea, but when you think about it, what are you treating? Do you have any chance of helping the problem itself get better if you’re just focusing on the side effects?

Imagine a smoker who has had the habit for 15 years and has developed a terrible cough. He decides he is going to take a cough suppression to help aid in the cough. But really, the problem lies in what the smoking and inhaling the troublesome substance us doing to the body. Without treating the issue itself, the coughing symptom may never go away.

Same goes for Autism and its symptoms. If we’re merely treating the common symptoms/side-effects (digestion issues, attention deficits, mood changes, allergies),  is there any chance that the symptoms will ever go away? Or will they merely be controlled?

Alternative treatments, as we mentioned, involve a few key focuses:

1) Always Involve Parents:

By involving the parents, this ensures not only that treatment plans can be practiced at home on a consistent basis, but that they have a better understanding of why the treatment is taking place. As parents, chances are, you’ve felt in the dark at times during your child’s treatment. You put your trust in the doctor or specialist that you’re seeing, but you’re never quite sure why the treatment is happening. If you know why you’re doing the things that you’re doing, there is a better chance of you remaining consistent in doing so. Knowing how the treatment can help, will also enable you to realize you’re working toward a goal.

2) Nourish the Brain for optimal functions: Essential fatty acids, neurotransmitter support, decrease neuroinflammation, and diet to support the brain.

The brain is the source of all things related to the body. If one of the body’s functions are off, the answer to getting it back on track often lies in the brain. For example, when we take a pain reliever, it goes to work in the brain – to tell the brain to stop sending pain messages to whatever part of the body is ailing us.  In order to function correctly, the brain needs the right fuel, and this comes from vitamins, minerals, and other essential substances.

Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 6 and Omega 3) are key to brain function  and the body does not produce these compounds naturally. In instances where the levels of Omega 6 are greatly higher than Omega 3 in one’s diet, there can be negative effects on mood, cognition, and behavior. All of which are some of the major concerns in children with Autism.

These symptoms are often treated with anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications. However, if the true source of the problem (essential fatty acids) isn’t treated, then can the problem even be solved, or is it just being covered up like a paper towel over spilled milk?

Having a diet that eliminates Gluten (wheat) and Casein (diet) has also shown positive effects in behavioral symptoms as well as digestion problems. We’ve talked about this before, feel free to read more about the GFCF diet right here!

3) Activate the brain with activities, stimulation for growth and development.

Maintaining growth and development in the brain ensures that the brain doesn’t get “stuck”. When you begin a new routine, it’s important that you create a consistent practice of it so that it becomes a habit. Keeping the brain stimulated and introducing new activities makes sure your child gets used to using the therapies and activities that are introduced. A child is more likely to see benefits from treatment if they’re done on a consistent basis.  You cannot expect results overnight, but you can expect a steady developmental improvement if you keep on with the suggested activities from a professional.

Autism is a very difficult disorder for children and their parents to deal with. Since each and every case is different, we can’t possibly tell you which treatment method will work for you, or what medication to take. As far as we know, there is no “magic pill.” However, if you think about it, taking the symptoms that your child has and finding out what the root cause of them is could mean the different between covering up the problem and hoping that the problem magically disappears, or treating the core problem and tackling it head on. Some medications are a short term fix to a problem that needs much more attention.

 

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.

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!

Enhanced Biofilm Protocol: Perfecting the Process Part III: The Final Steps

biofilm

Over the last two weeks, we’ve looked at Dr. Wong’s new Enhanced Biofilm Protocol. If you’d like to play catch-up, check out our most recent two posts on Enhanced Biofilm Protocol: Perfecting the Process: Part I: and Part II:  Liver Detoxification and Vitamin D Deficiencies.

This week, we’ll take a look at the remaining steps in Dr. Wong’s new biofilm protocol that focuses on targeting body toxins, removing them, and healing the body of Autistic children.

We left off explaining the importance of cleansing the liver. After this process takes place, the Ileocecal and Houston valves are inspected and fixed if necessary. The ileocecal valve is distinctive because it is the only site in the GI tract which is used for Vitamin B12 and bile acid absorption.

Next comes diet modification. Children should eat fruits that are in season that are not treated with any sort of preservatives. Additionally, the GFCF diet should be initiated to continue the cleansing of the body and as an upkeep of health.

Probiotics and Prebiotics should be administered at this point. These, by definition safe and effective agents that help regulate the body’s micro-environment.

Steps 3 – 7 of the  Enhanced Biofilm protocol should be repeated depending on the severity of the situation.

Now the original biofilm protocol is added into the process.

The protocol should be done for at least 6 months before the body is tested again to see the status of improvement.

As a final recap of Dr. Wong’s Enhanced Biofilm Protocol:

  1. Do Blood Chemistry Test
  2. Do Comprehensive Stool Analysis
  3. Correct Calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies and others if test indicates necessity
  4. Cleanse liver if needed
  5. Fix Ileocecal and Houston valves
  6. Eat fruits in season and little amount is suspected yeast overgrowth
  7. Go on Sugar Control Diet, GFCF diet
  8. Take probiotics and prebiotics
  9. Do Steps 3-7 for four to six weeks depending on severity
  10. Now, add on the original BioFilm Protocol
  11. Run the protocol for at least six months before retest or stop

Amino Acid Therapy: So Many Protein Choices, So Little Time

Rice ProteinsBefore any major diet modification, whether for weight loss, desire to eat healthier, or a way to treat a health concern, the body needs to go through a period of detoxification. For many of us who decide to make dietary changes in our own diet, we’re intervening eating habits that have been in place for 5, 10, maybe even 20 years. During this time, our bodies have collected and stored fat in areas of our body where we don’t exactly like to see it.  If you’re aiming for weight loss, this fat needs to be broken down and released before you see body changes.

Even if you’re changing your eating habits due to a health reason, before you see the beneficial effects, you need to detoxify the body. Just as people who are coming off of a drug habit have to clean the remaining toxins from their system before they can begin their recovery, so must we when we’re changing ours, or our child’s diet in order to begin the journey to a healthy, properly functioning body.

There are a number of products or temporary diets that exist that are designed to allow the body to detoxify. One such product is protein powder. You may have heard of this used a lot amongst men and women who work out in the gym often. This is because protein aids in building muscle. So, it kind of makes sense that they would reach for the protein. Before you get nervous and think “I don’t want muscle! I just want a healthy body”,  don’t worry. Protein serves many other purposes.

Protein Powder treatment is also known as Amino Acid Therapy, because protein itself is made up of essential and non-essential amino acids. The body needs both amino acids, but is only able to produce non-essential amino acids on its own. Essential amino acids must be taken in from an outside source, usually food.

Protein is an essential nutrient that is needed by everybody, everyday as it helps repair body cells, provides a source of energy, as well as regulates metabolism. It also activates the production of the body’s natural detoxifying enzymes. These enzymes then break down the toxins into water-soluble substances so that they can be released from the body.

Relatively easy, right? We are going to take a little bit of a turn though, and explore the different kinds of protein. Yes, there are different kinds, and each has it’s own unique benefits to the body.

Whey Protein: Whey is one of the products (along with curds) that is produced when making cheese from cow’s milk. Whey protein is a great protein for the body because it is much more soluble, meaning it can absorb more toxins to release from the body. Additionally, Whey doesn’t stick to your arteries and digestion is easy, so it is often given to infants and children to promote healthy body function.

Rice Protein: Rice Protein is favored because of its hypoallergenic properties. This is key for people who are on a Gluten Free diet as inflammation typically occurs. Rice Proteins are sodium-free, cholesterol-free, and have minimal fat content. These proteins can store in muscles, and give the body an extra boost when it needs it. Know in the middle of the day when you go through your coffee crash from the caffeine? Imagine having something in your body programmed to pick you up. Yep, that’s the rice protein. Also an interesting fact is that Rice Protein are about 70% Protein and are rich sources of amino acids, which researchers have found is very close to the profile of breast milk.

Soy Protein: Soy Protein has been researched a lot over the last 10 years and is believed to have an effect on preventing osteoporosis, lowering the risk of cancer, and reducing abdominal fat. Here’s a neat little tidbit that we found from the official Soy Website:

The most important scientific study about the relationship of soy protein intake and heart disease is the meta-study by Anderson et al (Meta-analysis of the effects of soy protein intake on serum lipids. N Engl J Med 1995;333:276-282). They concluded that the consumption of soy protein rather than animal protein significantly decreased serum concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides without significantly affecting serum HDL cholesterol concentrations.

Vegan Protein/Hemp Protein: The vegan movement has been very big in the USA and throughout the world. Many young adults as well as middle aged people are turning to the vegan diet, which eliminates foods that come from any non-human animal. Hemp protein is used by a large amount of Vegans in particular because they aren’t getting the protein that they need from the traditional sources like chicken and eggs. Hemp Protein is considered to be one of the best plant-based proteins because it contains all of the essential amino acids that your body needs. It also contains a lot of the same proteins that the human body has. Because of this it is easily digested. Hemp Protein is high in fiber and essential fatty acids, and is a great source of many vitamins and minerals.