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Autism Coach

Why a Nutritional Protocol for Autism?

Posted by Sue Bennett on

Why does a child on the autism spectrum need any therapies, nutritional or non-nutritional, in the first place? It is often because something has interfered with their neurological development and they are not meeting developmental milestones. According to current trends in research, the underlying cause of autism is biomedical. A disrupted digestive and immune interfere with and skew neurological development. All beneficial therapies, nutritional or non-nutritional, help the child to make beneficial neurological connections.

To help a child, teen or adult within the autism spectrum reach their full potential, it is critical to identify and treat underlying nutritional and health issues. Helping to provide the nutritional building blocks that are missing can help to normalize metabolic processes, leading to optimal neurological development. Nutritional intervention help a child’s metabolic processes function optimally so he or she can get the most out of the time and/or money invested in other non-nutritional therapies.

What Does Any Therapy That Helps Autism Do - Nutritional or Non-Nutritional?

The symptoms of autism are caused by neurological disconnect that often leads to lack of eye contact, distorted sensory input (over/under-sensitive to sight, hearing, touch, taste), lack of integration of senses (the senses don’t always take in information and store information in an organized fashion), disorganized perception, storing and retrieval of information about oneself and the outside world.

All effective autism therapies improve neurological connection, help to integrate the senses, and build an organized internal cognitive map that accurately reflects the outside world and one’s relation to it. Neurofeedback, ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), Speech Therapy, even music lessons, or a caring person interacting with the child in a positive and stimulating way all help a child make neurological connections.

Why Don’t They Make Sufficient Neurological Connections during Early Development?

The reason children need extra help in making neurological connections is because their underlying metabolic processes are not working properly. What causes this to happen? Many researchers there are environmental triggers - sometimes one trigger is enough to push a child into metabolic disruption, sometimes it is multiple triggers that weaken the child until they are finally pushed over the edge from normal development into developing symptoms of autism. Triggers include environmental toxins and disruptors of the immune system and endocrine system found in the drugs used during childbirth (pitocin and anesthetics), vaccines, air, food and water.

Other conditions believed to be caused by environmental triggers include ADD/ADHD, OCD, depression, food and inhalant allergies, dyslexia, seizures, and diabetes. Often a single individual will eventually end up with multiple diagnoses. Families who have a history of diabetes, color blindness, autoimmune conditions, and depression have an increased likelihood of having a child within the autism spectrum.

What Happens when Metabolic Processes are Disrupted?

The metabolic processes within the body are incredibly complex, interconnected and delicate and are unfortunately easily disrupted through exposure to toxins, even in parts per billion.

Generally, children with autism mal-digest their food, have a leaky gut, chronic intestinal infections including yeast. These infections result in the child not making the digestive enzymes and vitamins needed to build the brain. They are frequently malnourished even if they eat well because they can’t properly digest their food. Standard over the counter vitamins often contain cheaper, artificial forms of vitamins that children within the autism spectrum can’t convert to the natural more absorbable forms that they need in order obtain the buildling blocks to support metabolic processes within the body that ultimately lead to normal neurological development.

Maldigestion in grains containing the protein gluten (wheat, rye, barley) and in animal milk products containing the protein casein is extremely problematic for the majority of individual on the spectrum. When mal-digested (not broken down properly) gluten and casein proteins form opiates that flood the brain and directly interfere with neurological development. These children are like little junkies who crave the very foods that actually cause symptoms of autism such as Chicken McNuggets, Pizza, Macaroni and Cheese. 90% of children within the autism spectrum significantly improve when they are put on a diet that is free of gluten and casein.

Also artificial ingredients (including colors and flavors, MSG, aspartame) and GMO products are best avoided as they contain toxins that can over-excite, damage and kill neurons, and often also contain endocrine system disruptors. The endocrine system are the glands that excrete hormones that are directly involved triggering developmental growth as the child matures.

Current research indicates autism is triggered by exposure to toxins in those who are genetically susceptible. Those who are genetically less efficient at detoxifying are more at risk for developing autism. A specific gene, the MTHFR gene, is closely being studied, which makes the enzyme methyltransferase that is involved in detoxification - individuals with autism tend to have genetic aberrations (polymorphisms) on specific points of this gene, causing to the methyltransferase enzyme to function less efficiently, when the body is exposed to environmental triggers that would lead to autism.

What Nutrients are Typically Deficient?

Metabolic disruptions often result in a deficiency of:

B Vitamins (especially folate, B12, B6)

Beneficial minerals - zinc, magnesium

Neurotransmitters (such as GABA), serotonin, melatonin,

Specific amino acids (building blocks for neurotransmitters and neurons)

Glutathione - the body’s most powerful molecule for removing toxins including heavy metals and environmental pollutants

Methyl donors - methyl groups (a chemical molecule are needed to proper switching on and off of genes, for detoxification processes)

These metabolic disruptions often result in excessive levels of:

Cortisol (the fight or flight hormone - disrupting sleep and causing anxiety - and causing magnesium and zinc to be flushed out of the body)

Copper (excessive copper can lead to seizures)

Neurotransmitters that overexcite neurons (causing hyperactivity and neurological damage - such as glutamate)

Ammonia (from yeast overgrowth - also causing brain fog and neurological damage)

Proprionic Acid (found in Swiss cheese, actually lowers cholesterol so many of these kids have low cholesterol - which is not necessarily a good thing)

Intestinal pathogens - Yeast, Clostridia, Klebsiella, - these produce neurotoxins as by-products

A Typical Nutritional Protocol for Autism

Nutritional therapies can help compensate for metabolic processes skewed by exposure to toxins. You must remember that every child is different and may have different nutritional needs as each child has a unique genetic makeup. Other considerations in helping a child are time, budget, and the personalities of the child’s parents/caregivers. There isn’t a all-size fits all one solution for every child within the autism spectrum.

Unfortunately, for most children there isn’t a single supplement that can “fix” them and correct all metabolic imbalances. There generally many metabolic processes out of balance that need to be restored and the most effective nutritional protocol addresses these processes.

However, there are certain approaches that help most children within the autism spectrum. Here is an example of a typical effective nutritional protocol:

Gluten casein free diet, GAPS diet - or a combination of the two; getting the child off foods causing neurological damage is almost as important as providing supplements. These kids pretty much all have yeast infections, so often a low-sugar, lower-carb diet is of benefit. The GAPs (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet helps to kill off intestinal pathogens.

Enyzmes - production of critical enzymes is inhibited so it is beneficial to supplement.

A good multi-vitamin with the most bioavailable sources of vitamins including:

folate, B6, and B12, beneficial minerals.

Methyl donors - help with switching on and off of genes and detoxification.

Probiotics - good to switch them periodically. They keep down populations of pathogens that interfere with digestion, contribute to leaky gut, food allergies, and produce neurotoxins.

Autism Coach Nutritional Protocol Basics

Every individual is biolotically unique and there is not a one-size fits all protocol for everyone.  That being said, the products below provide a solid nutritional foundation for about 90% of individuals within the autism spectrum. Everything mentioned below is either liquid or can be mixed into a liquid such as a non-dairy pudding or smoothie (for example with fruit and coconut milk). 

Note: If your child is diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, the methylated B Vitamins or the Carnosine could make them more hyper; however often they have opposite effect of helping to improve focus and reduce impulsive behavior; but often these product help with focus and impulse control. 

Autism Coach supplement kit - economically provides the basis for a nutritional protocol using products that help the majority of individuals within the autism spectrum. Everything in the kit can be mixed into a single drink and taken in the morning. It includes four products: autism enzymes to break down gluten and casein proteins so they can’t form opiates, a multivitamin powder formulated for autism with active B vitamins and other vitamins and minerals in their most absorbable forms, a methyl donor to support methylation and detoxification, Carnosine - a molecule naturally found in the human body found in a double blind study by pediatric neurologist, Dr. Michael Chez, to improve level of functioning for the majority of individuals within the autism spectrum. For a description of the products in this kit, please click here.

Glutathione - supports detoxification; works best with Vitamin C. We offer a high quality pure non-corn derived Vitamin C powder that can be mixed with glutathione a drink such as orange juice. Here is a link to our Glutathione and link to our Vitamin C powder which dissolves easily in water.

Probiotics - we recommend rotating probiotics every month or so because pathogens can become resistant to them. Here is a link to Autism Coach probiotics.

Resources - cheap genetic testing, does not require a prescription - high quality supplements plus information. Offer free telephone consultations east coast time M-F 9AM-5PM 734-429-3437. These consultations are not medical advice; simply a parent of a child within the autism spectrum sharing their thoughts with you. - Genova Diagnostics - affordable bloodwork; call them to find a physician in your area to order their Nutraeval test - checks for levels of minerals, amino acids, vitamins - and makes recommendations to balance out metabolic function. - information on the gaps diet.

Water filter - one economical, effective filter is the ZeroWater countertop water dispenser and filtration system.

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