Autism – Dietary Treatments (2013 update)
In 2002 I attended my first DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) conference. Here in my hometown of Portland, Oregon, I sat in the back of a room filled with 1000 parents and about 100 physicians and providers, and I had tears rolling down my face as I realized we had poisoned a generation. My own children have been affected, to various degrees, by my own ignorance, and our unique genetic vulnerability. As parents we want the best for our children. We look to our society and governmental agencies and academies to protect us by having appropriate regulations. I am sad to report that the very institutions that you would think are there to protect us from environmental toxins and industry practices that would harm our children, are either turning a blind eye, or worse yet, are infiltrated with industry funded experts who can tilt the agenda and distort the facts.
Autism is just the tip of the iceberg. For every autistic child there are hundreds with ADD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, developmental delays, hyper-sensitivities etc., all now epidemic and “unexplained”. The explanation is toxins, toxins, and more toxins. We are adding toxins to those who are genetically vulnerable (we all are vulnerable but some of us more than others). The toxins at the top of the list are Aspartame, tobacco, heavy metals, pesticides, BPA, (bisphenol found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins). The topic of this blog is not the causes but what you can do nutritionally once you are faced with autism or any neurological challenge.
The summary linked below outlines many areas that deserve a try if your child is suffering: http://autism.asu.edu/Docs/2013/Summary_of_Treatments_for_Autism-2013.pdf
The keys in this summary are:
- Eat healthy (organic, no GMO, no plastics, no aspartame).
- Test for food sensitivities and avoid foods your child is sensitive to (usually at least gluten and dairy).
- Certain vitamins and nutrients are key. Everyone in North America needs more Vitamin D. See the list they provide for dietary requirements and aim for the upper limit.
- Omega-3 fish oil is beneficial.
- Enzymes to help with digestion can be helpful.
- Carnitine is a vitamin that help get energy into the cell. Most children can take 125-250 mg twice a day. Liquid forms may need a prescription.
- Melatonin can help with the immune system, should generally be given before bed, and can help with sleep. Dosage is 1/2 to 3 mg before bed.
- Thyroid function should be assessed. Low thyroid function is very detrimental to brain development and energy. Have them check TSH, free T3 and free T4.
Parents, it is absolutely up to you to keep good notes and records of what you try, when, and what you feel happened. As a physician who helps many families, I cannot possibly remember what I have tried on each child. You should keep pushing me, if I’m your doctor, or your physician if I am not, and say “this is what I have tried, this is what helped, what else can we try?”