After my son got vaccine induced measles, we saw a rapid decline in his overall health.For the next 2-3 years he was sick all the time. He had constant allergies, diarrhea, vomiting, ear infections, a severe whooping cough, and Rotavirus along with a double ear infection which landed him in the hospital for three days.
During this time he was self-limiting his foods to only 3 or 4 things--mostly dairy and gluten. He was eating waffles, cheese pizza, grilled cheese and drank what seemed like gallons of milk daily. The help I was getting from his doctor was very limited and the answer was always more Tylenol and more antibiotics.
It was at this point-after his hospital stay- that I decided I needed to work on really getting him healthy. He was also still non-verbal (3 ½ years old) at this time and was experiencing a host of autism symptoms but had not been given a diagnosis yet.
I’ve shared in previous articles, that it was through this research that I started learning about gluten free and casein free diets for autism. But I knew it was much deeper than just taking these foods away. His immune system was not functioning at its optimal-level and he felt miserable all the time.
After seeing specialized doctors and Clinical Nutritionists as well as embarking in to my own research, I started to become more aware of exactly how critical these vitamins and nutrients are in our bodies. Every cell-every function- literally depends on the right balance of them. My son’s very limited foods were not getting him ANY of the nutrients he was severely lacking.
The immune system can be very complicated and it is very common for our kids on the autism spectrum to have immune dysfunction.
Immune dysfunction can be defined as “Over activity of the immune system, especially the innate system along with dysregulation of the adaptive system manifesting with inflammation in the blood, GI tract, and brain. “ MINDD Foundation
This immune dysfunction can lead to chronic inflammation in brain and mucosal tissues (especially gut), Autoimmune reactions , frequent infections, especially of GI tract, sinuses, throat and ears, as well as allergic and sensitivity reactions to food and common environmental allergens.
The medical history of a child who may fall in to this category could look like, chronic eczema, chronic and frequent tonsillitis, allergies, asthma, frequent and recurring ear infections, frequent cold sores or warts, chronic diarrhea and a family history of autoimmune conditions.
Some other frequently seen signs and symptoms associated with immune dysfunction can be poor growth, pale complexion, allergic eye shiners, spots or ridges on finger nails, abdominal bloating, skin rashes and/or chronically swollen lymph glands.
Addressing these issues is not an overnight success. It does require a lot of changes as far as dietary and environment/lifestyle—but it is very possible and is so very worth it!
Some things to consider to help you get started:
Dietary and Healing the Gut
*Avoiding gluten and casein
*Determining food sensitivities
*Eat as much organic as possible
*Add good fats; coconut oil, flax, olive oil
*Treat pathogens (clostridia, yeast, etc)
Important Vitamins and Minerals to Add
Elderberry syrup has also been shown in clinical trials to be a very safe, natural way to increase immune function.
Avoiding Environmental Triggers
*Use natural, biodegradable and perfume free detergents and cleaning agents, do not dry clean clothes.
*Avoid flame retardant materialsUse fluoride-free toothpaste. (Xylitol)
*Use stainless steel, ceramic, glass or cast iron cookware, avoid aluminum and non-stick.
*Use an air purifier, especially in the bedroom.
*Avoid prolonged exposure to EMFs.
*Use aluminum-free baking powder, deodorant.
*Avoid use of herbicides or pesticides, on lawns, garden, home or on pets
*Use natural shampoos, soaps, lotions
Maggini, S., et al., Br J Nutr, 2007. 98 Suppl 1: p. S29-35
Immunological Findings in Autism, Panja 2005
O’Hara, Nancy, Immunological Disease and Autism, MINDD Foundation, 2010, http://mindd.org/s/uploads/public_members/pdfs/2ImmunologicalDiseaseAutism.pdf