Nutrition in Autism

Healing the gut—What’s the purpose for Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder that can affect language, behavior, and socialization. While the exact cause of Autism is unknown, many experts agree that it is a mix of genetic components combined with environmental triggers causing a downward cascade of immune dysfunction in the body leading to neurological dysfunction. Some are now referring to the brain as “downstream” in Autism, meaning that Autism is a whole body disorder and the brain gets the effects.

Typical “psychological” indicators of these neurological disorders in children may include delayed speech, lack of eye contact, impaired or non-present social skills, shyness, obsessive type behaviors, delayed gross or fine motor skills, sensory integration issues (sound and touch sensitivity, etc.), and mood changes.

Commonly overlooked, however, are the physical and medical conditions many of these children face.

Many of these children also have food allergies and eczema, general gastrointestinal distress, constipation and diarrhea, yeast overgrowth, immune system dysregulation, and sleep disturbances. When tested, most test with very high toxic load including heavy metals. Within the biomedical approach, it is believed that these toxins manipulate normal biochemical pathways in the body and lead to the physical and mental manifestations of disorders such as autism. Addressing the physical issues lead to improvements in behaviors and cognition.

When most of us are faced with a severe headache, lack of sleep and stomach pain, it is very difficult to focus or learn a new task. The same is true for these children; if we can improve their physical state, therapies are much more useful.

Much of the research is showing that autism is no longer considered only a brain disorder, but it is actually manifested from gut issues—our microbiome. The same is true for conditions such as ADHD, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and the list goes on. 70% of our immune system is in our digestive system. This has to be functioning in order for health to occur.

As Hippocrates once said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Current research is finding this to be true.

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