The Role Of Nutrition In Controlling Autism
Formerly, a relatively rare condition well out of the public eye, autism has increased in prevalence more than tenfold since 1990. Autism is a neurodevelopment disorder characterized by deficits in social interaction, language development and a restricted or stereotypical pattern of interests and activities. Though the origin of this disorder is still unknown, investigators currently believe that autism ¡s a genetically based disorder that requires some environmental trigger to get manifested.
Evidence indicates that autism is, to a large degree, a problem of under-connectivity of cortical systems especially interhemispheric communication and essentially a decreased ability of parts or systems of the brain to communicate with each other. This impairment results in difficulty with complex. higher-order functions, such as language and social skills.
Rather than thinking of autism as a brain disorder that has systemic effects, it must be thought of as a systemic disorder that affects the brain. A number of factors play a role in the manifestation of autism. Some of them are:
- Heavy metal toxicity (mercury, lead, arsenic)
- Dietary factors / nutrient status
- Emotional stress
- Fatty acid deficiency
- Increased consumption of sugar
- Reduced intake of fruits and vegetables
- Excessive intake of refined carbohydrates. refined sugar. rancid fats and trans fatty acids
- Nutritional deficiencies
Xenobiotic Toxicity – The levels of toxicity produced by a foreign chemical substance found in drugs like antibiotics that are not naturally produced by humans, are often times found in high levels in autism (due to excessive use of antibiotics in the first two years of life) levels of these toxins can be assessed by the following methods:
- Hair analysis
- Urine analysis
Dysbiosis- A condition of the digestive tract, dysbiosis is the microbial imbalance in the body and is associated with many ailments including autism. It can be analysed by:
- Organic acid urinalysis
- Comprehensive stool analysis
Dietary Food Habits- The type of food a patient eats affects their body drastically.
Stress And Lifestyle – A patient can be affected by even a small amount of stress in their life. And an autistic patient needs to be kept away from getting too stressed over things.
Nutrient Status – The levels of nutrients present in food is an important factor to consider to manage symptoms of autism.
- Essential fatty acids (EFAs)
- Adrenal fatigue
Vitamins And Minerals
Appropriate levels of 20 minerals and 15 essential vitamins required by the body for healthy metabolism and neurotransmitter balance.
Bowel Terrain Support
Good strength of healthy bacteria in the large intestine is crucial for a healthy gut and absorption of vitamins to ensure prevention of bad effects of pathogenic bacteria. This can be got with probiotic and prebiotic supplements.
N Acetyl Cysteine
Heavy metal detox and heavy metal chelator such as mercury. lead and arsenic. This regulates glutathione which is a strong liver antioxidant.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) andeicosapentaenoicacid (EPA) help reduce inflammation in cells and improve permeability.
Amino acids help improve levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and therefore improve memory.
Avoid Food Allergies
By not consuming the food allergen is the only way to avoid a food allergy.
Reduce Cell Inflammation
This can be achieved with antioxidants to neutralize free radical damage.
Avoid Gluten And Casein
Gluten found in wheat and casein found in milk have been associated with allergic and inflammatory changes in gut mucosa.
Avoid Chemicals And Preservatives In Food
Processed foods are preserved to prevent bacteria, yeast and mould growth
Restrict Sugar Intake
Reducing the sugar in the diet can be very beneficial.
It is believed that autism is a genetically based disorder that requires some environmental trigger to get manifested
Nutritional deficiencies are wide spread in autistic children. These are mainly linked to poor digestion and absorption of nutrients due to gastrointestinal problems as well as abnormalities in the metabolic processing of nutrients.
Nutritional supplements and dietary corrections have shown promising results in managing autism and its symptoms in terms of reduced irritability, hyperactivity, improved intelligence, better focus and improved attention span, improved memory, progressive speech development, improved communication and reduced compulsive behaviour.