You ‘ve probably never heard of it, but many families with autism did.
Currently, one of the most talked about subjects within the field of autism (and hyperactivity), concerns the connection between the gut and the brain. The fact that some families get a significant improvement of autistic symptoms – if not their eradication – after biomedical interventions are gradually attracting the attention of many people. These responses are based on the principle that there is indeed a barrier between the human gut and your brain, which means that the food taken produces a neurological effect, affecting the behavior.
This process would happen because substances in the intestine have a tremendous impact on the brain. The intestine is like a huge factory where trillions of elements are in a super active state in the metabolism. If this activity is not well balanced, microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and yeast can proliferate, causing a very dramatic effect on the neurological behavior of an individual. This process can happen to anyone. In this text, however, I ‘ll stick to autism.
Our kids with autism – and hyperactivity – are extremely vulnerable to environmental toxins, and the toxins of its metabolism. There are certain elements in diet, specifically gluten and casein (dairy) that are not completely digested by many children with autism and hyperactivity. Due to insufficient digestion, gluten and casein eventually produce endogenous opioids, components of brain activity similar to morphine. Thus, the diet can have a profound effect on the brain of these children. In other words, it is as if they were ‘ high ‘.
I know it is shocking to many, but it’s true. Homeopathic doctors and nutritionists report that some autistic children when they arrive at their offices, have a vacant stare, dilated pupils, do not interact and exhibit inappropriate behavior. Moreover, they seem to have an incredible craving for foods containing gluten and dairy, such as chicken nugget, macaroni and cheese, ice cream, etc. When gluten and milk products are removed from their diets, they enter into a natural process of recycling. Not all children – not all at once – but many children, yes. They can become very agitated, hyper, angry, or otherwise, may become lethargic and seem to be “on another planet”. This situation may happen because each organism is individual. In this period, the tendency of parents is to quit. If you can, hang in there: these reactions (natural detoxification) will go away! Maybe for two days, but it may also take a week. Being consistent is crucial.
Not rarely we hear that after a few weeks of a diet, some children make eye contact for the first time, embrace and kiss their parents or say phrases that they had never said before. This situation happened with my son and the children of many acquaintances of mine. Those examples have been going on continuously with children throughout the world.
THE LEAKY GUT SYNDROME
In a deeper analysis, we note that many children with autism and bowel issues have a family history of autism, schizophrenia, depression, bowel cancer or a metabolic disease called celiac disease.
Often there are one or more cases in the family. We should take note that some children with autism do not have an obvious intestinal problem, though. However, when starting the diet, their parents realize remarkable positive changes in their behavior.
The leaky gut refers to the condition in which the intestinal intake and transportation of food, vitamins and minerals, are disturbed. The work of the ” Villi “, finger -shaped structure that lies on the surface of the wall (mucosa) of the small intestine, is quite important. This structure increases the intestinal tract and, thus, their intake capacity.
The rest of food not well digested as proteins, for instance, “leak “, before reaching the small intestine, causing a leak of the same (through evacuation) before the nutrients are absorbed.
The gut is made from intestinal cells. Each has pores through which the essential nutrients of food must pass to reach the blood and do their due work. These cells are stuck together with a kind of ” glue “. Through refined foods containing too much sugar, fat, and additives, or a damaged gut flora, there will appear small (microscopic) wounds this ” glue ” gut, which is called a ” leaky gut .” Because of these small wounds several harmful dietary components, end up joining (leaking) in the blood. Thus, the immune system kicks in, which can cause:
– Rheumatic pains, or joints pains;
– Gastrointestinal problems;
– Depression and some other.
Quite often we hear from families who adopt biomedical intervention to help their autistic children that the physical and mental well – being of other members of the family also improves. Many parents choose the same diet as their children, initially to encourage them to stick to the diet. However, eventually, they realize that their physical (or mental) discomfort, also diminish or even disappear.
HOW TO START THE DIET?
Preferably, a homeopathic doctor or a dietitian should accompany the diet with experience in treating children with autism. In the Netherlands, fortunately, there are some professionals following the family’s decision to initiate this type of intervention. Many parents, however, prefer to start the diet alone. In this case, some tips are worth:
– Set a date to begin the diet and say it to his son the best way he can understand. If the child is not verbal, show him a picture/pictogram of the product you want first to remove and tell him that you will exchange it for another – one that is good for him. Do not forget that even non-verbal children understand more than we think, especially the state of mind of their parents. Show empathy but stay put in the decision to change the child’s diet;
– Before removing gluten and casein (or sugar), introduce the child to few new foods you want to add to the new diet. In that way, the change will be less traumatic to the child;
– Remove one component at a time. Most children react better this way. For example, first remove the gluten (bread, pasta, biscuits, etc.); a week or two later (depending on the child) remove the second;
– Take your child with you to the natural products store and let him see the new products. Arouse his curiosity for the new product. Currently, there are foods without gluten/casein/sugar that can be very tasty. If your child does not like a certain product, try another one. Some stores are so helpful to the point to allow the child with autism to prove a cracker or a piece of bread before it is tested at home.
In the early implementation of the new diet, try that the other members of the family cooperate, also using soy milk, or rice, bread or pasta gluten free, naturally sweetened cookies, etc. . A child with autism will feel part of the group and not the exception – for the change! In time, the child (and perhaps the rest of the family) will get used to the new diet and maybe lose total interest in the food they craved before (containing the components that aren’t good for her);
– BE CONSISTENT! Do not give up before at least two months (gluten) and three weeks (casein). Remember that the metabolism of your child is being recycled, detoxified and this can take several weeks, depending on the amount of parasites, fungi, and yeast that have to be eliminated. It will be hard – nothing is easy when it comes to autism! But victory is always for the persistent! Your child – in the first two weeks – may meltdown, cry, kick around, scream, have spurts or refuse to eat anything else. Hang in there! As long as he keeps drinking fluids (no milk and no sugar!), and you’ve already found a product that he likes (without the component to be removed).
In the most extreme cases of anger or refusal to feed, consider continuing to give him the product you want to withdraw, but in much smaller quantity. Gradually decrease his intake of those products until the child get used to the substitute ones.
Good on paper…
Speaking from experience, the idea of removing what our children love most is terrible. For me, longer than 12 years ago, it was an ordeal. My son, now 17 years old and practically cured of autism, was addicted to milk, sugar, and gluten. Exactly: everything that he should not be ingesting. The retreat of products containing those components was tough. He suffered, and so did I. But my desire to see him well was bigger than my suffering. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made.
My son still does not take cow milk. He says he does not like it, when he used to consume more than 1 liter per day of it, until the age of five! After a while, he went back consuming gluten. Apparently – and like the Dutch say – ” he’s grown out of it .“ Many of his (autistic) symptoms and stimming have disappeared and never came back.
Surprisingly it is the mother who ends up being strong at the sacrifice of watching her little child scream for milk or a cookie, because she has that animal power that move her forward, focusing on the goal of improving the lives of her little one. Autism moms think of their little ones as they were before the first year of age when autism became so evident. They wish him well, but they want their children back! That is the great motivation to keep determined to reverse, at least, this one barrier that may cause autism or worsen its current symptoms.
Please note that I do not intend to say that external influences cause autism. Autism is a genetic condition. However, most scientists around the world can’t deny the effect of environmental factors in the manifestation of symptoms of autism in a particular group of children.
Healthy body, healthy mind
The very common question is, ” When should I start with the diet? ” The answer is ” anytime .“ It’s never too late to start something good, despite being ideal to start as soon as possible. Any child, teenagers and even adults, can benefit from a healthy gut; also people without autism. The influence of fungi, parasites, yeast and bacteria that thrive in our body due to the foods we should not be consuming, is certain. Even though many regular doctors do not admit such influence, due to a lack of extensive complementary scientific research, millions of people in the world know better: the brain-gut connection is real, it affects our body and minds, and, consequently, our behavior.
I repeat that the coaching by a homeopathic physician (with references in autism, preferably) would be ideal. This professional will not only recommend the diet but will set an individual assessment of the body of your child, testing it to identify the foods that affect him in particular. The homeopathic doctor may also treat your child with antimicrobials, which will make a big difference in his behavior. We’re talking here about intense repetitive movements (stimming): hand flapping, spinning, jumping, head banging, etc. – That can be reduced or even eliminated, as well as agitation, irritability, aggressiveness and other. Again, this all proves the connection between the brain and the gut.
For reasons of space in this column, I can not extend it. But if your curiosity was, aroused I recommend reading the articles on the internet: ” The Brain-Gut Connection and The Leaking Gut Syndrome .”
Fatima de Kwant