Autism Nutritional Therapy

by Sam Malone


Autism is a part of a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This disorder becomes evident in childhood, usually before the age of 3. Unfortunately, there is no cure for autism, though early and intensive treatment can have a huge impact in the lives of children who are suffering from this disorder. Autism treatment usually includes medication, behavioral therapy, communication therapy and creative therapy. Children suffering from this condition may also benefit from autism diet therapy.

Nutrition for autism is like a biomedical approach to the disorder, based on scientific research, which proves that autism has at least some biological causes, which could include:

  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Yeast infections
  • Food sensitivity
  • Nutritional deficiency

There are a number of diet strategies that are known to be possible treatment options for autism. One of these suggestions includes the limitation of:

  • Food allergens
  • Probiotics
  • Yeast
  • Gluten
  • Casein

Children who are suffering from autism may also need to limit their intake of certain dietary supplements, which include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6 and Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Folic acid
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin B12

Most children who are diagnosed with autism are soon made to follow a Gluten-free Casein-free (GFCF) diet. It is therefore important to know about foods containing gluten. Gluten is found in:

  • Barley
  • Bulgar
  • Couscous
  • Durum
  • Flavorings and artificial colors
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable proteins
  • Kamut
  • Malt
  • Oats
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Soy sauce
  • Spelt
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Vinegars (certain types)
  • Wheat

Casein is a protein that is found in milk and other dairy products, which include:

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Ice cream
  • Margarine (specific brands)
  • Whey
  • Yogurt

Casein is also often added in the form of caseinate to food products that do not contain milk, such as soy cheese and hotdogs.

With so many food items being on the restricted list, parents are likely to be confused about the foods that their children can eat. Given below are some of the foods that can be included in a GFCF:

  • Amaranth
  • Beans
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Meat
  • Nuts
  • Potato
  • Poultry
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Shellfish
  • Sorghum
  • Tapioca
  • Teff

Certain researches on autism and diet plans show that children following a GFCF diet have shown mild to dramatic improvements in speech and behavior. These researches also indicate that children are less likely to suffer from bouts of constipation or diarrhea after switching over to this diet. However, the medical community has not completely accepted the GFCF diet as yet. In fact, there are some parents who report no improvement in their children even after following this diet.

Therefore, it is best to consult your child's doctor before making any changes in your child's diet.

References:

  1. Millward C, et al. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autism spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009:CD003498.
  2. Myers SM, et al. Management of children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. 2007;120:1162.
  3. Golnik AE, et al. Complementary alternative medicine for children with autism: A physician survey. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2009;39:996.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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