There’s not too many people that aren’t either directly affected by Autism in their family or know someone who is. In fact, it’s become so common these days that when I mention my son has Autism most people don’t even flinch.. in some ways that’s good in the fact that the stigma is slowly fading I guess but in other ways we’re so used to it that we accept it as readily as we accept the common cold.
Navigating the maze of Autism can be quite a challenge, I remember the overwhelming information I was presented with when my son was diagnosed and frankly the one thing I was really interested in was the one thing I wasn’t given… nutritional and supplement support….
Yes I’m a Naturopath, yes I’m a GAPS Practitioner and yes I’m a herbalist so there’s a fair chance I’m going to want to look at things from a number of perspectives but the reality is when you’re presented with something challenging I think most of us are willing to try pretty much anything to make a difference so why is nutrition in Autism considered such a waste of time…
Why do medical professionals think it’s okay to feed them chicken nuggets and chips every night but giving them some Zinc will not only do nothing for them it may harm them… because clearly all the processed food isn’t harming them… Not!!!
So what do I generally recommend as far as treatment is concerned:
There are a couple of tests that can be useful when working through the best way to treat kids on the spectrum.. I recommend a Hair Analysis measuring heavy metals and minerals in the body, I also suggest a test for Pyroluria and on occasion we throw in a test for MTHFR. These can be done with most Naturopaths and Integrative Doctors and give us a lot of information on things we can do to move forward.
Alternately if you just want to get started on a few things I’d recommend the following which I’ve listed in the order of importance I hold them:
When prescribing to kids on the spectrum there’s a couple of things I always reach for first and that is a good quality, multi-strain probiotic and a gut healing powder which contains glutamine, slippery elm powder, pectin and Saccharomyces boulardii
The next thing I like to look at is detoxification using supplements such as N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) which supports the body in the production of glutathione, Selenium another good antioxidant which is also important for healthy thyroid function and is often deficient in children on the spectrum and Zinc which is useful in balancing copper overload, supporting healthy gut integrity and interestingly enough can help those fussy eaters amongst the group.
Activated B Vitamins, in particular B6 (in those with Pyroluria) is beneficial in the processing of amino acids and will work in conjunction with zinc in the production of those “feel good” neurotransmitters.
A good quality fish oil, don’t just go for the cheaper brand get one which is high in DHA (1,000mg) and is purified from a good source, this will support brain development and health plus for some kids adding some Cod Liver Oil can also be useful.
These are just some of the more general choices in supplements, obviously once tests are done it’s then important to address each child’s individual supplement needs. Additionally you MUST look at diet which I haven’t covered today but will be covering in an up coming blog as anyone with a child who has Autism knows.. food is a much more challenging prospect to change.
I hope this helps you a little and encourages you to be confident and take charge when it comes to your child’s health and sometimes it’s okay to question the professionals and look outside the square. The important thing is to not dismiss anything but to also research before you decide because whilst there’s a lot of fantastic practitioners out there, as I’ve discovered there’s also some out there that are not .
Until next time, stay calm and stay healthy.