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4560 KEENELAND LN, # 304
Fort Wayne, IN, 46845
United States

260-615-0530

Fort 4 Autism is a non-profit organization with the goal of advocating for and supporting families affected by autism in the Fort Wayne area.

Nutrition


 

Gluten and Casein Free

Many parents have found success in easing some of the symptoms of autism through modulation of the diet. It has been stated that individuals are more susceptible to adverse side effects from certain compounds in foods due to a weakened or overactive immune system. Two of the more common proteins that individuals with autism tend to have an intolerance towards are gluten and casein. A gluten-free and casein-free diet (GFCFD) has been reported by many parents to benefit their children that is has become known as the "Autism Diet". For most "diet interventions" for autism, completely eliminating gluten and casein is the first step in an integrated dietary approach.

"For most people, the breakdown of dietary protein into smaller and smaller peptides (amino acid chains) and finally into individual amino acids is a process that is smoothly completed as food travels through the digestive system. However, for an individual with autism, it has been found that partially broken-down components of the original proteins are able to pass from the intestine into the bloodstream. This is caused by an intestinal lining defect and/or incomplete digestion.

In the case of two of the diet’s most common proteins, gluten (from wheat, barley, oats, and rye) and casein (from milk), some of the components that are released into the bloodstream have opioid (morphine-like) properties. Gliadorphin-7 and other similar polypeptides are formed in the breakdown of gluten. Bovine ß-casomorphin-7 and other similar polypeptides are formed in the breakdown of casein. Most recently, deltorphin and dermorphin have been targeted for their potential activity as well. All of these polypeptides contain regions very similar in structure to morphine. These proteins are transported to the brain where they bind to receptors causing an effect that our research indicates is manifested in the symptoms of autism.

By removing sources of gluten and casein from the diet of autistic children, we have had immense success in at least alleviating and at times eliminating the symptoms of autism.” - www.autism-diet.com


Vitamin D

Research has found a link between autism and low Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone precursor, regulates over 1/24th of the entire human genome. Vitamin D protects your nerve and brain cells during development and protects them from toxins, helps via anti-inflammatory pathways, reduces auto-immunity, up regulates the bodies main antioxidant "Glutathione", among many other actions.. Taking  Vitamin D may be one of the cheapest, easiest, and most effect things you can do for a child with autism.

According to research done with the Life Extension Foundation, parents report that 25% of children who supplement with Vit. D report dramatic improvements in their child’s autistic symptoms, about 50% of parents report significant improvements, and 25% of parents report no change. 75% of autistic children seem to respond at least somewhat to higher doses of vitamin D after levels are around 80 ng/mL.


Methylation Cycle & Glutathione

Individuals with autism tend to have complex issues with their methylation cycle and Glutathione levels. The methylation cycle is one of the most important processes of our metabolism and is involved in building and repair of all of our cells, the silencing of viral genes, DNA and RNA synthesis and expression, Glutathione synthesis, neurotransmitter synthesis, and immune regulation. Glutathione itself is the most important molecule for antioxidant activity, detoxification, immune regulation, and prevention of disease and aging.

Within the methylation cycle are genes that control its function and 98% of children w autism are thought to have a polymorphism (commonly called a mutation, although technically an incorrect term) on the MTHFR gene. This gene is important in utilizing and regenerating active Folates, a driving force critical Methylation cycle. Some studies suggest a dramatic decrease in gene functionality that causes a its capacity to function to drop by 68-90%. This This makes children with autism more susceptible to stress, oxidative stress and illnesses while making them far less tolerant to toxins. Cognitive impairment and depression are just a few of the downstream effects.  Other genes involved in the overall methylation cycle include; COMT, VDR, ACE, MAOA, ACAT1, MTR, BHMT, NOS, AHCY, SHMT1, and SUOX.

With autism having such strong environmental and epigenetic causes, a susceptible methylation cycle and depleted Glutathione levels can wreak havoc on a autists biochemical processes. Luckily, these gene polymorphisms can be bypassed through nutritgenomics. Nutrigenomics is the study of how specific nutrients and nutrient substrates can be used to bypass mutated genes. 

For more info on the methylation cycle and nutrigenoics check out the following resources or consult a doctor of functional medicine..

 


Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Research has identified that children with autism tend to have deficiencies of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are especially important for the development of the brain, cell membrane repair, and regulation of inflammation. The inflammatory factors create a viscous cycle of perpetual systemic and neuro-inflammation that is well known to be an issue with autism disorders.

Supplementation of omega 3s can result in improved cognitive, social, language and behavioral development, mood stabilization, improved energy, improved sleep sleep, and decreased hyperactivity.

The best sources of omega 3 fatty acids are in wild caught fish, grass-fed beef, organic eggs. Nuts tend to have higher levels of omega 3s but also are very high in the more inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids. By far the easiest way to get omega 3 fatty acids is though fish oil pills. Taking a high quality brand that is not rancid or oxidizes is of the up most importance with omega 3s. Look for brands with higher levels of DHA and EPA.  The brands most often recommended are: Carlsons, Nordic Naturals, and NutriGold. Storing the fish oil in the freezer is best.

 


Probiotics and Gut Health

Individuals with autism almost always have poor gut health due to low levels of healthy bacteria or "pro-biotics" and high levels of bad bacteria in their guts. This is also known as "poor interstinal microflora" or "gut dysbiosis". 

Because the gut serves as a barrier to keep out unwanted compounds from entering the brain, this poor gut health means that detrimental compounds can make it past the blood-brain-barrier easier causing unwanted symptoms. These detrimental compounds can come as toxins ingesting from food, absorbed from the environment, or endotoxins created by the unfriendly bacteria that are already in the gut. Add to that, 75% of the immune system resides in the gut from normal levels of healthy probiotics and you understand why proper gut health is so important.

Many parents have reported that taking high-quality probiotic supplements ease the symptoms of autism in their children. Interestingly, research published in Cell Journal found that probiotics can ease the autism symptoms in mice who had autism-features.

We estimate that 9 out of 10 probiotic supplements on the market are not of quality and it is importance that the highest quality probiotic products are used. The following are reputable and proven products:

  • Prescript Assist
  • Mercola Complete Probiotics
  • VSL#3
  • Primal Defence
  • Bio-Kult

Cultured foods like fermented vegetables, skyr, and kefir are often times times the best source of healthy probiotics. We do not recommend yogurt for probiotics as yogurts are often packed with added sugars, low in probitiocs, and from conventionally raised and inflammatory diary.

 


Eliminate and Replace

Eliminate food that worsen the symptoms with autism and replace them with healthier choices...

  1. Eliminate sugars and sweeteners | Replace with raw honey or stevia
  2. Eliminate pasta  | Replace with spaghetti squash pasta or kelp pasta
  3. Eliminate meat that is conventionally raised | Replace with cage-free meat raised without hormones
  4. Eliminate food that is genetically modified (GMO) and grown with pesticides | Replace with organic, non-GMO foods
  5. Eliminate altered fats (trans, hydrogenated, vegetables oil) | Replace with healthy fats (olive oil, fish oil, grass-fed butter, avocado, chia, flax, organic eggs, coconut oil, etc.)
  6. Eliminate soy products (soymilk, soysauce, soy protein, etc.) | Replace with vinegar (sauce) and coconut, goat, or almond milk (unsweetened) instead of soy milk, and hemp, rice, or whey protein
  7. Eliminate processed foods full of preservatives | Replace with natural, whole foods

 



 

References:

http:www.autism-diet.com

http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674%2813%2901473-6

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2014/jan2014_Autism-and-Vitamin-D_01.htm

"Better Baby Book" by Dr Lana Asprey

Bloch MH, Qawasmi A. 2011 Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for the treatment of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptomatology: systematic review and meta-analysis, J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 50:991-1000.

http://treatautism.ca/essential-fatty-acids/

http://www.omega-research.com/research11.php?catid=2&subcat=48

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19702497

http://www.jpands.org/vol9no4/boris.pdf

Autism: Pathways to Recovery by Dr. Amy Yasko

 


 

We are not medical physicians or dieticians. The above information is for educational purposes only. We suggest, as always, that you consult your medical doctor and do your own research before making any changes in your child's life.