For anyone looking for Autism Treatment Options, this is a very comprehensive and impressive list.
There is no way that I could (or want to) employ all of these interventions, but here are those that I do for The Little Dude so far. (This list doesn’t include non-dietary interventions such as Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, ABA, Social Skills Groups etc).
Rotation and Variety in Diet. The rotation diet helps reduce allergy reactions. However, this makes fewer foods available for use each day. Thus you may tend to serve only one or two foods at each meal. This is not good. If at all possible, it is best to employ a wide variety of foods at each meal. This will help cut down on food allergy reactions. Use different combinations of foods. The body can become sensitive / allergic to specific combinations of foods. By changing the combinations served at each meal, you are adding in more variety.
Mold in Food. Many times it isn’t the food that is causing a reaction, but it is the mold in it. Usually, canned vegetables and fruit have more mold in them than frozen. Frozen food usually has more mold than fresh. So use fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Even condiments like catsup and mustard may have mold. Spices often contain mold.
GF/CF Diet.A gluten-free and casein-free diet has helped many of the autistic. (Gluten is a protein found in grains. Casein is a protein found in milk.) However, the diet needs to be started gradually. Otherwise, the withdrawal symptoms can be too severe. After being on the diet for a while, you can consider adding in DPP IV enzymes. These enzymes have helped many children. Don’t try DPP IV before starting the GF/CF diet. There could be a strong reaction. Even those who have been on the GF/CF diet for months will sometimes experience an initial poor reaction to the DPP IV enzymes. If this poor reaction is too harsh or continues for any length of time, then the use of DPP IV needs to be reevaluated for your child. The DPP IV enzymes can be purchased from Kirkman labs. (http:// www.kirkmanlabs.com) phone (800) 245-8282) or Houston Nutraceuticals (http:// www.kirkmanlabs.com) phone (866) 757-8627). After being on these enzymes for a while, some of the children have been able to tolerate casein and gluten again.
GAPS/SCD diet. The Specific Carbohydrate diet allows the intestines to heal. Only carbohydrates that are easily digested are allowed. No grains or potatoes. Fruits and vegetables are to be peeled. In the beginning, the fruit and vegetables are also to be cooked. Nuts are allowed. However, be careful with the amount and quality of nuts in this diet. Nuts, especially peanuts, can be moldy. A child might also have an allergy to a particular nut. Additionally, most nuts are too high in linoleic fatty acids to be healthy in large quantities. To implement this diet, get the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall, BA, MSc. Then join one of the Internet discussion groups that will help you implement the diet. http://www.scdiet.org
Soy. This should not be part of the diet. It is too closely related to casein and gluten. Also, the phytoestrogens in soy will put an additional load on the PST enzyme.
MSG (monosodium glutamate), Modified Food Starch and hydrolyzed vegetable protein. These are very hard on a person who has been subjected to yeast overgrowth. Don’t feed them to your child. Coenzyme B6 may help reduce the reaction to these substances.
Chicken. If at all feasible, use organic chicken. Arsenic is legally fed to chickens to get rid of parasites. Some of the arsenic ends up in the meat.
Pork. This may be necessary to add variety to the meals. However, the fat from pork should be avoided. The fat from corn or grass-fed pigs is too high in polyunsaturated oils from the corn and grass that they have been fed. (Pigs are not designed to eat grass like sheep and cattle. Sheep and cattle have bacteria in their stomachs that converts unsaturated fats into saturated fats. Pigs do not. Therefore, the fat profile of pigs resembles that which they have been fed. )
Beef. If possible, use grass-fed beef instead of the normal supermarket beef. There should be less estrogen and pesticides in the fat. If seizures are present, organic chicken may be safer than beef (assuming there isn’t an allergy or sensitivity to chicken).
Coconut oil. The lauric acid found in coconut oil will convert into monolaurin in the intestines. The lauric acid and monolaurin together will kill off some parasites, yeast and viruses (including measles). Give the body a chance to get used to this change. Start with no more than a teaspoon of coconut oil per day for an adult. (Less for a child.) Mix the oil with some fiber (eg a grated carrot) so that some of the oil will make it to the last part of the intestines. When using coconut oil, it can increase metabolic rate. This increases the need for B6 and other B vitamins. More zinc and other minerals may also be needed. Therapeutic doses for an adult are three tablespoons of coconut oil per day. If there is an allergy to coconut, try palm oil instead. This is also high in lauric acid.
Linoleic fatty acids. These are elevated in many of the fatty acid profiles of the autistic. Too much linoleic fatty acid in the diet will decrease IgA, which is needed to protect the intestines. The linoleic fatty acid will also increase free-radicals and will increase yeast growth in the intestines. Oils that contain a high proportion of linoleic fatty acids are safflower, corn, soy, avocado and many of the nut oils. Avoid these. Common sources of excessive dietary linoleic fatty acids are restaurant French fries, oily pizza crusts, and commercial salad dressings. If you are looking for a safe substitute, olive oil has a low percentage of linoleic fatty acids. Don’t be taken in by the advertisements that compare Canola to olive oil. Canola oil is not a good substitute for olive oil. Canola is much higher in oxidized omega-3 oils.
Flax oil. Flax oil has some benefit. It helps to balance out the excessive linoleic fatty acids found in the typical American diet. Perhaps this is why some people feel better with a little flax oil in the diet. However, if we were eating a more natural diet, without all the linoleic fatty acids in it, then there wouldn’t be such a need for the flax oil. Many of the autistic are getting too much flax oil. They test high in linolenic fatty acids, which are the predominate fatty acids found in flax oil. The best strategy is to limit the intake of both linoleic fatty acids (corn oil, safflower oil, soy oil, etc) and limit the intake of linolenic fatty acids (flax oil). Be especially vigilant with kids that have migraines or seizures. They may not tolerate flax oil.
Flax seeds. The mucilage in these helps with bowel regulation. However, there is also a downside to flaxseeds. Flaxseeds contain a chemical that interferes with iodine entering the thyroid gland. Without iodine, the gland cannot produce thyroid hormone. Three tablespoons per day of flaxseeds has been known to cause thyroid goiter. Instead of flaxseeds, consider trying a small amount of prickly pear cactus leaves for their mucilage content. They will help sooth the intestine. However, they also can interfere with the absorption of fats and carbohydrates. So only a small amount is appropriate. You will find prickly pear cactus leaves in many Mexican markets and some ordinary grocery stores. Scrape off the thorns with a knife. You don’t have to remove the green covering. Then chop the leaves and include a little bit when you cook your eggs or other dishes. The leaves have anti-viral properties. Mucilage is not recommended on the SCD diet. So a judgement call will have to be made here. Observations are your best friend.
Fish Liver Oil. Keep cod liver oil or other fish liver oils refrigerated or in the freezer. If it develops a strong fish smell, it has gone bad. The brand Nordic Naturals has a good reputation for freshness and purity. They add in some vitamin E to help keep the oil fresh. (website http://www.nordicnaturals.com and phone 800-662-2544)
Fish liver oil is very important for its fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins reduce inflammation. In particular, enough vitamin A is critical to the health of the intestines. Yet vitamin A may be low due to diarrhea or a measles infection. These deplete the body of vitamin A. Unfortunately, fish liver oils are not always tolerated. If fish liver oil is not tolerated, try separate supplements of these vitamins. You can also get some of these vitamins in a water-soluble form, which may be better tolerated. Like everything else, be prudent in the amount used. Too much or too little of these vitamins is not good. If you are going to use high doses of these vitamins, make sure your doctor monitors this with blood tests, and make sure you are very observant of the changes in your child.
Fish Oil. Keep refrigerated. This isn’t as high in the important fat-soluble vitamins as fish liver oil. However, like fish liver oil, it does help keep platelets from clumping together. Although some fish oil in the diet may be helpful, too much of it can increase free-radical activity and contribute to seizures. It can also increase the permeability of the capillaries and contribute to “leaky gut.” A small amount of fish liver oil may be a better choice than plain fish oil for this reason.
Butter. This has very little casein in it. Ghee, which is clarified butter, would have even less casein. Raw butter, or at least butter from pasture-fed animals is considered the best quality. Butter and ghee are soothing to the intestines.
Household Chemicals. Perfumes, cleaning products and paints contain many irritating chemicals. Baking soda and vinegar are good substitutes for many cleaning products.
Salt. Dr. Mary Megson suggests letting autistics have salt . If there is a G protein defect, three of the channels that remove calcium from the cells are blocked. The only other major means of removing calcium is with salt.
Probiotic supplements can be bacteria, yeast or even transient parasites. These supplements alter the flora of the intestines. Probiotic supplements generally don’t overwhelm the existing intestinal bacteria with their numbers. They change the environment. This shift in environment changes the type of bacteria that are able to survive in the intestines. As the environment changes, the bacteria mixture shifts. Where it ends up doesn’t depend just on the type of probiotic taken. It also depends on what bacteria, viruses, and parasites were there at the start. This is why each person’s reaction to a probiotic is so different. Examples: One person may find that bifidus makes them bloat, and yet another person will adamantly insist that bifidus is the only probiotic that is gentle enough for their system. Another person might say that soil-based bacteria were wonderful at first, but then it seemed to make things worse. Acidophilus may increase D-lactic acid too much in one person, but in another, the acidophilus may replace some harmful bacteria.
Rotation and Variety in Probiotics. The body has an immune response to probiotics. One way to realize the benefit of this immune response is to rub some of the probiotics into the gums. This way, the probiotics don’t have to make it past the stomach acid. Yet, you still get an immune response. (Do this after the teeth have been cleaned.) Another way to get the best immune response is to start and stop the probiotics. It takes 2 to 4 weeks for the body to set up an immune reaction to the probiotics. After introducing the body to the probiotics, stay on them for 2 to 4 weeks. Then take a break for a similar amount of time. Or better yet, every 2 to 4 weeks, change the type of probiotic employed. This will improve the body’s immune response to the probiotics.