I am writing this article for parents of autistic children who are struggling day to day seeking to find ways to help their children. As a proud parent of an autistic child, I have spent thousands of dollars in supplements, various natural and conventional doctors and testing. As an avid researcher, I have placed forth in this article the foundation of my research to safely and naturally help you to help your children.
I accredit a great deal of my research breakthroughs to Pfeifer Treatment Center, Dr. Garry F. Gordon, Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, Dr. William Shaw, and Dr. Bernard Rimland. When starting on a natural path to help your children. Dr. Jethro Kloss one of the best documenters of alternative medicine explained it best. It takes 6 months of cure for each year of affliction when using alternative medicine. Homeopathy and Vitamin therapy may present some immediate improvements that you notice within the first month. It takes time. I have found that most parents give up on a natural therapy because it doesn’t work as fast as drugs. Drugs suppress the issue and natural modalities can offer a way to pinpoint the source of concern in the body that recovers the healing process.
I write this out of my years of heartache and hundreds of hours of research. I have made great breakthroughs with several natural modalities, most of which I will present in this article.
My major disagreement with mainstream doctors and medicine is that autism is being treated more as a psychological issue. I believe anyone treating autism as a psychological disorder is going in the wrong direction. Autism is best treated as a biological disorder. Using principles of naturopathic medicine can lend more answers to this growing diagnosis.
Most practitioners and parents have noticed more success in helping autistic children by treating the digestive disorders, eliminating allergies, environmental toxins, and nutritional diet adjustments.
This area does not incorporate drugs into therapy. The only exception made for incorporating drugs is to be used for a brief time as a rescue from the child harming themselves if they are extremely volatile in nature, while in conjunction to implementing natural therapy to taper off of drugs.
Autism is indicated with altered central nervous system function and brain function. It starts with immune dysfunction, allergies, and digestive dysfunction that can onset early in a child’s age. Natural modalities focus in on clearing up the gastrointestinal tract which is often a mess in autistic children.
Autistic children excrete great amounts of sulfate in their urine approximately ten times more than normal children. It is a great disservice to give autistic children processed foods such as sandwich meats, hot dogs, canned products that are high in sulfate additives. Why? Because when an autistic child excretes sulfates it also simultaneously pulls out of the body Cysteine. Cysteine is vital in producing glutathione which is essential for health brain function. Schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders are often associated with low glutathione levels. This also causes autistic children to build up and not filter many toxins out of the body.
Most autistic children have the inability to digest protein properly. This is indicated by a pancreatic enzyme deficiency. This lends a factor into having digestive and gastrointestinal problems. Diarrhea and constipation are often rotating problems due to their ability to store toxins in the body. There is also “Leaky Gut Syndrome” where there may be tiny perforations in the gut lining which cause toxins from the gut to leak into the blood stream. This is noted by evidence of lactulose in a stool test, which can easily be given to a child to determine if they have leaky gut. Testing can also show presence of protein fragments from the incomplete digestion of gluten (wheat) and casein (dairy). A comprehensive stool analysis can be done in the comfort of your own home and shipped to a reputable laboratory for analysis. A source for testing is Great Plains Laboratory (http://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/home/eng/stool.asp).
Some of these protein fragments bind to opioid receptors in the brain. This result in highly hyperactive behavior, aggressive behavior, and inability to focus, retain memory or attention. These protein fragments from leaky gut leaking into the blood stream and blocking the opiod receptors in the brain is what drives the abnormal behaviors we observe.
Another neurotoxin that can be secreted into the blood stream from leaky gut syndrome is Claustridium. Researchers at the University of Michigan describe an interesting case where a dog accidentally ate feces from an autistic child and as a result went into a coma for 7 days. “Researchers found a high presence of claustridial toxins in the fecal matter of the autistic child.”
Natural Treatment Protocol
I am still heavily researching DMSA chelation. DMSA chelation is done to eliminate mercury and other heavy metals. Even though parents have reported improvements in behavior, I do not feel comfortable reporting any research on it as yet. I had more success with homeopathic chelation for heavy metal toxicity. I will describe this protocol in detail in an upcoming article.
The best thing that can be done primarily is eliminate as many common allergenic foods as possible. This includes corn, wheat, soy and nuts. There are parents that have found success eliminating dairy and white as well as wheat flour based products.
My child has been on a gluten free diet for four years. I have eliminated all dairy with the exception of parmesan cheese. There have been some great Gluten free recipes creating tasty snacks with parmesan. I have found her behavior to be calmer and focused on this diet. Most parents notice when they accidentally slip up and give a child something out of the diet context, they observe certain abnormal behaviors return soon after ingesting gluten or casein. It took me about 45 days before I noticed improvement. This can vary based upon the degree of your child’s condition.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are a big must have. Autistic children are almost always deficient. Omega-3 is critical for normal neurologic development. Dr. Jeff Bradstreet has recomended that 1,000 mg per day is a reasonable starting dose, there are some parents with older children age 11 and up who can safely go as high as 3,000 mg.
NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) most children with autism are cysteine deficient. Many practitioners endorse this as the foundation of treatment. NAC is a forerunner of glutathione, an essential player in detoxing the important hepatic pathways. Dosage is recommended to start low at. 25 mg/day and every three months increase by 25 mg until you reach up to 200 mg daily.
Probiotics must be implemented. Some natural doctors wait until severe GI abnormalities are cleared to use them. However, Probiotics are safe for adults and children of all ages. I would not recommend waiting. The best kinds are found in the refrigerated section of many health food stores. It is important to replenish the gut with healthy flora to strengthen the immune system. Probiotic supplements are the easiest and safest way to accomplish this.
Vitamins A, C, E, and beta carotene are all important antioxidants. Children with autism are usually deficient. Pfiefer Treatment Center recommended for my daughter a Vitamin A in the form of lemon flavored Cod Liver Oil. I ordered it from www.kirkmanlabs.com. You must keep it refrigerated. I gave her one tablespoon full in a Dixie cup mixed with a touch of natural orange syrup (you can buy flavored syrups from your pharmacist) and in the beginning I would administer it with an oral syringe. Now my daughter just takes the Dixie cup on her own. Vitamin C I in a Raspberry Flavored drink powder packet called “Emergen C” . In the beginning I would just mix ½ tsp of the crystals with the natural orange flavored syrup in an oral syringe. Currently, my daughter drinks it with water. The best Vitamin E I have found is made by Carlson Labs or Solgar. For younger children you can break one the capsule and mix the 400 IU with natural syrup if your child does not swallow capsules.
P-5-P also known as Pyridoxal 5′ Phosphate is the coenzyme form of Vitamin B6 that is more easily absorbed by the body. I am still conducting research on various forms of Vitamin B. There is an area of vitamin B research that is indicative of which form of B is best for your child based upon their condition. For now I can safely recommend pyridoxal 5 phosphate. I will produce further research on the effective modality of taking vitamin B complex in an upcoming article. Pyridoxal 5 phosphate is vital to neurotransmitter brain balance.
Zinc picolinate is needed to promote both serotonin and melatonin in the brain. Zinc-deficient children are often irritable, depressed and difficult to calm. Autistic patients are usually deficient in zinc, magnesium, and calcium. Calcium and Magnesium are best taken in powder form at bed time with zinc picolinate. I have previously written an article on Associated Content which explains the importance of taking calcium along with the best way to do it. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5443850/how_calcium_can_best_alleviate_various.html?cat=68
Pycnogenol, derived from French pine trees, and L-theanine, created from green tea, has been effective in improving cognitive function and helping to produce a calm but focused attention. The best form of L- theanine I have found is a chewable orange flavored tablet created by Dr. Michael Murray of Focus Factors.
Co-enzyme Q10, and DMAE (dimethyl aminoethanol) are also recommended for healthy brain receptor function. Some natural practicioners implement into this L-carnitine and/or L-carnosine. I am still researching the efficacy o f L-carnitine and L-carnosine. I am also out to lunch on Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum). There are tests that show autistic children with having liver dysfunction. Milk Thistle is the recommended mode for cleansing and detoxifying the liver. However, I have not fully evaluated this treatment process.
Selenium can be taken in a dose of 25 mcg/day. This mineral acts as a detoxifying agent detoxification by binding to mercury by forming selenium-mercury complexes that can be safely excreted in the urine. It is also an essential part of production of glutathione peroxidase, an important antioxidant enzyme.
Putting It All Together
I have just named off several recommendations. You are probably wondering how you will get your child to take all of these things in a day. Most parents treating their children under natural protocols administer up to 30-68 various different items per day. If your child can swallow capsules you divide the dosages and choose two-three times per day.
You take can give the Omega 3’s, NAC, Probiotics ,Vitamins A, C, E, and CoQ10 with Breakfast
P5P, Pycnogenol, L-Theanine, Selenium, Co-Q10 with Lunch
Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc with Dinner/ bedtime.
I have broken this down considering that the recommendations made above taken with breakfast are the optimal time to be ingested and absorbed in the body.
If you child does not swallow capsules
You can mix it in a smoothie, shake, or sorbet. Most parents buy a mortar and pestle to crush the capsules ( or pin hole gel caps and squeeze out liquid or powder). They mix it in a suspended flavored syrup from your local pharmacy. Flavored syrups used in beverages ( strawberry, vanilla etc.) also work as well.
There are natural compounding pharmacies that can formulate this into 1-2 capsules for your child. However, I recommend taking them as separate components for the first month, in case you need to adjust dosages so you can perfect what your child needs before compounding the formula.