Nutrition and Autism

Nutrition and Autism

Nutrition and Autism

by Vicki Kobliner MS RD, CD-N Nutrition and autism:  Mention the words “nutrition” and “autism” and many people quickly but exclusively think of gluten and casein free diets (GFCF). While this diet has certainly helped to improve the symptoms of autism for many children, there is far more about nutrition and its relationship to autism that every parent should know before embarking on the complex and often expensive journey into the world of biomedical therapies. Good nutrition is the cornerstone of growth and development for all children, healthy or ill.  When nutritional status is compromised it will directly affect a child’s progress, and for a child with a chronic illness like autism, the lack of critical nutrients can have far reaching effects. Children with autism often exhibit a frustrating mix of picky eating behaviors and limited diets, bowel irregularities, food allergies or sensitivities and physical and behavioral signs of nutrient deficiencies.  A vicious cycle is created which goes something like…

Immune Dysregulation

Immune Dysregulation

Immune Dysregulation

Although there are many environmental factors that contribute to chronic illness in children, one of the most important outcomes of all these environmental influences is a dysregulated immune system. A dysregulated immune system simply means that an individual’s immune system is not working properly.  Here are some examples of what happens when an immune system malfunctions: It can over-react to innocuous stimulus (like cat dander) and cause symptoms like sneezing or itching. It can attack its host’s own cells and tissues (like what happens in an arthritic joint).  This is called autoimmunity. It does not have the ability to detoxify and eliminate harmful substances that enter the body. It cannot effectively combat pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes (germs!) that invade the body. It can keep the body in a heightened state of “attack” causing inflammation and oxidative stress which can lead to disruptions in cellular functions and operations. The immune system is how the body defends itself from harmful substances in the…