Changes to diet help with autism symptoms

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why do some cases of autism spectrum disorders have a favorable response to eliminating gluten and casein proteins? Well, first let’s identify the offenders, then we’ll look at what happens to them in the body and then the brain.

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, oats, rye and barley. Including malt, soy sauce, flavorings and artificial colors. Casein is a protein found in dairy products. It can also be found in non-milk products such as soy cheese, hot dogs in the form of caseinate.

Now, here is the theory. When eliminated from the diet, the body is not burdened with products it can not properly digest, and the body turns these substances into byproducts that mimic opiates. The child’s behavior, responses to their environment, and perceptions become skewed.

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It should be noted that not all children have a dramatic improvement in speech or behavior, but numerous families have noted that out of all the interventions they have tried, implementing a gluten/casein diet modification has produced immediate results. Then all you have to do is continue with this process, by implementing additional therapies and nutritional interventions, including environmental detoxification.

There are specific medical tests that can be ordered by your pediatrician that can assist in determining if your child has a sensitivity or allergy to gluten/casein products. It is important to specify that you intend on incorporating a gluten/casein diet into your child’s treatment routine. If the tests come back with results indicating no allergy to the above mentioned, then it will save you a huge headache in introducing this specific diet. I’ve had several young mothers call after speaking to our dietician or nutritionist, frustrated with the difficulty of changing shopping behaviors. Though most stores now have sections in the nutrition departments that have identified gluten/casein-free products, including providing parents with a list of available products. Yet, many stores still have no idea what you are talking about.

A much simpler way for people that do not carry enough health insurance, or if they will not cover various tests, is to systematically remove one food item at a time, and note any changes in behavior or physical symptoms over a one to two week period. Some parents remove all GFCF products, and introduce one at a time. This method tends to be quicker, thus providing an immediate return on your interventions.

Remember, food today is genetically modified and is not the same that our ancestors evolved with over the last five to 10 generations. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, anyone who has changed their pets’ food abruptly knows what happens. Anyway, in an effort to increase harvest and size of produce, it also has its negative side. Something that I teach in my “Managing the Spectrum” lectures, is we need to take note of the Amish, and there lack of autistic disorders in their communities. The only case found so far was a child that was recently adopted from an American family returning from China with a young child. A little history first, when they visited China, the child was fine, or no remarkable diseases or disorders. But, once the child was “selected for adoption,” the child went through all her normal routine immigration medical criteria. Which, unless they are adopted, do not receive the same health care interventions.

It is also interesting to note that another group is gaining attention in Minnesota. It was brought to my attention a few weeks ago by another journalist that I’d be interested in a story published by the Associated Press. The article noted that based on population, the Somali children consisted of 6 percent of the children in the Minneapolis school system, but were counting for 25 percent of the children enrolled in the early childhood autism programs. It’s of interest to note that while awaiting immigration to countries like the United States and Sweden some children receive the same vaccinations three or four times due to inadequate record keeping.

A few years ago, one of my patients was instrumental in co-authoring legislation in Iowa banning thimerosal in childhood vaccines. The state of California followed suit. Now, one has to ask the question, where do these vaccines go, once they have been deemed unsafe for child immunizations?

It has been suspected that these vaccines have found their way to aid agencies in Africa and sold to China. When I first heard that, I thought to myself, they’re going to be furious. Some countries do not vaccinate until the infant brain has adequately developed, i.e. 3 years of age. But it is common practice to fully immunize prior to adoption and immigration into the United States and other countries.

Several members of our staff have crossed over the aisle from conventional medicine and have established theories and protocols consistent with the conservative holistic medicinal communities. Several of our nurses, physician assistants and physicians have established a vaccinate wisely protocol. Know what you are getting, ask why you are getting it and spread them out.

In some cases, if you have a child that has developed a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), you may want to consider exploring a medical waiver if you suspect vaccine injury, linked to a predisposed genetic vulnerability, when getting routine childhood vaccinations for the rest of the house.

Adults tolerate vaccinations much better than the highly vulnerable infant nervous system. Think of the Amish the next time you vaccinate. Remember, their food is different, the clothing textiles are different, and the containers they store their food in are different. The big one is, they have zero documented cases of PDD or autism.

I would be interested to see how many wives of physicians would be willing to give birth in a foreign country, do some aide work for two years, then return to the States, knowing they will have to go through the same routine. Just a thought.

Last word: Last week, prior to announcing his VP pick, FOX News was taking note of VP Hopefuls. When Gov. Sara Palin’s child was brought into the mix, I was so confident that she would be the pick, I predicted on my Monday morning radio spot that fact alone was the silver bullet for Sen. John McCain. An advocate in the White House for childhood disorders is the single most important topic to the majority of American families. Because when it comes down to it, where are your priorities?

Dr. Thomas Coffman is the medical director of the British Clinic Health System, host of Integrative Medicine Radio, and author of four books on homeopathic psychology, ancient Egyptian medicine, and managing the spectrum. Coffman lectures for the British Institute of Homeopathy in the United States and England.