DIET SOURCES IN MANAGING ASD
Last updated 7th March 2015
GET THE BASICS RIGHT FIRST
GFCF is the not the panacea for all ills for an Autistic Child. IT MUST BE BALANCED BY INDIVIDUALLY CORRECTLY ADJUSTED MICRONUTRIENT SUPPORT FOR BEST RESULTS.
There are a plethora of diets suggested for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
If you try to follow all of them, and also want a diet balanced for age, sex and weight, and you are in a country like India and most other countries of the world, where specialised "Problem-ingredient"-free foods are hard to come by (e.g. Gluten free diet, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseaum), then YOU ARE IN A FOOL'S PARADISE..... Your child will starve and become a scarecrow due to malnutrition, as well as undernutrition.
Somewhere down the road, you have to be practical and draw a line. In any case, statistics tell us that only up to two-thirds of a population of children respond to one particular intervention, which includes a specific dietary restriction. Try a diet for 3 to 6 months. If there is NO CHANGE, try another. If there is a change, how can you be sure it was due to the diet? Reverse the diet for a week, and see what happens. If the child shows any sign or symptom of regression or changed behavior, get back to that diet and stay with it.
Another problem faced by parents is inadequate knowledge of micronutrient support.... for the un-initiated, it means specific, individual child's biochemical test based, and properly interpreted doses of specific vitamins and minerals. The doctor also has to be sure of his knowledge of the pharmacokinetics of the micronutrients he plans to use, including all their drug-to-drug interaction, before giving them to your child. Then you may be more sure that the micronutrients are not given as convenient megadosage multiminerals. Many minerals are absorbed from the same enzymatic pathway, and giving them together retards the absorption of one mineral vs. another. The same goes for carotenoids and some other micronutrients.
The ethnicity of the child also matters. Children of some countries have genetic or otherwise high metabolic rate. That is why some puny size (population-wise) countries produce Olympic Athletics Champions at the drop of a hat but unfortunately none have come out of India, a country of 1 billion+ polulation. Indians excel in games of skill and intellect but rarely in physically challenging games.
That leads us to believe that doses of drugs, vitamins and minerals must be tailor-made for countries like India with our lower body size and lower metabolic rate. The megadose vitamins famous and very very highly advertised in USA may not necessarily be what your child in India may require.
However, to be truthful, we do not have any scientific evidence either way because no one has done this research, and we at UDAAN have just started keeping records for the last half a dozen years. We are satisfied with our hypothesis as described above: Judge the child, do specific blood tests, and based on evidence of deficiency provided, stick to doses at the upper end of the THERAPEUTIC DOSE as recommended by Drugs Controller of India or WHO, for micronutrients that demand it, and provide only recommended PROPHYLACTIC DOSES of other micronutrients, spacing them between the four meals in a day to avoid drug-to-drug interactions. If something has a blood level way above normal, cut it out for 3 months and then retest before resuming prophylactic doses of it.
AND NOW SOME SUGGESTIONS
Namaste Foods have introduced a range of products suitable for the needs of persons including children suffering from Autism, PDD, ADHD etc. We believe correct dietary intervention can go a long way in helping control the symptoms and help then concentrate and attend better.
One can always find a wealth of information on diet and its impact as seen by both parents and medical practitioners. Based on these and other studies, it is felt that these children/adults would benefit from a diet that is:-
Multiple Allergies are common in such patients and a hypoallergenic diet retards and slowly eliminates allergic reactions. A lot of informatoin may be obtained from Ms.Manisha Lad, who runs Akhil Autism Foundation, who also guides Indian parents to obtain vital autism-related, Physician's Prescription supported Medications for their child, which not be easily available in India, that need to be imported from USA
Rich in Complex Carbohydrate
Diets rich in simple carbohydrates promote yeast/ fungal growth; thus damaging the stomach lining and affecting children and adults wuth Autism. A common mistake, when on a gluten free diet is to depend mostly on rice, corn and potato. All of these are rich in simple carbs and therefore would affect the adversely if taken regularly in large doses. GFCF Atta, Sorghum Sooji & Gluten-free Dalia are Sorghum based & high in complex carbohydratescan be useful for use in Autism.
Free from harmful pesticides & artificial preservatives
Food products should not contain pesticides or artificial preservatives in them.
Provide individual need based essential vitamins, minerals including trace minerals. Vitamin B-complex, vitamin E and important trace minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron. They help improve immunity, prevent mental abnormalities & enhance learning abilities. Please note deficiency in Vitamins B, D, A and E and Minerals is common in such children. Use multivitamins that contain no or very trace copper which may sometimes be neurotoxic. If an ASD child is already having high copper levels, use with caution.
We quote below a paper without comments, which is self evident.
Synergistic Interactions between Commonly Used Food Additives in a Developmental Neurotoxicity Test, Karen Lau et al, Oxford JournalsMedicine & Health & Science & Mathematics Toxicological Sciences Volume 90, Issue 1Pp. 178-187
In conclusion, we present evidence that specific combinations of common food additives show synergistic effects to inhibit neuronal cell differentiation in vitro, using both the effect additivity and dose additivity models of assessing interactions. The immature nervous system may be vulnerable to such toxic insults since this marker of neurotoxicity was found at concentrations of additives theoretically achievable in plasma by ingestion of a snack and/or drink typically consumed by children. Mechanisms of synergistic toxicity have yet to be determined, and the implications of these data on developmental disorders remain to be investigated.
The paper studied (a) Brilliant Blue and L-glutamic acid, and (b) Quinoline Yellow and aspartame (often added in sweets and some tonics and antibiotic susensions to give them an attractive yellow colour).
Free From Gluten and Casein
Most children having these difficulties are unable to completely digest these proteins commonly found in wheat and milk. While getting digested in the gut, gluten and casein reach a stage much smaller than protein, but still having a fairly long chain of atoms called Polypeptide. A part of the polypeptide chain has the capacity to open the selective food absorption enzymatic pathways, allowing unwanted materials to enter blood. Another part of the polypeptide chain resembles Endorphin chemicals produced selectively by our body to control pain intensity. It works just like Morphine. Hence these children show abnormal behavior, constipation and reduced pain sensitivity. Keeping the child free of Gluten and Casein, may, in 60 to 70% ASD children, cause an initial "morphine withdrawal syndrome" for 6 to 10 weeks, followed by better behavior, better bowel habilts, better command following and better overall neurodevelopment.
In case of no change within 6 months, it may be necessary to rethink about the utility of GFCF in that child.
For more details, contact our collaborator, Ms.Manisha Lad at Akhil Autism Foundation.