Have you noticed that nowadays all illnesses and disorders seem to be affecting younger and broader spectrum of people? We are currently facing a growing number of many developmental neurological disorders that are making the lives of children suffering from these conditions, as well as their parents, extremely difficult and sometimes even intolerable. For example, did you know that in the US autism is diagnosed in 1 in 63 children? Similar numbers can be observed in Europe and China; and they are growing every day. Overall, the frequency of autism has increased by 78% between 2002 and 2008! Do you know any families with autistic children? Or maybe you yourself are a parent who is facing this issue.
Autism is a whole group of developmental disorders that involves delays in the development of many basic skills, such as, social interactions, use of imagination, language and communication skills. These special kids experience fascinating changes in their brains that have direct effects on the reduction of social skills. Recently scientists in Cambridge (I like to mention this, seeing as I myself am from Cambridge and am therefore I always proud of the great research being done in Cambridge University) discovered that when people with autism try to decode emotional expressions, the area in the brain called “amygdola” is under-active. This is very interesting! However, autism is not a disorder of the brain. It is much more complex!
This is why I particularly love Dr Mark Hyman’s description who says that “Autism is a systemic body disorder that affects the brain”. I think this is so true! We live in a toxic chemical “soup” and it is simply our toxic environment that causes changes, abnormal reactions and triggers certain genes in people susceptible to autism or other disorders.
During recent years, great research has been done that clearly demonstrates that children with autism have whole spectrum of abnormalities in different body systems. For instance, up to 80 % of autistic children have symptoms of gastrointestinal dysfunction of which diarrhea is the most common, followed by constipation, abdominal distention, and pain. Dysfunctions in the immune system have also been noticed in these kids, coming to light as food allergies or metabolic abnormalities. Very often these children are fussy eaters, they are afraid to try new ingredients and therefore eat only selective food. This, of course, causes nutritional misbalance and, simply, malnourishment in young growing organisms who especially require a certain amount of nutrients for proper development! In the human body everything is interconnected. This means that if there were a problem in one system of the body, it would affect and eventually cause problems in other systems. Abnormal gut flora, an unhealthy digestive system, chronic inflammation, frequent colds and infections, together with brain dysfunctions in these kids are different parts of one big problem called “autism”.
Therefore, I really like the idea of helping these children by applying a complex approach. The management of autism symptoms and including not only speech pathologists, psychologists and other specialists but also nutritional support. Gut problems need to be fixed by repairing the leaky gut and normalising microbiome, this will help to reduce chronic inflammation. A further supply of all necessary nutrients will help the immune system to function much better. Additionally, intensive detox and healthy diet will also help to normalise the expression of certain genes triggered by an initial imbalance and will likewise reduce oxidative stress. Eventually other systems in the body will respond to these changes and start to function more efficiently leaving the child much better off. So, as you see, nutrition is a very important part in the normalisation of autism symptoms as well as other conditions and disorders.
At the end of the day, none of this seems news, as in 460BC Hippocrates pointed out that “all disease begins in the gut”. Now we have much more evidence to support this statement and much more tools to fix the problem!
I will continue to share my thoughts and expertise about autism with you. I think we need to keep feeding knowledge to parents in order to help them make the right decision and in turn help their kids with autism in the best possible way!
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