I have read alot of links about Autism and Paleo from this site. Was there one or two particular sites, blogs, or books that you used for information that helped you or someone you love. I have a friends family memeber that is using Gluten Free diet but I am not sure about the rest of the diet. Since I dont know them but wanted to offer info she may not have which would be greatly appreciated I am told, I thought I would come to you and ask for your advice.
Since I am not sure if she is familiar with Paleo/Primal I offered to let her family read the books I have but I am sure there are plenty of real life examples of tips, tricks, and support as well as possible specific info for Autims she may not have.
Thanks for any time and effort you put into this....I will be sending her the Paleo Hacks site and want to use this post as an introduction to the wonderful smarty pants we have here!
edited ....no aspergers but I dont know her diagnosis.
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While GAPS diet can be helpful because leaky gut is linked with autism (not necessarily as a cause, but a common comorbid condition), there is ZERO evidence that "Autism is a form of mercury/metal toxicity." "Aspie" is a nickname for asperger's syndrome which is a form of autism. There is no evidence that heavy metal toxicity causes asperger's, adhd or Alzheimer's. There have been zero valid studies which have show that vaccines or the preservatives in them cause autism (the original study which showed a link was retracted by the journal because the author FAKED THE EVIDENCE http://articles.cnn.com/2010-02-02/health/lancet.retraction.autism_1_andrew-wakefield-mmr-vaccine-and-autism-general-medical-council?_s=PM:HEALTH). there is also no evidence that the chelation protocols that people like jenny mccarthy advocate are safe (they are often used without medical supervision) or effective in treating autism. If you are thinking of skipping vaccinating your children, please check out http://jennymccarthybodycount.com/ and read the FAQ.
There IS evidence that people with autism are more likely to get heavy metal poisoning, but that may be due to Pica (craving for and eating of non-food items, such as paint or dirt), which is a common symptom of autism, or due to differing abilities to process the trace amounts we all encounter in the world.
I would advise your friend to think of GAPS, gluten free or paleo as a way of managing the SYMPTOMS her child experiences, not as a "cure." I'm (almost) an occupational therapist and I've worked with lots of kids on the spectrum. I was also in a relationship with a man with asperger's syndrome for 7 years (though he never tried these diet modifications). I've seen that a gluten-free, casien-free diet can be very helpful for some kids. These kids generally have better impulse control and have less need for self-stimulating behaviors or"stims," such as rocking or hand flapping, when they are on the diet. I've heard that it can also help some younger, more severely effected kids to be more interactive, possibly by alleviating stomach discomfort they were previously unable to communicate about.
On a more "tips and tricks" note, I would recommend GENTLY changing the diet of any child. start by introducing some of the new foods (veggies, almond flour chicken nuggets, eggs) alongside familiar ones. It can take up to 20 exposures for a TYPICAL child to enjoy a new food, it may take much longer for a child on the spectrum, particularly if they eat the same things every day and/or have what's known as Neophobia, the fear of new things. If your kid likes purees, puree the carrots, the cabbage, the zucchini, even the beef. Cut it the way they like it. give them something to dip it in (or don't let the food touch, if that's your kid's MO). once your kiddo has begun accepting new foods, start withdrawing the old ones. I'd get the gluten out first, subbing gluten free bread or pasta at first, then moving to "paleo" breads and spaghetti squash. Once the kiddo is off gluten you can start weaning them off of all remaining processed foods (artificial and "natural" colors/flavors, sugar, corn syrup are all things your little one doesn't need) and then look at going full bore paleo.
Autism is the way we explain how this child's brain works differently from the "average" brain. It helps to think of it not as a disease to be cured but as a different lens for looking at the world which makes it hard to see what the rest of us see. I highly reccomend the fiction book "the speed of dark" to help understand this.
Like an autoimmune disorder or any Western civ disease, an immense amount of health optimization can occur with just a few changes! The GAPS is a little overkill in the beginning but once one understands the tenets or core philosophies, it's cake (gluten-free, almond flour cake)!
My sister's 3rd daughter was born with low muscle tone, cranky, bowel issues and stimming (repetitive, annoying behavior). After paleo and a few supplements (liquid pcynogenol, citrus fruit extract, digestive enzymes and probiotics), she was 80% cured. No doctor would diagnose her despite my sister describing her symptoms that are delineated in any psych journal for ASD (austism spectrum disorder). From our experience, 99% of pediatricians are CLUELESS. Please tell your friend] ONE MUST EDUCATE ONESELF. If symptoms don't cure, then consider the high value of seeking a good integrative practitioner/nutritionist who who has had many cases of ASD reversal.
Now Gillian is on mild, gentle, gradual metal chelation and she is about 95-98% cured. She is very social now with great facial expressions and laughing. Before, no eye contact, flat affect, no smiles, again crankiness (and who wouldn't her gut was torqued), anti-social, aggressively mean to 4th child and others (biting), and wouldn't sleep. I was afraid she'd lose her IQ/geniusness/brilliance with being cured but that is intact!
Thank you for your thoughtful reply and clinical thoughts about working with ASD patients. Personally I find them extremely valuable.
What percentage of kids you worked with had nutritional/gut/metal management? How many failed/succeeded? What success/cures have you observed?
For my niece, I am so grateful for all the resources, links, GFCF paleo-friendly thoughts we've been lucky to secure -- including PALEOHACKERS where I get a ton more RELIABLE MEDICAL info >>>>>>> conventional-medicine.
sigh I agree with actually all of your lifestyle and diet recs but why the VITRIOL? I sense your frustrated and so am i...
We're just hacking here and using the honest science (versus Pharma or bad science) ...I like sharing my experience because I know it is helpful for many 'in the dark'. I'd like to apologize if you think something I said is false or inaccurate...
My sister read half a dozen'autism' themed books.. NONE discussed metals or any attempts at gentle, oral chelation or full attempts at juicing (which is chelation+digestive enzymes+vitamins). She actually read McCarthy's (I just listen to my sis) and distinctly recalled that chelation was not discussed at all. My thoughts on IV chelation are sort of like yours -- I don't like them though I have met numerous people in the Bay Area who had wonderful experiences (20 yrs ago). My practitioner cautions that IV chelation has plastics which some individuals absorb and become toxic on. Additionally they are probably strong and definitely stronger in efficacy/potency than herbals/nutraceuticals like some good oral chelation, like the product we use.
Can you check this one out? What are your clinical thoughts? http://www.extendedhealth.com/products/1-heart-plus-detox-oral-chelation.aspx
It has been used for >> 10+ years in physician and practitioner's offices; developed by PhD nutritionist expert and physicians. We've been on this collectively (my whole family, my sister's whole family incl kids/baby) since June.
Unlike you,I few direct experiences other than n=1, my niece our optimistic 'cure'. Our practitioner OTOH has many and like 'paleo diet' trials, I am very optimistic about the clinical prospective controlled trial by Dr. James Adams PhD who showed that treatment with DMSA oral (a chelator) and glutathione was safe, produced few adverse effects and effective. For those with the most metal/mercury excretion measured in urine, behavioral improvements were the greatest, even to the degree of first-time speech in this subpopulation who were previously without speech. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=adams%20j%2C%20autism%2C%20dmsa
Adams provides good clinical tips here which I have found super helpful: http://www.autism.com/pdf/providers/adams_biomed_summary.pdf
I don't watch cnn (or fox) as most media is bunky IMHO particularly I've found when Big Pharma is involved. Accuse me of being skeptic!!! There are other view points which I have considered. http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2011/01/autism-fraud-researcher-a-victim-of-yellow-journalism/
It is interesting to me that you bring up Dr. McBride Campbell who reviews the pertinent and relevant MMR (including Wakefield's) positive associations, as well as discussing the elimination of heavy metals in her protocols. She is very clear how to go about doing 'safe' vaccinations in kids appropriately evaluated to prevent vaccination related adverse events (e.g. autism, immunosuppression, etc). Healthy parents, healthy kids -- single vacc at a time and none at birth. Unhealthy kid, unhealthy parents, NO VACCINATION until healthy and then only single antigen at a time after thorough evaluation...(no vacc at birth as neonate has no/immature immune system and superleaky gut)
Your stance seems odd to me that you support GAPS but don't appear (to me) to support Dr. McBride-Campbell's evidence (vacc, metals, toxins) presented???
Regarding Alzheimer's I've looked at the research in detail. There are no disease modifying treatments what so ever current at this time. What is working in clinical trials are CHELATORS OF IRON. Many of these chelate iron, but upon examination, these chelators ALL ALSO CHELATE MERCURY AND ALUMINUM. Aluminum has long been associated positivly with apoE4 and early onset and random Alzheimer's. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=alzheimer%2C%20iron%20chelation
The association between metals/aluminum and Alzheimer's is becoming stronger and stronger in the literature, though you appear to not have heard about it at all. We all have FAR MORE MERCURY than aluminum due to mercury amalgams, the processing from high-fructose corn syrup, and the heart-healthy-eat-fish-but-not-if-preggers AHA campaigns.
There are even noted paleo high sat fat cardiologists pointing out the link between "Mercury Vaccines and Autism" (scroll down): http://www.donaldmiller.com/
Kind regards, G
You and your friend are in the righto-spot!!
Autism is a form of mercury/metal toxicity. In adults, it's ADHD/Aspie and/or Alzheimers but in neonates and children it exhibits as autism.
Even for chronic diseases, many cancers, autoimmune disorders and heart disease, metals are at the root of the problem.
Mat LaLonde, Robb Wolf, Whole 9 and Julianne's Paleo/Zone blog all advocate wonderful autoimmune protocols which are suitable for reversing autism. CHeck out the GAPS diet by Natasha McBride-Campbell who reversed who son's autism.
Forward this to your friend: http://robbwolf.com/2011/05/23/real-life-testimonial-scarlets-turnaround-autism-paleo/
GAPS works because it seals and heals the gut. IMHO autism is an autoimmune attack on brain structures like the cerebellum and sensory organs. Clostridia and candida yeast/fungal overgrowths in the small intestines and other tissues are de rigeur and should not be underestimated. From what I have observed, a multi-pronged attack in conjunction with safe, gentle metal chelation are the best way to prevent permanent brain damage but disease progression is not only being stopped in older kids but reversed.
Not everyone apoE4 + metals gets alzheimers (or ASD). This is probably why Al++ is sometimes but not always implicated w/Alz in a couple of trials. My understanding is that metal toxicity sometimes works in combined synergy (so does chelation). NHANES data shows both toxins and metal burdens are increasing. Laks reports that in women 18-49 'inorganic-Hg [mercury] detection rose sharply from 2% in 1999-2000 to 30% in 2005-2006.' If blood > 5 is toxic, then other metals + Hg is supertoxic for susceptible folks. Gillian's hair test showed metals off the chart. 90+ toxicity scale (doctor's data) but it was good indicator because she was GFCF paleo and on gentle chelators and her gut was healing x 1-2 yrs (and 80% symptom-free of autism). Hair analyses can show long-term elimination (NHANES utilized this).
Al++ alone = nothing
Hg++ alone = nothing
Al++ + Hg++ = Disease (MASSIVE DISEASE in susceptible)
Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 2007 Sep;75(9):528-38. [Mercury and Alzheimer's disease].[Article in German] Mutter J, Naumann J, Schneider R, Walach H.
Abstract Higher mercury concentrations were found in brain regions and blood of some patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Low levels of inorganic mercury were able to cause AD- typical nerve cell deteriorations in vitro and in animal experiments. Other metals like zinc, aluminum, copper, cadmium, manganese, iron, and chrome are not able to elicit all of these deteriorations in low levels, yet they aggravate the toxic effects of mercury (Hg). Main human sources for mercury are fish consumption (Methyl-Hg) and dental amalgam (Hg vapour). Regular fish consumption reduces the risk of development of AD. Amalgam consists of approx. 50 % of elementary mercury which is constantly being vaporized and absorbed by the organism. Mercury levels in brain tissues are 2 - 10 fold higher in individuals with dental amalgam. Persons showing a genetically determined subgroup of transportation protein for fats (apolipoprotein E4) have an increased AD risk. Apoliprotein E (APO E) is found in high concentrations in the central nervous system. The increased AD risk through APO E4 might be caused by its reduced ability to bind heavy metals. Latest therapeutic approaches to the treatment of Alzheimer disease embrace pharmaceuticals which remove or bind metals from the brain. Preliminary success has been documented with chelation of synergistic toxic metals (Fe, Al, Zn, Cu) and therefore also Hg. The available data does not answer the question, whether mercury is a relevant risk factor in AD distinctively. In sum, the findings from epidemiological and demographical studies, the frequency of amalgam application in industrialized countries, clinical studies, experimental studies and the dental state of Alzheimer patients in comparison to controls suggest a decisive role for inorganic mercury in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease. Other factors currently discussed as causes (e. g. other metals, inflammations, dietetic factors, vitamin deficiency, oxidative distress, and metabolic impairments) may act as co-factors.
Metal exposure in the physically and mentally challenged children of Punjab, India. [conclusion: DMSA appears safe, effective]
Arsenic and lead induced free radical generation and their reversibility following chelation. [analagous to ox damage w/iron overload/hemachromatosis]
Neuropsychologic and postural sway improvement after Ca(++)-EDTA chelation for mild lead intoxication. Linz DH, et al. J Occup Med. 1992 Jun;34(6):638-41.
You can try chelation protocol with ALA which is also very good supplement, and see how it works, but it needs to be precisely done or it can cause more damage then not doing it.
See this great response from Andy Cuttler to understand problem better. You could look into his books, and learn more about it. Since ALA is one of the best antioxidants around, it really can't harm if the protocol is done properly.
Intervenous Vitamin C is also good idea. Results should be apparent immediately if it works. If you opt for that, you need to make sure kid doesn't have G6PD deficiency or it could kill him by hemolisis.
I would also go heavy on hi quality supplements. Autistic children often have digestion problems and deficiencies of several important nutrients.
About vaccines, I know several doctors who have autistic children and think it happened after MMR. My pediatrician didn't complain at all as I opted not to use vaccines with my baby during first year of life as she also have colleagues that are concerned about the potential link. If the link is there, and there IS evidence that it is (especially for male babies) the last thing one would expect is that government and pharma come loud with it, for obvious reasons. Also, arguments about fraud are both ways.
Some people also report that oxygen makes a difference so clean air, open windows during sleep or something along those lines might be helpful (hyperbaric chambers for instance).
Some really helpful info at the Vitamin D Council. Do a a search for "Autism".
A couple of case studies in the newsletter archives are enlightening.
I have a 23 yo son who was diagnosed at age 3 with PDD, nos. I watched him achieve all milestones at age appropriate levels until about 18 months (and yes, this did coincide with MMR, fwiw). He went from a very big baby to an emaciated young boy with chronic constipation and many stimming and behavioral problems. He had stopped talking at 18 months but fortunately he began again at age 7. His prognosis would have been very poor had he not begun talking by age 9, according to his doctor.
I learned about dietary intervention with a gluten free casein free diet when he was 12 because parents of autistic children had implemented such a plan successfully via the internet. These parents were perceived as crackpots by the medical community at that time (circa 1998). Within 3 days of eliminating gluten and casein cold turkey style, the self destructive behavior of grinding his fist into his chin ceased in my son. He finally began to grow again, although I believe his growth potential was never achieved due to digestive problems. We learned later about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and tried to follow that pretty strictly. Casein was out and DS has refused to consume it since we initially eliminated it from his diet, so we did not make the yogurt Gottschall suggested. We learned about fermentation of plant foods through WAPF originally and have been making wild ferments for about 7 years now, which has greatly improved his digestive and behavioral health further. Learned about GAPS through them.
I think what parents of autistic children are looking for is improving the lives of their children to whatever degree possible. What causes this spectrum of disorders is important too. (And let's face it, all parents will vaccinate, feed or otherwise care for their children based on their own values, which may go far beyond considerations of autism.) But most important is finding a solution or even a treatment to the very real, distressing gut and psychological problems these children face. Thus, as a resource, I would have to say that in my years of experience educating myself about this situation from many angles, the GAPS book and website would by far be the best choices for someone who wants one basic concept of the best approach to intervening on behalf of their autistic child. Gluten free is not enough for many. Casein also produces opioids that can be problematic for at least a segment of the autistic population. And so without a comprehensive approach, you may not achieve the best results possible in the least amount of time. Perhaps the author does not get everything absolutely correct, but who ever does? In terms of a protocol that can help make a difference, this is it.
OK, So I have never picked a bounty winner before. Problem is, if there isnt a cure for autism yet, how in the world do i choose a winner? :)