A-Z of health A- Autism
Whilst there is a lot of research into the causes of Autism that is not what I want to address. There is lots of research into the maternal microbiome health and links to Autism but frankly the microbiome is key to so many health conditions it isn’t surprising there is a link and I do not want mothers to feel any blame or guilt where none is necessary.
When I discuss Autism and nutrition it is more to do with supporting the nutritional needs of both the individual and the family. Autism is different for every individual and every family but there are some general issues that seem to crop up.
- Disrupted digestion
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Food allergies and intolerances
- Food presentation
- Essential Fatty Acids and brain foods
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Things best avoided
There appears to be an increase in GI disorders for children within Autistic populations – this can manifest itself as any or all of the following symptoms:-
IBS, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, wind, acid reflux (GERD)
Increase in food allergies/intolerances
As with any diagnosis or investigation into digestive disturbances it can be frustrating to get the right advice. My recommendation for everyone with any form of symptom under the IBS umbrella would be to look at the health of their gut microbiome. The microbiome can and does often heal many symptoms.
If your child has to have antibiotics regularly this will adversely affect the microbiome and increase digestive disturbances thus further increasing the need for pre and probiotics.
For any child (and adult) managing a stable blood sugar level is beneficial for mood and behaviour. Dips can cause increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, increasing feelings of fear/anxiousness. Within the Autistic population managing emotions, stress and anxiety can be worsened by eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right foods.
Food presentation & Taste
Many issues around food are visual and sensory, whilst this is very individual I go through some pointers in my webinar that may help!
There seems to be either a very bland or a very over-developed palette. This can mean balancing foods to suit – in my work with groups, families and in my webinar I go through suggestions for managing taste expectations to ensure nutrients still feature (i.e. a beige diet is common but not nutritious).
Essential Fatty Acids and Brain Foods
There’s lots of evidence around how EFA’s impact on overall health but can have a huge influence on neurological health. In any child an EFA deficiency could have an adverse effect on their ability to handle stress or control emotions. I do deficiency assessments and support families and individuals to improve health.
I have done some work in family consultations to remove elements from the diet which hinder the absorption of these EFA’s too – this will be discussed in my webinar.
Vitamins and Minerals
Dr Bernard Rimland of the Institute for Child Behaviour Research in San Diego, California studied the nutritional approach to Autism in the 1970’s and found that
“supplementing with B6, Magnesium and vitamin C had a significant affect in improving symptoms in children”.Dr Richard Rimland
Things best avoided
There are foods that can harm us and foods that can nourish us. The things can harm us can be a very slow gradual decline in health, so gradual it goes unnoticed.
This information only some of the information and is intended as a guide, to access the full information please join my webinar or enquire about my online coaching.
I do work closely with families and groups to support on a more individual level and if you have any concerns, I would suggest contacting me to see how I can help and attending my Autism and Nutrition webinar on Tuesday 21st May. https://www.louisemercieca.co.uk/webinar
About the author of this blog
Louise Mercieca is a multi award-winning author on children’s nutrition with her book ‘How Food Shapes Your Child’ winning the Parenting award in Janey Lee Grace’s Platinum awards.
Louise has also won a SBS or Small Business Sunday award from Theo Paphitis and was recently crowned as Queen of Child Nutrition in the #Queenof Twitter awards.
Louise has worked as a Nutritional Therapist for 8 years supporting hundreds of clients and does take on a limited number of personal coaching clients each month – contact Louise to discuss this.
Louise has also created an accessible and affordable webinar schedule covering many topics discussed in this A-Z post series. https://www.louisemercieca.co.uk/webinars