Theories abound when it comes to the treatment of autism. Many practitioners believe that correct diet is at the root of the problem. While good nutrition is essential, it appears it may be necessary to undergo extensive dietary change, as most children with autism appear to respond abnormally to a wide range of foods. Gastrointestinal illnesses, inflammation and other intestinal disorders appear to be quite common in those who suffer from the disease. A regimented diet, often combined with alternative treatment methods, is recommended in the treatment of the problem. Random changes of food should be avoided.
Genetically modified foods pose a health risk throughout society and it is thought that this is particularly important when it comes to those who are vulnerable through autism to allergies, immune system issues and digestive challenges.
Gluten and casein free diets are often recommended. However, this step should not be taken lightly. There is evidence on both sides of the argument, so those involved should make sure that they consult appropriately and weigh all the consequences before moving forward.
Gluten, a protein within wheat, oats and rye is found in almost all processed foods. Casein is a protein found in milk and its derivatives and most dairy products. As such, it can be extremely difficult to develop a sustaining diet while excluding these proteins altogether. Often times, a diet would have to be composed of whole grains, fresh fruits, dairy free products and unprocessed meat and the preparation of such a diet can also be very time-consuming and costly.
Academics believe that abnormally high levels of opioid peptides are not broken down in the digestive system and that they may leak into the bloodstream. Indeed, it was discovered only recently by researchers in Maryland that a certain receptor makes the intestinal barrier more permeable, making this "leaky gut syndrome" possible. In plain English, this means that a product similar to opium permeates into the bloodstream every time the autistic child eats.
If gluten and casein are removed from the autistic diet, supporters of this theory point to a reduction in gastrointestinal and neurological damage. They also maintain that this method is less harmful than adding drugs to a patient's bloodstream which can just add another level of chemicals to a potentially damaged system.
It is important to note however, that the so-called gluten/casein diet method should be introduced selectively, slowly and should be well documented. Elimination of the toxins can produce a "withdrawal" effect which may take some time to wear off.
Other dietary plans exist, such as the yeast free diet, which involves cutting out sugars, caffeine and bread. It is suggested that the yeast overgrows in the intestines and the toxins can be released into the bloodstream with potentially adverse effects on brain functioning.
At the very least, a child or an adult suffering from autism should make sure that they schedule eating time appropriately and establish good nutrition. Snacks in between meals should be avoided and good practices such as a restriction on the intake of sugars, plenty of liquids, use of dairy free product and the introduction of natural supplements should all be encouraged.
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