The Immunology of Autism

Posted by on Nov 21, 2012 in Featured | Comments Off on The Immunology of Autism

The Immunology of Autism

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Dietary and Nutritional Interventions

Posted by on Nov 21, 2012 in Featured | Comments Off on Dietary and Nutritional Interventions

Dietary and Nutritional Interventions

Dietary and Nutritional Interventions for Individuals with Autism and other Neurological Challenges Individuals with neurological disorders such as autism, PDD-NOS, Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit disorders, Tourette’s, and Down syndrome have an unusually high rate of food allergies and sensitivities.  Many have found that the identification of food sensitivities through laboratory testing and/or elimination diets has alleviated not only the obvious symptoms of food allergies such as chronic nasal congestion, asthma, or diarrhea, but the core symptoms of their neurological condition.  Many experience greater mental clarity and improvements in cognitive function when their ideal diet is identified and implemented. Multiple food sensitivities are most likely to occur in individuals with increased intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”), which is often associated with symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, or foul-smelling stools.  The absence of gastrointestinal symptoms does not rule out the possibility of food allergies or sensitivities, however, and should not preclude a medically-supervised dietary trial or formal diagnostic testing. The most common food allergens are wheat and other sources of gluten, dairy products, corn, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, tomatoes, citrus fruits, fish, and shellfish.  It is the protein content of these foods and protein fragments called peptides that are most problematic.  Casein, for example, is a peptide found in all dairy products.  Gluten is the primary peptide in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and kamut.  Under ordinary circumstances, these peptides would be digested into their amino acid building blocks, which would then be absorbed into the bloodstream and utilized in various parts of the body for the construction of new proteins.  If dietary proteins are not completely digested, they may trigger an immune response and may also be biologically active.  Gluten and casein contain multiple repeats of amino acid sequences that are nearly identical to morphine.  These compounds are referred to as gliadomorphins and casomorphins and have been proven to cause a morphine-like response when injected into laboratory animals.  Just as a person given morphine or other opioid drugs would likely experience impairments in concentration, cognitive reasoning, and motor skills, individuals unable to properly digest or metabolize gluten or casein may suffer these drug-like effects after eating seemingly healthy foods.  Many, in fact, appear to be addicted to these foods and exclude other forms of nourishment from their diet.  This observation has become known as the opioid excess theory, and a growing body of evidence supports this theory. While other foods may also be problematic, the strict elimination of all gluten and dairy products leads to significant improvements in many individuals with autism, Down syndrome, attention deficit disorders, Tourette’s, and other conditions.  A six month dietary trial is required to achieve the full benefit of this intervention, as inflammatory changes in the bowel and nervous system will take months to improve.  Even small dietary infractions can reverse the healing process.  The elimination of all corn, soy, food dyes, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavorings, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) is also highly recommended, as these are often problematic as well. An additional concern is the finding that antibodies directed against gluten, milk, corn, and eggs have the ability to cross react with brain tissue.  In other words, if a person is unfortunate enough to be allergic to these foods, yet chooses to consume them, each exposure may stimulate his or her immune system to produce anti-brain antibodies.  In the case of autism, several anti-brain antibodies have been identified in both children with autism and in some of their mothers.  It is believed that this is one mechanism that is halted or diminished with the removal of these foods from the diet, leading...

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Optimizing Pregnancy and Early Childhood Outcomes

Posted by on Nov 21, 2012 in Featured | Comments Off on Optimizing Pregnancy and Early Childhood Outcomes

Optimizing Pregnancy and Early Childhood Outcomes

If you are reading this because you are thinking about becoming pregnant, you have the incredible opportunity to make decisions that will greatly affect your future child’s health and development. Taking a year to concentrate on improving your diet, habits, environment, and nutritional status before you conceive can be one of the greatest gifts you could ever give your child. If you are reading this because you are already pregnant, the same advice applies and will also be of enormous benefit. There is no better time than now to take an objective assessment of your health and improve any areas that need attention. This brief outline will highlight areas of importance and inspire you to learn more about subjects you may not have considered. Moms who are breastfeeding and parents of young children will find these topics relevant as well. These recommendations can benefit anyone at any age. They will have the greatest impact, however, during pregnancy and early childhood. TOP 12 TOXINS TO AVOID Alcohol Tobacco Recreational drugs Prescription medications not approved by your obstetrician Heavy metal toxins (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, etc.) Pesticides PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) Excitotoxins (artificial sweeteners, food dyes, MSG, etc) Plasticizers (phthalates, BPA, etc) Flame retardants (PDBEs) Triclosan and other antibiotics in personal care products Nonstick Teflon and pro-sticking surfactants (PFOA and PFOS)   TOP 10 HEALTHY HABITS TO ADOPT Eat a well balanced, organic, non-GMO diet Drink plenty of clean, non-fluoridated water Avoid toxins, starting with the top 12 toxins listed above Take a multivitamin with 5MTHF, the most bioavailable form of folate, and eat plenty of organic green vegetables, nature’s best source of this nutrient Green your home:  Reduce your exposure to toxic cleaning chemicals, personal hygiene products, plastics, etc. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night Reduce and manage stress Exercise regularly Achieve and maintain a healthy weight Limit your exposure to EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies)   ONE YEAR PRIOR TO CONCEPTION Avoid the Top 12 Toxins (Limit alcohol intake to 1 drink per day or less) Adopt the Top 10 Habits Reduce your intake of sugar and other simple carbohydrates Eat 5-7 servings of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables daily Juice fruits and vegetables regularly Eat a wide variety of nutrient dense, organic foods Avoid all high mercury fish (tuna, swordfish, shellfish, mackerel,shark,and many kinds of sushi) Choose wild caught over farm raised fish and note country of origin. Avoid fish from polluted waters. Limit coffee to 1-2 cups per day or less Decrease your exposure to phthalates, PVC, Styrofoam, fluoride, and other toxins Do not use hand sanitizers, air “fresheners”, or other unnecessary chemicals Schedule appointments with your OB/GYN and functional medical practitioner Discuss all current prescription medications, over the counter medications, and supplements to insure they are safe during pregnancy Wean off of any unnecessary or unsafe medications prior to conception and under medical supervision Assess any potential household, occupational, or recreational exposure to toxins Check your blood pressure Discuss contraception options Obtain these important nutritional and metabolic tests: Vitamin D level Erythrocyte (intracellular) mineral and heavy metal testing Plasma amino acid levels (obtain while fasting) Fatty acid profile Thyroid profile C reactive protein Urinary methylmalonic acid ABO and Rh (blood typing) CBC Chemistry panel Iron studies MTHFR genetic testing   The following tests are sometimes indicated: Food allergy testing Testing for celiac disease Assessment of total body burden of toxins Stool analysis   Initiate a personalized detoxification protocol under medical supervision  (may include the following): Juice cleanses Far infrared sauna Colonics Nutrients, antioxidants, and medications to improve detoxification   Discuss the following supplements with your healthcare...

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