You know the saying, “Garbage in….garbage out!” ? We can actually apply that to our knowledge of food!
Nutrition is the science of learning what our body needs to consume in order to operate at optimum levels. For example, if we do not consume sufficient amounts of vitamin C, we run the risk of developing a disease known as scurvy.
Now, if we apply what we know about good nutrition and children on the autism spectrum…we generally fall WAY short of optimum function. Why? Well, there is just NO way a diet of French fries, pizza, cookies, bacon, and juice/soda is going to help the much needed repair process the brain so desperately needs These kids really can be most picky about what they eat! So, here is what I recommend:
1. Remove all foods containing dairy and gluten
2. Greatly limit sugars – dilute juices, no sodas, cut back on the fruits
3. Encourage protein at each meal (breakfasts may be a repeat of the previous night’s dinner)
Since many children on the autism spectrum self-limit their diet, their diet requires supplementation with vitamins, minerals, and omega oils. The primary goal of supplementation is to optimize normal physiology.
Benefits of Optimized Normal Physiology:
- Improve Function of the Immune System
- Enhance Cognitive Abilities
- Improve Red Cell Membrane Function
- Reduction of Autistic Behaviors
- Improve Gastrointestinal Function
- Minimize our NEGATIVE genetic influences
So let’s briefly discuss each of the major supplements:
Vitamins: Vitamins are micronutrients that are critical for normal cellular metabolism and function. They must be consumed regularly as our bodies are not able to synthesize these vital nutrients in sufficient amounts. Vitamins are required for proper cell signaling, mediators of cell growth, as antioxidants, and even as hormones.
Minerals: The main electrolytes are Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and Chloride. Proper levels of these minerals in the body allow the body to have energy, better muscle and nerve function (including faster stress recovery) and improved function in many other areas. The so called trace minerals (such as selenium, iodine, chromium, molybdenum, just to name a few) need to be replenished daily, preferably through the diet.
Omega 3’s: The fatty acids maintain the fluidity and stability of cell membranes and protect the body from harmful substances such as bacteria and viruses. They must be obtained through diet or supplementation with essential fatty acid rich foods. They have an amazing affect on behaviors, mood, focus and concentration.
Digestive Enzymes break down the foods that we eat into smaller compounds that can be readily absorbed and put into the blood-stream. The enzyme class of proteases breaks down proteins to amino acids. The enzyme class of lipase is responsible for breaking down fats to fatty acids, and the carbohydrases break down carbohydrates into simple sugars.
Generally, most of our children on the autism spectrum consume enough calories, but most are not eating diets rich in vegetables, fruits, meats, nuts, and seeds, rather, most are what I call carb junkies! We know that all carbohydrates are eventually turned to sugar! Hence, many abnormal behaviors follow; especially if this diet rich in carbohydrates and low in nutrients is maintained for years. One of the best ways we can put our children back on the track of recovery is to assure we meet each individual’s dietary and nutrient requirements either by diet alone (if they are wonderful eaters) or with supplements. Supplementation is a wonderful way we can assure optimum nutrient levels in our children, optimize normal physiologic function, and put them on the pathway to recovery.
You can read more from Dr. Jerry at mendingautism.com.