The Role of Digestion in Autism and other Childhood Epidemics
Australian children are struggling with epidemics; allergies (1 in 3), asthma (1 in 4), ADHD (1 in 10); Autism (1 in 100). Childhood cancer, diabetes, obesity and depression have each well more than doubled over the past 2 decades. This article will look at the Role of Digestion in Autism and other Childhood Epidemics.
Digestive health problems can drive allergies, anxiety, ADHD, arthritis, asthma, autism, bedwetting, depression, diabetes, eczema, infections, learning delay, mood and sleep disorders.
When children have problems with digestion, they do not break down the protein in their food into amino acids. Rather the protein is left in the form of long protein chains (peptides). In a child with leaky gut, these peptides are absorbed into the blood stream where the immune system sees them as ‘foreign’ and creates an immune/inflammatory response. This inflammation can affect many areas of the body, including the brain.
There is special attention to the removal of gluten containing grains and casein containing dairy as opioid (opiate-like) compounds are produced when there is insufficient digestion of gluten and casein. These peptides cause inattention, high pain tolerance, foggy thinking, and addiction to opiates (gluten and casein).
In an inflamed gut, foods are not broken down sufficiently and nutrients (macro and micro-nutrients) do not absorb properly. Nutritional deficiencies create an imbalance in neurotransmitters which can affect behaviour, concentration, mood, sleep and addictions.
Chronic inflammation also leads to a weakening of the immune system resulting in (among other things) an inability to adequately fight off a fungal/yeast infection. With a weak system, bacterial infections are more common and antibiotic use becomes more frequent – antibiotics kill the good bacteria and contribute to yeast overgrowth. This promotes a recurring feedback loop in the digestive system, creating further inflammation, leaky gut and food sensitivities. Yeast and other pathogens can create toxins that cause “spaciness” and other neurological symptoms.
Rebalancing and repair of the whole digestive system is a core part of treatment at our clinic.
The following conditions fall under the banner of Autism Spectrum Disorder: ADD/ADHD, Asperger’s, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, ODD, OCD, PDD-NOS, RETTS, epilepsy, Cerebellar Ataxia, Down Syndrome, schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders
For more information check out our blogs on Autism here.