Suspicions are growing among scientists that autism is linked to exposure to chemicals in the prenatal environment. Many environmental chemicals have the potential to cause injury to the developing brain and to produce neurodevelopmental disorders.
If the prenatal nervous system has been sensitized by chemical exposures, it is hypothesized that the autistic child is probably born hypersensitive and hyperallergic with increased tendency toward brain and nervous system inflammation. For this reason it is advisable to utilize and implement environmental controls and avoidance of irritants and allergens in the home as we would do in allergic individuals.
There is also a possibility that competitive inhibition between chemicals and nutrients at the cellular level may leave the child nutritionally deficient or requiring more than the normal level of nutrients necessary for optimal biochemical function and normality.
It is probable that in autism, as in ADHD, an excess of opiate-like gut hormones result from allergic responses to foods. Naltrexone will block some of the effects of of these hormones in the brain and also the effects of exorphins such as casomorphin. (Dr. Len McEwen, London)
Autistic children have been given Low Dose Naltrexone with significant benefit according to current reports. ("LDN for Immunostimulation and Mood in Autism," Jaquelyn McCandless, M.D.)
The most important dietary exorphins can be avoided. Autistic children have been found to be more allergic than in the general population. Food allergy can be dealt with utilizing Low Dose Allergy (enzyme potentiated desensitization) treatment. This very low dose allergy injection is given only once every 2-3 months to treat for all inhalent and food allergens. Many environmental physicians and DAN doctors are now utilizing this treatment and finding significant improvement. Dr. Len McEwen of Great Britain, one of the originators of enzyme potentiated desensitization (LDA) advises early intervention with autistic children to treat their allergies.
Abnormalities characteristic of mainstream autism include:
* Mineral deficiencies (magnesium, zinc, manganese, molybdenum and selenium).
* Increased gut permeability and detection of yeast metabolites in the urine
* Increased generalized allergy and intolerance to foods, molds and chemicals
* Amino acid deficiencies
* Other biochemical abnormalities
Recommendations to be considered may included:
Recognizing and correcting Zinc deficiency is fundamental to effective treatment of autism. Zinc with B6 liquid supplement is usually prescribed for at least 6 months. According to Dr McEwen, manganese may also be prescribed.
Magnesium deficiency may be responsible for cerebral hypoperfusion and migraine like changes in autism. High doses of vitamin B6 along with magnesium have been advocated for autism by a number of investigators in the DAN (Defeat Autism Now) community including Dr. Rimland.
Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) has been found to be quite helpful in improving focus, cognitive function and speaking ability in some autistic children. This can be given by injection, nasal spray, or sublingual drops.
Urinary amino acid testing is advised. Stool tests for detecting hidden infection, candidiasis, and gut dysbiosis are recommended. Blood tests or urine testing for nutritional deficiences and toxic substances may be recommended. Allergy blood tests are advised for detection of inhalent and food allergies.
Omega-6 or omega –3 oils may be beneficial for myelination of nerves. DMG or TMG has a beneficial effect on behavior in autistics by alteration of glycine transmitters or its receptors in the brain.
Avoidance of wheat, milk and sugar for an allergy elimination diet trial period is advised for all autistic children to determine if behavior improves.
Dr. William Shaw at the Great Plains Laboratory offers extensive diagnostic testing for autism through urine, stool and blood kits supplied to physician's offices.
Albert Robbins, DO, is the director of Robbins Environmental Allergy Center, Deerfield Beach, Florida.
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