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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Three proven Dietary Interventions you may want to try for Children with Autism

There are several diets that claim to help children with Autism. How does a parent decide which, if any, to put their child on? For many parents, data helps validate the claims and helps them feel more comfortable in their decisions. This article discusses about two diets and the third one GFCF Diet, I will discuss it in another article (please stay tuned ..). All of these diets have been used for years, and have documented proof that it helps some children.

Since Autism is a spectrum disorder, a therapy that helps hundreds of children will not help all; and there are cases of one child being “cured” by a therapy that did not help thousands of others. Parents are attracted by diets that may help their child recover, or limit the need for other evasive therapies.

Antifungal Diet
Up to 85% of children with Autism have gastrointestinal issues. Many of these are caused by an imbalance in the intestines due to Candida overgrowth. The overgrowth has significant behavior consequences. Dr. Bernard Rimland, founder of Autism Research Institute, stated, ”based on the weight of the information gathered to date, it seems to me highly probable that a small, but significant proportion of children diagnosed as autistic are in fact victims of a severe Candida infection.” With the incidence of Autism growing so alarmingly, the thought that 5-10% of children can recover by a diet is attractive and plausible to parents.

The antifungal diet requires the removal of sugar sources (that feed yeast), carbohydrates and fermented yeast products (The Natural Medicine Guide to Autism; Marone, Stephanie; 2002;p27).Recipes may be found on anti-candida-diet-chocolate-recipes.

The April 2007 Summary of Biomedical Treatments for Autism publication is available at, (Adams Biomed Summary). In it are the results of parent reports of the success of treatments and how to get more information on the therapies. In this report ARI found removing sugar from the diet as well as giving the child antifungal medication helped many children. Of the parents that reported removing sugar from the child’s diet, 48% showed an improvement, 51% showed no change, and only 2% stated their child got worse. Most antifungal diets begin with a round of antifungal medication. ARI found 55% of parents said their child got better on Diflucan and 49% got better on Nystatin, 41% and 46% showed no change respectively and 5% got worse taking either. It is important to point out that the use of antifungal medication often results in a die-off reaction.

This die-off sometimes results in an increase of negative behavior because the yeast gives off toxins as it dies. This may explain some of the 5% that got worse. This diet can be used in conjunction with other diets. Many parents try it because most people have had yeast overgrowth at one point in their lives. It is also an easier diet to manage than other diet therapies for children with Autism.

Feingold Diet (Program)
Dr. Feingold began noticing a connection between behavior and artificial additives in the 1960’s. The Feingold Association, which carries on the work of Dr. Feingold, feel this program should be used in conjunction with other therapies, diets, vitamin supplements or medication a parent and the child’s doctor sees fit. There has been behavior, attention, physical and mental health improvements in children and adults on this program.

The attention and behavior improvements were not what the purpose of the diet was initially. The diet was started as an allergy diet, the behavior and attention improvements were an unanticipated bonus. Students with Autism, ADHD, OCD and ODD have all benefited from the Feingold Program. The program requires the elimination of food from the diet of the child if the food contains: artificial (synthetic) coloring, artificial (synthetic) flavoring, Aspartame (Nutrasweet, an artificial sweetener) and artificial (synthetic) preservatives BHA, BHT, TBHQ. Also, some salicylates are eliminated, depending on the source of the salicylate. Also, like many other diets, products used by the child that contain the ingredients listed above must be eliminated (Hence, Feingold Program versus Feingold Diet).

For example, some colored soaps may include artificial food coloring. The website www.feingold.org gives a complete description of the program, sources for food (including candy) that are allowed on the diet, and support to any parents wanting to try this for their child. The site shows how much more chemicals children today are subject to, compared to the children’s grandparents.

The Autism Research Institute surveyed thousands of parents on different therapies used to treat Autism and continually updates their findings. The April 2007 findings are available at autism.com | Biomed |Autism Speaks. The parents that responded to trying the Feingold Diet came to 758. Of those, 53% said their child was better after the diet, 2% said their child was worse, and 45% stated there was no change. Many parents do not find this diet difficult to maintain, and feel it should be tried.

Diet is an effective way to manage a child’s Autism. It is non-evasive and if done correctly has a good chance of success. Most diets parents can control themselves, and feel they are helping their child with Autism. If it doesn’t they try again with a different diet, and if it does, they are rewarded for their efforts. Patient parents are not easily frustrated by the trial and error aspects of dietary intervention.
Source: Ditetary interventions |Gluten Free|Casein Free|Anti Fungal|Feingold Diets

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The Recovery From Autism (RFA) offers parents a thriving support system where they can connect to other parents like them to get advice about parenting or just know about a treatment or the latest techniques to treat autism. Sharing information about treating autism is a huge inflection point for parents with autistic kids. The Recovery From Autism gives them a trusted place where they can get latest information  and resources related to autism treatments that could help their children to progress and can even  recover them from Autism.

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