Autism News Network


Packet of Information for Parents New to Autism,

 (on-line version)

Dietary Treatments

(gluten/casein free, secretin, etc)
There is a vast amount of information surging forth about a potential gut/brain connection in autism, and many parents are using special vitamins, diets etc in an attempt to treat their childrenís possible food intolerances/allergies. If your child has frequent diarrhea (pardon my frankness, but as one parent has said, whenever a group of parents of children with autism get together one of the first topics of conversation seems to be poop!) this may be a marker that he/she may respond to a dietary intervention (although if the child also ìstaresî or seems deaf do not rule out a seizure disorder and do call Dr. Chez).  In order to best determine if your child is truly a candidate for dietary treatment and/or secretin it would be wise to contact Dr. Joseph Mercola, a much respected local osteopathic physician based in Schaumburg.  Call his office at 847-985-1777 for an appointment or more information.  You may well have to do a six month trial of the diet to determine if it will help your child - it is if the child responds to treatment that determines - for that child - whether it is the appropriate treatment or not.

Another great resource, if you have internet access,  is the  GFCF Website - (GFCF stands for gluten free casein free) a group of over 400 parents have volunteered their time and effort through GFCFKIDS@ONELIST to provide a comprehensive food list and diet explanation in simple terms.   The parents have compiled many recipes, tips and links they have found to be helpful in maintaining the diet for their children and family. The address is:

The parent/founder of this list has also written a book:
**Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders - A Motherís Story of Research & Recovery.**  Karyn Seroussi,   Simon & Schuster,  2000
ISBN  0-684-83164-3

After reading this book I sure wish my kids were "gut" kids so I could help them with this diet!  But although mine arenít, many of you do have such ìdigestively challengedî youngunís and if you already are doing the Gluten-Free Casein- Free (GFCF) diet or are curious about it you will find this book a useful read for Seroussiís tips on how to implement the diet, where to get the foods, etc. Also - it makes an informative, enlightening ìreadî  to hand to  doubting relatives since Seroussi not only vividly recounts her own sonís health history and response to the diet but also clearly explains the work and findings (to date) of Wakefield and others that offer theories as to what is happening to cause ìleaky gutsî in children , how this may be messing up little brains, and why the diet may remediate this situation.

This book is a "must read" for two reasons -

  1.  - you can not decide whether or not to try this diet unless you have all available information about it (and if you do decide to implement the diet this book will be as valuable to you as a case of Darifree)
  2.  - if you do not want to try the diet or do not have kids who seem likely to benefit you should still stay informed about the theories behind it so as to not only make an informed choice but also to avoid ignorance that might make you unsupportive of those parents who are implementing the diet.

  3. This book may do for the GFCF diet what Let Me Hear Your Voice has done for ABA*.  I give it 4 stars out of 4 and I am not even doing the diet!!!

* and, ABAers, note that Seroussi's son also had an ABA program.  But he was a child who had to have his medical issues addressed in order for him to fully benefit from his ABA program. ABA and medical intervention are not mutually exclusive in my exalted, never humble opinion. The Newsletter Mom has spoken!)


Digestive Enzymes, candida, mercury and autism

from Yahoo groups
The enzymes make a lot of sense in several circumstances:
 Disrupted DPP-IV:
 This is a "master" enzyme gene that controls what enzymes the body releases
 for digestion. It is damaged by organophosphate fertilizers and pesticides. If  you or your child has this damage (we do), Kirkman makes several  that contain this enzyme. Gluten persists and can be "read" in urine testing for 6-12
months after beginning the gluten-free regime.

Enzymes aren't something that "stays around" until needed. They are
activated by contact with whatever they are designed to digest.
Protease breaks down protein, cellulase breaks down fiber, sucrase
and galactase break down sugars, etc. So, each time they are used,
they break up whatever they come in contact with, are eliminated if
they don't contact anything, or are exhausted if the quantity of
whatever needs breaking down exceeds the available enzymes so
potentially not all the food is broken down for digestion if the
body's ability to do so is impaired.

This is why enzymes need to be given with food, and are not size-of-
the-person dependant, but size-of-the- meal dependant.

Naturally produced DPPIV also acts in an immune function protein. In
this capacity it is called CD26 (but its the same thing). As CD26, it
binds to and eliminates mercuric chloride & strep. The supplemental
sources (from plants) doesn't go after the toxins, just the
food...but if the body isn't using its own to break down food,
theoretically, there is more available for detox functions. Candida
converts marcury from an inorganic form to an organic form. If there
is food in the diet that helps keep a colony of Candida thriving, the
potential for environmental mercury exposure to continue being
incorporated. This is one loop that enzymes help to break.

So, what should you see in terms of effect? Used with each meal and
snack, it should break down food irritants and stop some of the
inflammation effect. Since that is subtle and primarily internal,
regular use can produce a happier child.

Regular use can take some load off the immune system, but you might
not see that in external behaviors.

It can shorten the time it takes to clear the system of residual
gluten, but again, this is something subtle and just clearing the
gluten brings the improved behavior.

For some, there is a big improvement in bowel function (our little
guy spontaneously potty trained age 3..YIPPEE!!) , and better quality

For others with growth problems, more nutrients are absorbed, so
there is improved growth and weight gain...again, not something you
would see immediately.

Our little guy was non-verbal, so I use everything we try on him. I
can report that we ran out of the DPPIV formula and substituted
another enzyme and had nausea and a "tight" twisted stomach feeling
without it that I never noticed before going on the diet and using
the enzymes.

We always use extra immediately following any accidental "forbidden"
food, followed by charcoal about 2 hrs later. Since our guy has gone
anaphylactic with an accidental peanut butter cheese cracker (a new
bus aide didn't know), it clearly has helped when there were
other "accidents".

So, initially, we gave/took enzymes with every meal and snack (2 for
adults, 1 for the kids). The diet (after 2 years) is completely clean
(the whole family) and now use it just for meals. The kids get it in
juice with the meals, those who can swallow the capsules, do.

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