Autism was first described by psychiatrist Leo Kanner, MD in 1943 as a behavioral disorder of children. Around the same time, Hans Asperger was writing about children who had similar symptoms but no compromised speech. Today the medical profession classifies autism as a psychiatric illness and offers no definitive treatment. Those who practice complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) have come to realize that to effectively treat autism, one needs to look at the whole person. Clinical experience has shown that children suffering from autism commonly have dysfunction of the gastrointestinal, neurological, and immune systems. The cause of these dysfunctions can be attributed to a variety of insults to the genetically susceptible child. Ecologically speaking, the child’s health becomes unbalanced. It is only by addressing the body as a whole and restoring normal function of the child’s physiology can the body restore balance of health.
It is common knowledge that up to 95% of autistic children have intestinal problems such as altered bowel function and inflammation. In a study of 148 children with autism compared to 30 children without autism, 90% of autistic children showed inflamed bowels compared to only 30% of controls.. Food allergies, dysbiosis, and toxins such as mercury can trigger this inflammation. It is this gut inflammation that causes abnormal intestinal permeability which allows neurotoxic substances to cross the gut membrane (‘leaky gut’) which contributes to their inflamed brains.
Restoring balance to the intestinal tract often requires a multi-pronged approach. Elimination of gluten and IgG food sensitivities is crucial. It is also important to treat small bowel bacterial and fungal overgrowth followed by re-inoculation with beneficial bacteria (probiotics).
While addressing the leaky gut issue it is important to also provide specific vitamins and minerals (zinc, B6, folic acid, magnesium, B12, and calcium) which are often lacking in autistic children to help in the repair of the digestive system. In addition, supplementation with essential fatty acids, antioxidants are key to reducing inflammation, supporting the immune system, and promoting natural detoxification. And finally, the mal-digestion needs to be addressed with appropriate enzymes. These nutritional, anti-inflammatory and natural detoxification measures help restore intestinal health.
In addition to the above therapies I have found homeopathic treatment to be a key part in restoring the autistic child’s health, especially the emotional and cognitive aspects. I have seen many autistic children that have tried dietary, nutritional plus heavy metal detoxification therapies who seen a marked improvement in their health once they were started on a constitutional homeopathic remedy.
At the Renaissance Health Centre we offer a truly comprehensive approach in treating Austism.
Terry Pfau DO, HMD