Autism, which is now commonly referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a sort of complex neurological and behavioral developmental disorder that affects a person at his or her early childhood and lasts through his or her entire life. It refers to a broad range of physical and mental conditions in a person that is characterized by challenges faced in speech and non-verbal communication, how the person interacts with others, his or her mental growth and development, the way they learn and all of it combined by repetitive and rigid behaviours.
In simple words, children who are affected with ASD, have difficulties communicating with others, understanding what others say and do, becomes difficult for them to convey or express their feelings, thereby making it very tough for them to communicate and express.
Knowing the major causes of Autism
However, no certain cause has been typically attributed for causing autism in children, in a collected survey there are some factors that has been zeroed down for the probable cause of Autism. One of the causes that was highly attributed was the link between metabolism conditions of the mother and ASD, leading to delays and impaired development of their children.
The metabolic conditions that were revealed in an investigation are diabetes, lowered insulin sensitivity, hypertension, high fasting insulin and low levels of god cholesterols (LDL). The presence of these medical conditions in pregnant women, makes it all the more likely that their infants would be born with the disorder of autism spectrum.
In another research study, obesity has also been linked to ASD. There are many evidences that say Autism runs in families, and even biochemical and neurological disorders also leads to autism.
The Diet and Autism Connect
If we look at the bigger picture, all of these metabolic conditions and others are somehow caused due toour lifestyle, means they are directly linked with what we eat and how we live, which makes it very clear that diet is directly associated with Autism.
Researchers, scientists and medical experts are exploring a number of theories regarding the causes of Autism. Unfortunately, till date, no single cause or cure has been identified.
However, a fact sheet provided by them provides an overview, which says:
- Restrictive and Obsessive diets are the probable cause
Children with autism have very selective eating habits, and this goes beyond what we generally call as a ‘picky eater’, which is quite common in children in their developing stages. Such kind of highly selective diet are a direct result of ASD. Such diets are usually limited to very selective foods that hardly goes beyond two or three types of foods.
Such children find it very difficult to accept new foods. They become very restrictive to the colour, texture, smell and even the packaging of the foods. Difficulties are faced even with the plating – the type of plate, the type of cutleries used and even the positioning of the food on the plate. It has been also seen that there is continuous eating pattern, rather than eating only during meal times.
- Diet can be used for the treatment of ASD.
In here we will look how diet can be used effectively in successful treatment of the symptoms of autism:
- The GFCF Diet (Gluten Free Casein Free)
Those affected with autism, majority have leaky gut. When gluten and casein, which are not digested properly enters the bloodstream, they interfere with the functionality of the nervous system, causing poor mental functioning and behaviour. The simple way to deal with it is avoid and restrict all food that contains gluten and casein.
- Removing food additives from the diet
Studies show that the ones who have autism cannot withstand a range of food additives like MSG, Aspartame and others like food colouring and flavourings. it cause a huge difference in their behavioural pattern making it worst. it is therefore advice to not include any food or food substances that have additives in them.
- Omega 3 and fish oils
These two have a major role to play in brain development and its function. Deficiency of these may contribute to further worsening of mental and brain conditions – neurological disorders, learning problems and others.
Omega 3 is very helpful in treating learning disabilities, mood disorders and other neurological problems. Fish oil supplements are a good choice too.
- Enzymes and Probiotics
Though there are no concrete report that enzymes and probiotics can treat autism, yet experts believe that those with autism, leaky gut is one of the most common issues, and probiotics and enzymes helps control it. Either taken as a powder or drink or in the form of food, there are numerous digestive enzymes and probiotics that can easily be used against autism.
The Importance of Good Nutrition in Autism
Children with autism have much thinner bones and those who do not have and restricting certain food or food groups like milk and dairy could further affect the development of their bones and other parts. Guidance from expert dieticians could be soughed to determine what best could be given to such children so that they get a full support of nutrition for their proper growth and development.
This year for Autism on World Autism Day
As responsible citizens and thoughtful individuals, let’s make to a point this World Autism Day to convey the message and make everyone understand that the most vital point is – eating better and getting the metabolic conditions under control as soon as possible could make a big difference for both the mother and baby, and that’s clearly worthwhile.
It’s important for women who are, or are planning to become, pregnant to control existing metabolic conditions if any, to protect the health of their babies and preventing them from autism.