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Autism And Defining Clinical Nutrition & Wellness
Autism and defining clinical nutrition & wellness
Rosalba Maistoru M.A., BCBA
The field of clinical nutrition has evolved into a practice that is increasingly incorporated into mainstream medical treatment. Clinical nutrition is the study of the relationship between food and the well-being of the body. More specifically, it is the science of nutrients and how they are digested, absorbed, transported, metabolized, stored and discharged by the body. Besides studying how food works in the body, nutritionists are interested in how the environment affects the quality and safety of foods, and how these factors influence health and disease.
It is believed by many reputable scientists, physicians and clinicians that there are generally two things that make people feel sick, toxicity and inflammation. Research over the years has also suggested that there is a real connection between what an individual eats, how they live their life and how they feel. For example, common foods, including nuts, wheat gluten, dairy products, fish, shrimp, soy, bananas, corn and eggs, can trigger allergic inflammatory reactions. If the proteins in these foods are not properly digested, they may create a dysfunction in multiple organ systems, including the brain and the gastrointestinal system. These manifestations are known as food allergies and sensitivities. In children, common symptoms may include frequent ear infections, repeated urinary tract infections and diaper rashes, continuous stuffy/runny nose and colds or upper respiratory infections, dark circles under eyes, hyperactivity or poor attention span. This condition is often seen in many individuals with ASD.
The immune system fights stress and toxins created by the environment and a person’s diet. When this system is overwhelmed, it can damage the metabolism and lead to certain diseases. A deficiency of iron can decrease immunity as well, limiting oxygen delivery to cells and resulting in fatigue and poor work performance. Iron intake is also negatively influenced by low nutrient density foods, which are high in calories but low in vitamins and minerals. Sugar sweetened sodas and most desserts are examples of low nutrient density foods, as are snack foods such as potato chips.
Iron is an integral part of many proteins and enzymes that maintain good health. In humans, iron is an essential component of proteins involved in oxygen transport. It is also essential for the regulation of cell growth and differentiation. Many think iron is a heavy metal, which it is not. Iron is an essential micronutrient. ‘Essential’ used in this way means that the body does not produce the nutrient; ‘micronutrient’ means that the body only requires tiny amounts to function.
lmost two-thirds of iron in the body is found in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues. Smaller amounts of iron are found in myoglobin, a protein that helps supply oxygen to muscle, and in enzymes that assist biochem...
Essential Nutrients For Autism Spectrum Disorder
Essential nutrients for autism spectrum disorder
Rosalba Maistoru M.A., BCBA
The incidence of early-onset-type autism has not changed since it was first described by Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943. At that time, the disorder was generally being diagnosed before the age of 2. Rather, it is the later-onset-type that has suddenly appeared and dramatically increased around the globe and across the country. Today’s autism spectrum disorder (ASD) children are being diagnosed at more advanced ages. Today, about 1 in 150 children are born with some kind of neurological developmental disorder. Clearly, the explosion of ASD is real, and the frightening rate of increase does not seem to be dropping off, leaving us with the responsibility to at least address what may be causing these alarming trends and what we can do about them.
While ASD presents as a complex clinical problem for many in the professional fields, parents of newly diagnosed children are baffled, because so many children on the spectrum present with coexisting medical conditions that are not explained by an ASD diagnosis. Physical illness symptomatology include ailments such as gastrointestinal problems, immune dysfunction, and/or recurrent infections. For several years now there has been a strong consensus among many scientists and practitioners that, while hereditary plays a vital role in the susceptibility for ASD, environmental factors (e.g., toxin exposures, infectious agents or other stressors) appear to contribute to the cause or triggering of ASD.
In the past, ASD has primarily been treated through educational, behavioral and psychosocial modalities. Advocates of “the new paradigm of ASD” propose that autism is not strictly an inherited disease, but that environmental factors contribute to its incidence and that dietary interventions, detoxification strategies and other medical treatments may contribute to the amelioration of ASD symptoms. One could reasonably argue that perhaps the most important reason to pursue the medical paradigm of environmental effects is the possibility of identifying underlying factors causing ASD and ultimately achieving successful treatments for those diagnosed with ASD.
Practitioners who treat children with ASD using biomedical approaches have been sharing data and several themes with abnormalities in related and overlapping areas have emerged, such as ASD and the role of oxidative stress (e.g. free radicals), immunological dysregulation and increased toxic burden (e.g., heavy metals). In addition, they have also noted that the extent of the nutritional problems in these observations include the following dietary abnormalities, such as zinc deficiency, copper excess, calcium and magnesium deficiencies, omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, fiber deficiency and antioxidant deficiency.
Toxic chemicals, at any level of chronic exposure, affect human biochemistry. Fortunately, the body has mechanisms for transforming, eliminating or sorting out many toxic c...