This site  The Web 

webassets/logo4068145_md.jpg
Helping you to help them.

 

Welcome to our web site!  On this home page you will find a Blog, a Recipe of the Week, and a Supplement of the Week.  On adjoining pages you will find information on services, resources for supporting diets & supplements and an Autism News Feed. Enjoy!

Autism Nutrition is a nutrition consultancy business that aims to help individuals, families, and health professionals, dealing with autism.  

We aim to help you to understand, identify, and develop treatment options, which can substantially help children and adults with autism.  Using individual programs of dietary interventions, nutritional and medical laboratory testing, and targeted nutritional supplements, many individuals can improve to some degree, and some improve dramatically.   Improvements are commonly reported in expressive and receptive language, play skills, sociability, eye contact, tantrums, hyperactivity, cognitive/thinking, sleep, toileting, and gastrointestinal and immune function.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dietary Factors that Affect the Immune System 

Dietary choices are known to provide health benefits and support your child’s immune system.  A diet balanced in protein sources with plenty of fruit and vegetables is a good start.   Some dietary substances, like vitamin C and vitamin D cannot be made in the body so must be obtained from the diet. Other dietary factors like sugar have a negative affect on your child’s immune system.  Dietary antioxidants, essential fatty acids and probiotics can help to boost the immune system.  Lets take a look at a range of dietary factors that research says affect the developing immune system in general.

Vitamins:

Vitamin A helps to treat inflammation, fight infection and treat complications of infectious diseases.

Vitamin B5 helps protect against infection, withstand stress, maintain a healthy digestive tract and protect against the harmful effects of antibiotics.

Vitamin C can boost the immune system and protect against viral infections.  Higher immune antiviral activity can be achieved by taking 1g/day vitamin C.

Vitamin D is unusual in that it is both a hormone and a vitamin. Vitamin D prevents inflammation, and deficiency in children can impair the developing immune system and skew the immune response toward  promoting allergies.

Vitamin E helps to maintain the immune system and to make it more effective when responding to challenge.

Minerals:

Iodine is a trace element needed for healthy immune function.  It has potent antimicrobial activity against bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses.

Selenium is an antioxidant needed by the immune system to produce antibodies.

Zinc is part of many different enzymes needed for the immune system to function.  Low levels of Zinc are associate with greater susceptibility to infection.

Amino acids

Amino acids are the building blocks for life. The following ones have more impact on the immune system than others. The dietary intake of amino acids depends on your protein source, so a varied source of dietary protein is useful.

Arginine  plays a role in the production of nitric oxide, which is important in inflammation and immunity.

Lysine has antiviral properties and works with arginine to help balance the immunes system.

Glutamine nourishes the cells in the intestinal lining and the stomach and is a primary fuel source for immune cells (lymphocytes, neutrophils and macrophages).

Histidine is needed to produce both red and white cells, essential for immune function.

Fatty acids

Dietary fatty acids come in many forms, and have different effects on the immune system.  Saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids increase the risk of immune /inflammatory related diseases.  In contrast polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as part of a balanced diet help the immune system.

Omega-3 PUFAs help the child achieve a better immune balance and reduce inflammation.

Too little or too much food

Too little or too much of some dietary factors  can result in immune dysfunction.  Poor nutrition increases the risk of childhood allergic disease.  Excess intake of certain nutrients can also cause problems for the immune system such as inflammation.

Soy based foods

As soy has some estrogen-like properties it may create some problems for the developing immune system, and some studies suggest that it can have adverse developmental immune effects.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics can aid digestion and immunity in the infant.  Prebiotics help the gut’s natural bacteria to grow and the developing immune system to mature rapidly and appropriately. 

 Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria and have been shown to be important in both the local immunity  of the gut as well as the immune system throughout your childs body.

Conclusions

There are several factors that promote a well. functioning balanced immune system, particularly adequate vitamin D, antioxidants, and omega-3 PUFAs.  In contrast excess intake of sugar and saturated and trans fatty acids increases the risk of immune based disease.

10:32 am gmt          Comments

Dietary Factors that Affect the Immune System

 

Dietary choices are known to provide health benefits and support your child’s immune system.  A diet balanced in protein sources with plenty of fruit and vegetables is a good start.   Some dietary substances, like vitamin C and vitamin D cannot be made in the body so must be obtained from the diet. Other dietary factors like sugar have a negative affect on your child’s immune system.  Dietary antioxidants, essential fatty acids and probiotics can help to boost the immune system.  Lets take a look at a range of dietary factors that research says affect the developing immune system in general.

 

Vitamins:

Vitamin A helps to treat inflammation, fight infection and treat complications of infectious diseases.

 

Vitamin B5 helps protect against infection, withstand stress, maintain a healthy digestive tract and protect against the harmful effects of antibiotics.

 

Vitamin C can boost the immune system and protect against viral infections.  Higher immune antiviral activity can be achieved by taking 1g/day vitamin C.

 

Vitamin D is unusual in that it is both a hormone and a vitamin. Vitamin D prevents inflammation, and deficiency in children can impair the developing immune system and skew the immune response toward  promoting allergies.

 

Vitamin E helps to maintain the immune system and to make it more effective when responding to challenge.

 

Minerals:

Iodine is a trace element needed for healthy immune function.  It has potent antimicrobial activity against bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses.

 

Selenium is an antioxidant needed by the immune system to produce antibodies.

 

Zinc is part of many different enzymes needed for the immune system to function.  Low levels of Zinc are associate with greater susceptibility to infection.

 

Amino acids

Amino acids are the building blocks for life. The following ones have more impact on the immune system than others. The dietary intake of amino acids depends on your protein source, so a varied source of dietary protein is useful.

 

Arginine  plays a role in the production of nitric oxide, which is important in inflammation and immunity.

 

Lysine has antiviral properties and works with arginine to help balance the immunes system.

Glutamine nourishes the cells in the intestinal lining and the stomach and is a primary fuel source for immune cells (lymphocytes, neutrophils and macrophages).

 

Histidine is needed to produce both red and white cells, essential for immune function.

 

Fatty acids

Dietary fatty acids come in many forms, and have different effects on the immune system.  Saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids increase the risk of immune /inflammatory related diseases.  In contrast polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as part of a balanced diet help the immune system.

Omega-3 PUFAs help the child achieve a better immune balance and reduce inflammation.

 

Too little or too much food

Too little or too much of some dietary factors  can result in immune dysfunction.  Poor nutrition increases the risk of childhood allergic disease.  Excess intake of certain nutrients can also cause problems for the immune system such as inflammation.

 

Soy based foods

As soy has some estrogen-like properties it may create some problems for the developing immune system, and some studies suggest that it can have adverse developmental immune effects.

 

Prebiotics

Prebiotics can aid digestion and immunity in the infant.  Prebiotics help the gut’s natural bacteria to grow and the developing immune system to mature rapidly and appropriately. 

 

Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria and have been shown to be important in both the local immunity  of the gut as well as the immune system throughout your childs body.

 

Conclusions

There are several factors that promote a well. functioning balanced immune system, particularly adequate vitamin D, antioxidants, and omega-3 PUFAs.  In contrast excess intake of sugar and saturated and trans fatty acids increases the risk of immune based disease.

10:25 am gmt          Comments

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Foods that help gastroenteritis

Hi all.  I've been talking to a few people lately about gastroenteritis or 'stomach flu. The questions that come up most frequently are 'What should I eat?' 'What helps?  'What should I avoid?'  So I thought it would be helpful to put it down in my blog to you.
Gastroenteritis is inflammation in the lining of the stomach. It is usually caused by Rotavirus or Adenovirus, but can also be caused by food poisioning due to bacterial or parasite contaminationofo food.  Gastroenteritis cuases tummy pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.  It usually lasts for a day or two but can last for several days or longer.  
The biggest intake issue during the worse period of gastroenteritis is keeping hydrated - that is, ensuring enough intake of fluids.  The best fluids to take are clear liquids or broths (made from stewed bones).  Some sports liquids, dioralyte, flat 7-UP/ Sprite or ginger tea may also be helpful.  It is important to avoid coffee, caffeinated tea, alcohol and other soft drinks.
When you are able to eat, it is important to start with bland easy to digest foods like banana, rice, chicken, potato, cooked vegetables and stewed apple.  It is essential to avoid fatty foods, spicy foods, sugarly foods and milk products.
Foods that help the gut to recover include celery, apple and cranbery - as these contain flavanoids which can inhibit the overproduction of stomach acid. Foods such as blueberries, squash and bell peppers provide lots of antioxidants which heelp with healing.  Foods that are rich in B vitamins and Calcium - almonds, beans, whole grains and dark leafy vegetables are helpful and nutritious.  You eat lean meats, fish, tofu and beans, and olive oil.
You should avoid refined foods - particularly white bread, pasta and sugar.  YOu should also eliminate trans fats - which are found in commercially baked goods such as cookiesm cakes, french friesm onion rings, doughnuts, processed food and margarine. You need to avoid bevergaes that irritate the stomach lining or increase acid production - caffeine, alcohol and carbonated drinks.
 
In order to support digestive health after gastroenteritis it is important to provide a multivitamin and multimineral to provide vitamins A, B, C, and E, and minerals Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Selenium.
Omega- 3 fatty acids 1-2 capsules, 1-2 times daily decrease inflammation (DO NOT USE - if you take aspirin or other anticoagulant medicines).  Beneficial bacterial - probiotics - 5-10 billion cfu daily  supports gut health and immune function.
 
Hope you find this helpful. 
2:07 pm gmt          Comments

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Irish Newpaper Article by Claire Droney

Theories to digest

JAMES COOGAN, 15, loves holidays in Lanzarote, having cups of tea in bed every morning and sitting at the back of the cinema with his dad, watching action movies and feeling the sound vibrations.

Diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at three, James currently attends a special unit attached to a mainstream school and can read at a sixth class level. But he hasn’t always functioned at such a high level of ability. 

At a special pre-school for children with ASD, James struggled to recognise and name simple pictures. “Every day, he looked at 26 pictures of a cat or a ball or a dog, and his score was seven,” says James’s father PJ Coogan, chief reporter for Cork’s 96FM radio station. 

After hearing parental reports of success with special diets, Coogan and his wife Jill decided to implement a gluten and casein free (GFCF) diet with their son, eliminating wheat and dairy products. 

“I said it was mumbo jumbo and it couldn’t work, and the doctor said it made no sense, but we came to the conclusion that it couldn’t do any harm, so we did it,” says Coogan. He soon began to notice changes in James’s intellectual and social functioning. 

“Six weeks after the diet started, we got a phone call from the teacher to come down to the school. In front of me, my son knew 24 out of the 26 words. Then we introduced a new set and he did 25 out of 26 words. We noticed that he began to interact more with us, talking and increasing his vocabulary. He began to interact very dramatically and to be enthusiastic about things and to love things,” says Coogan. 

“James hasn’t had a melt-down since the diet. Somewhere inside there was a little boy struggling to get out and when the diet kicked in, he came out.” 

Coogan acknowledges that there can be initial difficulties in adhering to a strict GFCF diet with a preschool child, including lack of local suppliers and a refusal on the part of the child to try new foods. However, the family have become experts at deciphering food labels and learn the vocabulary for the GFCF foods whenever they travel abroad. 

“The diet is very hard to start and it does take a few weeks of very hard work. If your child is more than three years old, he’s going to protest when you take yoghurts or cheese away,” says Coogan. 

The family now bulk-buy soy milk in the local supermarket, and consider management of the diet to be “second nature”. 

Affecting one in 88 children and one in 54 boys, ASD is a neurodevelopmental disability characterised by a triad of impairments in communication, social understanding and flexibility of thought. Many parents who use GFCF diets believe that their children with ASD have a ‘leaky gut’ through which peptides from gluten and casein-containing foods can escape through into the central nervous system, effecting brain function and behaviour. 

“You can fix a leaky gut with diet, probiotics, nutritional supplements and anti-fungals,” says nutritionist Noreen Cronin, who found a GFCF diet to be hugely beneficial with her son Sean, 17, who has ASD. With a PhD in chemistry and a masters degree in nutritional medicine, Cronin says gut health awareness and its link to behaviours is less common in Ireland than the rest of the world. 

“If there’s inflammation in the brain, it effects speech, behaviours, understanding, concentration and sensory issues. If we start cleaning up the gut, we can see what the child can do better,” says Cronin, whose work includes re-culturing the gut by introducing good bacteria, probiotics and a nourishing diet. 

Cronin acknowledges that there are barriers with this diet, and that it won’t work for every child. “It’s such a complex problem and there’s no one solution for every child. But I have no doubt that kids feel more comfortable when their gut is better,” she says. 

Though there is scant scientific evidence that special diets are effective, the US-based Interactive Autism Network (IAN) online survey found that 16% of parents were using at least one special diet (including melatonin, vitamin B12 injections and probiotic supplements) with their children with autism, with GFCF diets being the most popular. 

To date, success with the GFCF diet has been largely confined to small-scale scientific studies, anecdotal evidence and parent reports. 

There are currently many books, websites and forums promoting complementary or alternative diets for use with children with ASD. Hollywood actress Jenny McCarthy is an advocate of the GFCF diet, citing that it helped immensely to alleviate some of her son’s autistic behaviours. The face of Generation Rescue, a US autism organisation, McCarthy has been criticised for using her celebrity status to promote what she believes to be causal factors in autism — the MMR vaccine and environmental factors. Slammed by Time and Forbes magazine for discouraging parents from getting their children vaccinated, McCarthy remains a powerful voice in the autism world, claiming that using a GFCF diet, cod liver oil and vitamins with her son Evan helped him to have better eye contact, doubled his language skills, improved repetitive movements and sleeping and decreased temper tantrums. 

Despite a lack of scientific evidence to support GFCF diets, it is quite clear that gastrointestinal (GI) problems are common in children with autism. A recent ICAN study found that 79% of children with autism had presented with at least one GI symptom (nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea) in the preceding three months, with the most common being abdominal pain and constipation. 

“Gastrointestinal problems are sometimes difficult to diagnose especially if the child is non-verbal,” says Geraldine Leader, director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway.

“Our research and other research demonstrated that gastrointestinal issues may exacerbate behaviour problems and problems with sleep. It is important to remember that gastrointestinal symptoms are also common in typically developing young children.” 

US-based research is currently underway on the controversial gut-brain link in children with ASD. In Canada, Dr Derrick MacFabe is studying a link between gut bacteria, proprionic acid and its ability to produce autistic-like behaviours in rats. 

Closer to home, UCC scientists have discovered a link between gut bacteria and autistic behaviours. In a clinical trial using mice, researchers found that gut bacteria is essential for the development of normal social behaviours. 

“Diet is one of the biggest things that is able to govern composition of gut bacteria. Changing your diet will change how you behave, no matter who you are,” says Professor John Cryan, senior author on the study and head of the Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience at UCC. 

Cryan and his team compared the social behaviours of mice who were artificially raised without any bacteria in the gut, and those who had gut bacteria. The mice without bacteria exhibited similar behaviours as people with ASD, showing a lack of sociability, and had deficits in social cognition. 

For example, when the mice without gut bacteria were given an option of entering either an empty cage or a cage with a mouse in it, they always opted for the empty cage. And when offered a choice of being in a cage with a strange new mouse or a mouse they already knew, they were unable to distinguish new from old friends. 

They also engaged in more grooming behaviours (like autistic repetitive responses) than the typically-developing mice. 

Interestingly, when the researchers re-introduced gut bacteria to these mice, they were able to reverse some of the autistic-like behaviours (including sociability and repetitive behaviours) but were unable to reverse deficits in social cognition. 

But what does all of this mean for parents of children with ASD? 

“We’ve shown that there’s huge potential in our gut microbiota to influence behaviour,” says Cryan. “In the autistic world, there is perhaps some link between bacteria and gut health and brain function. You need bacteria in your gut for normal behaviour. The question is which bacteria? Can we use this information and the bacteria in the gut to treat some of the symptoms of autism?”

Though the UCC research is promising, Cryan points to the need for large-scale clinical studies and also cautions that this study is based on animals, not humans. 

Furthermore, a recent US National Standards Report (2009) (an initiative of the National Autism Center) which reviewed autism treatments, classed the GFCF diet as an “unestablished” treatment, due to inadequate scientific research. It suggested no educational or behavioural benefits for this diet and found studies that point to the risk of nutritional deficiencies in children who used it. 

Leader cautions against the use of these diets. 

“Many parents searching for a biomedical intervention that may help their children with autism have embraced the hypothesis of a ‘leaky gut’ in autism. As a result, restrictive diets and other nutritional or GI therapies, such as the gluten-free, casein-free diets have become widely popular interventions for children with autism. To date, there is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness,” she says.

* www.generationrescue.org, 
8:32 am gmt          Comments

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Structural differences in brain connectivity in autism.

Researchers from Boston's Children's Hospital have found structural differences in brain connectivity in autism. Using EEGs of the brains they have found that autistic individuals show distinct patterns of connectivity from controls.  The difference presents as multiple connections between neighbouring brain area's, with fewer long distance connections in the brain.  If you think about it this makes sense and is consistent with other observations like cases where individuals excel at specific, focused tasks, but cannot grasp higher order thinking. This finding is consistent with an older theory of decreased 'pruning' of brain connectivity in children with autism. These findings bring great hope for earlier diagnosis of autism in infancy, as we begin to understand reading EEGs for individuals with autism, we are beginnng to see patterns that distinguish infants at increased risk for autism from controls.

4:23 pm gmt          Comments

2014.02.23 | 2014.02.02 | 2013.06.23 | 2013.02.24 | 2013.02.01

Link to web log's RSS file


webassets/bread.jpg
Ingredients
14 ozs Gluten Free Bread Four  (Dove's Farm)
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar 
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
350ml soya milk (warm)
2 eggs
4 tbsp olive oil 
 
Warm the oven to 150o.
Line a 1 ib loaf tin with baking parchment. 
 
Method
Mix the dry ingredients together for 3-4 minutes, using an electric mixer on a low setting. It is very important to mix the ingredients well.
Warm the soya milk - I heat 350 ml in a microwave for 2 -3 minutes.  Add the eggs to the warm milk and whisk well with a fork.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients slowly, using the electric mixer.  When all the milk and eggs have been added, turn the electric mixer to high.
Beat with the mixer for 3-4 minutes.  Finally add the 4 tbsp of olive oil to the mixture and beat with the mixer for another 3-4 minutes until well mixed.
Turn off the oven. 
Pour the mixture into the baking tin and spread out evenly.
Place the baking mixture in the warm oven to prove for at least 30 minutes.
When the bread is well risen, turn on the oven to 180oC and bake for 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire tray to cool completely.
Enjoy!
The bread will last for 1-2 days, or can be sliced and frozen for use at a later time. 
  

Comment on the recipe.


Supplement of the Week - Therbiotic Infant Formula Probiotic

webassets/therbioticinfantformula.jpg

This high-potency, hypoallergenic blend of 5 Lactobacillus species and 5 Bifidobacterium species is designed to safely meet the metabolic and intestinal support needs of infants up to the age of 2 years.   Each species in Ther-Biotic® Infant Formula has been selected based on the scientific literature documenting its safety and crucial importance to the normal development of an infant’s gastrointestinal and immune systems. Ther-Biotic® Infant Formula is designed to support a normal infant microflora that can be easily disrupted by cesarean section delivery, formula feedings, antibiotics, toxin exposures, and a maternal diet lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables. 
 
I use this probiotic as an initial probiotic for many children, as it allows gentle incremental dosing, based on an individuals tolerance. I generally recommend using a tip of a teaspoon increasing to 1/4 tsp over 1 week, then wait for 1 week. After 1 week on 1/4 tsp probiotic powder, which provides 10 billion cfu of beneficial bacteria, it may be helpful to introduce a second dose at another time of day.  This would be done beginning with a tip of a teaspoon again, and increasing over a week, then waiting another week before making any further changes.  This is a gentle way of increasing the dose to 20 billion cfu.  Once at this dose for a few weeks, I often switch to a stronger probiotic, for further dosage increases and better economy.  

Autism Nutrition

Promote Your Page Too


If you need more information, please don't hesitate to contact us by phone or e-mail.