Tag Archive | "Leaky Gut Syndrome"

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Autism Treatment–Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)

Posted on 17 October 2011 by admin

Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Some children, particularly those with inflammatory bowel conditions, very weak immune systems, or the inability to eradicate opportunistic bacteria and yeast from their digestive system, often times will receive benefit from a more detailed autism treatment dietary program than just the gluten and casein-free diet. One such autism treatment program is called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) as promoted by the late Elaine Gottschall, author of a groundbreaking book titled “Breaking the Vicious Cycle.” This diet is an extension of the gluten/casein-free diet (and soy-free diet) and has been a big boost health wise for many children on the autismspectrum.

I have seen the Specific Carbohydrate Diet work miracles with patients with digestive conditions such as Ulcerative Colitis or Chron’s Disease. Many children on the autism spectrum are suffering with a similar condition called Autistic Entereocolitis as described by Andrew Wakefield, M.D. Many more kids are suffering with undiagnosed bowel disorders that benefit from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is not just a low carbohydrate diet, but instead is focused on removing certain grains such as wheat, barley, rye (same as the GF/CF diet), as well as rice, corn and other offending foods. The theory is that certain digestive enzymes that breakdown disaccharides (complex sugars) are missing (or are being blocked from reaching the food in the digestive system by excessive layers of intestinal mucus) in the child’s digestive system, making it difficult to digest these additional food sources. The lack of digestive function leads to chronic inflammation in the digestive system leading to gut wall deterioration. With the breakdown of the gut wall, food absorption is compromised leading to mineral, amino acid and vitamin imbalances, as well as immune dysfunction and the overgrowth of opportunistic infections such as yeast and bacteria.

The digestive system is the largest immune organ in the body and acts as the first line ofimmune defense against pathogens such as parasites, yeast, bacteria and intestinal exposed viruses. The loss of this immune response and the eventually breakdown of the gut wall can lead to systemic immune dysfunction and leaky gut. “Leaky gut” is analogous to a screen door on a submarine – “everything and anything can get through.” This means you lose the ability to keep the bad stuff from entering your blood stream. Increased toxins filtering into your child’s blood stream can activate systemic immune responses leading to local and systemic inflammation – including the brain. Celiac disease (which is a genetic disorder evidenced by the inability to digest gluten – specifically gliadin – containing grains) is an example of this where gluten proteins from food can adversely affect the brain.

To learn more about this autism treatment approach – the Specific Carbohydrate Diet -and the benefits it may have for your child visit – www.breakingtheviciouscycle.com

Specific Carbohydrate Diet

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What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome and How Does It Relate to Treating Autism?

Posted on 06 September 2011 by admin

Leaky gut syndrome is a phenomenon in which micro-particles, i.e. food fragments, viruses, bacteria and yeast proteins, and other bio-toxic material are leeched into the blood stream from a breakdown of the intestinal mucosal barrier. With respect to autism, leaky gut is thought to contribute to unwanted molecules (food, bacteria, yeast, etc.) permeating through the intestinal wall and cross-reacting with the immune system (leading to increased susceptibility for allergies) and the brain (leading to problems in cognitive function, language, and behavior), as well as leading to brain inflammation.

Leaky gut syndrome is detrimental for a person’s health because toxic substances which are normally bound in the fecal matter making its way through the digestive system for eventual elimination, now has access through a permeable mucosal membrane leading to physical stress throughout the body. For example, a food protein like gliadin (found in wheat) may trigger brain chemical reactions altering attention, mood, sleep and pain response. If the substance is from an intestinal pathogen such as a bacteria it can trigger immune reactions leading to autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune is the process of the body’s immune system attacking itself and it is known that various infectious proteins can trigger this response, i.e. bacterial toxins leading to reactive arthritis (formally called Reiter’s Syndrome) or PANDAS – a autoimmune post-streptococcal infection condition triggered by group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus.

What causes leaky gut syndrome is not entirely known. In autism, part of the issue could be gluten sensitivity. Gluten is a protein found in wheat that certain individuals have a difficult time digesting. With the inability to breakdown gluten in the gut an inflammatory reaction is created which weakens the gut wall. Inside the gut wall are millions of tiny cells that are responsible for absorbing nutrients from our diet, as well as releasing enzymes to help breakdown the food stuff in the gut. The spaces between cells are vulnerable through something called a tight junction. A tight junction is material that holds cells together. Think of it like mortar between bricks in a wall. If the mortar breaks down than overtime the bricks collapse and the wall falls over. The same thing can happen in the digestive system with the tight junctions breaking down and the space between cells becoming more “leaky.”

Other potential contributing factors to leaky gut are alcohol, caffeine, certain drugs like ibuprofen and diets high in carbohydrates. In autism, a diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is used to eliminate the build-up of inflammation in the gut from hard to digest carbohydrates, i.e. corn, potatoes, rice. The results with this diet can be remarkable in helping autism-spectrum individuals improve their health and overall cognitive abilities. For parents with autistic children, as well as doctors and researchers looking at the role of leaky gut in autism, there is always more to understand with respects to causes and treatment. Simply understanding that leaky gut exists in autism is important and will help everyone involved in the care of an autistic individual better understand some of the reasons behind their health and cognitive challenges.

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