Can you reverse autism?
People with autism face a number of challenges. However, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that autism can be helped through proper nutrition. By treating the whole person, including diet and lifestyle, reversing autism is a realistic possibility.
What causes autism?
While no one factor is considered the cause, genetic and environmental influences appear to play a role in causing autism. Some research indicates that nutrition can be pivotal in treating autism, since many of those suffering with the condition have severely disrupted digestion.
Restoring balance by treating nutrient deficiencies and the issues caused by an unsound gut can be a key to reversing symptoms. Along those same lines, creating a living environment that supports an autistic person’s particular needs is also beneficial.
Balance blood sugar
Blood sugar levels and autism are linked. In fact, there is significant overlap in hyperactivity in children and autism.
One suggestion is for autistics to participate in a low-carbohydrate diet, which is proven to lower blood sugar levels, then monitor the individual to see if blood sugar levels improve along with other symptoms. Prevention explains that another method proven to lower blood sugar levels is to exercise in spurts.
Improve gut health
Many autistics suffer with selective eating. As explained by the Irish Nutrition + Dietetic Institute, selective eaters experience a self-limiting diet due to the disorder. Those people have difficulties with food textures, don’t adjust to dietary changes or new foods well, have trouble with varied food temperatures or unusual packaging, struggle with changes in meal presentation, such as where a fork is set, and have trouble with changes in meal times.
Some also struggle because they eat continually instead of at mealtimes. Because of these dietary restrictions, gut health can become extremely unbalanced.
Some of the recommended strategies include:
- A gluten-free, casein-free diet. This diet can potentially help restore a leaky gut caused by selective eating.
- Probiotics. Whether taken as a powder, in capsule form, or eaten in yogurt, probiotics can potentially help to restore a depleted digestive tract.
- Fish oil and other omega 3 fats. Many people with autism experience a deficiency in essential fats. Some people with autism appear to have an enzymatic defect, causing the essential fats in the brain to break down too quickly. Supplementing with omega 3 fats can slow the activity of the destructive enzyme, improve behavior, enhance mood, encourage better sleep patterns, and improve focus.
- Supplementing the diet with minerals such as magnesium and zinc, and vitamins, including A, C, and B6, could reduce symptoms of autism.
- Avoid chemicals. Because of faulty digestion, it appears undesirable foods and chemicals may be absorbed through the bloodstream into the brain. Alter your diet to avoid processed and unhealthy foods.
With simple modifications, you can create a more autism-friendly environment at home:
- Select soothing colors throughout the home, such as soft blues, greens, and purples.
- When it comes to decor, make organization, relaxation, and simplicity your priority. For instance, an autistic child can benefit from a bedroom organized into zones. Each zone supports a single function, such as a play zone with a toy chest and sitting area, a study zone with a desk and school supplies, and a sleeping zone that includes the bed, preferably against a solid wall free of doors and windows.
- Natural lighting is best, since it can help with focus and enhance mood.
- Window coverings should be blackout curtains to improve sleep, and installing LED light bulbs in light fixtures is preferable.
- Fluorescent light bulbs should never be installed in an autistic person’s home due to their strobing and buzzing qualities.
Treating autism naturally and effectively
Simple lifestyle modifications can benefit those with autism. Altering the diet to address nutritional deficiencies and making other supportive improvements can reverse symptoms. Quality of life can be improved for those with autism through carefully and appropriately selected methods.
Leann Forst, MBA, CHC — Family Health & Cancer Coach
Leann is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, holding a Master’s degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and a Bachelor of Science from Upper Iowa University. She is a Family Health and Cancer Coach. Leann is accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. And she is an award-winning author of two books — “How to Get Your Kids to Beg for Veggies” and “100 Ways to Lose Weight.” Born and raised as an Iowa farm girl, she moved to Texas in 1998 where she met and married her husband.
Leann works with individuals one-on-one and in group settings. She is also a speaker for profit and non-profit organizations, and has enjoyed speaking at Medical City Hospital in Dallas.