Raising a Sensitive Child

Nourishing Body, Mind and Spirit

Autism and health of the gut

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Tonight, I watched The Nature of Things with David Suzuki’s recent documentary, Autism Enigma. You can watch it too at this link here.

A fresh perspective on autism research with the developing “Bacterial Theory” of autism. The fastest-growing developmental disorder in the industrialized world, autism has increased an astounding 600 per cent over the last 20 years. Science cannot say why. Some say it’s triggered by environmental factors and point to another intriguing statistic: 70 per cent of kids with autism also have severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Could autism actually begin in the gut? The Autism Enigma looks at the progress of an international group of scientists who are studying the gut’s amazingly diverse and powerful microbial ecosystem for clues to the baffling disorder.

I love and highly respect David Suzuki and was glad that he addressed autism in this recent episode. The documentary mostly addressed the link between the health of the gut flora and autism. I feel that it was mostly well done for a “mainstream documentary”. (In my opinion, parents who are healing their children with autism could put together a better documentary since they actually know what is helping and healing their children. I disagree with the fact that the documentary discredited the potential link between vaccines and autism, and feel that it was too bad that it didn’t discuss many of the other biomedical or homeopathic treatments that are out there and are actually working).

Healing the Gut

Nonetheless, I feel that it is worth watching. It provides the scientific explanations for why healing the gut of our children is so important. And this is why probiotics, cultured foods, the Body Ecology diet, and the GAPS diet are an important part of healing our children. Likely most of my readers will be very familiar with much of the information that is presented in the documentary. (Read my friend, Lisa’s, recent post about the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet here).

Given that my son has been on a prophylactic antibiotic for over a year now (related to his Hyper IgE Syndrome diagnosis and something that I’m not a big fan of), this documentary was important for me to see to remind me of what is likely going on in Moses’ gut. He is on a daily probiotic, but it feels like it’s a losing battle since he takes the antibiotic twice a day. I also need to get started on the cultured veggies again.

(Happily, despite the fact that Moses is on a daily antibiotic, he is still healing and has been getting stronger overall in the last year, therefore, I feel that all of the other good stuff that we’ve been doing with him — especially Heilkunst homeopathy — has outweighed the potential negative effects of the antibiotic.  My long-term goal is to eventually get DH onside with using a “natural antibiotic” instead of a pharmaceutical one.  Moses is on miracle mineral solution (MMS), which is a natural antiobiotic as well, but DH doesn’t feel that it’s enough at the moment).

Increased rate of autism in Somalian children

One thing that I learned from the documentary is that there is a high rate of autism amongst Somalian children who have immigrated to North America (and autism is virtually non-existent in children in Somalia — so much so that they refer to autism as a “western disease”). In Somalia, fermented foods are a typical part of the diet. What they didn’t say in the documentary is that children in Somalia don’t receive the same number of vaccines as they do in North America (in general, children in Somalia don’t have the same access to vaccines, and certainly don’t receive up to 36 vaccinations by the time that they are five years old). Things that make me go “hmmm…..”

More reading:

  • Article about  Somalian children, vaccinations and autism here.
  • Globe and Mail article about the “Somali autism puzzle” here.
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