What is "Leaky Gut" and Could it be the Cause of Your Child's Symptoms?

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Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive disorder that develops when tight junctions loosen or become damaged and allow undigested food, bacteria, or toxins to leak through the wall of the intestine [1]. Tight junctions are small gaps in the intestinal lining that promote the transfer of nutrients, while preventing undesirable compounds from passing through the intestinal tract into the bloodstream.

Unfortunately, when tight junctions loosen, harmful substances begin to accumulate in the bloodstream and this may cause various types of inflammatory issues [2]. In addition to inflammation, symptoms such as food sensitivities, bloating, gas, cramps, and additional digestive problems may develop as a result of leaky gut.

Although some healthcare providers do not consider leaky gut as an actual medical diagnosis, mounting scientific evidence indicates that this a true condition that affects many people and may be associated with the onset of...

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Covid-19 Immune System Support for ASD and ADHD

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Getting kids to eat a healthy diet can be challenging in the best of times, and now that we’re facing the coronavirus pandemic, a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is more important than ever. Our immune systems depend on micro- and macronutrients that we get from our diets to protect us from infection and to speed recovery from illness.

Both autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been associated with dietary deficits that affect immunity, and correcting these deficits improves symptoms.1,2 Several of the deficient vitamins that are observed in both disorders are important for a strong immune system, including vitamin D, zinc, and selenium, among others.3 

Inflammation and immune dysregulation are known contributors to ASD, and more recent evidence links them to ADHD as well.4,5 Since diet affects immunity, making sure that kids with ASD and ADHD are getting all of the nutrients they need is critical to protecting them...

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The Benefits of Omega 3 Supplementation for Mental and Neurocognitive Health

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Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are well known for their ability to support heart health, but clinical research also shows that omega-3s promote enhanced mental performance [1, 2]. For instance, omega-3 supplements boost the production of dopamine, which is an important chemical in the brain. Dopamine plays a role in memory, learning, attention, and emotions, and it also helps target hyperactivity [2]. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are even linked to an increased risk of developing various psychiatric disorders [1]. This means that omega-3 supplements are a good alternative for improving mental health [2].

One study involved three months of omega-3 supplementation for a group of children with behavior, psychosocial, and learning difficulties. The children in the study demonstrated improvements in spelling, reading and behavior after consistently taking the supplements [2]. Omega-3 fatty acids were subsequently described as beneficial nutrients that help address behavioral (e.g.,...

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Clinical Evidence Proves that Enhanced Nutrition and Diet Improve Autism Symptoms

A recent clinical study showed that improving nutrient intake and the overall diet targets symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) such as anxiety, mood fluctuations, hyperactivity, aggression, and lack of focus, among others. The lead researcher, James Adams, PhD evaluated the effects of the following dietary intervention on ASD symptoms:

Day 0: Multivitamin/mineral supplementation

Day 30: Essential fatty acid (fish oil) supplementation

Day 60: Epsom salt baths

Day 90: Carnitine supplementation

Day 180: Digestive enzyme supplementation

Day 210: Healthy, gluten free, casein free, soy free diet

 

This particular type of intervention was chosen for several reasons. First, individuals with ASD tend to experience nutritional deficiencies that worsen ASD symptoms and overall health. Second, essential fatty acids (fish oil) support the health of cells throughout the body (e.g., brain, gastrointestinal tract), thereby targeting mental impairments and gastrointestinal problems that...

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Nutrition Deficiencies and Autism

Nutrition Deficiencies and Autism

Children with autism are prone to having selective eating patterns, a limited food repertoire, sensory issues that are linked to restricted food intake, and neophobia, which refers to the fear of trying anything new including unknown or unfamiliar foods [1-3]. In some cases, dietary restrictions (e.g. casein- or gluten-free diets) that caretakers/parents use as a therapeutic approach to targeting behavioral and/or gastrointestinal issues may also contribute to the nutritional vulnerability of children with autism [4].

Accordingly, vitamin B-12, D, E, folate, biotin, and pantothenic acid deficiencies have been observed in individuals with autism as well as elevated vitamin B6 levels in some children with this condition [1]. Children with autism also tend to have lower levels of calcium, magnesium, selenium, chromium, iodine, and lithium as well as amino acid and fatty acid imbalances [1]. Over the years, research has demonstrated that these types of...

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Picky Eating vs Problem Feeding

 

If your child only eats certain foods and often refuses to try new types of food, you may be wondering if your child is a picky eater or has a feeding problem. Here are a few ways to know the difference. Typically, the majority of children who are picky eaters and do not have a more serious feeding problem demonstrate a normal growth pattern [1]. Normal growth and development as well as the absence of physical symptoms (e.g. trouble swallowing) are factors that healthcare professionals often look for when determining whether a child is a demonstrating picky eating or problem feeding [1].

Common signs of picky eating include [2-4]:

  • Eating a limited amount and type of foods
  • Refusing certain foods, especially fruits and vegetables
  • An unwillingness to try new foods
  • A strong preference for specific foods
  • Preferring to drink milk or juice instead of eating
  • Snacking instead of eating proper meals
  • Preferring fatty foods and sweets

Feeding problems, on the other hand, may be due to...

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Is There a Connection Between Nutrition and a Child's Behavior?

 
Believe it or not, there was a time when people weren’t convinced about the connection between our diet and our health. Health, or lack thereof, was considered to be a result of chance or poor genes.
 
Now, there is no doubt about the connection between nutrition and our physical health; and this connection is much more crucial during childhood.  Many of the physical development issues children may face are directly connected to each child’s specific nutritional needs in his or her lifetime.  
 
In short, it is well-established that nutrition is intrinsically connected to a child’s physical and neurological health. However, the connection between a child’s health and his or her behavior is not as well circulated.
 
With the rising diagnosis of child developmental conditions like ADHD, autism, and autism spectrum disorder, researchers are investing more time and resources to find out what factors, including diet, increase the...
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Gluten/Casein Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

I LOVE pumpkin season!!! And who doesn't love pancakes? This recipe is super simple and definitely delish! Top this scrumptious gems with some grass-fed Ghee and drizzle with some real maple and it will taste like heaven ;)
 
Ingredients
 
  • 1 1/2 Cups Organic Coconut Milk (or your favorite dairy-free milk)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbs Coconut oil (melt if solid)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Gluten-free Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Gluten-Free Flour ( I like Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour Blend)
  • 1Tbs Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp Aluminum-free Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Directions
 
  • Whisk together milk, pumpkin, egg, oil, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, spice, baking soda, and salt
  • Stir dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just combined
  • Heat a lightly oiled griddle or pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4...
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4 Tips to Surviving a Holiday Gathering When Your Child is on a Restricted Diet

Gluten-free, Casein-free, Soy-free, GAPS, SCD, Low Oxalate, Low Salicylate, Low Allergen, Anti-inflammatory....it can be overwhelming! Now add to that a holiday gathering with foods that you have been trying to restrict all around. 
 
I remember when my son was young and we were first starting out with diet restrictions, a holiday gathering or party would come up and I would just panic and stress. I didn't really know how to handle it.
 
Not everyone in my family or inner circle was knowledgeable or supportive about his food restrictions. In fact, there were a few times that a family member literally gave my son candy behind my back and told him "Don't listen to this nonsense, kids should be allowed to have treats". This is the mindset of many people who are misinformed.
 
You are child's best advocate and the best line of defense is to have a plan.
 
Here are my 4 tips for surviving a holiday gathering.
 
1. Be Prepared
  • Bring food items that...
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Link Between Autism and Mercury Toxicity

 

 One of the most frustrating things for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is the lack of knowledge we have about the causes of ASD.

Autism awareness organizations have done an exceptional job raising awareness in the general population about autism, including what it is, what is isn’t, and how it affects children differently. As a result, there has been a greater demand for scientists to carry out significantly more research related to the causes of ASD, and how it impacts children so that they can live their best lives – their strengths emphasized, and their less-strong points understood and supported.

Among the many topics of interest is how elements in our environment can increase the risk of autism or aggravate its symptoms. Over the past decade or so, researchers have found that one element that could potentially influence the risk of autism is prenatal exposure to mercury. How certain is this? Do all researchers agree?

In this article, I...

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