Enzymes – Helping in Autism

November 16, 2007 at 12:24 am 5 comments

Many children with autism benefit greatly from using digestive enzymes.  Digestive enzymes break down foods so that the nutrients in the foods can be absorbed and utilized by the body.  Studies show that large numbers of autistic children are deficient in one or more necessary enzymes.  This deficiency in digestive enzymes prevents food from being completely broken down, which can irritate the lining of the gut, lead to food allergies and autoimmune responses, cause malabsorption, and manifest in a variety of behavioral difficulties.   

Different types of enzymes work on different foods, so it is important to take the right enzymes for the foods being eaten.  There are many different types of enzymes, but generally, enzymes should contain proteases (to break down protein), peptidases (to break peptides apart), lipase (for fats), amylases (to work on starches and carbohydrates.)  There are also other enzymes (glycoamylase and disaccharidases) which further break down dietary starches on a cellular level – these can be helpful if there is difficulty in digesting carbohydrates.  Also, DPP-IV (a peptidase) has been shown to be helpful in autism. 

I witnessed the benefits of enzymes firsthand with my son – within just a few weeks of starting enzyme supplementation, I noticed (and other people noticed!) my son was not stimming as much, threw fewer tantrums, showed drastic improvements in speech, and showed improvements in bowel function. 

Enzymes should be taken at the beginning of the meal, and the amount of enzymes needed depends upon the amount of food to be eaten.

One note – Some parents note an initial regression (where behavior seems worse), which could be due to the reduction of dysbiotic gut flora.  However, most parents (56%) noticed their children got better within a short time of starting the enzymes.


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Gluten-Free/Casein-Free (GF/CF) Diet Autism – Keeping Families Together

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. rachel2722  |  November 16, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    So often we as parents are quick to medicate our kids or accept a diagnosis of autism, ADD or any other malady. I believe we owe it to our children to do everything we can to give them the best quality of life as possible.

    Through trial and error we learned to recognize the “triggers” of my daughters sensory integration disorder, some were dietary and others were environmental surroundings. I am sure that trial and error or process of elimination is key with the enzymes and such but I encourage anyone considering the enzymes pr GF diet to do so. There is nothing to lose and OH SO MUCH to gain for your child!

  • 2. acollage  |  November 17, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    We really jumped onboard biomedical treatment a couple of months ago after a two-year focus on other things, as our initial trial with GFCF and biomed either didn’t work, or we didn’t do it right. But, literally within a week of simply adding a good multivitamin, what a difference! We then went on to add other supplements, slowly, and glimmers of an ‘unaffected’ child pop up sporadically, along with daily changes in tantrums, behaviors, etc. He’s a long way from recovered, and we’re adding in ABA and continuing our regular therapies, but I will take any positive change, and this has definitely done it. Great blog!

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Autism-Changing Tomorrow (ACT) blog is maintained to provide a place where ideas and thoughts relating to autism and treatments for autism may be exchanged. The information on Autism-Changing Tomorrow is of a general nature and is provided with the understanding that ACT or any individuals or entities associated with ACT are not engaged in rendering medical advice or recommendations. Any information in the postings, messages, articles, comments, and publications in or on the ACT blog must not be considered medical advice or recommendations and such information should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a board certified physician to address individual medical needs.

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