Posts filed under ‘biomedical treatments’

Getting Some Sleep! Solving the Night-Waking Problem in Autism

I have tried really hard to erase from my mind the painful memories of years of being woken up in the middle of the night by my son who was born with autism.  He would wake multiple times during the night, every night, with the first time usually being about 1:30-2:00 a.m. – just shortly after I had just fallen asleep.  Three years later, my body is still paying for three years of very little sleep!  I believe it is so important to get to the root of night-waking for our autistic children – so their growing bodies can get the sleep they need, and so that we parents can be rested to take care of them!

Sumio8 submitted the following question regarding night-waking in autism:

“What a wonderful website! Thanks for the resources and invaluable information! Your dedication really is helpful to so many people..I just had to say that.

I do have a question. We recently used Culturelle “dairy free” version and for over a month couldn’t figure out why our son was nightwaking (2am till 6am). We have been GFCF for months and he was exhibiting the same behavior prior to going CF. Unbeknownst to me my friend told me her DAN said it STILL contained casein. I came across a website that claims it has trace amounts (15ppm whatever that means). The day we removed Culturelle he slept through the night (just like when we removed his milk). I find that to be more than coincidental. When I emailed Culturelle the rep reassured me that they send it out to a another company for inspection etc. but I’m not buying it. 4 days later my son is STILL sleeping through the night and the past month he exhibited the same “caseo morphine” high. Thank goodness my friend enlightened me..It really bothers me they are denying it because beyond how it affects my son neurologically, he’s highly allergic to it and has broken out in hives.

Is there a good probiotic you could recommend that is indeed casein free?? Seems like many still have trace amounts.”

Hi Sumio8,  I am glad you found information here helpful!  I am so sorry to hear the problem your son had recently. 

We have never used the Culturelle product (dairy-based or dairy-free), so I cannot comment from personal experience on that particular product.  I would say that any product that causes your son to break out in hives is definitely NOT a product that is appropriate for him!  He is obviously allergic to it.  Certainly, casein intolerance and/or an allergy to a food or product can cause night waking.  Again, I cannot say whether the dairy-free Culturelle contains any casein because we have never used the product. 

We have, however, dealt with night-waking episodes, so I can share from my experience with that. I have found that there can be many causes of night-waking.  For example – gluten and casein intolerance, allergies (both food allergies, airborne allergies, allergies to mattress materials and materials in the room), serotonin and melatonin imbalances, yeast overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth, elevated ammonia levels, going to bed too late, toxicity of the body, pinworms, and gastric problems can all cause night waking.  There could also be several of these issues working together to cause the night waking. 

For instance, we linked my son’s night-waking to serious bacterial and fungal intestinal overgrowth, which produced toxic metabolic byproducts (including elevated ammonia levels).  When we aggressively treated the bacterial and fungal overgrowth, he was able to sleep through the night.  One caveat – his nights became significantly worse for about two weeks before they got better.  As the harmful bacteria and yeast died off, his sleep became severely disrupted for a short time.  We used activated charcoal (several hours apart from any supplements or medicines!!!) to help reduce the symptoms.  We worked with a DAN/Yasko MD through this process.  If you are not working with a doctor with this type of training, it may be better to deal with bacterial and yeast overgrowth in a slow but steady way, to reduce the die-off symptoms.   
We have been very happy with the probiotic we chose for daily use – it is by Neocore Spectrum – called GI Maximizer.  You can order online at www.neocorespectrum.com  They are completely gluten-free and casein-free (and also free from FOS, which can be extremely irritating to those with GI issues in autism).  I find that Neocore Spectrum’s 25 + BILLION capsules are actually more effective than another product we had used that was labeled as 75 billion. 

One last thought – after three years of my son waking up multiple times every night, I really needed to know WHY he was waking up in the middle of the night.  At that point, I really prayed that the Lord would give me specific direction on what was at the root of the problem and what to take for it.  I am so thankful for the answers I received!  I pray for guidance for you and for health and healing for your entire family! 

Be blessed!
“For everyone who asks, receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.”  Luke 11:10 NASB

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July 2, 2009 at 8:15 pm 1 comment

Making Progress in Autism – Probiotics and more!

Thanks Alex for the following question about progress through probiotics: 

My 5 yr old son is on the gf/cf/sf diet and I’m just about to order lots of supplements online. After reading your Press On! it sounded like us, however we haven’t started any probiotic yet. My son’s “disagreeableness” (made sense to me!) is pretty bad right now, without any supplement. How long roughly was the “rough part” for you?

Did the new line of probiotics that you mentioned come out yet?

Thanks!
Alex

Alex,

Yes, the probiotic product (and other products we use) have been released and they are fantastic! The company is Neocore Spectrum, and the website is http://www.neocorespectrum.com. The probiotic is very high-potency with 25 + Billion CFUs (colony forming units). It is gluten-free, casein-free and also free from FOS (a prebiotic in many probiotics that feeds bad bacteria). It also is formulated so that the probiotics survive the stomach acid and can actually colonize in the intestines – where they can do their job.

We also use all the products offered by Neocore Spectrum – the multivitamin/multimineral, enzymes (both chewable and capsules), omega-3 fish oil (small gelcaps), liquid antioxidant extracts (my sons LOVE the Blueberry), and the Silver Renew gel. The Silver Renew skin gel has been wonderful for us – we use it on bug bites, skin irritations, eczema, and even used it on a viral rash called Molluscum. I recently had some horrible eczema flare-ups on my arms and used the Silver Renew and saw relief within minutes, and complete resolution in only a few days.

The thing I love best about the Neocore Spectrum products is that I really feel I am getting a value for my money. For example, the multivitamin/multimineral is very complete and is reasonably priced. It is well-suited for our autistic children. (I use the products for myself too!) It is free from copper and iron, it uses many natural forms of vitamins. It also contains the active forms of folic acid, vitamin B 12, B-6 (it contains P-5-P), which the information published by the DAN! doctors and the Autism Research Institute shows that autistic children have difficulties processing these vitamins and need the more active forms. There are even bioflavonoids for extra antioxidant protection. A multi like this is truly hard to come by!
Alex, to answer your question as to how long the most difficult part lasted – I must say that it took several months of working on the yeast imbalance before I noticed that my son’s behavior and mood improved and the “disagreeableness” began fading away.

As I mentioned, he was so toxic when we began the probiotic supplementation, that we saw his behavior worsen for the first few weeks. He even had some nights of rough sleep where he would kick and scream out at night. I now know that was the bacterial and yeast die-off. Now I know that activated charcoal pills can help alleviate some of the die-off reactions. (Make sure not to take the activated charcoal within 2 hours of eating or taking any supplements.) Also, it is important to stay away from sugar – even excessive fruit sugar (ex. we avoid dried fruit) and moldy foods. It’s also important to work on the overall health of the body – supplying the vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and nutrition that the body, and specifically the immune system needs.

It is a lot of effort, but I must say it is worth it! Tonight as I was giving my boys a bath, I was thinking back a couple of years. I was remembering how difficult it was back then to give my son a bath. He would throw a constant fit during bath time – he didn’t like the water over his head, he didn’t like the smell of the soap (which was totally unscented!), he didn’t like the towel, he didn’t want his hair dried, and on and on! By the time I got him to bed, I would be in tears! Now our bath and bedtime routines are a joy! My boys hug and kiss each other goodnight and say “I love you!” to each other and to me! It is what I hoped, worked, and prayed for, and I am truly thankful! I pray for that same joy for you!

Blessings!

October 16, 2008 at 11:03 pm 4 comments

Upcoming Teleconference Seminar on Causes and Treatment of Autism

There is lots of great information on the internet about the causes and treatment of autism.  Early on in our journey to bring our son to healing from autism, I personally found so much help from the Autism Research Institute www.autism.com and many others.  I spent hours and hours staying up way too late, educating myself about the causes and treatment of autism (the treatment of it and not merely management of behavioral manifestations). 

Recently, I discovered an upcoming teleconference seminar which I believe will clearly present information on the causes and treatment of autism.  I have personally registered for it because I am interested in always learning more about helping my son.  I believe it will be educational and full of hope! 

The teleconference seminar is scheduled for August 14, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Here is the link to register:

http://JustAskDrMike.com

When you register, you will be directed to a page with the phone number to call in for the teleconference, and it also includes a link to listen live via webcast. 

I also encourage you to read the information on this related website:  www.Lispectrum.com   There is fantastic, well-presented information on this site about the causes and treatment of autism.  I encourage you to read it! 

Blessings to you as you learn and journey toward healing!

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  James 1:5 NASB

August 8, 2008 at 12:53 pm 2 comments

Overcoming Sensory Issues with Food in Autism

Kattie submitted the following question regarding problems with eating:

“my child was diagnosed with autism 2 years ago. he has been tested and does have mild alleries to wheat,milk,eggs. meal time is such a battle..he only eats about 5 foods. cheese, ramein noodles, cherios, bread, and strawberries. trying to get him to eat anything other than that he gags himself to the point of vomitting.any advise on where to start??? i do have a gluten free casein free cookbook, however it is very hard to follow. do you suggest any books or food stores that can be any help?
his doctor hasn’t really been any help. thank you.”

Hi Kattie,

I hear your struggle! My son gagged for a long time too, (and had to drink water to wash down every bite) but no longer does it. My suggestion as far as food is to see if your local grocery store or health food store has a section with gluten-free items. There are alternatives to his favorite foods. Instead of cheerios, we use “Perky O’s” made by Perky’s 100% Natural brand. I think it is this brand that also makes a cereal called Nutty Rice (no nuts in it though). It is not like Cheerios, but so good that it is worth mentioning. For pasta, there are lots of brands that make rice pasta – we particularly like the rice pasta (spaghetti, penne, spirals) made by Mrs. Leeper’s brand. I use coconut oil on the pasta with a bit of Celtic Sea Salt and it tastes great!

There are also many gluten-free breads. Food for Life makes great gluten-free bread and has many choices. Also, Enjoy Life brand makes fantastic gluten-free cereals and snack bars. We use Rice Milk – make sure it is labeled as Gluten Free. We use Rice Dream, Original Classic (unflavored). We do NOT use the flavored or enriched because these have items which have been shown to be excitotoxins and harm the brain. (See writings by Dr. Russell Blaylock and Amy Yasko).

As far as cheese goes, I haven’t found a casein-free cheese. Most soy cheese contains caseinate or casein. Also, most DAN doctors advocate not having soy because it is problematic for children with autism.

I would then start slowly incorporating different tastes – just a bite at at time of other foods. Try some yummy vegetables like butternut squash with cinnamon and a little bit of stevia for sweetness. Or, cauliflower steamed very soft and mashed with oil, a touch of rice milk, and salt.  You can also adapt regular recipes to be gluten-free/casein-free.  For a long time, my son did not like the texture of red meat or chicken so I created recipes for gluten-free, casein-free meatballs and chicken meatballs (or hamburgers). You can also make them egg-free with egg replacer. In the coming weeks, I will share some of my invented recipes that are easy (15 minutes or less!), so check back here.

The thing that helped my son the most, however, was addressing the physical causes for the gagging and food aversions. I obviously do not know what is causing these problems for your son. I can only share with you what worked for my son.  I put my son on a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement to address deficiencies. I noticed that this helped with many of his sensory issues, including his aversions to foods (ex. he then liked avocadoes, which he previously choked on). I also found that one of the most-helpful things for my son early on in treatment was digestive enzymes, taken with everything he ate. They helped him to actually digest the food he was eating, and his behavior relating to food dramatically improved within three weeks!

It is a struggle, but keep trying. The extra effort is worth it. Now my son gladly eats everything I give him – he even LOVES swiss chard and broccoli!

Blessings and endurance to you as you press on!

“Therefore, my beloved bretheren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corin. 15:58 NASB

 

July 14, 2008 at 9:16 pm 9 comments

Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Diet in Autism – A Great Starting Place for Biomedical Treatment

Yanti had a question on the effectiveness of the gluten-free/casein-free (GF/CF) diet in autism and whether hyperactivity or non-hyperactivity was a factor in deciding whether to follow the GF/CF diet. 

Hi Yanti, 

I think the best answer is to try the gluten-free/casein-free diet to see if it works!  The Autism Research Institute publishes the results of the information they receive from parents on the effectiveness of various biomedical interventions.  According to the “Parent Ratings of Behavioral Effects of Biomedical Interventions,” 66% of parents reported that their children “got better” on the GF/CF diet.  You can find this parent rating form at http://www.autism.com/treatable/biomed/ARI_TreatmentRatings_Form34QR_February2008.pdf 

I have consulted with and interviewed quite a few doctors using biomedical treatments for autism, and they all say that the GF/CF diet is a must for children with autism and should be the first place to start.  It is my understanding that the diet really must be followed very, very strictly for at least 6 months to one year.  The reason for this is that the peptides created from the incomplete digestion of gluten and casein actually build up in the bloodstream (and enter the brain) and must be allowed to clear the body.   Another reason for following the GF/CF for an extended period of time is to permit the intestines time to heal.  Gluten and casein can cause injury to the digestive tract in some children, so it is necessary to completely remove gluten and casein to stop the source of injury and allow time for healing.  During this time, can also be helpful to use products that promote intestinal healing and integrity such as high-potency probiotics and colostrum.   

For this reason, I think it is really important to note that this diet really mandates strict compliance.  Gluten is not like other things we might keep our kids away from like sugar – even though a lot of sugar is bad for any child, maybe a little bit of sugar won’t hurt too much.  Not so with gluten and casein!!!  A little bit can be very harmful!  For this reason, we use only products that can certify they are gluten-free and casein-free.  For example, if a product with generally gluten free grains (such as rice flour) states that it has been produced in a facility that also produces wheat and that there may be trace amounts of wheat, we do not use the product!  One doctor I interviewed also instructed me to have a separate toaster for gluten-free breads and another for regular bread to eliminate any cross contamination! 

A note about your question – you stated that your daughter is not hyperactive.  My research shows that the GF/CF diet is extremely helpful to children with autism, whether they are hyperactive or not.  Many doctors and researchers believe that the peptides formed from the incomplete digestion of gluten and casein travel through the bloodstream and into the brain and attach to the opiate receptors in the brain.  This could be why so many parents report that their children seem addicted to wheat and milk products.  Many parents also say that as their children begin the GF/CF diet, they act as if they are coming out of a “brain fog.”  

I will admit that the GF/CF diet is extra work – homemade meals, no eating out at fast food restaurants, and always packing a lunch…..   However, I believe most parents who try it for their children (and even for themselves!) say that it is worth the effort!   

Blessings to you as you walk strongly forward in this journey!   

“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you.”  Numbers 6:23-24 NASB 

Just a note – I began the GF/CF diet with my son to be a support to him and have been following the GF/CF diet for almost three years now.  I must say that my health has considerably improved as a result.  It is now a life-long commitment for me!

July 1, 2008 at 8:07 pm 4 comments

Immune System Help!

Immune dysfunction is common in autism and can make children with autism more susceptible to catching colds and stomach viruses.  Of course, antibiotics do not work on viruses, but even with a bacterial infection, I prefer to avoid using antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary.  I have found there some solutions that help to strengthen the immune system and some which actually help the body fight off viruses.   

Our first line of defense is high-potency probiotics – 50 billion CFUs (colony forming units) per serving, at a minimum.  We actually routinely use at least 100 billion per day, and twice that when fighting off illness.  Probiotics are beneficial living microorganisms.  They promote gastrointestinal and immune system health.  They have also been proven to maintain healthy skin, respiratory systems, and heart. 

Some researchers say the digestive system is responsible for 70% of immune system function.  It makes sense then to supplement with products that enhance immune function and heal the gastrointestinal tract.  Colostrum is helpful with both the immune system and GI health.  Cod Liver Oil and Fish Oil are also beneficial.  Like probiotics, they are also appropriate for daily use.   

At the first sign of a cold or stomach virus, I give my son Elderberry extract, which has been proven through clinical study to prevent viruses from replicating in the body.  Using Elderberry extract has greatly diminished the length and severity of colds or stomach viruses for both my son and me.  When I see a cold coming on, in addition to the Elderberry extract, I give my son colloidal silver. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties and has prevented him from needing antibiotics many times.  To relieve cold symptoms like sneezing, runny and stuffy nose, and cough, we use Quertecin (has anti-inflamatory properties), Vitamin C (antioxidant and immune enhancer), and Stinging Nettles (an herb).  Another effective antiviral agent we use is Olive Leaf Extract.   

I keep all these items on-hand so that we are ready at the first sign of a cold or stomach virus.  Of course, you should always consult your child’s doctor before beginning anything.  And, make sure to separate anti-microbial supplements from probiotics by at least 3-4 hours.  And, I must say it is a great blessing to have a doctor who is knowledgeable in nutrition and natural treatments.  It was hard to find our wonderful doctor, but I kept trying and trying until I found one. 

May you and your children be blessed with health and healing! 

Matthew 14:14 “When He (Jesus) went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.”  NASB

  

June 29, 2008 at 7:52 pm 7 comments

Press On! (A Testimony About Probiotics)

Okay, I must confess!  I have been there – the place where I have felt that I just can’t press on another moment in the fight for healing for my son with autism.  When we first began working on the intestinal imbalances (yeast and harmful bacteria), the detox reactions were sometimes so severe that I wasn’t sure it was worth it!  Now that we are on the other side of it, I am grateful we pressed through because of the progress made.  We noticed significant improvement in my son’s behavior when we cleaned up his gut.  However, in the midst of the various treatments, I found myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained!   

One of the most difficult struggles I found was his “disagreeableness.”  Oh, I am sure that is not a word, but it describes his pre-detox and during-detox behavior best.  He would constantly argue and fuss about everything, sometimes it seemed just for the sake of being disagreeable.   

The first thing we did to address my son’s intestinal imbalances was to give him a high-quality and high-potency probiotic (beneficial bacteria).  At first, my son was so toxic that we could only give it to him every third day.  Any more than that would cause his face and ears to flush and would send him to the floor in one tantrum after another.  I think it was seeing this severe reaction that made me realize just how much he needed it!  After a couple of weeks, we increased the dose to every other day, then to every day.  Finally, we began a daily dose that was double and then triple the original dose.  During the time when there was “die-off” of the yeast and harmful bacteria, his behavior actually got much worse.  He walked around on his toes all day long, he argued at everything, or refused to talk, and he was aggressive and mean to everyone.

But, after the yeast and bacteria in my son’s intestines started dying off, his behavior improved!  He became less hyper, less frustrated, less aggressive, and, yes, he actually became “agreeable!” I felt like a huge weight had lifted!  I was absolutely amazed at how much intestinal health (or lack of it) can affect mood and behavior! 

Since that time, I have learned that the intestines (or the “gut”) is sometimes referred to as a “second brain” and has a big part in serotonin levels.  Also, yeast and bacteria put of toxic by-products, which enter the blood stream and can affect the brain.  No wonder  my son became agreeable when his gut became balanced! 

I believe probiotics are such an enormous part of creating and maintaining good gut health and, therefore, overall wellness.  I am now such a firm believer in them that when my second son was born, I began giving him high doses of probiotics (formulated for infants, and casein-free) when he was only hours old.  Our entire family now takes high doses of probiotics – we have seen their benefits and will always make them a part of our foundation for healthy living!  Press on!  Blessings to you and your family!

“For I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:14 NASB

 

 

June 10, 2008 at 10:14 pm 8 comments

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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.