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A Functional Medicine Approach to Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD, previously called “autism”) is a poorly understood family of related conditions. It is linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain for which the exact causes are unknown. However, it is now recognized that there is probably a combination of factors that lead to autism. Genetic factors seem to play a role, as well as a number of other possible environmental factors such as diet, digestive tract changes, mercury and chemical toxicity, overuse of antibiotics and viral infections.

Sanoviv Medical Institute provides lifestyle recommendations for many conditions and their focus  is to support a natural approach to improving symptoms.

This is the first in a series of blogs to share the functional medicine approach to the Autism Spectrum.

Specific Dietary Recommendations

  • Eliminate gluten-containing grains (e.g., wheat, barley, rye) and casein in milk products. Following a strict, gluten and casein-free diet can help improve symptoms related to autism. However, it may take up to 8 months for noticeable changes to occur.
  • Strictly avoid food additives, dyes, preservatives (such as monosodium glutamate or MSG), pesticides and artificial sweeteners (sucralose/Splenda, saccharin, aspartame).
  • It is essential that the diet contains fresh, whole, unprocessed foods, including plenty of vegetables and fruits. Processed foods, caffeine, and sugar must be avoided.
  • Rule out other food allergies through an Elimination Diet or Simplified Elimination Diet.

Specific Lifestyle Recommendations

  • Get a minimum of 20-30 minutes of sunshine daily to improve vitamin D status.
  • Avoid exposure to toxins (gasoline, paint, solvents, cigarette smoke, cleaners, bug sprays, heavy metals, air pollution).
  • Get a complete dental evaluation and consider removal of any mercury-amalgam fillings by a biological dentist who will follow the proper protocol.
  • Avoid drugs (if possible), especially antibiotics, acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin and prescription drugs.
  • Avoid thimerosol-containing vaccines.

Sanoviv Medical Institute is a state-of-the-art, fully-licensed hospital and health resort that offers a unique blend of conventional, alternative, and integrative programs to help maintain your good health and to treat a wide range of diseases.

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