It’s been very well known for a while now that the immune system plays very large role in the health of a child. What we have come to find out is that kids with autism tend to have a very large dysfunctions in their immune system. An overactive, or underactive immune system can results in a variety of issues for these kids that we will discuss. I have also found that this particular subject is not well known or understood by many parents and doctors.
This blog post is going to break down a recent research article that I had read over this topic. I will also share a with a few nutritional and supplement recommendations from this study that we have used in clinical practice to help kids with ASD.
The review article we will be discussing is in the picture below, and I believe it explains many of the dysfunctions in the immune system very well. In this blog I have taken pictures from my tablet with the areas that I believe to be important for these kids! I am sure there is other insights in this paper that I have overlooked, so if you read the study and have further insight please share! After each picture I will comment on it! So let’s dive into it!
In the first portion they talked about how the immune system plays a very important role in the development. What I found clinically is it if we don’t get the immune system functioning better and get the inflammation down, it is nearly impossible to help redevelop weak areas of the brain.
In the study they go on list examples of common immune system dysfunction signs that kids with autism have (allergies, asthma, rashes, etc). It also states the autoimmune disorders are much more common in this population. What that means is it their own immune system is overactive and is breaking down or attacking their own body (this is known as an autoimmune disorder). further in the study they will discuss how the childs immune system is even breaking down their gut and their own brain tissues.
Simply put the immune system has different parts of it, and all of these parts have to remain in balance. What happens in these kids with autism is that two portions of their immune system (TH1 and TH2) gets out of balance. When these kids immune systems get out of balance it makes them more likely to get viruses and illnesses. It also pushes them towards increased inflammation.
Here they talk about how many kids with autism are found have antibodies against gluten And gliadin. These are proteins found in wheat products that many kids have sensitivities to. Clinically this is one of the most important things to remove from a child’s diet to help the brain and body to develop I found. Especially your cerebellum!
It also states in many of these kids have deficiencies in vitamin D. Vitamin D is very important for immune system function and regulation. If there is a deficiency in vitamin D it can result in chronic infections!
The important thing is to have the vitamin D levels checked, this can be done with a very simple at home test that is very cost effective. The reason why you want to test the levels before supplementation is because if you get increased levels of vitamin D it can pull calcium from your bones and weaken them! By testing it first you can give appropriate amounts of vitamin D and then retest after a few months to make sure you are giving correct dosages for that patient!
As we get further into the study it also mentions that many ASD kids also have sensitivities to casein, which is the main protein in dairy products. They also note sensitivities to eggs and peanuts. When I run food sensitivities in my office these are by far the most common sensitivities along with gluten. When you remove the foods that kids are sensitive to, their inflammation levels go down, their immune system function gets better, and many of their behavioral symptoms improve.
Glutathione is an extremely important antioxidant. Antioxidants help your body to get rid of harmful toxins, chemicals, and dead cell. It is mainly responsible for helping to clear out unwanted waste from your body.
If you cannot clear this build up of these toxins out of your body it makes your immune system overwork, and creates an overactive immune system. This is why it’s important to make sure that their detoxification systems and their glutathione levels are appropriate. Many times this can be done with a simple urinary test at home. It can also typically be improved by giving the correct supplements to support this system.
Also interesting to note is that when the the immune system gets out of balance you often see increased behavioral symptoms in kids. They also state that autism is much more common when born to mothers who have immune system disorders. common immune system disorders are auto immune disorders like type one diabetes, Hashimoto’s, Chrons disease, and ulcerative of colitis.
With an increased TH1 response it makes your immune system over reactive and produces more inflammation. Inflammation in the correct amount is a good thing because it helps us get rid of harmful infections, chemicals, and toxins. When it is over reactive and to much inflammation is present it creates a scenario where autoimmune disorders can develop!
This increased immune system activation brings excessive inflammation with it that can damage brain tissues. When kids develop autoimmune disorders what that means is that their own immune systems starts to attack their own body by mistake!
This study also reports the kids with autism have lower amounts of DHA. DHA is a fatty acid found in large amounts in fish, it is very important for brain health and helps to decrease inflammation. Some studies I have read states that DHA can cross the blood brain barrier and actually have an anti-inflammatory affect in the brain. That means it can be used as a very useful tool to decrease inflammation from sensitivities and Auto immunities. We use this in the office to help kids who we suspect have excess inflammation in the gut or in the brain.
Zinc is one of the most important things for your immune system to stay healthy, and function well. It is also important to make sure that your zinc and copper levels are balanced. In kids with autism we find an increase in copper and a decrease in zinc. The good thing is this can be tested very easily with an at home test. Making sure your zinc levels are appropriate is vital for proper immune system function and should be checked in kids with autism.
In previous blogs I’ve written about how to create healthy cerebellum, and how to decrease inflammation that. Check out that blog at https://limitlesschild.blog/2020/04/30/dietary-and-lifestyle-consideration-for-a-healthy-cerebellum-brain/
Inflammation in your cerebellum can create balance and coordination issues, eye tracking issues, language development issues, impulsivity dysfunctions, behavioral regulation difficulties, and much more. The reason for this is because your cerebellum makes up about 80% of the neurons in your brain. It is responsible for coordinating every action of your brain and body. It makes everything look smooth and efficient.
According to the study some of the best ways to improve your immune system function and decrease inflammation are:
- Balancing your TH1 and TH2 responses to make sure your immune system is not over active and producing unnecessary inflammation.
- Taking the most common sensitive foods out of your diet. This includes but is not limited to wheat products, dairy products, eggs, and peanuts. Kids can have many more sensitivities than this, and that is why I always recommend food sensitivity panel to be done. This allows you to only take out the food that they’re sensitive to and the ones that are causing them issues.
- Taking supplements to improve the glutathione levels if necessary, supplementing with high-quality DHA supplements, testing their zinc levels and if necessary supplementing with it.
- Making sure that the gut is healthy, and they have no yeast or bacterial overgrowth’s present.
Has anyone else found anything dietary wise that has helped your autistic child? If so please comment below so other parents can find alternative sources to help their children!