Monday, January 14, 2008

Autism's Link to Nutrition and Gut Health

--Feature: "Life w/Fyfe, Confessions of a Holistic Mom"--

This past March I gave birth to a boy. My first child is a girl, and I remember when she was born that I fell in love with her so completely that I thought I could never have the space in my heart for another child. Of course, as any mother who has given birth to more than one child knows, the love appears magically. But this is not about the infinite love mothers hold in their hearts for their children, but rather about the special concerns that mothers may have for their sons, especially when it comes to autism and autistic spectrum disorders. According to The New England Center for children, autism occurs in nearly 2 of every 500 births and is 3-4 times more likely in boys. It is increasing by 10-17% annually.

I’ve been interested in how gut health correlates with our psychological and developmental health, and books like Gut and Psychology Syndrome:Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, and Schizophrenia by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, point out the connection between leaky gut and the numerous developmental disorders that are affecting children today. Of course, there is the theory (to which I subscribe) that vaccinations supply the first injury to the precious gut health of infants by injecting thimerosal into the blood stream, which causes damage to the intestinal lining. Undigested proteins then permeate through the intestine wall, which causes an immune response, leading to allergies and other problems.

Because of this information, I’ve decided to defer on vaccinations, and I’ve been careful to introduce foods to my son that are easily digestible to protect his gut health. Until recently, I was unaware that infants are actually unable to digest grains due to the lack of amylase (an enzyme required to digest grains and starches) until around the age of one year. Of course, standard nutritional advice from pediatricians holds that mothers begin feeding their babies a grain-based cereal beginning around four months. On of my son’s first foods was egg yolks from pastured chickens for their choline and vitamin D for brain development (it is rare that individuals have allergies to the yolks, but rather the albumin in the whites is a potential allergen). Although I nurse him, I supplement with a raw milk formula which can be found at Clean, raw milk from pastured cows is nature’s perfect food (see I also supplement with cod liver oil, which up until the 1940s was standard to give to infants for its richness in vitamins A and D.

Finally, as antibiotics destroy the good bacteria in our intestines, I’ve been working to ensure that he doesn’t need them. When he was recently diagnosed with fluid in his ear I used an essential oil blend containing eucalyptus and rosemary blended with almond oil around his ear. When I brought him back to the doctor three days later, his ear was fine. I’ve done this with my daughter a few times as well, so my doctor is used to me. Essential oils are wonderful tools to protect health, and I use them at the first sign of a cold or cough. They smell wonderful, too. Like good food, they increase the pleasure of life.

Lisa Fyfe is a contributing columnist for The Lohasian. Her column, “Life with Fyfe” provides a perspective on the everyday life of a modern holistic mom, as well as provides an insider look into best strategies for natural health and healing for the whole family.

Lisa is a Reiki Master, and an expert in Essential Oil Healing, and has spent the last several years extensively researching traditional diet and nutrition, with a focus on “whole,” locally grown and raised natural foods. She is a married mother of two children, Sophie (4 1/2) and Max (6months). Lisa approaches mothering as her highest calling, and believes that all mothers are natural healers and enjoys helping mothers (and others) help their children through the use of a variety of natural modalities.

Lisa is a distributor of Young Living Essential Oils, and her website can be found at

No comments: