When it comes to understanding autism in children, there is a lot to learn, especially for parents. Although we know more about the diagnosis than ever before, there are still a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to causes and symptoms. If you are the parent of a child with autism, or if you know someone who is, then you might be wondering if there is a connection between autism and diet. It is something that has been a topic of discussion in recent years as we learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children. And if you’ve been following our blog for a while, then you know that diet and nutrition are major elements that we cover regularly. After all, Simple Spectrum Supplements were formulated to address dietary deficiencies in children–but we will get into that later.
In this article, we are exploring research on the topic of autism and diet and will be sharing some tips that may help to improve common ASD symptoms in your child. In addition to learning more about autism and nutrition in general, we think that parents may find some useful tips here regarding what they can do when their child has been diagnosed with autism. These include things like recommendations for specific foods or supplements that may help ease symptoms or reduce certain triggers that may worsen symptoms.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Before we get into the nitty gritty of how diet can affect symptoms of autism, let’s take a step back and simply do a quick review of what the diagnosis is and what it means. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder or condition that causes sensory hypersensitivity in children and adults. Although an “Autism Spectrum Disorder” diagnosis is an umbrella term and is usually accompanied by an additional diagnosis of ASD level 1, 2, or 3 to distinguish the severity of the disorder, where level 1 would indicate “mild” symptoms and level 3 would indicate more “severe” symptoms.
Keep in mind that not all symptoms apply to each individual, however. Although symptoms can vary from person to person, some of the staple symptoms that children may have include:
- Not making eye contact with people
- Struggles in social interactions with peers and family members
- May display “stimming” behavior such as rocking back and forth or other repetitive movements or noises
- May prefer to play alone (rather than play with other children)
- Appears to be hypersensitive to noise and overstimulation
Although it is not certain what exactly causes ASD in children, evidence from various studies seems to point to genetic and environmental factors, with food being the most significant environmental factor–but don’t worry, we will touch on that in the next section.
Autism and Diet
If your child has ASD, there’s a good chance that you may have noticed some “picky eating” that extends beyond not wanting to eat their veggies. Many children with autism may repeat behaviors or have narrow, restricted interests when it comes to food (these are forms of repetitive and restrictive behaviors). Picky eating habits and poor food choices may lead to a number of GI issues or health issues caused by dietary deficiencies.
So why are gastrointestinal issues, or GI Issues, fairly common in individuals with ASD? Researchers say the gut-brain axis (GBA) acts as a bidirectional means of communication between the central nervous system and the enteric nervous system. In other words, this means that the brain can send messages to the gut, and the gut can send messages to the brain, linking the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral
Is There A Recommended Diet For Kids With Autism?
Most recommended diets for children with autism include lots of nutrient-packed foods such as fish, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and fresh fruits & veggies. But if you already are struggling to get your kid to eat to begin with, then it may seem impossible to get all the nutrients that come from these food groups. Instead of incorporating new foods, it may be helpful for some parents to simply eliminate or avoid foods with gluten, dairy, additives, soy, or GMO.
A diet that works for one child with autism may not work for another. This can be frustrating, but it's important to remember that every child is different. The most important thing to do when choosing a diet is to find one the child will eat. If your daughter or son doesn't like vegetables, try sneaking them into his meals in small amounts and gradually increase their volume over time.
Can Autism Nutritional Supplements Help Improve Symptoms?
Many parents have reported improved ASD symptoms in their children due to applied behavior therapy, sensory activities, and general support. However, one of the most effective and surprising ways parents have noticed improvements in their children is through nutritional support using products like Simple Spectrum Supplement or a DHA Supplement–especially if you are still struggling to get your child to eat healthier, nutrient-packed foods. The best thing about supplements is that it can be easily mixed into items your child already loves, such as apple sauce, yogurt, jello, and more.
At Simple Spectrum, we know that addressing nutritional deficiencies in children can lead to improved ASD symptoms, and that is why we made sure to include key nutrients while formulating our Nutritional Support Supplement. Our formula includes the top research-backed nutrients to support the healthy growth of brain cells, including:
- Choline, which boosts brain chemicals that form thoughts and memories.
- Coenzyme Q10 that supports an antioxidant that amps up brain energy production and promotes calm behavior.
- Inositol helps to calm mood via serotonin, our happy brain hormone.
- MSM, which helps the body clear waste products and support healthy levels of inflammation.
- Larch Arabinogalactan, a prebiotic, that supports healthy gut bacteria.
- HydroCurc (Turmeric/Curcumin) helps with inflammation.
While there is no one cure for autism, the best way to help your child is to try different things and see what works. Your doctor can help by prescribing medication or recommending dietary changes, but ultimately it's up to you and your family to find what helps. Thousands of parents have reported improved symptoms in their children with the help of our supplements. If you have any questions about our supplements, please do not hesitate to contact us!