Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Relationship Between Food Allergies & Autism

If a child is on the autism spectrum of disorders, they have food allergies. Period. The two go together. It doesn’t necessarily go the other way, obviously – the presence of allergies certainly doesn’t mean there is a developmental delay present. For general developmental delays, and even in some cases of Autism, the question is, “Do the allergies cause the developmental problem, or are the allergies just a co-existing problem?” In some cases, food allergies, or sensitivities, can cause the developmental delay. The body’s reaction to foods can so affect the child’s development, ability of the brain to function, and nervous system that it can actually cause the developmental delay.

However, in other cases, it may be a co-existing factor manifesting from the improperly operating (and overloaded) immune system and other underlying physical factors (toxic overload, yeast overgrowth, leaky gut, heavy metals, poorly functioning detoxification pathways) that are also causing the developmental delay and/or autism. Allergies stem from the same causes that autism, ADD/ADHD, and asthma stem from, so either way, the underlying factors are critical whether you want to heal from autism or only from allergies.

Although having food allergies or sensitivities is common in infants and their still very immature immune system easily gets overwhelmed, it is possible that as their immune system develops as they get older, they will “outgrow” the food allergy. However, taking every measure to support their immune system and not further overwhelm it with additional toxins is a very wise idea. A few common signs of food allergies/sensitivities, especially in babies, are reflux, projectile vomiting, crying for hours (colicy), raspy breathing, recurring ear infections, diarrhea and/or constipation, changes in poop color particularly to green, and eczema and rashes.

Something to be aware of – if you are finding your child has food allergies or sensitivities to many different things, be on the look out for developmental delays. It’s a sign that the child has many toxins in their system, aren’t clearing them out at an adequate rate, and their immune system is overloaded.  

So it’s kind of a, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” question. Do allergies cause developmental delay or is it part of the autism or delay itself? Either way, the food allergies cause great irritation to the body and interfere with brain development and function and will hinder any therapies or treatment toward the healing of autism or developmental delay if they are not discovered and dealt with.

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