Research has shown that 60 – 70% of our immune system lies within our intestinal tract and its digestive organs (aka: the gut).  Which means that “the gut” is the largest immune system within our body. WOW!  What that meant to me is that if my kids’ gut are dysfunctional, their immune system is going to be compromised.  And they are going to have trouble fighting off viruses and other bacterial infections that they may be exposed to at any given time. No wonder they had colds, the stomach flu and coughs all winter long.

Issues my kids have faced with their gut are bacteria, malabsorption, diarrhea, constipation and leaky gut syndrome.  These are all symptoms of a dysfunctional or damaged gut.  Since their gut was not functioning normally, the nutrients from their diet weren’t being properly absorbed and utilized by their body/brain.  Our gut and brain communicate with each other.  Every known neurotransmitter in the brain also lies within the gut.

So, it’s the chicken vs. the egg here. Do we first bring all the necessary vitamins, minerals, fatty acids on board OR try to heal the gut? Well, if you don’t heal the gut, all the supplements you give will not be fully utilized and it will be money flushed down the toilet. Literally.  BUT, I found it beneficial to start the supplements AND heal the gut at the same time. My son with autism responded to Super Nu Thera with the high dose of B6 and magnesium without any gut healing measures in place. So something was getting through, which gave me incentive to do both together.

On the advice of my DAN! doctor, the first step I took to start gut healing measures was the gf/cf diet.  I found better results when I reduced my sons’ sugar intake.  Sugar compromises our immune system. All forms of sugar, fructose (fruit sugar), honey, etc. will significantly decrease the white blood cells’ ability to engulf and destroy bacteria (fight infection).  Other gut healing measures we put in place were probiotics, digestive enzymes, zinc and curcumin.  My sons truly benefited from digestive enzymes. Their stools became more normal and constipation was becoming a thing of the past.

Once their guts started to function more efficiently, inflammation was reduced and cognition improved. I noticed improvements with each new supplement introduced since their gut was able to absorb it better. Healing my son’s guts is by far the longest road I’ve traveled on in our autism journey. I believe it’s one of the most important and yet, difficult thing to do in biomedical treatments. And most importantly, I couldn’t have managed all the information out there and do this on my own. I can’t stress enough the importance of working with a DAN! doctor for your child’s biomedical treatments.

I will be adding more pages under Gut that addresses yeast, bacteria, and leaky gut and my experience with those bad boys.  Check back for more information soon.

31 Responses

  1. Thanks for your great website. Even though I’ve read and researched a lot regarding Biomedical treatments for my son you have an excellent way of explaning things.

  2. hello,
    Thanks for this great information you are sharing, i would like to know how i can tell if my sons with autism have Gut problems, they seemed to have good bowel movement no diaria ,constipation.
    is there a specific test to do in order to see if there is a problem with their gut?
    they both have focus and behaviroul problem with no socializing at all.
    thanks in advance

    • The lab that can look at any maldigestion, yeast, bacteria, parasites, is the Comprehensive Digestive Stool analysis. They may not have gut issues (which is awesome if true) but may have other biomedical issues like heavy metals, viruses, etc.

  3. Hi Joanne,
    I am always a fan of your blog. I love your approach in trying to help your son with ADHD and autism. My son has ADHD and lots of food sensitivities, and he’s also in GFCF diet, soy free, egg free as well.

    Recently I read a book called BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE by Elaine Gottschal that recommend a diet removing grains and sugar to heal our gut called SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet). It’s a step further than GFCF.

    The idea is to ‘starve’ the gut pathogen in our body that’s causing the leaky gut syndrome. By starving and killing the gut pathogen, we heal our gut slowly. Many people found that after one to two years on the diet, they can start eating the food that they were sensitive to (including gluten and dairy).

    The diet sounds promising, it has helped lots of autistic children recovered. Just wondering if you have any input on this one.

    • I’ve heard a lot of good things about SCD diet for the kids out there that are in need of something more than GFCF. I personally have not tried this diet. My experience with my kids and their guts/food allergies was that their guts needed to heal. Going GFCF helped tremendously, but they still were reacting to the replacement foods which told me their guts were still leaky. I went the route of digestive enzymes to aid in breaking down all the food groups they ate and that, along with gut healing supplements was what worked for us. Each family has to choose the course of biomedical options that work best for them and their child. I am a believer in eating whole foods, a good variety, rotating them so the body doesn’t develop a food allergy to any particular food. Best wishes in your future endeavor with SCD!

  4. I have a three year old daughter with autism and weve been working with a DAN! for almost a year. TRYING TO HEAL THE GUT is hard. I have her on trienza 2 caps per meal, 400 biliion CFU’s of probiotics twice a day, enhansa. She is STILL VERY constipated. I’m not sure what else to do. CSA showed clostridia, strep. Her neurotypical twin has constipation also. I recently started dosing with oxypowder also. I mean really………

    Your site is so awesome. Sounds like my life for about a year now. You have awesome info and you translate the life of biomedical extremely well!

    • Thanks so much Sonya! Are you using a probiotic that is free of strep strains? Also, what are you doing to treat the bacteria? Anything other than Enhansa? I love Biocidin, it helped my sons with bacteria issues. I also use vitamin C and magnesium to help move things alone with the constipation. Oxypowder worked, but to keep things flowing, I use the vit. C and magnesium daily. Has you DAN doc done anything to treat clostridia?

  5. Yes we are using D-Lactate free custom probiotics. Def no strep!!!! He isnot doing any antibx to treat bacteria for now. We just sent off a urine OAT . How much oxypowder do you use at a time. I’ve given her two capsules at a time without any real success. I have to open them up so its much harder to give her supplements. I must say I stumbled upon your blog and I find it a wealth of info. I’m going back thru your blog posts from 2010. Awesome.

    • When we did Oxypowder, we gave at bedtime, with a full 8 oz glass of lemon water. If two didn’t work on a 3 yr old, I’m amazed…did it say you can open them up? I used 1 capsule on my son when he was 10 yrs. old. I didn’t want to give him diarrhea, he was in school. But it helped move things along. We are treating my younger son with S. Boulardii, Biocidin, digestive enzymes, and probiotics for his bacteria right now. Read my blog on Colostrum…that may help your child. It really helped my son with constipation.

  6. iTS SOOOOO hard to get her to drink a whole 8 oz at one time……she takes drinks here and there! and by the time she gets around to it the oxypowder collects at the bottom of the cup! The capsules as you know ar ginormous and shes only 3 so she would not swallow those. Coupled with oral sensory issues I don’t know when she will be abl to swallow pllls.

  7. Hi,
    You are so right saying that healing the gut is the hardest thing to achieve. Just a quick question.. How long did it take to clear your sons digestive system with biomedical intervention? I understand that every child is different. It has been two years and unfortunately even with the help of our DAN doctor, our sons stools are not right. We will continue to persist but it can get frustrating. I hope that we find the best combination soon to heal his gut so all the supplements can start to be absorbed properly.

    • It’s such a long journey and we still see signs of regression in the area of my sons’ digestion. I’d say that after 2 years, we got it to a place that was healthy, but have sporadic bouts with bacteria/yeast flare ups. Diet plays a key role in it all and that’s the hardest part to stay on top of all the time. Best wishes in your journey! Joanne

  8. Thanks for your reply. We have currently seen our son regress, in particular he seems to roam around with no purpose, especially when we are out at a friend’s place. Did your son ever ‘roam/run’ around aimlessly? If so, will this improve? Looking forward to your response..;)

    • Hi Sarah…no, my son didn’t roam around aimlessly. Have you done a stool lab on him lately to see what might be causing his inconsistent stools and symptoms of regression? The gut is usually the cause for most behaviors due to the gut/brain connection. Have you ever tried digestive enzymes to help his digestion to aid in getting the nutrients/supplements absorbed? I had great success with enzymes and am going back to them now. Your son can always improve, it’s finding the cause or remedy to help him. I’m going to start my guy on Diflucan this week for a 10 day trial period. We have never treated him for yeast, but he’s having “yeasty” symptoms and his recent HBOT treatments might have caused a flare up. It’s a constant battle, but so worth the effort when we see their improvements!

  9. Hi Joanne,
    I really enjoy your blog and have learned so much. We have a 7 year old son who has adhd. We are seeing a DAN doctor and are on several supplements including a 3 day rotation of methylb12 shots. I was wondering about the probiotics you use. I thought you mentioned something about not using one with strep in it? what do you mean by that? My son is using Kirkman Pro Bio Gold which contains streptococcus thermophilus. Is that okay?

    • We use Kirkman Pro Bio Gold too. It depends on what your DAN doctor thinks your son needs…and if he is not a strep kiddo. There’s a strep lab test you can ask your DAN about, I’m not sure the name or if it’s in a overall panel you run…but your DAN should know by symptoms too if your son exhibits behaviors caused by strep. Glad you enjoy the blog!!

  10. Wow, I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog. I have an 8 year old son with ADHD and have been “controlling” his diet for some time now and have just started down the bio medicine path to heal his gut and balance his system, in the hope of getting him off Ritalin. Thank you so much for all your research and the information you are providing. I think I’ll be referring back to you throughout my journey. I’m currently sitting by the phone waiting for our bio med doctor to call with our first lot of blood results.

  11. What us ‘super nu Thera ?
    I followed boomed for 4 yrs believing strongly in mind gut connection but after thousands of dollars spent on compounded supps, digestive enzymes and probiotics with no noticeable benefits I am loosing faith unfortunately. My son who has autism has had continual gut ( and pooing) problems .

    • SuperNuThera is a multi-vitamin made by Kirkmanlabs. Have you run any labs on your son to pinpoint his gut issues? The Comprehensive Stool Analysis can determine the levels of bacteria, bad yeast, and good yeast levels as well as any parasites. No supplement or diet can be of benefit if the gut is not healthy and absorbing the nutrients. Zinc is a good gut healer and if your son has diarrhea, he is losing minerals like zinc.

  12. Hi Joanne

    We are in que waiting for DAN appointment in May 2013.

    Just got my son’s CSA result from The Great Plains Lab. It says he has ‘NONE’ Microscopic Yeast and ‘No Yeast Isolated’ at Normal Flora.

    Does it mean he has no yeast overgrowth?

    While his Parasitology/Microscopy says ‘NONE Ova or Parasites’ for both sample 1 & 2.

    Is this mean he has no parasites?

    Lysozyme level is 1770 (ref range is <=600) and Lactoferrin levl is 18,4 (ref range is <7.3)

    Secretory IgA is 899 (ref range is 51-204)

    While waiting for month May to come, is there anything i can do for my son?

    Please help…

    Thank you, thank you, thank you….

  13. Do heavy doses of colostrum, probiotics and prebiotics (inulin and FOS). Literally, all you need to heal gut. It’s not quite as hard as people make it seem… when you have these. Without them, darn near impossible.

    Colostrum alone may be able to do it, actually, but I recommend all three.

    If you have herxheimer (detox) reactions, take some bentonite clay at night and/or on an empty stomach (always with lots of water). Colostrum can really cause herx’s to those with dystopic guts, but that absolutely means it’s working. Systemic enzymes (and to a small extent, green foods/superfoods) but bentonite is strong enough by itself. And lots of water.

    Avoiding carbs is dangerous and unsafe (although so is eating them with overgrowth of bad stuff). So do the above-mentioned stuff. If you do it during a fast, don’t fast for too long. I recommend eating normally during. Nutrients are at a premium with impaired digestion, and will encourage faster healing when present, so don’t avoid them too much (if at all). Eat!

    I like to do a heavy stretch of colostrum, pre’s and pro’s, etc, and then stop for a month or more so I can see where I am.

    Don’t avoid proteins and fats (or carbs!). You need all three, and lots of them.

  14. Which magnesium did you use for constipation? my baby is 4 years old. what was the dose? I have similar question with vit c also.
    thanks for the information.

    • Magnesium oxide is good for constipation but can cause cramping and diarrhea if too much is used. I like Magnesium Glycinate…it’s gentler. Depends on kids weight, but always start low on dosage and go slow. 50-100 mg/day perhaps? Consult a doctor.

  15. One thing that helps my son if he becomes constipated is movicol and we get it on prescription, it is very well tolerated by most children on the spectrum, trust me my son is super sensitive to many products and this has been a real winner for him, a lot of the children like the chocolate flavour. The ingredients can be slightly different on each packet so check which is the most suitable flavour to give. Since my child developed real gut problems I had to switch from white rice to brown rice, white rice is better tolerated but when you have a candida problem and can not tolerate much the brown is satisfactory as there if good fibre in it and keeps the bowels moving. Some children on the autism spectrum can not tolerate probiotics, at first the child will seem to be making good progress but then you will notice that they can’t tolerate carbs very well and this is what happens to some children on the autism spectrum. My doctor also told me to give aloe vera and this was a real nightmare for my child, he would scream, hold his stomach and slap his head until the symptoms of the aloe wore off which is why I now always try less than a pinch of salt worth’s when I try new products on him.

  16. […] Gut – Healing Autism & ADHD – […]

  17. […] Gut – Healing Autism & ADHD – […]

  18. Also look into seekinghealth’s multivitamins!!! ( they relieved my son’s constipation!! also, their multi’s have folate not folic acid. two different things!

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