I recently attended a medical conference sponsored by MAPS, which stands for Medical Association for Pediatric Special Needs. My practice does not have many pediatric special needs patients, however, as a family doctor, I wanted to learn more about Autism and other triggers that can negatively alter a child's health. What I learned not only helps for children, but I feel can apply to all of us, here is a summary of key points:
1. A common culprit that can lead to abnormal function is a disruption to a healthy gastrointestinal biome, our healthy flora. We are born with a sterile GI tract, and over time, depending on the exposures from breast milk, infant formulas, introduction to foods, and environmental toxin exposures, can all determine the health of our biome. The common recommendations from the speakers are to absolutely encourage breastfeeding, to not feed rice cereal as the first foods, but to puree organic fruits and vegetables as first foods, and to start taking a good quality probiotic prenatally and continue from infancy on.
2. Environmental toxins are everywhere, even in very clean parts of the world. Toxins have been found in umbilical cord blood and breast milk of every participant of any study looking at toxin exposures in these populations. The largest exposure to toxins is usually from eating toxin-containing foods, from chemicals, pesticides, and insecticides. The universal recommendation is to eat organic as often as you can, and to thoroughly rinse off produce with a good quality-rinsing agent, like the Trader Joe's brand fruit and vegetable wash. You can learn more about reducing your toxin load by going to the Environmental Working Group website, ecw.org.
3. Your immune system is getting bombarded by many stimulants, such as toxins, eating intolerant foods, and infections both acute and chronic. This leads to an increasing prevalence of autoimmune disorders, where the immune system gets confused and starts to attack the body as if it is foreign. To help the immune system work properly, do the above recommendations, as well as minimize antibiotic use; optimize micronutrients like Vitamin D, B vitamins, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10; uncover possible food intolerances and avoid these foods (common foods include gluten, dairy, soy, and corn); research possible underlying chronic infections and properly treat them; restore normal gastrointestinal function.
Please contact our office if you need any assistance implementing these healthy changes into your life.