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Donna Pessin: Healing the Gut in Autism

Unique healing By Donna Pessin

“The answer to autism lies in the gut,” say many scientists, researchers, and well-respected health care practitioners. But is it really that simple, and how, exactly, do you heal your child’s gut?

For the last 18 years I have been studying gut, or bowel health. My entire nutritional practice has focused on healing the body by healing the bowel. I’ve been on “this bandwagon” for a very long time, and I have acquired an enormous amount of information and experience about how to heal the bowel, heal the body, and heal disease. The results have been remarkable.

My experience with children with autism is that they indeed have very unhealthy bacterial environments in their bowel. As it relates to autism, for example, a healthy bowel increases vitamin B-12 levels, as the bacteria in the bowel play a key role in the absorption and creation of this nutrient. Vitamin B-12 is needed for neurotransmitter production and neurological function. Additionally, there is a growing sense among autism researchers that infectious exposures may be a major contributing factor to autism and its related disorders. A healthy bowel prevents yeast, parasites, fungal infections, and bacterial infections, like staph, strep, Lyme’s. etc., from invading the body and creating toxic, nerve-damaging side-effects. A healthy bowel digests lactose, gluten, and other foods without allergic reactions. A healthy bowel eliminates acids (which hereby also refers to toxins/heavy metals/pesticides/chemicals, etc) from your child’s body so they are not re-absorbed, where they trigger damage to his or her nervous system/brain, and create numerous symptoms.

A healthy bacterial environment can be created in your child, but my experience is that due to many misunderstandings, current protocols are failing to accomplish this. 

Some select and keys concepts that I have uncovered that will help you attain success in healing your child’s bowel are:

  • Probiotics, which are recommended for improving bowel health, cannot quickly heal your child’s bowel. It takes time—usually two to three years—to create a healthy bacterial environment in the bowel. And this only occurs if very large amounts are administered (in my practice, we routinely use upwards to 900 billion or more organisms/day.)
  • Probiotics do not immediately improve symptoms of autism. Rather, they are a healing agent that eventually eliminates these symptoms. My autistic clients are given “crutches,” like very large amounts of methyl vitamin B-12 and colloidal silver (a natural antibiotic/anti-fungal) to “lean on,” as these can improve neurological function while they heal. Many programs rely solely on these crutches, and failure is very high with this approach. Additionally, I routinely advise very large, and therefore effective, yet extremely safe, amounts of crutches. I find this is a necessity for results.
  • Your child’s stools should never be soft, mushy, loose, skinny, green, yellow, less than 1x/day, or worse, more than 2x/day. Many of you have observed chronic intestinal problems and/or diarrhea in your children. Some experts suggest that autism causes diarrhea, but I insist that it is just the opposite; that diarrhea (i.e. an unhealthy bowel) causes autism.

My experience, as well as that of researchers, is that children with autism have very high levels of acidity, stored both in their organs, and free-floating in their blood. Un-eliminated acids are dangerous, and your child’s body reacts to protect him or her from these. One example of a reaction to these acids is the utilization of oxygen to buffer them. When oxygen is used to protect your child from the imminent danger of an overly acidic bloodstream, the resultant lowered levels of oxygen deprive their brains this necessary element for proper function and development. Some studies have found that over 85% of children with autism have low blood oxygen levels. Another response to un-eliminated acids is the release of inflammatory chemicals. These too buffer these acids and reduce the imminent danger of their presence. A neurologist at John’s Hopkins found neurological inflammation in 100% of the patients he tested with autism.

Some select and key concepts that I have uncovered that will help you attain success in healing your child’s body/eliminating these acids and increasing oxygen levels and lowering inflammation, are:

  • It can take several years of aggressive probiotic usage before your child’s bowel can eliminates acids effortlessly. During this process, my clients are given extremely large amounts of bentonite clay. Bentonite grabs these acids and excretes them from your child’s body.
  • Vitamins and other supplements, drugs, exercise, food allergy diets, low carbohydrate diets, alkaline diets, fasting, organic/pesticide-free foods, detoxification programs, laxatives, enemas, chiropractic, and acupuncture are “crutches” that do not eliminate acids from your child’s body (nor do they heal his or her bowel).
  • Diet will not heal your child’s bowel or eliminate acids, either. When wheat, dairy, and other foods are avoided, and fewer carbohydrates are eaten, the effect of this diet is a gradual worsening of your child’s’ bowel health (as is true with antibiotic usage as well). You have been led to believe this diet is “the answer” because these diets have the effect of “moving” the acids out of your child’s blood stream (where symptoms are triggered) into his or her organs (which causes damage, and eventually, greater disease). In other words, the solution to a dirty kitchen is not to shove the trash into your cabinets, as these diets do, but to eliminate it from your house. My program accomplishes this.

If you have been trying to heal your child’s bowel and/or have taken steps to treat bacterial/fungal and other infections; and if you are aware of the toxicity problems in your child and have been trying to address these, you have made great progress in finding the answer to your child’s issues.  I am offering a path beyond this, a different path, based on similar ideas, but on a whole new level, with a whole new level of results, as well.

Donna Pessin, Certified Nutritional Consultant, and author of “Unique Healing,” developed this program many years ago, which cured her of her “incurable” autoimmune disease, alcoholism, and severe food allergies after all other approaches had failed. For the last 18 years she has been passionately devoted to helping others in her successful private practice in Boulder, Colorado. She consults with clients from all over the world.  For more information please visit www.UniqueHealing.com., and also watch my video on autism at www.YouTube.com/UniqueHealing.

Lee Silsby logo 09 The treatment category is sponsored by Lee Silsby, the leader in quality compounded medications for autism.

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I think my 7 year old daughter has pandas she's been ticking 3 months . Please help

There is a connection between IBS, CFS, fibromyalgia, Gulf War Syndrome and autism suggesting that all are the result of the brain showing abnormal responses to stimuli. Further to this, just as the gut-brain link is thought to be important in IBS, so too is research demonstrating its importance and that of serotonin function in autism.

In a study of almost 12,000 Gulf war veterans, they were found to have a much higher incidence of IBS, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), as diagnosed by their physicians, than the general population. Studies have also shown that those with Gulf war syndrome have “visceral hypersensitivity similar to patients with the irritable bowel syndrome”, meaning their intestines are more sensitive to normal stimuli, just as those of IBS patients are.

Source: http://www.ei-resource.org/illness-information/environmental-illnesses/irritable-bowel-syndrome-%28ibs%29/

According to Michael Gershon, chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center; a neurogastroenterology expert and author of The Second Brain, the same genes that make synapses form in your brain are also involved in the formation of synapses in your gut. Hence, if these genes are affected in autism, it could help explain both the GI abnormalities suffered by so many kids with autism, as well as the elevated levels of gut-produced serotonin in their blood.

http://www.ecovitality.co.za/2011/05/your-gut-your-second-brain/

@ Donna L.

Thank you so much for your kind words Donna L!
May the pursue of health and happiness become a reality for all of our kids.

Love and Gratitude,
Erika-

@ more info needed

If you choose to not use colloidal silver, that is OK. She does however, opposes antibiotics.
She believes (and in my own humble, respectful opinion i happened to agree) that antibiotics are extremely toxic for most of our kids. You might not turn blue with them but the use and abuse of antibiotics are a big part of the reason of why we are 'here' with our kids.

What you can do, is continue with the rest of the protocol pursuing the final goal of achieving an alkaline body. It is just that without some of the crutches it will take you a bit longer to reach that goal, but that does not mean you are not going to get there. Make sense?

The moment you reach an alkaline body and 'level out' your gut flora, the body kicks into homeostasis and from then on it will get rid of the pathogens itself.

Easier said than done, i know. But it is NEVER going to happen if you do not balance the gut flora first. Which means, like somebody mentioned below, let's get back to the basics, let's heal our kids' guts firsts.


I hope that helps.

It is very important to return to breast-feeding and give the
babies the best chance by establishing good gut flora from
the beginning of a child's life.(I posted this for new parents.)
Formulas are poor substitutes and will not help the baby to build a strong gut immune system (transfer of maternal antibodies to babies gut system).Also need to switch to
organic milk & meat that is growth hormone free and antibiotic free.Reading the the labels and keeping the food
natural as much as possible (no or minimal processing,additive free,colour free etc.)Introduction of formulas were a major health-care mistake,that we are going
to pay for (rising IBS,rising diabetes).

John and Erika, thank you for sharing your personal stories. We have tried most everything under the sun for my child, with quite limited success. You have given me some much-needed hope. Thank you.

John,
You can review previous posts on this thread by clicking the >> at the bottom of the comments.

Can you or Erika give us an idea of an alternative to colloidal silver that would be in keeping with Donna's protocol? Without a means to get rid of the bacteria that causes PANDAS and other problems, and if she is opposed to prescription antibiotics, what's left?

@John

Thanks for your reply and I hear what you are saying. In retrospect, my comments toward the author's post were overly harsh and I didn't mean to single her out.

Like you, I have tried to leave no stone unturned in my son's recovery. He is doing fantastic and just finished kindergarten. I think the sweetest words I ever heard were at his last IEP when his teacher said, "he's going to be just fine". It's a far cry from where we were two years ago. We tried many things, but it was always with a methodic, mechanistic approach using testing and quantifiable observations to validate treatment effectiveness.

Using this approach we honed in on his gut, he appears to have a celiac-like disorder that has severely damaged his small intestine (although he is negative for celiac antibody markers). This led to systemic inflammation, malabsorption and maldigestion (causing malnutrition) and bacterial overgrowth. All contributed to his neurological symptoms. His remarkable recovery was brought on by removing gluten, adding digestive enzymes, supplementing meals with an elemental formula requiring minimal digestion, and judicious use of probiotics. (The nearly 1 trillion organisms/day discussed in post is insanely high in my opinion, and may not be safe for those with maldigestion.)

I tell anyone who asks (and many do from word of mouth) about what we have done, how we did it, and how to interpret test results. Although I spent two years attending conferences, reading medical journals, and learning organic chemistry; the thought of charging people money for what we have learned is disturbing. As such, when it appears that someone is saying, “pay me money and I’ll tell you how to fix your kid” my BS detector goes on full alert. If they were really that interested in fixing my kid, they’d tell me how to do it for free. I have no problem with professionals charging for their time such as in consultations; we all have bills to pay. However, asking people to buy their book to learn the secret stinks.

Hello,

I would like to chime in on this one.

We have been working with Donna for a little less than a year now. My child was diagnosed with very severe autism almost 4 years ago; a diagnosis i agreed with. His injury and subsequent behavior, not to mention the gut issues, were horrific.

About a year and a half ago we also suspected, and our DAN doctor confirmed, that we were dealing a very difficult case of PANDAS as well. My son's OCD was so debilitating that nobody from the family was able to function.

We attended all the PANDAS lectures we could possibly attend and read everything out there about it (which is not much). Then, we began contacting parents in the PANDAS forum to learn what they were doing.

Many kids with autism also have PANDAS, but many PANDAS kids do NOT have autism; so it was important to us to talk to parents of both types of kids. With the parents that have kids with PANDAS and not autism, we noticed that for the most past they seemed divided in 2 categories. The ones that are treating PANDAS with heavy dosages of antibiotics and the ones that do not want medications and are treating with natural approaches only.

From early on, our son's liver has been very compromised so we had decided to NOT treat him with medications for as long as we could. Therefore we focused on talking to the parents that were treating PANDAS with natural approaches.

Out of those parents, about 80% were using Donna's protocol. We communicated with dozens of those parents throughout several months. We asked them all kinds of questions. At the beginning we do too thought that Donna's approach was a bit 'out there' and that sounded too good to be true.

We are not veterans in this ASD world but we are not newbies either; we are seasoned enough to run away from anybody that promises miracles in just a few months. And yet, it was very compelling to see how much support Donna has from many people in the PANDAS community.

Many of the parents we talked with were extremely smart and very well educated, very much like the people that frequents this site. They did a ton of research before they decided to go with Donna and they were kind enough to share all of that with us.

We did buy her book and read it 3 times. (By the way, if you do not want to buy her book, you do not have to, she has the first chapter available to download for free in her website AND you can also watch her parent friendly and easy to understand videos in YouTube, the same info of the book is in there.)
We continued to research her as much as we could until, -with the full support of our wonderful DAN doctor and the same of our amazing homeopath- we finally decided to give it a try, and made an initial appt.

We found a VERY knowledgeable person, with very good people skills and bed side manners. She is committed and loves what she does. She does NOT push her products at ALL. She lets you choose whatever brand you feel more comfortable with, as long as you follow the protocol.

The first hint that made think she was into something happened in one of our first appts. I told her that i grew up thinking that "you are what you eat", then i had a child with autism and i began understanding that "you are what you absorb" to which she replied: "No, i would say 'you are what you excrete'".

Right there i knew that i needed to look even further and deeper into my son's gut issues. We in this community care a lot about what we put into our kid's bodies and perhaps not many of us know that what they excrete is as important, if not more. Diarrhea is not good, neither is constipation. If we depend on certain foods or supplements to change those patterns, that is not good either. We need to heal their bodies so they can do that by themselves, without the need of...'crutches'.

If you are not comfortable using colloidal silver, then do not use it; you and her will find something else. The same with the probiotics, if you are concern about lactic acid, and the same with bentonite clay. When our DAN doctor suggested the anti-fungal parade, we choose to NOT go that route, and not because of that we stopped working with her. She respected our choice, we respected her even more for accepting our choice and we moved forward. Is the same thing with Donna.

What she does want is to explain and help you understand how the gut works, and then together you find a way to follow the protocol doing something you are happy with. She believes the psychology and state of mind of the care taker is equally as important as what you are giving your child to heal him.

Do not let the price of her book, or the fact that she mentioned colloidal silver or anything else keeping you from looking into her approach. I know i am sounding like a commercial :-) but trust me when i say it is worth looking into it.

I am going to be forever grateful to those parents of the PANDAS community for recommending Donna to us. Has it been easy? No. Has it been fast? No. But she did NOT promise that either.

But it has been absolutely, 100% worth it. Just by seeing where our son is now with his gut issues, compared to a year ago, it is worth it. We still have a way to go for sure, but at least i feel like i am stepping into firmer ground for now.

@ Heidi N.

Heidi, i think you have the facts in the wrong order. To heal the immune system you HAVE to heal the gut first.

70% or more of the immune system is in the gut, when the gut is not well, the immune system does not work properly.

Oh, I thought when they said acidity, they meant the build up of lactic acid which is part of the problem with the mitrochondrial cytopathies. Not able to use the oxgyen up right for energy the other pathway of respration takes over causing a build up of lactic acid.

When we were living up in Michigan and I refused a muscle biospy for my son (too invasive) the neurologist tried to get a lab test for lactic acid gas. We went all over the tri-city bay area trying to get one, and finally gave up. The neurologist from Pakinstan said he felt like we were living in a third world country or something. I suspect that if I had gone to Ann Arbor that was not far away we might have had better luck, but at the time trying to find my way through another big city maze would have been overload, and besides what would it mean once I had the dignosis????
I already knew my husband had it after his tetanus vaccine.

So, they are actually testing blood with Ph strips?

Jeff C,
Looks like your initial post got either removed or it fell of the post list because the posts got too numerous, so I cannot go back and review your post. I am a little biased because I have been working with Ms. Pessin for a year, but when I reflect on my wife's and my approach to assessing the huge amount of information in order to find some treatment options that might work for our son, our philosophy is "leave no stone unturned". Our we skeptical, yes. Do we dismiss a treatment because the doctor, clinician, etc. has a book, no. That's why as I look at our book shelf, it is jammed full of books related to autism. We feel we owe it our son to read every single word we possibly can to a) provide the due diligence he deserves, b) make sure we are educated on EVERY single possible treatment option and c) make sure we have no regrets. One thing I would never do is use a 1-3 page article or even a website as the basis from which to draw my conclusions about a treatment plan that has worked for folks. I would get every ounce of information and even, in some cases, have a brief phone call with the provider to hear first hand, even if it is just 30 minutes of my time, to exhaust all means of good due diligence. So when I read your post about not wanting to spend $21 to learn more about Ms Pessin's approach, I think $21? Isn't that 1 cent or less of the total you've spent on your child's recovery path? Don't you want to leave no stone unturned? Don't you want to have no regrets about what you did to heal your son? Maybe I can chalk it up to my philosophy and yours just simply not being the same.

Interesting but I am wondering if someone is on a diet, e.g. MAD which is intended to be acidic... as it is extremely useful in preventing seizures.

@Lots to think about

Thanks for your response, I didn't mean to sound overly cynical. My concern was that that author was making claims without anything (apparent to me at least) to back them up. I checked her website and couldn't find anything to answer the questions I put forth in my comment.

If she has a way to verify and quantify this condition she should explain it. I'm not willing to shell out $21 for a book to see if author knows what they are talking about. The article reminded me of those local news teasers, "There is something in your house that can kill you at any moment! Tune in tonight at 11 to find out what it is!" If it's that important, shouldn't they tell us now?

I completely agree with your comments about Bernie Rimland and "heal the gut". My son's progress has been astounding, I read everything I can find on the topic. I think that's why the article rubbed me the wrong way. I was hoping for some new insight on the subject, it irked me to find out it was a pitch for a book.

What I have learned in my recovery journey with my kids, is that the gut is messed up because the immune system is messed up. Fixing the gut rids many symptoms, but until the immune system is working correctly, efforts will have to be continued to keep the gut working well.

I agree with Barry. The concept of acidity vs. alkalinity is not new.

Quite the contrary, and yet the medical establishment and some of us seem to forget easily that the key to have a healthy body is to keep it slightly alkaline.

The first time we were introduced by this concept was by our homeopath. She asked us to read "The PH Miracle" by Robert Young and "Acid & Alkaline" by Herman Aihara. She proceeded to explain that from then on, our number one priority was to make our son's body more alkaline. Vaccines, ANY medication, and diets *not well done* bring more acidity to the body, she said.

She told us about the amount of clients she has had that by thinking they were doing the GF/CF/SF diet, they were doing the right thing, and yet a lot of what they were feeding their kids was a little bit of vegetables and a lot GF/CF/SF cookies, pasta, pizza, bread,brownies, rice, cereal, animal protein, etc that although was supposed to be "legal", was NOT alkaline in any way. Not to mention it was high in sugar and sometimes yeast.

Instead on relying more on feeding veggies and vegetable protein, with a little bit of fruit sometimes.

Incidentally, this past A1 conference in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, i attended Dr. Amy Yasko's presentation as well as Dr. Bradstreet's and both made a lot of emphasis in their presentations about working on keeping our kids' bodies alkaline.

I think Ms. Pessin is into something that could very well be extremely beneficial for our kids.

Not a fan of colloidal silver, either. Used it some years ago for acne. Didn't do a thing. Worried about turning orange from it. Abandoned it.

The best thing for my skin has been the gluten-free/dairy free diet, which I've been on now for nearly two years. It is not a low-carb diet (as this author implies). In fact, my husband would crack up at that assertion. He still thinks I eat way too many carbs. My hips do too. (Hee hee.)

This author's claim that we are becoming even more acidic through the GFCF diet seems to rest on the assumption that we're eating fewer carbs with this diet. She completely loses her credibility with me based on that assumption alone. Ever heard of rice, corn, potatoes, or mayonnaise, not to mention bananas, apples, peaches, gluten-free oats? All are CFGF. All are full of carbs.

My wife and I have been on the road to recover our son for over 3 years. Initially, like most of us (my presumption) we received some kind of diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Then we started looking for answers. To the lucky few, those answers come easy, the solution or treatment comes easy and the kids recover. For the rest of us, we spend countless hours with and without the help of qualified third parties, searching for the individualistic cause(s) and possible treatment approach(es) for our kids. Even with the audience of general skeptics out there making posts on Ms. Pessin's article and other articles in the past on AofA, I hope we can agree that the first part of my post is something most, if not all of us, have in common. From that point, there is divergence. Admittedly. Each of us going down different paths to answer the same question. What happened to my child? In our son's case, we believe we have narrowed his situation down to two general, yet somewhat specific contributing factors: 1) gut (myriad of contributing factors) and 2) OCD/ PANDAS. Forget about the gut for a second, my wife and I spent 100's of hours trying to understand PANDAS. Our research led us to the latitudes.org, which is basically a forum for parents seeking answers about PANDAS, as well as Autism. It was through some parents on latitudes that we found Donna Pessin. This was about a year ago. Recognizing fully that each child on the spectrum and the cause and approach for recovery is different and individualized, Donna Pessin's approach has been THE most significant factor in turning our son's (he is 5 now) life around. For the skeptics out there, and I know the followers of AofA are a intelligent bunch, if your loved one with an Autism related condition has gut issues or even PANDAS, I objectively urge you to look further into Donna's approach. She isn't in it for the money. Does she have a book and sell a few products - yes. However, it really is a genuine attempt on her part to get her word out (ie her book) and control the quality of the products. That's beside the point, the point is that her approach is leading edge, that is, if you believe there is a link between the gut and ASD. Yes, others make the gut a central point of their treatment approach and that's great. We have met personally or studying most, if not all, of those other folks. My wife and I have put in the time and with all of our research up to this point, Donna is, in our opinion, the most sophisticated and experienced at getting results healing our kids' bowels. If you believe that pharmaceutical drugs are the answer, then Donna is not for you. If you believe in ultra conservative approaches, Donna may not be for you. Donna's approach is different and if you have a consult with her, you have to listen and be very open minded. Her general concepts are not new to most of us. Her approach is different. Frankly it was hard to understand at first, but after a couple of weeks with her book and more importantly, with a couple of one on one consults, it started to come together and after the first few months, we saw dramatic changes in our son's bowel movements, which led to behavioral changes that were long awaited and so welcome in our case. I wasn't going to post anything. I wanted the give and take of the comments to Donna's article be unbiased. Then I felt that the skeptics were starting to tilt the balance of objectivity and I decided to step off the sidelines and give everyone the perspective from someone who has known and worked with Donna for a year. If you want to be a skeptic, no problem, I tend to be skeptical myself. But the cold hard truth is that sometimes skepticism gets in the way of opening the doors to what can be truly beneficial, game changing treatment approaches for our kids. I think this is our common ground and under that premise, Donna is worth a look by most of you.

The idea that our kids are acidic isn’t new. A healthy body is always slightly alkaline, since virtually all disease is associated with excess acidity in the body. A well functioning liver ensures that acidic wastes ( .. metabolic byproducts, ingested acidic toxins, etc) are promptly eliminated. When the liver works well, first morning urine pH will be somewhere in the range of 5.8 - 6.2. Nothing too surprising there, since the elimination of acids should be expected to generate acidic urine.

Conversely, that elimination of acids should be expected to generate a body that’s somewhat alkaline. And this corresponds to any medical text, which states that a healthy body typically maintains a blood, saliva and SF PH of ~ 7.4.

But there’s no need to buy a book or wait around for a paper to be written. It’s pretty easy to measure PH in your child’s first morning urine, and when we did it for our son ( … who’s been on exclusion diets for years), his urine had a PH of 8.0 on the first day. We added a supplement to improve his liver fiction, and over a period of 12 days, that first morning PH slowly dropped to 5.8. And along the way, we observed striking improvements in his eye contact, his language, and in his overall disposition. We‘ve since added alkaline water (slowly working up to PH 9.5) as part of his daily regimen, and of all the interventions that we’ve attempted in the last 4 years, I would rank the alkaline water among the top 2.

It OK to be a skeptic, but sometimes discovery relies on us exploring the issues for ourselves.

@ Jeff C.

Jeff,

You have valid points in your post but i think we need to focus on precisaly what the author said in her article. Acidic = Toxicity, of any kind.

"A healthy bowel eliminates acids (which hereby also refers to toxins/heavy metals/pesticides/chemicals, etc)"


I am sure she has a way to check the levels of acidity (toxicity) in the body, otherwise she would not write an article here. It would be impossible for an author of any article that talks about 'treatment' posted on this forum to explain with every single detail what their protocol is. Not to mention that the protocol might be different based on each kids' needs. This is just an introduction of what she does in her practice for us to decide if we want to learn more about it or not. That is how i saw it.

It does appear like she has a book indeed, as well as products with her name on it; but so does Dr. Kartzinel and Dr. Amy Yasko to name a couple, and not because of that, their heart is not in the right place and their desire to help our kids is not tremendous.

Many ASD parents have not being successful with diets; some kids do well with GF/CF, some with SCD, some need Body Ecology, etc. Perhaps in our quest to find the right diet for our kids we not-knownlingly are also causing harm in their bodies? We do not know, that is why is good to be open minded. After all the author did not say all diets are BAD, she said they do not HEAL the body.

To me that means that some diets can be helpful, but some other ones might be not. The point here is that we all want to find a way to heal ours kids bodies and perhaps the only way to do it is by studying *everything* that is helping other people in some way or another to see if that could apply to our own kiddos.

If we are cynical about it, every biomedical intervention as well as almost every therapy could appear as "miracle elixir". Just go and ask a regular ped or any parent that only has neurotypical kids.

What i liked about this article is that she is going back to the basics. "Heal the gut".
The very same thing that wonderful Dr. Bernie Rimland said many years ago.

This article for sure has given me a lot of food for thought.


"diarrhea causes autism"

I very definitely question this statement. My daughter did not have diarrhea; prior to placing her on the GF/CF diet she had serious, chronic constipation. She also has severe autism. What has helped my daughter is the GF/CF diet, probiotics, calcium butyrate, antifungals, and (very recently) the biofilm protocol. The probiotics are rotated frequently (to avoid overgrowth potential); the antifungals have been rotated as well.

Only very rarely has my daughter had diarrhea.

I also disagree with the implication that the GF/CF diet is harmful. If a child has gluten intolerance and eats gluten, the intestines are damaged. Avoidance of gluten and casein gives the intestines a chance to heal. Also, elimination of gluten, casein, and foods that a child is allergic to does not necessarily mean that fewer carbohydrates are being eaten. The elimination of foods that harm a child (due to intolerances or allergies) improves the child's health and his/her ability to learn.

Please never give a child "colloidal silver" or silver in any form. It can discolor him. The condition is called argyria. Severe cases are very disfiguring and no one has any idea how much silver will cause argyria in an adult much less a child.
I have had argyria for over 50 years and a webpage warning about the uselessness and danger of ingesting silver since about 1996. Back then the silver promoters scoffed and said I didn't know what I was talking about. There products couldn't cause argyria. Unfortunately, they were wrong. There are now many cases caused by their products. The saddest of all are those of the children and teenagers. It is even harder for them to be different than it is for adults. I know of one victim who has gotten very close to committing suicide on more than one occasion and she hates her mother for forcing her to take the silver that disfigured her.
http://rosemaryjacobs.com

I do appreciate a person who appears passionate and concerned in wanting to help children with autism, inspired by recognizing commonalities in their own personal (former) disease picture of symptoms with that of child with autism. I have not read this author's book, (I only went through the website), but I do know with a great deal of certainty that use of colloidal silver is not a safe route to recommend carte blanche for children with autism, let alone any suffering person solely with these shared symptom expressions.

Not only is this is not an individualized approach, but in particular advocating use of colloidal silver is potentially quite harmful for many children with autism.

While indeed gut symptoms are common thread of the disease state of autism, the root of each expression of a gut symptom is different in every child, despite that an outward symptom might be shared, or even that they might all have the same trigger (vaccines).

My own understanding of the overall of use of collodial silver in such protocol and approach is potential of great harm, particularly worse when used for extended length of time (beyond just the amount being administered). It can add increased symptoms on both mental and emotional plane for a child suffering from autism or even an adult suffering from another disorder.

When the child with autism is non-verbal some of the mental and emotional symptoms that might be added could be difficult to distinguish initially in the ever-evolving picture of the whole person and may not be associated at first with the ingestion of this substance, just as at first many physicians do not recognize the sometimes at first subtle signs of damage that get progressively worse from vaccination - then wrongly attributing them as saying it is just the autism. Whereas in more fully outwardly expressive person we can identify and communicate what might be initially subtle undesired changes that would warn us not to continue along the course, whereas in non-verbal child or less communicative one, the amount might be continually administered with subtle changes not as noticeable until they are now presenting a problem that at this point (depending on how long they have been ingested, and amount etc..) a new and more problematic expression than the bacteria is added to the picture. While victory over bacteria elimination might have been declared.

Collodial silver, just as any silver or metal is NOT good at ALL for the body. While it may destroy some bacteria, these bacteria are not the cause of the illness in the child or adult, but rather an effect. One might get a positive perceived affect at first, but then risk suffering from silver metal poisoning and maybe destroy some bacteria but unintentionally further complicate the overall presentation of the disease state for the child.

Additionally, in a child that already has detoxification issues, any large amounts of any vitamin or supplementation can also lead to further toxicity.

And though I have mentioned it above, I want to state it again that Collodial Silver can be extremely dangerous and harmful, every individual has a different reactivity to every substance. As a parent or part of healing team for the child, though it is never-ending, the question at each step and decision making process should always be considering what is the science behind knowing how an INDIVIDUAL child could react to trying this substance. Indeed like vaccination maybe many children might not show many notable reactivity to a few doses, some might be able to handle it, some might have a horrendous reaction, and even a few individuals it might have a perceived positive initial benefit. What are the cumulative effects?
Just because something is natural and not requiring of a prescription, doesn't mean that trying it would be without great risk. What works for one child will not work for every child, and with such protocol amounts to experimentation in child with autism. (Merely adjusting the amount of a substance given to a person is not what makes for truly individualized medicine)

Big oops. I meant 450 BILLION, not million, for VSL#3

Donna, what brand of probiotic do you use? My guess is VSL#3, because that is the only one I know of that has a high enough number of bacteria (450 million per packet). Otherwise, 900 billion would mean a LOT of capsules of the other brands.

Apologies for misspelling the author's last name in my earlier comment, its should be Pessin, not Pesslin.

I certainly agree with Donna Pesslin’s quote “the answer to autism lies in the gut,” that has been the key to our son’s recovery. That being said, claims of our kids being “overly acidic” sound like the latest fad that would be more persuasive if backed up with some evidence. This post throws out unsubstantiated claims without any backup; how about a few links to papers to support the claims? The statement is made that exclusionary diets (which many of us have used with great success) worsen the acidic condition. Again, no support for the statement. (A statement, by the way, that implies many “well-meaning” parents are actually harming our children despite apparent neurological improvements.) Presumably, the answers lie in Ms. Pesslin’s book, available at $21 a copy on her website.

The post contains this quote regarding the benefits of probiotics, “and this only occurs if very large amounts are administered (in my practice, we routinely use upwards to 900 billion or more organisms/day.)” Many of our kids (including my son) suffer from maldigestion, something that is verifiable with stool tests. Megadoses of probiotics can lead to small intestine bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) of these so-called “beneficial” bacteria. Google Scholar “D-lactic acidosis” or SIBO for case studies; they demonstrate megadoses of probiotics are clearly contraindicated in such cases. While the cases described are primarily those with short bowels (due to resection or genetic abnormalities), the literature states SIBO is coupled with chronic maldigestion regardless of the cause.

I don’t mean to be overly harsh to Ms. Pesslin, as I’m all for “citizen science” to help our kids. The medical establishment and mainstream researchers aren’t going to do the job anytime soon, so it is up to smart, educated parents and clinicians to figure this out. That being said, this post reads like a “miracle elixir” pitch rather than science. Please explain how you know these kids are overly acidic, what tests are conducted to demonstrate such, how you measure improvement, and the basis of the biological mechanisms of your program. Without that, this looks like just another attempt to play on parent’s emotions and separate them from their money.

This is very interesting.

"Diet will not heal your child’s bowel or eliminate acids, either. When wheat, dairy, and other foods are avoided, and fewer carbohydrates are eaten, the effect of this diet is a gradual worsening of your child’s’ bowel health (as is true with antibiotic usage as well). You have been led to believe this diet is “the answer” because these diets have the effect of “moving” the acids out of your child’s blood stream (where symptoms are triggered) into his or her organs (which causes damage, and eventually, greater disease). In other words, the solution to a dirty kitchen is not to shove the trash into your cabinets, as these diets do, but to eliminate it from your house. My program accomplishes this."

This looks tempting to try, simply because it appears so refreshingly simple compared to our current supplement regimen (although I have qualms about using colloidal silver, but hey, that's just me).
Has anyone tried this approach for their child, and if so, how'd it go?

More of the usual yesterday from NPR:

"FLATOW: Christopher Walsh, you were an author on one of the genetic studies in the journal Neuron. What do these three studies tell us about the role that genes play in autism?

WALSH: Well, Ira, these studies add to earlier work showing that autism is very highly genetic. Some people want to run away from that and hide behind notions that autism is caused by vaccines or heavy metals or something, I think because they think of genetics as something unchangeable.

But the second thing these studies show is that autism and genetics is not immutable destiny because some kids - girls especially - carry the same genetic hits that unquestionably raise the risk of autism but develop typically, meaning that the genetics is modifiable.

And then finally, these papers show us that far from being untreatable, autism's genetic mechanism suggests specific ways that people are already developing new drugs that hopefully, in the long run, will be able to treat it better. "

http://www.npr.org/2011/06/10/137107088/gene-mutations-offer-clues-on-the-autistic-brain

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