Children's Nutrition Articles. Nutrition for your child who is a picky eater or has neurological challenges.  Articles on Natural Supplements for Children.

Research on Vitamins & Nutrition for
Autism & Autistic Kids

From our Blog - Article: Probiotics good for Kids AND Moms

Children's Nutrition Article: Vitamins and Minerals - The Building Blocks of Your Child's Brain

Children's Nutrition Article: Nutrition and Your Autistic Child - Click Here 

Probiotics Can Help Allergies in Children & Adults - Journal Article



Sources: and Proceedings of The (Int'l) Nutrition Society

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, there is evidence that probiotics are helpful in preventing and/or treating diarrhea and other intestinal problems, urinary and vaginal infections, and eczema in children. Lab and animal studies suggest that probiotics may slow the growth of breast cancer cells.
What are "Probiotics"?
Probiotics are live microorganisms — usually bacteria — that are similar to the "good bacteria" found in the intestine. Typical strains are Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidus, lactic acid bacteria.

Moms and doctors use probiotics to treat and prevent conditions such as lactose intolerance, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and other gastrointestinal problems, as well as to strengthen their immune systems against infection. The theory is that introducing helpful bacteria into the intestinal tract improves the body’s immune defenses.

Published in the proceedings of The Nutrition Society's 3rd International Immunonutrition Workshop, "It was demonstrated, by using murine models, that the consumption of fermented milks can modulate the immune system and can maintain it in a state of surveillance, which could affront different pathologies such as cancer and intestinal inflammation".

In layman's terms, mammal studies demonstrate immune system boost against cancer and IBS upon consumption of the probiotics, in the case of this study, using yogurt. 

:-) -Daniel  

Vitamins and Minerals - The Building Blocks of Your Child's Brain
By Angelica Marquass   

Your child's brain is like an elaborate stage production that needs hundreds of people working behind the curtain to provide the supporting framework for the main actors. The difference is that the brain utilizes vitamins and minerals as its supporting cast instead of lighting technicians and prop masters.

Vitamins and minerals are the architects of the brain, creating and re-creating the brain and nervous system. They grease the wheels of brain function by performing the basic work of transformation in the brain, making neurotransmitters from amino acids, energy from glucose, complex fats (GLA or DHA) from simple fats, and phospholipids from choline and serine.

In the early 1980s, Gwillym Roberts, a teacher and nutritional therapist from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, and Professor David Benton, a psychologist from Swansea University, developed a study to chart the effect of vitamins and minerals on the intelligence levels of schoolchildren. Thirty children were given a specially designed multivitamin and mineral supplement containing a high level of crucial nutrients. Thirty children were given a placebo.

The research results were published in a 1988 edition of The Lancet. After eight months in the study, no differences were noted in the children who were taking the placebos, while those consuming the multivitamin supplement saw their non-verbal IQ scores increase by more than ten points! Since the original studies, further research has been conducted using lower, RDA levels of vitamins and minerals. These levels, while far lower than those used in the initial study, still increased IQs by an average of nearly five points.

Giving your child the best nutrition from the very beginning of his or her life can reap endless benefits. Just in case you're skeptical of the impact vitamins and minerals can have early on, a 16-year study by the Medical Research Council should put your doubts to rest. Four hundred twenty four premature babies were fed with either an average milk formula or a formula supplemented with additional vitamins, minerals and protein. At 18 months of age, the babies who had been fed the enriched formula were doing considerably better than those who had been given the average milk, and at eight years of age, the children who had taken the enriched formula had IQs up to 14 points higher!

So, why do IQ scores increase with vitamin and mineral consumption? One possible explanation is that children think more quickly and focus their attention for longer periods of time when they ingest essential levels of nutrients.

This Guide 'Smart Kids' or 'How to Increase Child's IQ' will show every parent how eating the correct foods and supplements can boost yours and your child IQ, improve mood and behavior, hone memory and concentration, and sharpen reading and writing skills.
Certificated Nutritionist: Angelica A. Marquass
Leading Institutes of Nutrition (NY & London)

Article Source:

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Nutrition and Your Autistic Child
Rosanne Rust 

It seems like common sense that a well nourished child is a happier child. Many parents have noticed moody or cranky behavior in their young children before meal time or after school when they arrive home hungry. For an Autistic child, however, who may not be able to accurately communicate his or her needs, this hunger may go unnoticed. Or they may not want to eat and may have many food aversions. For these reasons, integrating nutrition therapy into treatment for children with autism is critical.

In many cases, nutrition is not an integral part of overall therapy at diagnosis. Yet many parents who eventually seek out this information on their own, are getting nutrition information from questionable sources. Some parents may not take nutrition therapy into consideration at all.

Autism is complex and involves a spectrum of challenging behaviors, so it is natural for both parents and caregivers to initially focus directly on controlling those behaviors. In many cases, the health care team includes a physician, occupational therapist, speech therapist and behavior therapist; but does not include a registered dietitian to provide nutrition therapy. What is interesting is that almost all autistic children have nutritional deficiencies, food intolerance, or gastrointestinal disorders that often are not thoroughly addressed. While studies involving the significance of the effect nutrition status has in the management of autism are preliminary, there is good reason to consider filling this gap in treatment.

The goal of nutrition therapy in autism is to support the structure and function of the child's brain and body to perform at their optimal level and to maximize the child's brain function so that the response to other treatment is enhanced. Proper nutrition therapy should include a comprehensive nutrition assessment and also address feeding problems, any gastrointestinal problems, or need for vitamin and mineral supplementation.

Imagine a child who has difficulty communicating his or her needs, feeling uncomfortable every time he eats due to unknown food sensitivities or intolerance. This sends a negative message to avoid those foods or avoid eating all together. Children with food allergies are at higher risk for nutrition-related problems and decreased growth, but children with autism are more negatively affected due to their problems with sensory integration dysfunction.

Allergy symptoms may include hives, coughing, eczema, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, gastrointestinal reflux, watery eyes, nasal congestion or sneezing. To determine which foods are problematic, an "Elimination/Challenge Diet" is applied. Once problem foods are removed from the diet, the discomfort is resolved, and the child becomes more open to mealtime. A well-nourished child is a better-behaved child. In many cases, children who undergo nutrition assessment and treatment, have a formed bowel movement for the first time in his or her life. Imagine how eliminating this discomfort helps a child!

Many autistic children may also have a subclinical nutrition deficiency. This is a deficiency of a particular vitamin, mineral, or essential fatty acid that is not severe enough to produce a classic deficiency symptom, but rather has more global, subtle effects that result in loss of optimal health and impairment of body processes. These subclinical deficiencies can cause irritability, poor concentration, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances or loss of appetite. While it is best to determine which vitamin or mineral the child may be deficient in, minimally a standard multi-vitamin and mineral supplement is recommended. Look for supplements that have the USP label on them, and those that are free of colors, allergens or artificial flavors to eliminate any possible food intolerance issues. Using liquid forms that can be mixed into favorite foods (such as applesauce, yogurt, juices, or sherbet) is one strategy for children who have difficulty chewing or swallowing vitamins. Asking a pharmacist to compound a multivitamin and mineral supplement that is age appropriate is another option.

In addition to the multivitamin/mineral, omego-3 fatty acids have been shown to be helpful as well. Numerous studies indicate that Omega-3 fatty acids are deficient in those who have ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. Abnormalities in fatty acid metabolism may account for many features common in these conditions. There is some preliminary evidence that it is also deficient in children with autism. For children ages seven and older, 650 milligrams per day of an Omega-3 that provides both EPA and DHA is recommended. For children four to six years of age, 540 milligrams per day is recommended, and for children aged one to three, 390 milligrams per day is needed.

Much more research is needed in the area of nutrition and autism, but clearly nutrition is a key piece of the treatment puzzle that is often missing. Speak with your health care team about a thorough nutrition assessment for your autistic child.

Rosanne Rust, MS, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Nutrition Consulting, Writing, Lectures
Licensed Provider for Real Living Nutrition Services®

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