Research shows that digestive problems and autism often go hand in hand. Indeed, one study found that autistic children are seven times more likely to experience frequent diarrhea and colitis than those without a developmental disability. Another study found about half of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have gastrointestinal challenges.
The gut-brain axis
Many of these gastrointestinal issues experienced are due to inflammation from food allergies and digestive issues, which can also present behavioral issues. Additionally, those with ASD also are more at risk for nutritional deficiencies, which can adversely affect immune responses.
To offset these responses, integrative approaches such as dietary changes and adding vitamins, minerals, and fish oil supplements are often tried.
One recent study in the peer-reviewed journal, Alternative Therapies, examined the effectiveness of the whole food complete vitamin and meal replacement product, IQed. The research was funded by Cherab Foundation, a global nonprofit that works to improve the communication skills, education, and advocacy of children on the neurological spectrum.
According to the report, the study aimed to help with future research into the dietary interventions and potential management of neurological conditions with a focus on improving the quality of daily living and specific developmental milestones for children and adults with disabilities.
Researchers studied an international subject pool of 77 participants to determine the effectiveness of specific food blends and nutrients on speech and motor impairments within a sample population of adults and children who self-report having communication delays and/or motor dysfunction symptoms, and who are among a population currently taking IQed.
A 28-point web-based survey was designed across key areas relating to symptoms of speech and motor abilities. Additional sub questions were included for descriptive summary and description statistical interpretation of the data.
Participants comprised of 55 males and 22 females with a median age of 10.5 years old and an age range from 2 to 70 years old. About 85% of participants were from the United States and the rest were from nine other countries.
The findings indicate that IQed Smart Nutrition can help bolster key functions for people with a wide range of prevalent diagnoses including Autism, Apraxia, and ADHD, and other challenging diagnoses encompassing speech and motor processing disorders.
Deficits in speech and communication were the highest reported area of difficulty for this population, with 84% being impacted prior to taking the supplement. After supplementation, expressive speech improved for 86% of the participants with the increased vocalizations (sounds, words) factor showing the highest observed improvement (88%) among all speech and communication factors combined.
In all other categories, over 67% of the survey respondents reported improvements in all measured areas: speech (77%), oral motor skills (63%), receptive ability (69%), focus (65%), motor planning (77%), mood (62%), social skills (59%), and physical/ behavioral health (47%).
Overall, 92% of the survey respondents reported positive behavioral or physical changes when IQed formula was added to the diet, with most 64% reporting positive changes within the first two weeks.
“The implication for this study is to further research on alternative modalities of treatments for ASD and ASD-type conditions using natural food products, vitamin and mineral supplements, and Ayurvedic and botanical ingredients,” the authors concluded.
Source: Alternative Therapies
Mar;27(2):11-20. PMID: 32088673
“Results of a Consumer Survey on the Effectiveness of a Nutritional Blend Reported on Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms, Apraxia, and Other Conditions Involving Motor and Speech Delays”
Authors: G. Hamel et al.