Is there really anything parents can do to help their child with autism fight candida, and how do you even know if it is a problem for them?
Picture This: You are fast asleep when suddenly you are abruptly awoken from crazy noises from your child’s bedroom. You check the time, and it’s 2:00 am. As you go to check on the child, you realize the noises you hear are the kid happily screaming and jumping on his bed. Then, you open the door of the kid’s bedroom to find them laughing uncontrollably as he jumps on his bed. You think to yourself, “What the hell is happening right now? It’s 2:00 in the morning!”
If this scenario sounds familiar to you, it may be a sign that your child is fighting an infection called candida. Sleep disturbances, aggression, extreme irritability, food obsession (especially for sweets and carbs) are all tell tale signs of candida. When his yeast infection gets out of hand, my son with autism exhibits all of these symptoms. It can be very challenging to manage and will test your resolve as a parent.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help your child with autism fight candida and get them back on track. Our plan to fight this and other infections will largely come from proper diet.
If you read Treating Autism with Diet, then you know how important we view proper nutrition. I consider diet to be the most critical aspect in our 4D treatment plan and it fuels the other elements of the protocol. Proper nutrients and probiotic foods are the foundation that will help our son with autism fight candida and other chronic infections.
Helping My Son with Autism Fight Candida & Other Infections
What Causes Candida?
Candida is a yeast overgrowth in the gut. The most common cause is antibiotics and a high sugar or high carb diet. Candida is a natural inhabitant of us all. It’s mostly kept in check by the variety of microbes in the gut. When antibiotics kill our probiotic bacteria, the yeast can grow unchecked. Couple this with an abundance of their preferred food, sugar & carbs, candida can grow from a benign microbe to a beast living inside our kids.
We’ve always believed that foreign invaders have overrun our little Ethan’s body. Our son endured a difficult first 3 years of life that left him with a severely impaired immune system and a broken detoxification path. As a result, we are working hard to help him Debug his body.
How My Son’s Body Got Invaded
Many parents of kids who have autism can point to a single life-changing event. They believe this event to be the cause of their child’s autism, whether it was really bad infection, vaccination, or a single toxic exposure.
Unfortunately, in our case, there was not a single event for which we can identify as the cause. I personally believe that it was a series of extremely bad events that crashed his immune system and destroyed his natural defenses. This created a situation which allowed toxins to accumulate and bad bugs to proliferate.
A Traumatic Start
Ethan had more medical procedures done during his first month of life than most have had in their first 40 years. I had to hold my 1-week-old, first-born baby boy against a table and keep him curled in a ball while a doctor stuck a huge needle in his spine. (lumbar puncture) He then went back to his hospital room where he received an IV that administered antibiotics for 3 days straight.
You see, at one week old, he had a low body temp of 95.5, so his pediatrician was concerned about sepsis. She admitted him to the hospital where he underwent tests and was given precautionary medicine. It turned out to be nothing, but he is still feeling the effects of this visit 10 years later. The IV antibiotics wiped out any good bacteria he had, and who knows what microbes he was introduced to at the hospital during this time.
Started Even Before Birth
Unfortunately, the blows to Ethan came even before that hospital stay. His birth was traumatic. His heart rate fell dramatically and then recovered many times throughout labor. He was born not breathing. It only took 20-30 seconds or so to get him crying, but he was born blue and not breathing. It was 30 minutes after his birth when Mom was finally able to hold our first child. He was also born jaundiced, so he had to undergo treatment for that as well.
Ethan was also born small. He was so tiny that none of the newborn clothes we had fit him. He was wearing an outfit we took off his teddy bear in his first picture. About a month after Ethan was born, he continued to lose weight. He dropped all the way to 5 pounds when he had to be hospitalized and undergo more procedures/testing. Eventually, that was diagnosed as failure to thrive due to breastfeeding troubles. We switched to formula. Mom pumped what little she was able to and he finally began to gain weight.
Helping My Son with Autism Fight Candida
Bad Bugs Move In
The traumatic first 6 weeks of his life left his body vulnerable to bad microbes. It also shut down many of his detoxification pathways and natural defenses. Unable to detox, Ethan began to accumulate many of the toxins that our world has to offer. Furthermore, since his immune system was beaten down, bad microbes took advantage of the weakness and set up their home in his gut.
As a result of his compromised immune system, Ethan fell sick repeatedly during the first 3-4 years. The steady stream of infections were treated with antibiotics and other drugs. This pretty much shut down his already weak immune system.
Scientists and doctors know that your gut is where the bulk of your immune system lies. It’s your first line of defense against toxins and microbes. Your gut bacteria play a crucial role in this defense. Unfortunately for Ethan, his gut bacteria were nonexistent thanks to the IV antibiotics and the repeated doses of antibiotics from ages 1-3.
Helping My Son with Autism Fight Candida & Other Infections
Debug: Phase 2 of the 4D Plan
The Yeast Beast
With a clean environment to settle in to, bad bugs made Ethan’s gut home. Now, exactly which bad guys we do not know for certain. We know one for sure as it was confirmed by lab tests, Candida.
His diet as a young child was what most good American parents feed their kids. He ate all white meat chicken nuggets (breaded in gluten of course), lots of fruit, and then plenty of “whole grain” (gluten again) snacks, breads, and cereals with lots of milk to drink. Of course, these are all things that yeast love and thus the yeast grew and grew. With a steady stream of food, a weak immune system, and no probiotic microbes to fight off, the yeast flourished. They built a thriving metropolis in my son’s body.
Symptoms of Candida
Candida can cause a host of problems and symptoms. In my experience, it ruins sleep, causes huge food cravings, causes uncontrollable laughter, tantrums, and rashes. The overgrowth of yeast overruns many biological processes and disrupts cognitive development in the body. Scientists are even researching candida as being the cause of cancer. It’s bad news!
Just When You Think It’s Gone…
Many kids with autism fight candida. It is far too common in our kiddos. Once it digs in, it is hard to keep it in check. We’ve been battling the yeast beast for years. As soon as we think it’s under control, it rears its ugly face.
We had it under control for about a year, and then it came back last year. Ethan once again began the spontaneous giggling that would last for nearly an hour. He’d laugh so hard he’d fall down. The rashes, tantrums, self-injurious behaviors, and food obsessions came back hard, and the 2am wake up calls came back as well. There’s a reason we parents call it the yeast beast.
How to Slay the Beast
Unfortunately, for us, natural remedies were not enough. We needed the more powerful prescription meds to get the beast back in line. My son’s doctor prescribed antifungals and gave us an herbal yeast killer as well.
We have not seen candida’s ugly face since, which I credit the new diet I designed to keep it in check. We’ll remain on this low sugar, low carb diet. We will also continue using a supplement called Yeast-Aid and rotate in other natural yeast killers like grapefruit seed extract, oil of oregano, and caprylic acid.
We will never fully get rid of candida as it naturally exists in everyone. The goal is not to completely eliminate the yeast. The goal is simply to tame the beast and bring it back into balance with other beneficial microbes (probiotic microbes).
Treating Other Infections
In addition to candida, Ethan’s doctor is now starting to consider other possible infections as well. Due to his responses (or lack of response) to certain supplements, foods, and medications, we are beginning to look at infections like Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia, Clostridia, and Epstein Barr.
We may begin to look at these infections and testing for these conditions if the need arises, but my plan for battling candida and these infections will come largely from his diet. I want to crowd out these pathogens by calling in the cavalry.
Calling in the Cavalry
If we introduce large amounts of probiotics, then they will fight the bad guys for us and help bring balance in the gut. We will continue to give Ethan an oral probiotic daily, but he will get a substantial amount of good bacteria through my homemade fermented veggies. Click Here for more details on how we plan to fight candida with diet.
Helping My Son with Autism Fight Candida: The Good News
Over the last few years, we’ve worked hard through good nutrition and lots of supplementation to ease the burden on his immune system. He now is able to fight off infections as good or better than most. In fact, he recovers from the same bugs faster than I do now.
There were several times last year, that he and I caught the same virus. I got sick first, and then, he would show the same symptoms. He would be fully recovered while I was still suffering with clogged sinuses. Whatever the symptoms were, his seemed to subside several days before mine. I credit this to his strengthened immune system.
Work Closely With a Good Doctor
Remember, I am not a doctor. I’m Simply a Dad working closely with his son’s doctor to help him feel better. We have watched our son with autism fight candida over the years, and we can recognize when it flares up again. Usually, we can trace the flare to a specific cause such as diet infraction, medicine, or supplement.
Unfortunately, many doctors still think that yeast overgrowth is a myth. Mainstream pediatricians do not believe that kids with autism fight candida daily. We’ve come a long way, and more doctors are coming around to this idea. The research into candida is growing as is the list of docs who are taking this threat seriously.
Luckily, we have an amazing doctor that is working with us and guiding our treatment plan. I recommend you find a good integrative doctor if you think yeast or another chronic infection might be a problem for your child.
Make sure you take a look at all the elements in our protocol. Follow the links below.
Our 4-D Autism Treatment Plan