Skip to content



Autism is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Every individual will display a distinctive set of symptoms.


Lack of eye contact is typically the first thing parents notice in children with autism. Symptoms usually begin in early childhood. Autism covers a whole range of symptoms and severity, also called Autism Spectrum Diseases (ASD).


Individuals suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often have troubles to focus, they may act impulsively, become frustrated and fidget. Irritation and anger are often also present.


A lack of certain brain chemicals is known to result in imbalances. A poor waste disposal system may prevent the brain from clearing away potentially harmful chemicals after they have performed their function. This may result in a constant stimulation of nerves. In addition, the brains of individuals with autism and ADHD have even more nerve cell connections than the average person. Because these connections are not cleared away, they are continually stimulated.



There is a variety of environmental and dietary factors that may contribute to the development of autism, but no one knows exactly what causes it.

A child may be more likely to have ASD or ADHD if several factors are present. Co-factors implicated in the development of autism include:



  • Children with ASD/ADHD tend to suffer from gastrointestinal problems and these individuals have a reduced number of gut bacteria. The gut and brain are connected by millions of nerve fibers, and these connections are disrupted in people with ASD/ADHD.


  • A link between certain gut bacteria and autism-like behaviour has been discovered through research on animals. When the bacteria of people with autism were transplanted into mice, the mice behaved in an autism-like manner, for example by socializing less.



  • Children with autism and those who have ADHD often have high levels of lead and mercury in their bodies, which can negatively impact the function of the mitochondria in their cells. Mitochondria are the cell’s energy factories, and when they aren’t working properly, the cells have less energy to function.


  • Poor detoxification is often linked to an individual’s genetic predisposition or imbalanced gut microbiome in those with autism or ADHD. As a result, they are at a higher risk of damage from environmental toxins.


  • Detoxification issues can often also be due to deficiency in B-vitamins, magnesium, fatty acids, zinc and selenium.


Nutritional Deficiencies

  • An autistic person’s diet is often deficient in important brain nutrients like B vitamins, Omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, and selenium. In addition to this, the limited variety of foods that autistic individuals typically eat, can lead to a further deficiency of these minerals.



  • When children with ASD and ADHD eat gluten and dairy foods, opioid-like molecules are sometimes released, altering brain chemistry. Because of this, they are often sensitive to those foods.


  • When the digestive lining becomes too permeable, toxins, bacteria, and undigested food particles can leak into the bloodstream. This can overload the liver that is then tasked with clearing these foreign bodies/toxins.


  • A leaky gut may also contribute to autoimmune problems.


  • Some researchers believe that an immune response against brain tissue, resulting in inflammation, may be responsible for autism in some individuals.


  • The brain requires a large amount of energy to function properly. These structures are particularly vulnerable to oxidative damage, which impairs energy production.


The Functional Medicine approach to ASD/ADHD:

The Functional Medicine approach to ASD/ADHD is to identify and treat the various co-factors that contribute to the development of these conditions.

Every person is different, so there is a wide variety of severity levels and causative factors that need to be considered.

Functional medicine looks for the triggers that caused imbalances in a patient’s body in order to treat them, effectively.


The functional medicine approach to ASD and ADHD is based on the following six principles:


Investigating the causes of inflammation can help to alleviate the symptoms of autism. Inflammation can negatively impact neural development if it is present in excess in the body. Food allergies/sensitivities, gut bacteria imbalances, and infections are some of the most common causes. Here are some suggestions for mitigating these problems:



An important first step is to do a trial gluten- and dairy-free diet. This may be beneficial for a number of reasons. Some gluten and dairy components can cross the blood-brain barrier and affect the neurological system and cause various symptoms.


These symptoms may include confusion, exhaustion, fluctuations in mood, and attention issues. In addition, it may also cause neurological damage by causing inflammation or blocking a key folate receptor.


In addition to finding folate receptor antibodies in many autism patients, researchers have found that many parents observe a significant change in their child’s health after altering their diet.


In addition to changing the child’s diet, you may see some other beneficial changes in the health of the child by following a gluten- and dairy-free diet.



Studies indicate a connection between autism and gastrointestinal issues. Bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain are all common symptoms in individuals with autism. Analyzing the gut microbiota and improving the overall balance of bacteria and yeast can prove very helpful for these patients. If your child is suffering from these problems, a high-quality probiotic and digestive enzymes may be considered.



Cod liver oil is a great supplement for several reasons. It contains omega-3 fatty acids that is naturally anti-inflammatory. Cod liver oil also provides essential fatty acids that are fundamental for brain development. Vitamins A and D, which are naturally abundant in cod liver oil, are also critical to your health. These fat-soluble vitamins play a critical role in eye health. Vitamin D is critical for maintaining the immune system. It may also help your child develop better eye contact. A typical daily dose of cod liver oil is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon. However, dose adjustments to the specific needs are often required.



It’s easy to get confused about what to buy, but certain foods                                                    can cause behavioral issues and digestive problems. Avoid foods with artificial food coloring and strive to provide your child with as many whole foods as possible at each meal. Whole, real food often contains macro- and micronutrients that are well-balanced from nature’s side.

Vitamins and minerals are important

Autistic children often have nutritional deficiencies or absorb nutrients poorly. Testing can help us identify and target the micronutrients according to individual needs.


What next?

As you can see, Functional Medicine goes far beyond just the brain when dealing with ASD or ADHD. If you or your child is ready to address these conditions with a more comprehensive approach, then do reach out and we’ll guide you through the process.