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MISSOURI AUTISM NEWS

January 2012

Is Candida affecting your child? by Dr. Sonia O’Donnell-McGowin The Candida Connection There is much evidence that Candida Albicans can worsen the behaviors and gastrointestinal health issues commonly seen in people with autism. It can contribute to food sensitivities, allergies and immune system suppression. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of this problem, as it can affect other treatments that may be in place for your child. What is Candida? What Does It Do? Candida is a yeast found in our intestine, and part of the normally-occurring bacteria in our bodies. We have a variety of flora (bacteria and yeast) in our intestine that work together for digestion, and manufacturing of certain vitamins, like Vitamin K. When the immune system is working well, the Candida remains in balance with other more “beneficial” flora in the gut. However, if the immune system is compromised, antibiotics are taken or when there is a diet high in sugar, Candida can take over, creating a variety of problems.

the intestinal lining being tightly woven, like denim, it is now open and porous, like gauze. Undigested food particles, toxins and waste can now flow into the bloodstream and lymphatic system. This is “Leaky Gut Syndrome”. The leaking of these particles alerts the bodyʼs immune system that something is wrong, and creates both opioid and autoimmune reactions. This ignites inflammation, which in turn decreases the beneficial bacteria in the intestine, making the problem worse. The body is now caught in a vicious cycle, that without intervention, will lead to a variety of symptoms. Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth

There are a variety of symptoms of candidiasis. Most commonly in children with autism, it starts with digestive symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating. One of the tell-tale signs is a child who has self-limited their diet. Usually, they crave what they are most sensitive to, so we see children who will eat only things like bread, macaroni and cheese, milk, etc. It is also common As the yeast proliferate, they produce Candida Albicans for children to have physical and chemical byproducts that are usually behavioral reactions to food. Children may also have only found in very small amounts. These byproducts eczema, red cheeks, red ears, and dark circles under are then absorbed from the intestine into the blood. their eyes. Along with toxic byproducts being produced, the Next month, weʼll discuss the diagnosis and treatment yeast also changes its form. The yeast develop of Candida. “hyphae” or arms that can actually invade the lining of the intestinal tract. As the hyphae bore into the intestinal wall, digestive enzymes are also secreted, Dr. Sonia O'Donnell-McGowin, D.C., is a causing further breakdown of the lining. These chiropractor currently specializing in treating enzymes also destroy the antibodies produced by the children and adults with autism and other body to kill the yeast. disabilities. She is a DAN! / ARI (Defeat Autism Normally, the cells lining the intestine have “tight junctions”. These junctions keep the contents of the intestine contained and away from the rest of the body. When yeast invades the lining as described above, it causes inflammation. The tight junctions are no longer tight, and holes are now present. Instead of

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Now! / Autism Research Institute) trained doctor, offering biomedical treatment at Health Quest Physicians Group in Jefferson City. She has worked in the field of autism since 1988, many years for the Judevine Center for Autism. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, son and daughter.

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Missouri Autism Report January