Nutrition Drilldown: Nourishing the Special Needs Child

by • March 5, 2014 • 2014, Big Kids, Cooking & Dining Out, Expert Advice, Home Life, March 2014, Sports, Health & Fitness, Teens and Pre-Teens

by Roy Dittmann, OMD, MH, DM

Today, one in two children are living with one or more chronic health conditions, including allergies, asthma, obesity, and gut disorders.1 And recent estimates suggest that by 2025, one in two children will be living with medical autism. If your child is living with medical autism, down syndrome or ADD, eliminating the foods that interfere with your child’s physiology can have a powerful effect on mood, cognitive health, behavior, and gut health.

NutritionDrilldown_tableDiet matters! Special needs children often have a long list of foods to which they are sensitive, including gluten, artificial food dyes (e.g. Red Dye No. 40), sweeteners (e.g. aspartame), preservatives (e.g. nitrate), and flavorings (e.g. MSG). Many children living with medical autism have a casein dairy allergy, while other children have extreme allergies to certain nuts. Surveys of parents of ASD children have indicated that adherence to a gluten-free and casein-free diet can significantly improve health, ASD behaviors and social behaviors.2

The gut-wrenching truth about pesticides: All children are negatively affected by the pesticides sprayed on food, although some children more than others. Glyphosate (RoundUp®) is the most widely used pesticide and has been shown to cause thinning of the intestinal lining,3 which only makes a person more susceptible to aggravating ingredients like gluten. The answer? After moving away from genetically modified and pesticide-sprayed foods, one of the most effective ways to repair gut health is by eating fermented foods, which are rich in powerhouse probiotics (“good bacteria”).

Making Your Own Fermented Vegetables: When it comes to rebuilding your child’s gut with healthy probiotics, fermenting your own vegetables is the least expensive, fastest path to success. A 6-ounce serving of fermented vegetables contains 10 trillion probiotics, that’s the equivalent of over 10 bottles of expensive probiotics, or 10,000 cups of commercial yogurt. A great resource for recipes and products to make your own delicious fermented vegetables is M


Roy Dittmann, OMD, MH, DM is the author of “Brighton Baby: A Revolutionary Organic Approach to Having an Extraordinary Child – The Complete Guide to Preconception & Conception.” Find Dr. Dittmann on Facebook (Brighton Baby) and at


1Bethell CD, Kogan MD, et al. A National and State Profile of Leading Health Problems and Health Care Quality for US Children: Key Insurance Disparities and Across State Variations. Academic Pediatrics, May-June 2011; Volume 11, Issue 3, pp. S22-S33.

2Labeling Organic Products. Available online at, accessed February 2014.

39 Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases. Entropy 2013; Volume 15, Number 4, pp. 1416-1463.


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