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Food Intolerances & Down Syndrome

Posted Sep 09 2008 5:01am


Nutrition and prevention are topics close to my heart. I, like most of you reading, have a child with Down Syndrome and have sped up my studying of nutrition and health even more because of this. Some areas of nutrition and prevention are becoming more familiar to traditional health professionals, however most traditional Dr's are still vastly under-educated when it comes to healing and prevention.

The very nature of Down Syndrome makes the immune system more susceptible to viruses and bacteria. Simple things the "typical" immune system may be able to fight off can become more prominent issues in Down Syndrome. Of this, most parents are aware. But, and this is a huge but, there are many, many things that can be done to create as normal an immune system as possible much to many Dr's surprise. As we all know, there are many variables in Down Syndrome and the degrees of difficulties vary tremendously. Some parents can talk about how perfectly healthy their child with Down Syndrome is, yet for others they have never ending health issues with their child. For most parent's their child falls somewhere in the middle. I wanted to write this because everything I have been studying and learning over the last several years points to several known facts.

1. Most people with Down Syndrome have cow milk protein intolerance.
2. Most people with Down Syndrome have varying degrees of gluten intolerance.
3. Most people with Down Syndrome have a hard time metabolizing sugars.
4. Most people with Down Syndrome have Mal absorption issues with foods.
5. Most people with Down Syndrome can avoid MOST health issues if they follow certain dietary guidelines.
6. Most people with Down Syndrome can have near normal metabolisms and avoid most weight issues if they follow certain dietary guidelines and exercise.

In case you are reading this and already know all of these things, I applaud you and would love to hear what you are doing and all about your personal experiences making certain changes in the diet. However, if you are reading this and don't know most of this, I will share more information.

Roughly 80% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract. 80%! This is very important to know, and something that even the health community wasn't so aware of until recently. This should be taught to all of our children early on in school. Because most of the immune system is in the digestive tract, it makes perfect sense that every single thing we eat affects our immune system. Until recently, health professionals usually ruled out "food allergies" if the patient didn't show obvious signs of digestive distress. However what they are now realizing is that most people manifest food intolerance's in many different ways. When someone is having constant sinus issues, or eczema, or asthma or headaches, these are all major signs of food intolerance's. Symptoms such as bloating, water retention, sleepiness, moodiness, etc. are also signs of food intolerances. People may have varying degrees of different symptoms, yet they can all share the same food intolerances.

There isn't total proof that all people with Down Syndrome are gluten intolerant, however there is more and more evidence leading researchers to study the different types of gluten intolerance. This is one of the most descriptive articles summarizing how different food intolerance's work. Please read this for more detailed information.

We have had Jaden on a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free diet for the last year and a half. All I know is that Jaden hasn't had one cold or runny nose in this time. Before we had him on this diet, he would get a runny nose every few months. We also notice that if we slack off with the diet, he almost immediately gets congested, especially if we do it for several days straight like we have when we're traveling and we get lazy. If you want more information on this subject, just email me!
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