Like with many developmental disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often occurs in conjunction with a variety of other health concerns and conditions that affect an individual’s health in various ways. Low stomach acid is one of the most common of these comorbid issues and causes not only discomfort, but nutritional issues as well. A variety of gastrointestinal problems are the result of low stomach acid, and most people don’t even know it.
Key Indicators That Your Child Is Suffering from Low Stomach Acid
Pervasive Presence of Gastrointestinal Parasites
Many of the parents dealing with this issue indicate that no matter what type of protocol or approach for remedying parasites they use, the parasites are still present or continue to reestablish themselves.
If your child is below his or her acceptable weight category or even just appears very thin, he or she may be suffering from low stomach acid.
Gut Pain, Anxiety, or Even Incessant Hyper Behavior
Because your gut has so much to do with your overall health, these symptoms can also indicate a gastrointestinal issue.
The Importance of Proper Stomach Acid Strength
Research indicates that low stomach acid is one of the characteristic symptoms expressed in the majority of children with ASD. Autism Speaks states that children with autism are nearly 3.5 times more likely to suffer chronic diarrhea or constipation than their “typically” developing peers, and these GI issues can certainly have a negative impact on behavior as well as progression of affected children.
Gastrointestinal issues not only affect a child’s growth and development, they also have a profound effect on his or her digestive processes, intestinal health, adrenal performance, and even immune strength.
You may be wondering how an intestinal issue has such an effect on your entire body -- a legitimate question. The main reason is that stomach acid serves two important purposes. Stomach acid:
Creates a balanced acid environment in your stomach to promote protein digestion and the function of the enzyme pepsin
Kills any and all pathogens and parasites entering your body with your food
When your stomach acid is too low or at the incorrect pH strength, it can’t function properly, and, in turn, none of your other systems function properly. Low stomach acid results in a variety of issues including:
Overabundance of Parasites
Because your child’s body is unable to filter and eliminate parasites, it will suffer from an onslaught of parasitic activity. Parasites enter your child’s body with his or her food and then multiply and spread because there is no acid to eliminate the toxins.
The pancreatic enzymes– nuclease, protease, carbohydrase, lipase, etc.—in your duodenum are triggered by proper stomach acid strength. If your stomach acid is too low, these enzymes are not released and do not initiate digestion in the way they should. Again, this lack of digestion creates a breeding ground for parasites and pathogens in your child’s gut. It can also cause issues with bowel release, such as constipation and bowel obstruction.
Because your child’s body is not properly digesting food, he or she is likely not developing physically as he or she should.
Low stomach acid causes excessive production of cortisol in your child’s body. This excess strains the adrenals and causes anxious and even hyper behavior.
Again, because your child’s body is not properly digesting food, he or she is likely to experience reflux.
Poor Immune Function
Intestinal health plays a huge role in general health. So, if your child’s gut isn’t healthy, it likely doesn’t have the necessary bacteria it needs to promote effective immune function.
The Interesting Link Between Blood Type and Autism
The Autism Hope Alliance indicates that there seems to be a unique link between blood type and the prevalence of autism. According to research, 8 out of 10 children with autism have blood type A, which is considered the most sensitive blood type. According to medical expertise, blood type A is more susceptible to:
Low immune function
Low stomach acid
Elevated cortisol levels
As more research is done to solidify these findings, we may be able to find even better ways to help children with autism as well as low stomach acid.
Effective Treatments for Low Stomach Acid
Obviously, taking nutritional supplements is one of the simplest solutions for low stomach acid. To get the most benefit from nutritional supplements, individuals need to follow a specific protocol for treatment. The protocol includes:
Betaine is a nutrient that helps restore stomach acid and balances pH level. Betaine Hydrochloride is readily available at any health store. Give your child a betaine supplement with every meal.
Pancreatic enzymes support digestive function and contain bromelain and papain. You can purchase pancreatic enzymes at any health store and should also give your child one of these supplements at each meal.
To determine doses for betaine for your child, divide the weight of your child by 150 (the average weight of an adult) and multiply by 100. This calculation will generate the percentage of an “adult dose” that your child needs. As far as the pancreatic enzymes, though, the more the better.
With these nutrients, your child can be well on his or her way to better digestive health as well as improved development and behavior.