Autistic children, like everyone else, need prebiotics in their diets to achieve a balanced and healthy gut microbiome. Inulin is a prebiotic fiber which means it has to be in your child’s gut to feed the probiotics.
Inulin Can Decrease Common Autistic Characteristics
While inulin isn’t regarded as a staple supplement for autistic children, it can be helpful in many cases. When an autistic child also has small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or dysbiosis, increasing their inulin can be helpful.
Additionally, children with high levels of propionic acid (revealed through OAT testing) benefit from increased inulin which can balance out the bacterial overgrowth that leads to these high propionic acid levels. High levels of propionic acid are often associated with antisocial behavior, a sensitivity to light, touch, and sounds, as well as other common autistic characteristics.
Inulin feeds the good bacteria in the gut and crowds out bad bacteria which leads to decreased levels of propionic acid and as a result a decrease in some of those troublesome autistic characteristics.
Inulin and Omega 3 acids are also being used to treat autistic kids who struggle with speech delays. Tools like the Nemechek Protocol include the addition of inulin and Omega 3 acids to help autistic children make progress toward their speech goals.
Inulin is a Low Risk Way to Improve Your Child’s Gut Health
Inulin occurs naturally in many foods like bananas, leeks, onion, garlic, and asparagus. Increasing the consumption of these foods is the best way to get inulin into your child’s body. However, you can purchase inulin as a supplement.
For adults, inulin is often used for weight loss as it increases the feeling of fullness, and as a preventative measure against heart disease. But for kids, it’s primary use is to promote gut health.
When it Comes to Dosage Start Low and Go Slow
The main side effect associated with inulin usage is bloating and gassiness. To avoid this I recommend starting your child out on ⅛ to ¼ of the recommended dosage and slowly increasing from there. By starting on a lower dosage your child can avoid bloating and discomfort while their body gets used to the prebiotic fiber.
If your child has been directed by their doctor or practitioner to follow a Low FODMAP diet, inulin should not be introduced. A Low FODMAP diet is intentionally low in prebiotic fibers so you shouldn’t add inulin without the approval of your provider who started your child on that diet.
It’s also important to note that inulin absorbs fluid. You need to make sure if your child is taking inulin that they’re drinking enough water to avoid dehydration.
While inulin can help treat constipation, it’s not my first choice if that is your child’s main issue. In that case, I recommend starting with magnesium glycinate. However, if we know the inulin will be useful for other things, like SIBO or other intestinal overgrowths, we can kill two birds with one stone by supplementing with inulin.
I hope you’ve learned something here to help you take control of your child’s autism game plan.
Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing a great job.
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