When it comes to autism, it can often be challenging to determine if your child’s symptoms are simply a characteristic of autism or something else. Finding the root cause of these issues involves some trial and error.
During this process of elimination, many parents end up wondering if their child’s issues are the result of a food sensitivity. Studies have shown that autistic children do have higher rates of food sensitivities than their neurotypical peers.
So how can you tell if your child’s issues are the result of a food sensitivity?
Common Symptoms of Food Sensitivity
A food sensitivity can manifest itself in some unexpected ways. However, if your child is displaying these most common symptoms, a food sensitivity may be to blame.
- Digestive complaints: Constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, or belching
- Challenging behaviors: Bedwetting, meltdowns, hyperactivity, trouble focusing
- Poor sleep: Trouble falling asleep, frequent waking
- Skin issues: Eczema, rashes
- Food cravings: Specifically for the food they’re sensitive to
What to Do if You Suspect Your Child Has a Food Sensitivity
Symptoms such as digestive complaints, challenging behaviors, and skin issues can be caused by food sensitivities. But there may be other causes. Before jumping into food sensitivity testing, which isn’t typically covered by insurance, I suggest performing the following tests:
If you’ve completed these two tests and you’re still stuck, or you simply need more information, you may want to consider food-sensitivity testing. While eliminating gluten and dairy from a child’s diet, in my experience, often has positive results, for a child whose diet is already restricted this may not be the best choice.
Because food sensitivity reactions are often delayed, it can be challenging to figure out on your own which food your child’s reacting to. So for picky eaters or kids with food aversions, I recommend a complete food-sensitivity test. This will help you avoid restricting their already limited diet unnecessarily.
What Does a Food-Sensitivity Test Measure?
Food-sensitivity tests are measuring the reaction of immunoglobulin G (IgG) in your child’s blood against different foods. Some food-sensitivity tests will also include complement testing. This measures the immune factor in your child’s blood that’s responsible for producing inflammation.
Which Food-Sensitivity Tests Should You Complete?
I typically recommend two food-sensitivity tests for autistic children:
- Food Inflammation Test (FIT) – KBMO: This is an IgG and complement test. It will tell you which foods are causing inflammation.
- IgG Food-Sensitivity Test – Great Plains Laboratory: This test looks at IgG levels and identifies immune system responses to specific foods.
Both of these tests are run off a dry blood sample (DBS). That means the blood sample is collected through a simple finger poke instead of a full blood draw. Unfortunately, insurance rarely covers food-sensitivity testing (although they do typically cover food allergy testing). These tests can cost between $125 and $225.
It may be tempting to order an online food sensitivity test, but I’d like to caution you against that. Often, these online food sensitivity tests aren’t as reliable as a traditional lab test. You should talk with your functional medicine provider to find a reliable test that’s worth the cost.
No matter what stage you’re at in the creation of Your Autism Game Plan you may want to consider food sensitivity testing. This simple noninvasive process can give you great insight into your child’s problematic symptoms.Tell Me More!
Stool sample testing is another essential tool in the discovery of the root cause of your child’s behaviors or symptoms.
Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing a great job.
I hope this information has been helpful to you as part of creating Your Autism Game Plan.
Do you have a topic you’d like to learn more about? Email me at email@example.com