As I mentioned in my previous post – Paleo was a failure for us. However it did give me the insight that we must be adding something into Sara’s diet that was having an adverse effect on her. I mean…we literally stripped away every questionable food there is and she got worse. I have long suspected her issues were gut related (it began with constipation) so I went poking around on the internet (as I am prone to do) and discovered SIBO.
SIBO stands for Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth.
Our bodies are full of a variety of bacteria and they all serve a purpose and are useful. SIBO is when the bacteria from the colon overgrows and spreads into the small intestine. This is not a bad bacteria (though I am now going to refer to it as such) but it is not meant to leave the colon and it slowly destroys the healthy bacteria that is MEANT to reside in the small intestine.
This is a problem for two reasons – taken from this article https://www.nemechekconsultativemedicine.com/blog/reversing-autism-2017/:
1) This migrated species is a type of bacteria that produces propionic acid in massive amounts. In animal studies, high propionic acid leads to the development of antisocial behaviors, increased sensitivity to sound, light, and touch, as well as gait abnormalities. In human studies, children with autism have very high concentrations of propionic acid within their tissues.
2) The increased concentration of bacteria within the small intestine triggers the inflammatory reaction referred to as “leaky gut”. Leaky gut causes an increase in cytokine levels and allows for the inflammatory priming of a specialized form of white blood cell known as microglia within the central nervous system.
These 2 issues combined are primarily responsible for the developmental issues – such as PDD, OCD, Dyslexia etc., seizures, sensory issues (SPD), mood (anxiety, depression etc) and attention disorders (ADD/ADHD) commonly associated with autism.
That means that almost everything she suffers from could potentially be attributed to this condition!! And it is reversible! Once you restore the gut flora to normal and reduce the inflammation many of her issues should resolve!
One of the most compelling reasons that I believe that Sara has SIBO is that she had such an amazing success when we first went Gluten/Dairy Free. It was mind blowing! Her SPD was virtually non-existent and more shockingly -we literally restored her hearing to normal!! When Sara was first diagnosed with CAPD she scored VERY poorly. Her auditory processing in one ear was only 40% and 65% in the other. In most cases a score in the high 70’s is considered pretty bad. As you can imagine this was not something I expected to “fix” with a dietary change so it was rather shocking.
When we began to lose all the success (unexpectedly and without reason only 3 weeks later) one of the first clues I had that she was regressing was that she could no longer hear when people were speaking to her. Now that I understand SIBO – I know what happened. When you first embark on a Gluten Free/Dairy Free diet – or any drastic dietary change) you create a bit of a food shortage and there is a “dying off” period. Enough bacteria dies off that you get a reprieve in symptoms. Then, the bacteria adapts, evolves and regains its strength which results in a loss of progress.
In Sara’s case the dietary changes and the Omega 3 supplements also reduced the inflammation in her body (grains are inflammatory) and that reduction actually decreased the inflammation in her ears and allowed her to hear more clearly!!
One of the worst things you can do for SIBO is take probiotics. About a week or two after initially going Gluten and Dairy Free I began to give Sara a long list of daily supplements. One was a very good, high quality probiotic. That probiotic was the worst thing I could have done. Within weeks it had helped to re-grow the “bad” bacteria in numbers. That growth increased the inflammation in her body and that inflammation was what stole her hearing from us AND what caused her to have the Vertigo – her ear canals inflamed to the point that the fluid could not drain properly. Hence I really think that our use of Probiotics caused an increase in the bacteria AND inflammation and resulted in Vertigo.
Earlier this week we had an appointment with our Naturopath and I passed all of this by her expecting her to disagree – but you know what??? SHE AGREED!!!! So this Friday Sara will be tested for SIBO.
We are truly hoping that she tests positive and that we can begin the process of getting the bacterial overgrowth under control and get her some relief from her symptoms. Fingers crossed that she fails the SIBO test!!