Julie Matthews, CNC, author of Nourishing Hope for Autism, was interviewed on the Anxiety Summit by host of the Anxiety Summit, Trudy Scott, Food Mood Expert and Nutritionist, author of The Antianxiety Food Solution.
Addressing Anxiety in Individuals with Autism
- How common is anxiety in autism and medications commonly prescribed
- Autism prevalence and the exponential growth and why this is important beyond those with autism
- Underlying biochemical factors that contribute to anxiety in autism
- The microbiome and gut involvement
- Sensory sensitivity, light and sound sensitivity, weighted blankets and more
- Foods, food compounds and nutrients like GABA and zinc
- The far-reaching benefits of a BioInidividual Nutrition approach for autism, anxiety, ADHD and many chronic diseases
This is the first paper we discussed: Treatment of comorbid anxiety and autism spectrum disorders
Clinically significant anxiety occurs frequently among individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and is linked to increased psychosocial, familial, behavioral and academic impairment beyond the core autism symptoms when present.
Up to 80% of children with ASDs experience clinically significant anxiety, with high comorbidity rates for social phobia (30%), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) (35%), obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) 37% and separation anxiety disorder (SAD) 38% having been observed (30, 35, 37 and 38%, respectively).
Patients with ASDs and anxiety are at increased risk for social avoidance, difficulties establishing and maintaining peer relationships, sleep problems, disruptions in family functioning and at school.
SSRIs have NOT been consistently linked to improvements in core ASD symptoms (e.g., communication and social skills deficits, repetitive behaviors and stereotypies) or anxiety and repetitive behaviors in youths
High rates of behavioral activation (e.g., agitation, irritability, aggression and disinhibition) and diminished tolerability have been reported across trials, which may suggest that youths with ASDs are more vulnerable to side effects compared with their typically developing peers.
Here is the initial multisystem study Julie covered at the start – Pathway Network Analyses for Autism Reveal Multisystem Involvement: Major Overlaps with Other Diseases and Convergence Upon MAPK and Calcium Signaling
Julie covered folate receptor autoantibodies and cerebral folate deficiency (common in autism and now found in anxiety too):
It was a concept that in the autism community was brought forward by Dr. Fry and Dr. Rosignol and Dr. Quadros looking at this particular condition. And so there’s a condition called cerebral folate deficiency. And it’s a neurodevelopmental disorder where the baby doesn’t get enough folate to their cerebral spinal fluid in their brain. And so they don’t get the proper development that they need. And the reason for that is they looked into what could be causing that and they found that children with autism have a high rate of folate receptor autoantibodies. And so what happens is the folate receptor is basically taking folate from the bloodstream and puts it into the cerebral spinal fluid. It gets it to the brain basically.
And these folate receptors are basically what take it across the membrane. But in children with autism they have these autoantibodies and that blocks their ability to get the folate into the brain. So they have neurodevelopmental issues and then during their lifetime as well they still don’t have enough folate they need on a daily basis to do the things that they need to do. So it’s an ongoing challenge for them as well.
Here are the folate receptor autoantibody studies:
- Cerebral Folate Receptor Autoantibodies in Autism Spectrum Disorder (serum folate receptor autoantibody concentrations as a prevalence of 75 percent of the children with autism)
- High milk consumers have an increased risk of folate receptor blocking autoantibody production but this does not affect folate status in Spanish men and women.
Most of the research regarding these folate receptor autoantibodies are around autism. But now it seems like we’ve seen this new animal study that actually mentions anxiety as well – Exposure to Folate Receptor Alpha Antibodies during Gestation and Weaning Leads to Severe Behavioral Deficits in Rats: A Pilot Study
Here is Julie’s wonderful book – Nourishing Hope for Autism: Nutrition and Diet Guide for Healing Our Children
Here are the digital gifts from Julie
- Using Food and Nutrition to Improve ADHD and Autism
- Integrative Medicine and BioIndividual Nutrition webinar (for practitioners)
If you are not already registered for the Anxiety Summit you can get live access to the speakers of the day here: www.theAnxietySummit.com
Missed this interview or can’t listen live? Or want this and the other great interviews for your learning library? Purchase the MP3s or MP3s + transcripts and listen when it suits you.