A term that will often come in up in circles of parents with children with ASD is “Biomedical treatments” or “Biomed” for short. So if you’re a parent to a child with a new diagnosis I will explain a little bit of our experience and what it means to our family.
For our family perhaps due to physiological issues with our boys (and perhaps all our kids), Autism is more prevalent. As I’ve mentioned in some of my other blog posts, our boys have had gut issues to start. Had we not done any work with biomed we would not have known about gut issues and would probably not done any diet changes or added supplements etc. I know for both Ted and Oskar, that there has been great improvement in speech and language, gut health, overall health and a decrease in behaviours or coping mechanisms due to biomed as part of our main therapies.
I’m still not really explaining what biomed is… well it’s a form of “functional medicine”. That is a form of medicine (usually done by a Naturopathic (ND) or Holistic Doctor)… and what are those? Well, in a nut shell, these are doctors that aim to get the entire body to its optimal health. Whereas a Medical Doctor (MD) is going to treat the symptoms or complaints that you go into their office with. Even when you go for an annual physical or “check up” the goal for the M.D. is “no symptoms” instead of optimal health. (In my opinion and that of many other parents who have traveled… “to the other side” ☺ Optimal health should always be the goal – getting to the root.)
Unfortunately, majority of today’s doctors are not paid to keep you “healthy”, but rather to help with your sicknesses. Most of us do not think of doctors as business men and women, but essentially that is what they are. They have staff to pay, office space leases, repair costs etc. and when THEY do not bring in the money they still have all their bills. So a wellness check up is given a set price to be paid by the government (in our country) or by insurance companies in other countries means that an appointment that goes too long means a decrease in income for the doctor. They can’t ask the government or insurance company for more money, they just don’t get paid for the “overtime”.
Even if you just review how your doctor care has changed over your lifetime you will see what I mean and have an understanding of why they do what they do. My first doctor, a General Practitioner, that actually delivered me as a baby, was my same doctor until I was about 16 years old. In the beginning, this doctor would spend about an hour for our wellness checkups. He would call home to follow up if we had an illness, never rush through an appointment, NEVER charge for a note for school or work and made us feel like he was a part of our family. My new doctor in my 20’s NEVER spent more than 10-15 minutes with me. I was only allowed ONE “problem or issue” per visit… and if I forgot this “rule” there were notes posted all over the office to remind everyone of this. All notes, letters to employers, or even a copy of test results were now charged by the page or item.
So why is all this? And what does it mean for the health of our children and families? Well for an industry that is essentially a group of business people whose goal is to help people… it means their hands are often tied. They need to feed their families and pay their employees and when the money isn’t there for keeping you in your best health, but for prescription drugs etc. Then I ask are they the best at helping our children that don’t traditionally present with any “health” issues? I know even before Ted was diagnosed with Autism and it was just this feeling that my pediatrician in the U.S. had. (Yeah, I know I was very lucky to have her and she is an amazing doctor.)
She had been concerned with Ted for some time not meeting his milestones. He also had no eye contact and seemed socially removed etc. She had a barrage of blood and urine tests done for Genetic testing. She also ordered an EEG to rule out seizures, plus referrals to Hearing and Vision specialists who could rule out any other possible issues Ted was possibly dealing with. However, she had to take several months to “put through” these other tests to our Insurance Company.
She even said during one appointment after humming and hawing over another Genetics test she wanted run…. “Probably going to get in trouble from the Insurance Provider on this one, but I don’t care, we need it to rule out some things….” I asked her what she meant by that. She explained that if a doctor runs “too many” tests (which of course cost the Insurance company money) they will get flagged. You get flagged too many times then you “get in trouble” and eventually you could possibly lose your practice… or Business!
I have seen posters here now too (in Canada) that suggests “too many tests can be a bad thing”. Really? when you can’t physically see things on the outside, how do you ever get a picture of what’s happening on the inside? Ok, I don’t suggest everyone go and get a colonoscopy every 6 months or a million x-rays for obvious reasons. But simple blood or urine tests to get a more accurate picture just seems like common sense. Even from a business perspective. If doctors were to get some insight as to things that might be out of balance, then perhaps long term diseases and illnesses could be avoided. The body will try to deal as best it can, but once the tipping point is reached it is often a longer, more painful, more drug requiring protocols to return to “normal”, but even that might not be the end point!
So we chose to see a Naturopathic doctor, for health issues as well as trying to keep our Optimal level of health. Each visit costs us money out of our own pockets. Every test run costs us money as well. However, the attention given at each visit, the information received from the tests and then the time taken by the ND to review the results and fully discuss them with you… is money well spent in our eyes.
I won’t go into all the details at this time of what we have done with our boys because it’s not a “recipe”. Even each boys journey with Biomed is different. The testing has shown things like poor methylation, mitochondrial issues, yeast and candida overgrowth, anemia, low B Vitamins etc. All this means is that despite looking “normal” on the outside their bodies are not getting the vitamins and minerals they need from the food they are eating. What is going “in” might also not be used properly, their bodies are not functioning properly. Do they seem “sick”? do they spend time in hospitals? No, but over time the effect has meant that they cannot sustain what their bodies ARE doing. As someone who has experienced an autoimmune disease first hand I can tell you that it doesn’t happen over night. However, when things start to really go… like a landslide, it just picks up speed and then even the most innovative drugs sometimes cannot stop the downward spiral. Then simple things like trying to eat or drink become huge mountains to climb!
Our goal as parents is to make sure our kids… all our kids are in optimal health. For the boys it means that they can get their bodies doing what it needs to do, properly. The leaky gut or things passing the blood brain barrier, that shouldn’t be, are what causes issues with their speech, language, behaviours and growth. For me, not being in optimal health meant that I was more susceptible to an Autoimmune disorder, a “switch” flipping ON. That’s called “epi-genetics” and I will probably talk about that more in other blogs, but for now it just means that I HAD a predisposition (in my genes) to getting an autoimmune disease. And when the conditions were right, like a perfect storm there was little I or doctors could do to stop it.
The body and brain are amazing when things are going as they were meant to, but when the messages get lost or mixed up then there is no telling what can happen or what these “switches” when turned ON will do to the body. My body which was never sick was actually running on overdrive for decades. Like an engine that always runs “full-out”, eventually it just can’t do it any longer. My body reached the point where the messages were crossed, and so an immune system that attacked everything that came into my body (hence the not being sick) eventually started attacking my own organ… my colon!
I hope that by keeping my girls in optimal health through diet and biomed that if they have any genetic predisposition to certain illnesses or diseases that their “switches” won’t be flipped ON. Of course when they are adults, their own health will be up to them, but I have a feeling that they will have had enough first hand experience to make sure even if they are not optimal they will be pretty close to being so. I hope they will also have the knowledge and tools to recognize the early warning signs to swing the pendulum back to centre before it really gets going!
Make sure you check back often, as I will be posting more of Oskar’s journey which has Biomed as one of his main therapies.