Can Diet Help Treat and Possibly Prevent Autism?


 Dr. Shauna Young is a believer in the words of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer who related the three steps of truth:
 “First, it is ridiculed;
“Second, it is vigorously opposed;
“Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Dr. Young has been living through the first two stages of that evolution with regard to her views on how diet can affect Autism Spectrum Disorders, but feels the third stage is just around the corner.
 “When it comes to our research, we’re a bit like the square peg in the round hole,” said Dr. Young, Chief Medical Advisor for the NoHarm Foundation ( “It’s not that other doctors aren’t gaining interest in what we’re doing with regard to diet and autism, and it isn’t that the results aren’t remarkable. It’s more that the medical community just isn’t accustomed to something this new, and the established protocols for publishing findings just don’t fit when dealing with something truly unique like this. Traditionally, findings like ours would be an offshoot of previous research, and publishing an article about it would include lots of references to other articles, which is the standard. But what we’re doing has both the virtue and the vice of not having ever been tried before, and there is just no mechanism in the bureaucracy set up for what we’ve discovered.
At face value, we’re using our Spectrum Balance Protocol Diet to control disorders that have baffled researchers for decades. How do you present results like that to an established medical community without a chorus of disbelief, especially when our research isn’t based on anything that’s come before? So, in spite of the resistance from the medical community, I’m taking the track record we’ve accomplished over the past five years out directly to the families of autistic children because they deserve to have this information now – independent of the ‘process’ that the system expects”.
Dr. Young’s approach to helping autistic individuals primarily using just food, does not involve expensive drugs or large amounts of supplements, and it does not promote specific products or treatment services. Instead, it simply suggests a highly specific diet that is designed to reduce the unwanted symptoms of autism.
“The problem we have theorized has actually been indirectly supported with plentiful historic third party research. We have located many studies that attribute manganese sensitivity as being one of the root causes of various neurological disorders, which looked suspiciously to me like the symptoms of autism. Since the problem occurs most specifically within the brain chemistry, neither blood nor hair testing alone will necessarily reveal and/or confirm this condition,” she said. “Specifically, we are talking here about individual sensitivity to manganese, and not a syndrome that can be applicable or susceptible to all children or adults. I often use the analogy of a person being allergic to a food such as peanuts: As one person could eat a pound of peanuts and have no ill effects and the next person may experience a violent allergic response to a miniscule exposure, it is obvious that the response produced by the peanuts is far more important in the equation than the amount of peanuts that might be measured and quantified in one’s body.”
She acknowledged that there is much disagreement and conflicting information in nutritional/toxicology research fields as to what actual levels of ingestion and retention of manganese is even considered “safe” above very trace amounts. However, she said her team has found numerous studies internationally that have pointed to negative consequences suspected from manganese levels that are currently considered to be within acceptable standards.
That means that children eating what could be considered a healthy diet could still be ingesting enough manganese to affect their brain chemistries in a negative fashion.
“We’ve designed a diet based on food choices that are healthy and inviting, inexpensive and simple to prepare that limit the amount of manganese and specific anti-nutrients in the body,” Dr. Young added. “It is this diet that we supply in detail for free on the Foundation’s website, which is helping many people — not all — achieve better outcomes than their current regimens on medications. We’ve seen it and we’ve documented it, and now we want to share those results, no matter how unlikely they may seem, with the families of autistic children. As these protocols involve no drugs or medications of any kind, they do “no harm” whatsoever. There is nothing to lose and no medical risk involved with this regimen. And for the families all around the world who have seen the differences in their children from applying these methods, we know that the very least these protocols offer is new hope.”
About Dr. Shauna Young
Dr. Shauna Young received her Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Natural Sciences from the University of Natural Medicine in Santa Fe, NM, and since 2001 she has been practicing as a Traditional Naturopath within the disciplines of her continuing certification with the American Naturopathic Certification Board (ANCB) and as a Certified Biofeedback Specialist with the Natural Therapies Certification Board (NTCB).

To request more information about the NoHarm Foundation, contact Russ Handler at (727) 443-7115 ext. 206 or email [email protected].