OAARSN Book Review

Enzymes for Autism and other Neurological Conditions:
the Practical Guide for 
Digestive Enzymes and Better Behavior 
By Karen L. DeFelice 
Published by ThunderSnow Interactive, 2003 
Second edition. 383 pages. ISBN: 0972591877 
.

The complex and pervasive symptoms of autism spectrum disorders include gastrointestinal, immune and sensory problems for (probably) most people on the autism spectrum. Recognition of the biomedical aspects of autism in the past decade has supported dietary intervention as one treatment strategy. Several years ago, the publication of Karyn Seroussi's Unraveling the mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder: a mother's story of research and recovery (Simon and Schuster, 2000) launched the gluten-free casein-free (GFCF) diet for families determined to help their autistic children. Karen DeFelice's new book is doing much the same for enzyme therapy--and for other conditions besides autism.

Enzymes for Autism is really several books rolled into one. 

First, it is a compelling story of personal and family experiences of gastrointestinal problems and of various other treatments, especially by the author herself and her two young sons. The findings of a survey of 260 individuals who tried enzyme therapy for seven months are reported, 90 per cent showing positive results.

Karen L. DeFelice also draws upon her training in science and education to explain autism (and other neurological conditions) as sets of neurobiological disorders affecting the immune, nervous and sensory systems and her conviction that digestive enzymes can be key players in more efficient functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. This aspect of the book is supported by more than 300 bibliographic references, most published in scholarly journals.

Second, Enzymes for Autism is also a practical guide to help other affected individuals and families—especially those with autism spectrum disorders but also others with sensory dysfunction, migraines, AD(H)D, yeast/bacteria, food intolerances, chemical sensitivity, intestinal problems, chronic fatigue, MS pain, fibromyalgia, or bowel dysfunctions.

Third, the book is also a work in progress. Moved by relief at finding that enzyme therapy worked for them, the author and some others started an electronic message board. Questions are posed and answered, experiences are shared, and successes are celebrated. The material in the book is constantly being validated, qualified and updated in these electronic messages. 

The second edition of the book, published in 2003, has added one new chapter (15). Its Table of Contents very usefully outlines sections within chapters as well as giving chapter titles.

These are the chapters of Enzymes for Autism:

  • The Two Little Princes – personal experience
  • Why enzymes? The gut-brain connection
  • Digestive system basics--getting to the bottom of it
  • Food and its effects on neurology, the brain and behavior
  • Intestinal permeability—the food-free diet
  • What are enzymes and what do they do?
  • Unlocking the treasure chest
  • Enzymes and disease
  • What to expect when starting enzymes
  • Nutrient deficiencies and malabsorption--just passing through
  • Guidelines for giving enzymes—getting best results
  • The happy child effect
  • The immune system—bodyguards on watch
  • Dysbiosis—life in the gut
  • Why you should eat like a pig
  • Magnesium and neurology
  • Sulfur, Epsom salts and phenols
  • The total load—elephants and canaries
  • Enzymes and restrictive diets
  • Enzymes at school—teaching the fundamentals
  • Little princes at play again
  • Appendix A: Guide to comparing and buying enzymes
  • Appendix B: Enzymes in action—7-month study
  • Appendix C: Frequently asked questions
  • References and index
Enzymes for Autism is likely to appeal mainly to people (and their families and caregivers) who live with autism and other neurological disorders and who have tried various interventions already. Such readers are motivated by the prospect of significant improvements in health, pain reduction, food tolerance, language and socialization.

Find the message board at enzymesandautism-owner@yahoogroups.com

{return to: BOOKS ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM}