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Down Syndrome: How Your Diet Plays a Role

Thursday, 23 Sep 2010 10:26 AM

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that gives rise to multiple conditions like hyper/hypothyroidism, Celiac Disease, gastro-intestinal disorders, diabetes, and so on.

Along with medical supplements, a good Down syndrome diet plan helps combat these conditions. A carbohydrate diet has proven effective for a range of Down syndrome symptoms. Lowering high glycemic carbohydrates in the diet helps reduce cortisol levels and is believed to help brain function.  The easy ingestibility of low GI foods helps the gastro-intestinal tract absorb nutrition.
Patients afflicted with Down syndrome have poor digestive abilities. Adapting a gluten-free diet has proven effective for easing digestion. Gluten is a protein in wheat and a gluten-free diet eliminates or limits the ingestion of gluten. If the patient exhibits milk-intolerance then a casein-free diet is also recommended. Gastro-intestinal problems also include constipation due to low muscle tone and a sedentary lifestyle. A fiber-rich diet which includes raw fruits and vegetables, bran and cornmeal, and dried fruits such as raisins, figs, and nuts helps ease constipation and works well as a Down syndrome diet.
Diabetes may also be present in those with Down syndrome. Specific diets for diabetes should be adopted only by a physician after extensive tests and precise knowledge of the sugar/insulin levels present in the body. Sugar-free, low-carbohydrate diets are generally recommended. Along with diabetes, GERD and hyper/hypothyroidism are also conditions that require some amount of diet control.
Research has shown that people with Down Syndrome have benefited from mineral supplements like zinc and selenium. Certain food allergies can be handled with elimination diets tailored to individual cases.

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