Can Underlying Conditions Cause Autism (ASD) in Children?

Can Underlying Conditions Cause Autism (ASD) in Children?

ASD is a complex multifactorial condition that requires a holistic look at the body and health system. Symptoms are often the expression of underlying problems – testing and treatment of the underlying causes are key.  As a naturopath in Singapore, my approach involves an investigation of seven key bodily systems. If you would like to schedule a health consultation for your child, please get in touch. I’m committed to helping families live fuller and healthier lives.

Can Underlying Conditions Cause Autism (ASD)?

Yes, there is a growing body of research to suggest that the symptoms of autism can be caused or exacerbated by underlying conditions like autoimmune disease, gut health, nutrient deficiencies, and more. It is important to test hormone levels, micronutrient levels, heavy metals, and other aspects of health – these tests can show us how to proceed with an effective treatment plan.

The Seven Things I Look For in Autistic Children

Gut Dysfunction and Digestive Issues

Prevalence of GI symptoms like abdominal pain, distension, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation have been well documented in studies and from parental reports. Symptoms such as GERD and constipation may be causing pain, irritability and oppositional defiant behaviors.

Bacteria like clostridia and candida are hugely implicated in ASD kids, and that influences behavior as well. Gluten and casein elimination has been shown to improve a subset of children with ASD.

Testing and treating the cause is the key. There are different testing methods we use based on the need. A urine Organic Acid test, stool tests, and a food sensitivity and/or intolerance test can all help identify these triggers. I do provide gastrointestinal health consultations at my clinic in Singapore, and I would be happy to help you.

Can Toxins Cause Autism?

ASD children tend to hold on to toxins. These children often have some of the Genetic SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) that prevent an efficient detox, and heavy metals, mold toxins, pesticides, herbicides etc. may all be a problem. Heavy metal testing, toxic profile or mycotoxin testing are some of the tests we will recommend for a family dealing with the symptoms of autism.

Immunity and Autoimmune Conditions

If your child is sick frequently with colds, flus or has eczema, the immunity piece may need to be addressed. The majority of children that I see who are on the severe end of the spectrum do not get the regular colds and flus. Rather, they develop autoimmunity triggered by infections or a noninfectious trigger like  mold or another environmental toxin leading to a flare up called PANS or PANDAS.

These involve sudden onset of behavioral change with OCD aggression and other expressions. Routine labs that check for infections, strep, whole blood count, or viral panels such as EBV are essential to rule out in these kids.

Nutrient Deficiencies in Autistic Children

Deficiencies in nutrients are commonly seen in ASD. They tend to burn up most nutrients due to the requirements for other metabolic reactions in the body. Secondly, these children often have very restrictive diets. Sensory related issues make them picky eaters, thereby creating a vicious cycle of further lowering the intake of broader foods. All that could further exacerbate your child’s behavioral problems.

Hormones Can Worsen Symptoms of Autism

Assessing hormones such as cortisol, DHEA, insulin etc can be crucial in improving mood and aggression. Low cholesterol (<150) in particular has been shown to cause temper tantrums and fatigue.

Role of Genetics in Autism

Through proper nutrition, supplements and lifestyle changes, we can influence some inherited genetic SNPs to express disease differently. A 23&me genetic evaluation can often provide clues regarding what we can and can’t treat, and a genetically-informed treatment plan can make a significant difference in the health of an autistic child.


When children on the autism spectrum exhibit issues like constipation, low muscle tone, or underdeveloped gross motor skills, these may be indicators of reduced mitochondrial function. The MitoSwab and Organic Acids Test (OAT) can offer invaluable insights into specific metabolic pathways affected in these individuals. By analyzing these tests, a functional medicine doctor can identify potential nutritional deficiencies or imbalances. Consequently, this can guide targeted nutrient interventions, aiming to support mitochondrial function and potentially alleviate some of the associated symptoms these children experience.For more information about how we can naturally treat autism, my practice, or homeopathic medicine in Singapore, please get in touch. I would be more than happy to speak with you and set up a consultation.


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