Rett Syndrome – Natalies’s Dietry Needs
Rett Syndrome – Natalie’s Dietary needs
by Nicole Pintoski Jeramie Curtice
Natalie has type r294x genotype of the mecp2 mutation. We have learned that this type comes with lots of screaming and very disturbed sleeping patterns. However, we also learned that our daughter also has issues not related to Rett Syndrome at all, or exaggerated by Rett Syndrome.
At first we tried Natalie on the gluten free diet and two weeks later she stopped screaming and she slept through the night.
Then she began having problems on that diet so we tried the gfcf/SCD diet for 1.5 years. Our daughter did do better in many ways while on the diet. However, she became so thin that we had to rethink our strategy and learned that she was really allergic to milk, sensitive to sugars, barely absorbed any vitamin A, had low creatinine levels, and only acted calmer on the gluten free diet because it made her hypoglycemic (low blood sugar).
And oh yeah, her creatinine levels were always low because of low muscle tone. This in itself can cause retardation of the brain if the nutrient becomes too low. Creatinine supplement works great. Besides all this, we now also use Elecare powder and blend it with Chocolate Almond milk (milk made from almonds), 3 strawberries, 1/3 banana, pineapple chunks, and peanut butter. Served in a Tummy Tickler sippy from Walmart, it makes for one very nutritious, calorie packed shake.
We give her 3 shakes per day in between meals. 3 meals, 3 shakes, 3 snacks per day. She walks, talks some, eats on her own mostly, and is 5 years old now. She is our miracle child who teaches us about life instead of us her. Our Angel indeed.
There was really no “gut disease” in her other than a strong suspicion that milk makes her organs swell up with lot of vomiting. Her diarrhea was only from low vitamin A absorption which was instantly treated with fresh juiced carrot/celery 50/50 juice. Her diarrhea was cured completely after 6 weeks of the juice.
The screaming was ALL associated with SUGAR. Carbs as we all know is our energy, but in sugar form, it is in its fastest burning state and there’s a mystery why it causes r294x girls to scream like sirens all day. Grape juice was the absolute worse trigger.
We tolerated 3 years of blood-curdling screaming, but it was mostly because of either sugars or she was just trying to tell us something like she was hungry or had to go to the bathroom.
Now she is passed that stage of screaming and she still sleeps through the night, so we decided to slowly start adding the foods back and now she isn’t on any strict diet.
I should also mention that our daughter does not take any drugs either besides her daily vitamin and creatine. We don’t give her melatonin, but have tried it, but found that a better diet and peaceful environment works better for sleep.
Every kid is different but I would recommend trying to cut out as many sugars as possible. That seemed to help our Natalie the most.
Watch the sugars and long naps during the day. Sugars seem to be processed different in some Rett girls, giving them hours of endless energy. Also pay attention to her bathroom habits. Our daughter started slapping her baby monitor light every night to tell us she had to go. Like clockwork, she would every night if we didn’t get her on the toilet first.
Also consider her insomnia as distress too. She may be disturbed by something. Just remember that her 5 senses are altered because of the way Rett Syndrome wreaks havoc on the nervous system directly. The 5 senses are sight, smell, touch, taste and sound with a sixth sense of hunger.
If you add one burden to hunger, this will cause her distress. So try to make sure she is snacked up and pooped out before bed. Also make sure that there are no ambient noises keeping her up. The sound thing can be bad on our girls. A ticking clock, cricket, water running, furnace blower going, creaking door, TV, fan, fish tank, etc, can all possibly irritate or distract her.
Our daughter needs complete silence at bed time and no disturbances at night. She goes to bed at 8 and falls asleep by 8:30 and wakes up at 8am. 12 hours of peaceful sleep. But before we figured all this out, it was pretty rough on all of us because she would be up until 2-3am and get up at 6am. :(. That was a bad time, but now we all get better rest.
Watch the movie “Temple Grandin” to get another perspective as well. It opened our eyes a little. Hope this helpsemail2friend