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I found the Nemechek Protocol while doing research. When you’re a special needs parent it’s quite common to research (and then research your research). Or, at least based on my experience, I’ve yet to find a special needs parent who doesn’t, whether at the library or on the computer. Research articles are generally available for years before they become mainstream. It’s important to note the distinction between research and snake-oil salesman with the latest and greatest natural cure (which I talk about here).
I stumbled upon the Nemechek protocol, and joined a parent’s Facebook group to just watch and learn. On it, I found an incredible group of parents who were reporting great outcomes. Honestly, I remained skeptical, watching, reading and learning for several months.
This healing protocol is based on research that Dr. Patrick Nemechek has done. He practices in AZ, and helps folks who live all over the world. The book is available in several languages.
The premise of the Nemechek Protocol book (I am not an affiliate) aligns with what I’ve researched and believed for many years – that gut health is an important part of brain health and function. [Please note this is very different from saying there is a “cure” — I personally don’t believe in a cure for neurodiversity– however, many kids on the Autism spectrum have co-morbid conditions that can be treated (i.e., Autism isn’t causing that stomach ache when my kid eats dairy]
We’ve tried many natural supplements over the years, including melatonin, magnesium, and fish oil to name a few, and we have always used Omega 3’s feed the brain.
Pediatricians don’t always support natural interventions
We follow a gluten and dairy free diet and have for several years. I remember shortly after we started, our Developmental Pediatrician assured me that a special diet wasn’t needed. Furthermore, he asserted that diet would give our daughter scurvy. Yes, scurvy.
The funny thing was, at that time, my kiddo was eating broccoli for breakfast (odd, perhaps, but completely true). I wasn’t worried about scurvy or eliminating dairy and gluten. I knew she was eating good, whole food and I couldn’t see any down-side to that. We saw gains.
The Nemechek Protocol helps to heal the gut through the use of inulin fiber, and reduce inflammation with certified extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), while feeding the brain with fish oil. The book explains that many processed foods today use Omega 6 oils (like Safflower oil, vegetable oil, and sunflower oil) which are inflammatory, and it’s imperative to avoid them. The book asserts that once the gut is healed, there won’t be a need for a special diet (like GFCF), and that developmental delays will catch up slowly but surely with healing.
Our experience so far
The Nemechek Protocol is very easy to follow and is relatively inexpensive. The hardest part if finding foods without Omega 6 oils (everything from salad dressings to chicken nuggets contains them).
Early-on with the protocol (after the first 4 weeks), we experienced small gains. The picture shows my daughter at her chorus concert following along with the hand movements, focused on the teacher, and leaving a hat on! (This was taken at 3.5 weeks on the protocol).
Avoid Omega 6
Another important part of the Nemecheck Protocol is the stopping all other supplements. For us, that includes the enzymes we use should she eat dairy. We rely on these to allow her a little ice cream every once in a while.
Of course, the Nemechek Protocol asserts that when the gut is healed, no special diet is necessary. Although hesitant, we tested that theory with a milkshake, without taking an enzyme – and there was no stomach ache! Even so, we are not in a hurry to discontinue the GFCF diet, but it does seem like this protocol might be helping her gut to heal.
After just 4 weeks using inulin fiber, certified EVOO and fish oil (brands and dosing information based on child’s age and size are detailed in the book), I’m cautiously optimistic.
If you’re interested in learning more, Dr. Nemechek has many available (free!) YouTube videos. The parent Facebook group, although not directly affiliated with Dr. Nemechek, is really helpful. And, last, there is an inexpensive book that can be purchased. These resources explain the protocol based on a child’s age and needs.
I will continue to write on our progress. Please share this article if you found it helpful, or think it might help someone else!
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