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After feeding a mixture of amino acids to brain-damaged mice, the right balance of brain chemicals was restored in the animals and their learning ability returned to normal! The amino acids given were leucine, isoleucine, and valine, known as branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs make up nearly one-fifth of all muscle proteins and enhance the biogenesis of mitochondria in the cells ensuring greater energy production. One study of elderly diabetics showed that a BCAA-rich amino acid mixture improved numerous parameters of blood sugar metabolism, including hemoglobin A1c. Animal studies show promise that oral BCAAs can improve the devastating consequences of traumatic brain injury by improving cognitive performance. BCAAs have improved the survival and the qualiy of life of those with liver cirrhosis (free from hepatic failure, rupture of esophageal or gastric varices, or liver cancer.) These essential amino acids are vital for the creation of two, brain chemicals that play a key role in the functioning of nerves. The two neurotransmitters, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), work together to keep brain activity in balance. Glutamate excites neurons, stimulating them to fire, while GABA inhibits them. If neurons are too excited or not excited enough, the brain does not function properly – Online journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In fact, too much GABA causes lethargy and will cause a distinct learning disability as there is no retention of things studied!
Additionally, there is heavy-metals poisoning: Jill James, found that many autistic children are genetically deficient in their capacity to produce glutathione, an antioxidant generated in the brain that helps remove mercury from the body. A recent study found 85 percent exhibited severely elevated Copper/Zinc (Cu/Zn) ratios in blood, suggesting a disorder of metallothionein (MT), a short, linear protein responsible for homeostasis of copper and zinc and many other metals. “The severity of the Cu/Zn imbalance was far greater than that of any other population we have studied over the past 25 years,” said William Walsh, Ph.D., Physician, biochemist, and chief scientist of the Pfeiffer Treatment Center, Naperville, Illinois. His database suggests that copper overload and zinc depletion are the most common metal-metabolism abnormalities in behavioral conditions such as, ADHD, autism, depression, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia. In another report, of 23 autistic children who had serum ferritin measured, 12 were iron deficient. Iron deficiency is a frequent factor in restless leg syndrome. A study of iron-deficient, non-anemic rats concluded, “The results of this study show that L-thyroxine administration and/or iron supplementation increases Glutathione (GSH), Glutathione Peroxidase (GSH-Px), and Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD) levels of erythrocytes (red blood cells)”—Chung Hua Yu Fang I Hsueh Tsa Chih 1996 Nov; 30(6):351-3. Note, however, the contradiction when using serum iron measurements (serum iron tests are not as efficient is detecting iron deficiency): “I checked iron levels in our population of 3,000 autism patients. We found that autistic children exhibited higher serum iron levels than controls (non-autistic, healthy children). However, all of the differences occurred in about 1/3 of the autism population with the other 2/3 resembling the controls. The high-iron kids were extremely high, the rest of the autistics were quite normal. It appears that a segment of the autism population has very abnormal iron metabolism (and abnormal ceruloplasmin)”—Bill Walsh. So, are “our” kids high or low iron? Do not rely on serum iron.
So, serum iron is not the best measure of iron sufficiency. Blood tests for hemoglobin and serum ferritin levels that are checked for transferrin saturation percentages are more useful, but the results of these tests are confounded in states of prolonged inflammation or disease such as autism, for autism is a state of chronic brain inflammation (Dr. Marcel Just, John Hopkins). Transferrin is a glycoprotein that binds iron very tightly but reversibly. The affinity for Fe(III) is extremely high, but the affinity decreases progressively with decreasing pH below neutrality. A skilled hematologist is often the best professional from whom to obtain personal information concerning blood iron levels. Ferritin metabolism is influenced by thyroid hormone as well as by iron. Thus, the raised serum ferritin in hyperthyroid patients may be partially attributed to increased ferritin synthesis in the liver and its possible leakage into circulation. When copper is deficient, the body can’t use iron, so it accumulates and causes damage, increasing the risk of Type II diabetes by 3 times. There may be a copper-deficiency anemia. The disease is called siderosis, which is characterized by a gray pallor to the skin from iron accumulation in the tissues. “In addition, these sufferers (of excess serum iron) are unusually sensitive to lead, cadmium, mercury, and other toxic metals so that they tend to accumulate rather than eliminate them. This is probably because Phase I was overactive compared to Phase II in 86%. Phase I was functional, but Phase II was impaired in 14%, thus 100% of children with autism had abnormal liver detoxification— S. Edelson and D. Cantor, Toxicology and Industrial Health (2000) 16 1-9. Children are more susceptible than adults. They have more exposure (crawling, playing in dirt, licking hands), and they excrete less (adults retain only 1%, children retain 33%). Iron interferes with the absorption of the essential minerals zinc, manganese, and molybdenum, and it destroys vitamin E. Its own absorption is blocked by calcium and magnesium. Additionally, when a mineral is lacking, its heavy metal equivalent tends to be held and used, for example: cadmium sits just beneath zinc in the periodic table of the elements, so their structures are similar. Cadmium can replace zinc in the tissues and in enzyme binding sites. An important cause of cadmium toxicity, other than exposure, is a zinc deficiency. If zinc is deficient due to poor diet or stress, the body will absorb cadmium from food, water, or the air, and use it in place of zinc. Our greatest exposure to cadmium is white flour!
Nevertheless, if a mouse cannot make MT, then it should not get copper deficient when fed a high-zinc diet. We fed some of these mice and some control mice (ones that can make MT) diets that contained normal amounts of zinc and some that contained much more zinc. The results showed that the mouse without MT got copper deficient when fed the same high-zinc diet as the mouse that had MT. This study strongly suggests that the old theory is not true and that stimulation of MT is not necessary for high-zinc to bring about a copper deficiency. We suggest instead that the high zinc is inhibiting a copper transport protein in the intestinal membrane, and copper cannot be absorbed”—Reeves PG, Copper Metabolism in Metallothionein-null Mice Fed a High-zinc Diet. J Nutr Biochem 9:598-601, 1998. Copper is preferentially bound to transferrin, the protein transport molecule in the mucosa, competing with iron. Normally, this transport mechanism is not completely saturated, so there are adequate binding sites for both the iron and the copper. Nevertheless, when copper is administered in excess, iron absorption is inhibited because of the preferential binding of copper to the transferrin. Supplement copper and zinc, and copper and iron, at different times of day. When serum iron is high, supplement transferrin (lactoferrin) to bind the iron and transport it safely. Colostrum is a good source of lactoferrin.
Transferrin is a blood protein that carries iron through the blood to the bone marrow, spleen, and liver for either the storage of iron as ferritin or the manufacture of new red blood cells. It is a protein with a relatively short half-life that can be a marker for recent protein status, and it is used for this purpose. Low blood transferrin may be an indicator of protein or calorie malnutrition, resulting in inadequate synthesis of transferrin by the liver or it can result from excess protein loss through the kidneys (proteinuria). A systemic infection or cancer can also lower the blood transferrin level. A high blood transferrin is a marker of iron deficiency. If an individual has a low blood transferrin level, the production of hemoglobin can be impaired and can lead to anemia, even if there is ample iron in the body.
Ceruloplasmin is a copper-containing protein involved in handing over iron from transferrin to hemoglobin in the formation of new red blood cells, or in removing iron from old red blood cells for inclusion in new ones. A copper deficiency results in low ceruloplasmin and can result in anemia that presents much like iron-deficiency (microcytic, hypochromic) anemia, possibly leading to a misdiagnosis. A ceruloplasmin deficiency is associated with iron accumulation in the pancreas, liver, and brain, resulting in neurological disorders. Laboratory testing for iron overload/hemochromatosis begins with two specific blood tests, Serum Iron and TIBC (total iron binding capacity), from which the Serum Transferrin Saturation is calculated. Serum Ferritin is frequently measured as well, if possible while fasting, to evaluate the body’s iron stores and estimate the degree of iron overload.
Blood and urine analyses yielded evidence of a metallothionein dysfunction in 499 of 503 patients (99%) diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, according to Walsh, suggesting that autism may be caused by either a genetic MT defect or a biochemical abnormality, which disables MT protein. Mechanisms with the potential for disrupting MT functioning include severe Zn depletion, possibly from a pyrrole disorder, impaired synthesis of GSH, toxic metal overload, and a sulfur amino acid abnormality. “An MT disorder may affect the development of brain neurons and may cause impairments in the immune system and gastrointestinal tract, along with hypersensitivity to toxic metals,” he said. The excess copper in these kids is probably from two causes. Mercury depresses zinc, and there is a high incidence of zinc malabsorption. To reduce copper, you must use significant amounts of vitamin C and zinc. Nevertheless, the slower the metabolism of an individual, the more likely he is to develop copper overload, regardless of his copper intake, according to David L. Watts, D.C., Ph.D., director of research at Trace Elements, Inc., in Dallas, Texas, and author of Trace Elements and Other Essential Nutrients (Trace Elements, 1995).
Treatment for this imbalance between zinc and copper centers on stimulation of MT protein with divalent metals (such as zinc and manganese) that are in depletion, and by providing N-acetylcysteine, serine, selenium, and other constituents of MT. Of secondary benefit are vitamins B6, A, C, D, E, glutathione, and glucocorticoids (anti-inflammatory drugs). This treatment should be gradual during the first 4 weeks of treatment to avoid rapid release of copper from tissues, which could cause a sudden worsening of symptoms. MT-Promotion must be done very carefully to avoid zinc depletion that can result in temporary worsening of behavior, stimming, enuresis, etc. “Severe zinc deficiency has effects on the distribution of nine elements (potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese) in regions of the rat brain” J Nutr 113(10):1895-905 (1983)].
Speaking of Fibromyalgia, Dr. Brice E. Vickery, DC stated, “At the end of the seventies I found that nine out of ten subjects examined were not able to digest/transport, utilize, or incorporate the daily dietary protein that was usually adequate (except for some vegetarians) in intake. The discoveries of Rheinholdt Voll, M.D. enabled me to put two and two together and establish that the malfunction of the pancreatic points that he identified as protein digestion function, carbohydrate digestion function, and fat digestion function on the Pancreas Meridian were almost always caused by lack of suitable amino acids (which can be from a lack of zinc to form a digestive enzyme, or an imbalance in sodium and potassium -WSL). We developed the Vickery-Voll test that was the beginning of an entirely new view of the body.
“The way it is believed to work is simple. The (supplementation of) amino acids in the correct proportions and in adequate amounts reverse this deficiency by supplying the pancreas and intestinal glands with the ingredients necessary to synthesize adequate digestive enzymes to digest the dietary intake. Having the necessary enzymes, the daily food intake is more completely utilized and the transport or carrier proteins are manufactured in suitable amounts and the entire ‘Enzyme Cascade’ of the body is re-established. This begins within twelve hours! Signs of a lack of enzymes are: fatigue, headaches, sinus problems, allergies, colon problems, arthritis and joint pain, acne, and ADD/ADHD”—Dr. Susan Lark. If taking the labeled amount of the enzyme supplement with each meal and major snack doesn’t solve the digestive problem, increase the amount.
Every case of fibromyalgia is found to have this deficiency of enzymes, and a vitamin D lack, as does many other problems. Oxidative stress plays a role in Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). In fact, those with Pancreatitis have low levels of vitamins D and E and other antioxidants. This may be due to lack of absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamin E) because the enzymes from the pancreas required to absorb fat are not functioning properly, or, this may be due to poor intake. Surely, these children lack needed proteins for enzymes and carriers, and use of a digestive enzyme supplement and additional protein input (including pure amino acids—proline and lysine being particularly important in building collagen) will greatly benefit these children in most cases.
Mercury adversely affects detoxification systems such as metallothionein (MT), cytochrome p450 (Phase I) liver enzymes, and bile. Mercury ties up this material so it cannot bind and clear other metals such as lead, cadmium, and aluminum. Mercury inhibits sulfur ligands in MT and, in the case of intestinal cell membranes, inactivates MT that normally binds cuprous ions, thus allowing buildup of copper to toxic levels and malfunction of the zinc and copper containing antioxidant, Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD). Mercury induced reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation (forming free radicals) has been found to be a major factor in mercury’s neurotoxicity, along with its leading to decreased levels of the vital enzymes glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase (SOD).
Attempts to lower this mercury/heay metal load can be problematic when you chelate heavy metals too aggressively with DMPS or DMSA. They can damage the pancreas as testified to by those who have been there. There are safer, perhaps slower, ways that will preserve your pancreas.
Subject: Chronic Pancreatitis and Depletion of Glutathione Disease ...
Xenobiotic metabolism, oxidant stress, and chronic pancreatitis. Focus on glutathione.
Wallig MA - Digestion - 1998; 59 Suppl 4: 13-24
Chronic pancreatitis, although relatively rare in the Western World, is common in certain tropical zones where staple crops such as cassava are rich in cyanogenic glycosides. This paper reviews the evidence for a cyanide connection, with reference to experimental studies using another plant nitrile, crambene; and then examines the hypothesis that chronic pancreatitis represents a manifestation of uncoordinated detoxification reactions between Phase I, pancreatic cytochrome P450 mono-oxygenases, and phase II conjugating enzymes, resulting in the irreversible consumption of glutathione in the acinar cell of the pancreas. The conclusion is that the central role of disrupted pancreatic glutathione status, as a result of 'xenobiotic stress', in the evolution of chronic pancreatitis cannot be overestimated. This position contrasts with that in acute pancreatitis, in which glutathione depletion has a pivotal role too, but occurs as a result of 'stress' from reactive oxygen species. End.
Dr. Jill St. James found that 80% of autistic children lack up to 80% of normal levels of glutathione and its precursors, leaving none to spare for aggressive detoxification. There seems to be a direct correlation between levels Hepatitis A, B, and C viral infections and mercury toxicity and levels of glutathione, whereby increased viral activity precedes decreased glutathione levels. For a successful recovery from mercury poisoning, among other disorders, the importance of additional glutathione and supplementation of essential fatty acids (fish oil etc.) and anti-oxidants should be emphasized. This lack of adequate antioxidants allows further toxicity and free-radical damage; however, use of Sodium Ascorbate in high amounts will prevent much of this damage. Nevertheless, the use of this phenolic (as ascorbid acid) can make barbiturates more toxic, and is pharmaceutically incompatible with sodium salicylate, sodium nitrate theobromine, and methenamine. Twenty percent of the people tested were reactive to ascorbic acid. Sodium Ascorbate is better tolerated. Some of this reactivity may be from allergy to source material (usually corn).
As with other cell types, the proliferation, growth, and differentiation of immune cells is dependent on glutathione (GSH). The B-lymphocytes require adequate levels of intracellular GSH to differentiate, and healthy humans with relatively low lymphocyte GSH were found to have significantly lower CD4 counts. Intracellular GSH is also required for the T-cell proliferative response to mitogenic stimulation, for the activation of cytotoxic T “killer” cells, and for many specific T-cell functions, including DNA synthesis for cell replication, as well as for the metabolism of interleukin-2, which is important for the mitogenic response. Experimental depletion of GSH inhibits immune cell functions, sometimes markedly, and in a number of different experimental systems the intracellular GSH of lymphocytes was shown to determine the magnitude of immunological capacity. These and other findings indicate that intracellular GSH status plays a central role in the functioning of immune cells. Interestingly, in those animals that could not make their own ascorbate (newborn rats, guinea pigs), GSH depletion was lethal. Supplementation of the diet with ascorbate protected these animals against GSH depletion and saved their lives. Since children with autism are very low on GSH, ensure that they are getting significant amounts of vitamin C, preferably as Sodium Ascorbate.
Vitamin C possesses abilities that are characterized by its capacity to antagonize (neutralize) many of the pharmacological effects of histamine (undermethylation). It should be employed with (in place of) the antihistamine drugs in all allergic states. It is because of this factor that it serves so well in the treatment of acute rheumatic fever. Additionally, sufficient quantities of vitamin C will relieve the intraocular pressure in glaucomatous eyes, relieve prickly heat, and is a positive reversal for pemphigus. Aside from this and the virus diseases (in proper amounts, it kills all viruses), it is of tremendous value in all diseases in which an exotoxin is produced (Candida, Clostridia, etc.). It also has specificity for SNAKE BITE, except for the cobra and the coral. It neutralizes all exotoxins. It is directly concerned with antibody formation, and this in turn leads to an increase in gamma globulin of the blood serum. It joins with the virus to form a new compound that is destroyed by oxidation. It makes all body cells more permeable which allows entrance of immune factors otherwise denied. It prevents or lessens tissue damage. It serves as a hydrogen transport in cellular respiration. It functions as a dehydrator and diuretic. It is the KEY to good health. Watch for the signs that reveal pre-existing chronic vitamin C deficiencies. Shaw (1945 5) states that food deposits on our teeth and dental tartar represents this condition. (I might add any signs of pyrrohea and/or nosebleed should be a red flag.) People who find that they are counted in this group should supplement their diet with at least two grams of vitamin C (as Sodium Ascorbate) each day - Dr Fred R. Klenner, MD.
Glutathione consumption from foods ranges from 25-125 milligrams per day. With the provision of sufficient amounts of sulfur, the liver will produce far more glutathione (up to 14,000 milligrams per day) than what the diet provides. Sulfur-rich foods (garlic, eggs, asparagus, onions) may be lacking in various diets and the provision of sulfur in food supplements (sulfur-bearing amino acids like N-acetylcysteine, taurine, MSM, and lipoic acid), or glutathione itself may be advantageous.
“Glyconutrients have proven to enhance glutathione, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase”—Sugars that Heal, by Emil I. Mondoa, MD, Page 191. The Mannose found in Ambrotose® significantly inhibits superoxide anion formation, thus reducing hydrogen peroxide formation — Kim HS, et al, 8/99. Ambrotose AO™ by Mannatech™ combines vital glyconutrients with needed antioxidants and precursors that form glutathione nicely addressing this lack. Additionally, vitamin D reduces inflammatory cytokines and increases concentrations of glutathione - the brain’s master antioxidant. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) can raise abnormally low GSH levels also. Van Zandwijk found that a daily dose of 600 mg NAC was beneficial and innocuous while 1200 mg and 1800 mg per day caused significant adverse effects, possibly by contributing to cysteine toxicity and to its chelating heavy metals (moving mercury). Cysteine catabolism produces two sets of products: pyruvate + sulfate + ammonia and taurine + CO2. One of cysteine’s “breakdown” enzymes, cysteine dioxygenase (CDO), needed to form these metabolites has been demonstrated to be low in children with autism. This tends to an excess of cysteine that can reach toxic levels, and possibly to a lack of CO2. Excess free cysteine has been implicated in several degenerative diseases including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism (neurodevelopmental), Parkinson’s Disease, Peripheral Neuron Degeneration, and others. This requires some caution in using NAC and GSH (transdermally). Note that cysteine dioxygenase is a non-heme iron enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of L-cysteine to cysteine sulfinic acid (cysteine sulfinate) by incorporation of dioxygen. Supplement serine and vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, selenium, molybdenum, and iron (if needed) to support this pathway. The amino acid glycine readily converts to serine and supports glutathione production.
Metallothioneins across species are rich in cysteine (~30%) and have higher affinities for mercury (Hg) and cadmium (Cd) than for zinc. Therefore, as Hg and Cd bind to metallothionein, and are restricted from entering the mitochondria, zinc is released. The free, ionized zinc, which would be toxic if permitted to accumulate, binds to a metal regulatory element on the promoter region of the metallothionein gene and “turns on” the synthesis of metallothionein. Increases of as much as 3-times are reported. Such induction of metallothionein provides increased binding capacity for both toxic metals (protective) and zinc (functional). The displacement of zinc in the presence of toxic metal burden may explain in part why increased levels of zinc are so commonly seen in the scalp hair of patients exhibiting significant levels of toxic metals Hg, Cd, Pb (Quig, unpublished observations). Most of the zinc is cellular with only a small amount in the blood plasma. For this reason, blood tests are a poor indicator of systemic zinc status.
Retrospective analysis of the full-blood count and, as far as was available, serum-ferritin measurements of 96 children (52 with autism and 44 with Asperger’s syndrome) was undertaken. Six of the autistic group (11.54%) was shown to have iron deficiency anemia and, of the 23 autistic children who had serum ferritin measured, 12 (52.17%) were iron deficient. Only two of the Asperger’s group (4.55%) had iron deficiency anemia and, of the 23 children who had their serum ferritin measured, only three (13.64%) showed iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency, with or without anemia, can impair cognition, and is associated with poor muscle strength, and with developmental slowing in infants, and mood changes and poor concentration in children.
Furthermore, autistics’ minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids are deficient and/or imbalanced. Their production of red and white blood cells is irregular. They have a dysfunctional immune system (often attacking “self”). They frequent show a high, white-blood-cell count indicating inflammation (now seen as a stroke predictor—chronic, low-level inflammation increases risk of heart disease by 5 and risk of stroke by 4 in postmenopausal women) that will quickly normalize when adequate anti-inflammatory enzymes are provided. (I recommend Vitalzym™ or Wobenzym NTM from your health food store. At the very least, give bromelain in significant amounts. Nevertheless, remember that some who take bromelain get diarrhea and some are allergic to it. Dr. Carlos Pardo-Villamizar, an assistant professor of neurology and pathology at Johns Hopkins, studied the brain tissue of 11 people with autism who died at ages 5 to 44. He found a pattern of inflammation in the same regions that appear to have excess white matter. The brain has an innate immune system separate from the body. Tart cherries have been shown to reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling more effectively than aspirin! Tart cherry juice is 10-times more effective than aspirin according to a Michigan State University study. Cherrie juice may be contraindicated for those with dysbiosis or blood sugar problems.
Dr. Robert Ader, University of Rochester, discovered that the immune system, like the brain, can learn! He gave rats a drug, which suppresses the production of white cells by the bone marrow, along with saccharin-laced water. Afterward, when only given saccharin water, the T-cell count was reduced the same as with the drug! Shades of Pavlof’s dogs! What does that say about our drug usage for our kids? Drugs have sweeteners and other substances in them that could mark the immune system; we discontinue the drug, but continue to take the secondary substances the drug contained and the drug response continues to our detriment! Could we make this work for us? We take a helpful drug for a time, taking it with some saccharin or juice. We then discontinue the drug while continuing to take the juice at the same time of day. Will we not continue to get the benefits without the side effects?
Additionally, Ader’s colleague noted that emotions have a powerful effect on the autonomic nervous system, which regulates everything from how much insulin is secreted to blood pressure levels. They then detected a meeting point where the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) directly talks to lymphocytes and macrophages, cells of the immune system. They found synapse-like contacts where the nerve terminals of the autonomic system have endings that directly abut those of the immune cells. This physical contact point allows the nerve cells to release neurotransmitters to regulate immune cells, indeed they signal back and forth. Additionally, the nervous system and the immune system communicate with each other through hormones and other substances. This pathway connects the emotions to the immune system via the hormones released when under emotional or other stressors. So, the nervous system not only connects to the immune system; but it is essential to its proper function. Stress suppresses immune function when these stress hormones are elevated, becoming chronic and long-lasting when stress is constant as it is for these affected children. People who experienced chronic anxiety, long periods of sadness, pessimism, unremitting tension, incessant hostility, relentless cynicism, or suspiciousness were found to have double the risk of disease – including asthma, arthritis, headache, peptic ulcers, and heart disease. Parents, as well as their autistic children, are likely to suffer from several of these risk factors; so, Mom, Dad, take care of yourself first!
Eighty percent suffer mitochondrial disorders (lack of energy production) according to Dr. Colemen, of George Washington University Hospital. According to Dr. Raphael Kellman, MD, NYC, who specializes in thyroid treatment, ninety percent of his patients suffer some degree of hypothyroidism despite “normal” TSH readings (“normal” TSH, T4 readings aren’t enough; to create the enzymes needed to convert fats to energy, thyroid hormone T4 must be converted to T3; so, adequate, free T3 values are vital). Eighty-three percent suffer dysfunctional Phase I and II, liver-enzyme activity (causing a build up of toxins and heavy metals), and 85% of autistics meet criteria for malabsorption leading to a multitude of nutrient deficiencies (Wm. Walsh). Both the autistic and the ADHD children often suffer lymphoid modular hyperplasia (measles infection in the gut-Wakefield). Thus, children with autism do not absorb food properly, leading to nutrient deficiencies.
The most common deficiencies of poor diet and malabsorption are fatty acids, the minerals iodine, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and calcium, and the vitamins A, B6, C, D, K, and E. There are various reasons, for example, acid foods make selenium insoluble, so babies regularly fed fruit juices are liable to malabsorption of selenium. Do not give selenium with acid juices! Further, a study of children in Zaire, found that in hypothyroidism induced by iodine deficiency, supplementing as little as 50 mcg/day selenium caused increased hypothyroid conditions, lowering T4, raising TSH (probably due to increased conversion of T4 to T3 – a good thing). Do not supplement selenium when iodine is deficient, or better, do supplement iodine significantly when supplementing selenium. Additionally, you must supplement iodine and antioxidants vitamins C and E and selenium when supplementing the fatty acids or you will deplete these vital nutrients and suffer free-radical damage.
Results obtained following iodine supplementation revealed that in some subjects, the urine levels of mercury, lead, and cadmium increased by several fold after just one day of supplementation! For aluminum, this increased excretion was not observed usually until after one month or more on the iodine supplement. Additionally, iodine supplementation resulted in marked increase in bromide excretion, and to a lesser extent in fluoride also. Iodine may cause gastritis and reflux by disengaging the bromine found in commercial bread, in particular, in the gut, and it is relieved by chlorophyll. Lack of iodine and zinc contribute to lack of stomach acid production. These findings have since been replicated in a large number of tests. Female patients with breast cancer seem to retain more iodine on the loading test then normal subjects and excreted more bromide than normal subjects.
The form of B6 supplemented may be important, as it was found that the amount of activated B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate) was low in 42% of autistics. These deficiencies compromise immune function, and provide inadequate, antioxidant protection to offset the high, oxidative stress these children suffer, thus causing significant damage to cells throughout the body and brain.
The mechanism of stress upon the body was just reported in the May 2008 issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Telomeres are caps at the ends of chromosomes that contribute to their stability. Each time a cell divides, telomeres lose length; and thus, a cell’s life is determined. Abnormally shortened telomeres in white blood cells, known as lymphocytes, have been associated with HIV, osteoporosis, heart disease, and aging. Telomeres also lose length in response to chronic stress. Activity of an enzyme within the cell known as telomerase helps prevent telomere shortening and maintains the cells’ ability to continue dividing. Rita Effros, et al, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine studied lymphocytes from healthy donors between the ages of 25 and 55. After three days, cultures treated with high cortisol levels found in the chronically stressed had fewer cells than the control cultures. Telomerase activity was reduced by up to 50 percent compared with activity measured in control cultures treated with the amount of cortisol found in nominally stressed humans (that had no effect upon the telomerase activity). The discovery explains how stress by reducing telomerase activity accelerates cellular aging (and destroys brain cells by the billions), via increased cortisol production. Reducing stress and or its effects is vital to your health and length of life and to your autistic child’s responses.
Dr. Bill Walsh confirmed this: “I returned from last week’s DAN! Think Tank convinced that the preponderance of evidence now points directly to oxidative stress and oxidative damage as the prime culprit in autism. My definition of autism is the following: A genetic weakness in ability to cope with environmental insults, resulting in severe, oxidative stress, incompetent intestinal and blood-brain barriers, and incomplete maturation of the brain during early development. I may be wrong, but I doubt it”-Email to Kathy Blanco, 2/21/04. Dr. Walsh went on to state, iron free radicals (ions) represent the primary oxidative stress in the brain of most humans. ASD involves oxidative stress during early brain development. In theory, elevated iron in the brain could result in ASD. A genetic inability to regulate iron might be causative in 1/3 of autism cases.”
Underlying all these biochemical imbalances, according to the report, Still No Free Lunch, food scientists have compared the nutritional levels of modern crops with historic, and generally lower-yielding, ones. Today’s food production methods provide 10 to 25 percent less iron, zinc, protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other nutrients in our foods. Researchers from Washington State University analyzed 63 spring wheat cultivars grown between 1842 and 2003 and found an 11 percent decline in iron content, a 16 percent decline in copper, a 25 percent decline in zinc, and a 50 percent decline in selenium! This fact makes use of a good multivitamin/mineral supplement vital to health, well-being, and length of life, especially in today’s stressed out world. One study confirmed this. Over a ten year period, only half as many, who took a multivitamin/mineral supplement, died!
Mothers are under as much or more stress than their children and need to deal with it as outlined herein. Studies show that vitamin C at 1500-3000 mg day reduced all markers of stress in both marathoners and work-stressed subjects, including lower cortisol levels. Still other studies showed that both omega-3 fish oil and Phosphatidylserine significantly blunted the rise in cortisol levels and lowered other markers of stress, resulting in reduction of anger, aggression, and depression. Chromium (200 mg day) reduces cortisol levels by 47%, as does a 45-minute massage (backrub?). Take a hot, Epsom salts bath. Rhodiola Rosea, an adaptogenic herb, prevents adrenal burnout that often occurs from long-continued, chronic stress. Finally, moderate, daily exercise lowers stress-induced hormone levels, enhances immune function, boosts circulation to the brain, improves quality of sleep, and aids in weight-control. A recent study showed that the telomeres, that determine when a cell can no longer reproduce itself and must die, were shortened by oxidative stress, decreasing by at least 10 years one’s life expectancy! Another study showed that those who were optimistic had a 55% lower risk of death from all causes, and a 23% lower risk of cardiovascular death! Another study found that those under constant pressure were up to 2-1/2 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than those with relatively stress-free lives. Mom, use these supplements, keep a hopeful, expectant outlook. Socialize, laugh a lot, take a walk, and take care of yourself first! Your family needs you for the full course.
Another study is reported: Abou Donia of Duke University in a decade of neurologic research has revealed widespread damage to the brain, nervous system, liver, and testes of rats exposed to 60 days of low-dose chemicals -- the insect repellant DEET, the insecticide permethrin, and the anti-nerve gas agent pyridostigmine bromide. These are the drugs given soldiers during the Persian Gulf War, and the rats were exposed to the same levels -- in weight-adjusted doses -- as the soldiers were reportedly given. DEET alone caused a decrease in BBB permeability in the brainstem. A combination of DEET and permethrin significantly decreased the BBB permeability in the cortex. All treatments caused a significant decline in sensorimotor performance in a dose-and time-dependent manner. These results show that daily dermal exposure to DEET, alone or in combination with permethrin, decreased BBB permeability in certain brain regions, and impaired sensorimotor performance. Do not use DEET on children.
Now, Abou Donia has demonstrated that the combination of stress and short-term exposure to chemicals (28 days) can promote cellular death in specific brain regions and serious injury to the liver. Brain regions that sustained significant damage in this study were the cerebral cortex (motor and sensory function), the hippocampus (learning and memory), and the cerebellum (gait and coordination of movements). His earlier studies demonstrated severe damage to the cingulate cortex, dentate gyrus, thalamus, and hypothalamus.
Stress alone caused little or no brain injury in the rats, nor did the three chemicals given together in low doses for 28 days. “But when we put the animals under moderate stress by simply restricting their movement in a plastic holder for five minutes at a time every day, the animals experienced enough stress that it intensified the effects of the chemicals dramatically.” The study showed that stress plus chemicals increased the amount of destructive molecules in the brain called reactive oxygen species -- also known as oxygen free radicals. This astonishing study shows again the absolute necessity of maintaining high levels of a variety of antioxidants by all who value their health and well being in today’s toxic, stress-filled world!
An explanation of the why of some of these things is suggested in tests on mice. Since the immune system develops during gestation, maternal zinc deprivation has been studied in mice. The results showed that the offspring born to zinc-deficient dams had a greatly reduced immunocompetence, the lymphoid organs being particularly affected. Another study by the same authors found that this diminished immunocompetence can persist for as long as three generations of normally fed offspring! The problem is inherited, but not genetic! Further studies showed that if the offspring were only moderately deprived of zinc during the latter two-thirds of pregnancy, even this can lead to long-lasting, aberrant patterns of serum Immunoglobulins-G (IgG) and Immunoglobulin-A (IgA) levels, despite a complete, nutritional rehabilitation beginning at birth. This seems discouraging of recovery, but the possibility of recovery is in therapeutic amounts of vitamin B6 and zinc. Additionally, the powerful antioxidant formula, Ambrotose AO™, will greatly enhance that possibility. Since much of the problem is from “toxins” from Candida or other gut pathogens and environmental poisons, it is helpful to know that vitamin B12, greatly lacking in the American diet, is powerful in decomposing all toxins. Sublingual Methylcobalamin (Source Naturals) or B12 injections are very beneficial. Many DAN! doctors are using B12 injections with good results.
Having read the above, one may get the impression that all is well with Mom and Dad. Not so! Though a recent study reports that autistic patients are in fact characterized by presenting in their blood high levels of non-inherited antibodies against the body’s own brain tissue, and confirmed that these antibodies were not present in their parents, these are still inherited characteristics. Studies show tremendous lack in the American public. Men and women show these deficiencies in astonishingly high numbers:
Vitamins Men Women
A 8% 9%
B1 38% 63% Yes!
B2 01% 21%
B6 57% 86% Yes! The Pill is largely responsible.
C 29% 24%
D 98% 98% Wow!
E 40% 60%
Pyrophosphate 46% 46%
Is it any wonder that Dr. Chandra found that even healthy oldsters were greatly benefited in Immune Function by taking a slightly higher than RDA multivitamin/mineral supplement? A recent study states, “These results are the first experimental evidence that deficiency alone results in early developmental defects in the brain. The decreased maturation of the radial glial cells of the CA1 region of the hippocampus is related to the deficiency of thyroid hormones in the fetal brain, mainly caused by the maternal hypothyroxinemia, and not to a deficiency of the trace-element itself.” These deficiencies are passed to the children with the above-mentioned results. Is it any wonder our children are less and less healthy and plagued with infections and mental problems? Nevertheless, our and our children’s diets still lack iodine, even when taking a multi!