Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wellness essentials for flu season

When our kids get sick, we often have a knee-jerk reaction to their symptoms.  We want to do whatever we can to heal them and fast.  We don't like to see our children feeling sick and acting lethargic.  Healing naturally from illness takes more time, but rest assured that it is more thorough.  Once we become accustomed to the new norm, you will be able to help your children cope with illness while encouraging their body to heal itself.  And remember that when our body heals itself, it learns from that experience, building up a better defense system over time.  This is really important to our kids with reduced immune function.  So I decided to put together an entry with all of our go-to flu season products.  Some are used in prevention and some are for active illness.  PLEASE keep in mind that I am no doctor and that I am merely sharing with you what WE do.

I will provide links to the products we use for easy access to the site where you can actually purchase them.  I have no affiliation with any of them, I am just making it easier for you to find them.

Our first line of prevention ALWAYS starts with increasing vitamin D3.  We start this before the weather even turns cold, but sometimes my reminder trigger is when they actually catch their first cold from going to school.  Ideally it should be done before they go to school, to help their immune systems defend themselves against the increased bugs and reduced sun-time.  We have three forms of vitamin D3 in our home at all times.  We use a liquid product (this one is 2,000IU in one drop which may be too high for younger kids) for our kids, they get this daily with their vitamins.  My husband and I take a capsule form daily and the third form is the one we make sure we keep "in stock" for flu season is a high dose gelcap.  If you want to buy all of the above from the same source, you could use this high dose vitamin D and this for the liquid, just be sure to notice that the liquid requires more drops to get the same dose as the product we use.

When you are ill with the flu, Dr. Cannell believes that vitamin D can trigger our immune system to repair ourselves so taking three large loading doses when sick can really kick the bug in the butt!  When we use Dr. Cannell's protocol, even when there is a fever, it disappears in no time!  If we react quickly enough, we can often stop the illness in it's tracks, before it takes hold!

Dr. Cannell's flu protocol
1,000IU of vitamin D3 (important NOT D2, never D2) per pound of body weight (a 40 pound child would get 40,000IU a 150 pound adult, 150,000IU, hence the high dose supplement above), given in ONE SINGLE DOSE per day, for three days. 

This is the link to the Vitamin D Council.  If your child has many food sensitivities, here is a link regarding the connection between vitamin D deficiency and increased food sensitivities.  If you want recommended doses, Dr. Mercola has a great article discussing Vitamin D.  Notice that he mentions that these are starting points for dosing.  Grayson was low when tested, even though we were giving the recommended dose for his weight and age so we have increased temporarily.  And lastly, consider supplementing vitamin K2 with the D3, since they are synergistic.

For the prevention and treatment of the flu, homeopathy is our #2 go-to treatment.  Nothing works like homeopathy when it comes to the health of our children.  The best part about homeopathy is that it's so safe, it can be used on newborns and pregnant women!!  Influenzinum isn't recommended for babies though.  There are other homeopathic remedies that be used instead.  If you are nursing and you take the remedy, it will still benefit the baby via your own immune reaction. Infleunzinum is the only homeopathic flu remedy that is updated each year based on the recommendations of the WHO (World Health Organization).  It contains a dilution of the same three viral strains as the conventional flu vaccine.

In 1998 the French Society of Homeopathy conducted a survey of 23 homeopathic doctors concerning their use of Influenzinum for the prevention of the flu (Coulamy, 1998). The survey included use of Influenzinum over a 10 year period (1987-1998) in 453 patients. Results of the survey were remarkable. In approximately 90 percent of the cases no instances of the flu occurred when Influenzinum was used preventively for all ages 2 and older. In the survey, no side effects were noted in 97% of the cases, while 3% experienced mild nasal discharge. Influenzinum has been used throughout the world by millions of people for decades.

Keeping the body healthy with supplements is vital, but as far as meds go, homeopathy is our #1 choice.  We also like to have Oscillococcinum on hand for handling flu symptoms.  It is HIGHLY successful at reducing them very quickly.

Our first DAN! doctor gave us a great supplemental protocol for handling for handling illness of any kind.  It's called the ZAC therapy, because it's the synergistic combination of using zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C together.  Now that we are low oxalate, the vitamin C isn't an option for the kids anymore, but my husband and I still use it.  These are the guidelines our doctor gave us at The Woodlands Healing and Research Center.  Please keep in mind that these are adult (@150pound) doses.  For children, you would dose them based on their weight. 

Zinc - staying well - an extra zinc capsule beyond the daily vitamin (or multi, if you use one) 1-2x/day.
Zinc - early illness - an extra zinc capsule beyond the daily vitamin (or multi, if you use one) 2-3x/day.

Vitamin A - staying well - 25,000U 1x/day for 2-3 days in a row, then 10,000-25,000U 1-2x/week.
Vitamin A - early illness - 100,000U 1x/day for 2-3 days as a loading dose, then 50,000U 1x/day for 4-5 more days

Vitamin C - staying well - 1,000-2,000mg 1-2x/day.
Vitamin C - early illness - 2,000-3,000mg 2-3x/day.

Antibiotics are dangerous to our microflora, causing an imbalance that can set the stage for life-long battles with illness on an increasing scale.  Our favorite means of killing off the bad guys without causing much harm to the good guys is by using the following neutraceuticals to target the specific bad guys:

Oil of oregano - This is a great broad spectrum natural "antibiotic".  It works for just about everything and anything.  We have even seen it attack the start of bronchitis with hourly dosing.

Some of the amazing uses for OoO (as we call it) are: sinus infections, flu, pneumonia, chest congestion, sore throat, infected gums (I can attest to this, I used to get major gum infections before I had my amalgam fillings replaced), UTI, gingivitis, gastritis, fungal infections, relieves pain (rubbed right onto the ailing area), some parasitic infections, skin infections, digestive problems.

When it comes to OoO, brand DOES matter.  There is a component of OoO that makes it effective, it's called carvacrol and the higher the carvacrol, the stronger the antimicrobial effects.  The tablet form by Biotics Research is highly recommended by Andy Cutler, in fact, it's the ONLY brand he recommends, because of it's time release dosing.  We also use a liquid form from Bio-Alternatives, which is easy to dose, but VERY hot.  When taking a liquid form of OoO, the best way to reduce this heat is to swish a lot before swallowing it.  Some people prefer to put it into a juice to hide it, but I think it's pretty hard to hide something that tastes like a chili pepper, hehehe.  My kids take it with no problem mixed in water with the rest of their vitamins and antimicrobials.  We just don't make it optional.

Olive leaf extract - This is one of the first things we reach for when anyone has a virus or bad bacteria, but there are many other uses, including Lyme Disease and AIDS patients!  It is better at preventing than curing.

Some of the amazing uses for OLE are: overall immunity enhancement, better able to fight colds and bacterias, lowers cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, lowers blood sugar levels, anti-clotting and anticoagulation, gastritis and excessive stomach acid,  prevents wrinkle formation, acne problems, chronic fatigue, is effective against pneumonia, flu, dysentery, respiratory and sinus infections. It also curbs infections of the eye, ear, tooth and other vaginal infections. It also reduces symptoms of PMS.  And even more...yeast infections, ringworm, shingles, and Epstein-Barr disease. It actually prevents the critical amino acid production of viruses. It renders the virus ineffective, penetrates the cell and inhibits viral replication. It also helps to stop infections caused by protozoa, bacteria and retrovirus. It supposedly neutralizes reverse transcriptase and proteases in retroviruses. It contains flavonoids and oesters which help combat disease and the antioxidant properties help to slow down the aging process. One of the most notable properties of antioxidants is its ability to neutralize free radicals which cause various ailments in the body including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, aging etc. When free radicals are neutralized they also increase the life span of an individual and the antioxidant properties of the extract help to slow down the aging process.

We have worked our way up slowly to fairly high doses.  Grayson couldn't even tolerate 50mg originally, because of the significant Clostridia (bad bacteria) infection he had.  The die-off was too great so we stayed low and slowly increased as he tolerated it.  When he was younger, we used liquid OLE from NOW Foods, because it is pure, has no alcohol and has an effective amount of oleuropein.  As we began increasing his doses, we needed something stronger so we moved to Swanson's brand, first the 500mg capsules, then eventually the 750mg capsules.  I personally take these three times a day.

Grapefruit seed extract - THE fungal powerhouse!  We increased this when we were all exposed to mold and we use it for systemic yeast regularly.  If you have sinusitis, it's usually related to yeast or fungal overgrowth in the sinus cavities, in which case, the Nutribiotic nasal spray is priceless, and doesn't cause that little addiction that comes with other OTC nasal sprays.

Other great uses for GSE are: acne, athlete's foot (or anything with a fungal origin), common cold, ear ache, IBS, ringworm, throat infections, and it raises the PH in the body which is an important  health regeneration benefit, because disease causing microbes like parasites, fungi, viruses and bacteria cannot survive in an alkaline oxygenated environment.  GSE naturally detoxifies, enhances and supports the immune system.

Here is a very specific list of external uses (and their "recipes") for GSE. We use it as a fruit and veggie cleaner by mixing about 20-30 drops with water in a large spray bottle.

We are very particular about the brand we use, because all other brands could have questionable ingredients used in the production of their product.  Nutribiotic is organic and pure, not to mention the studies that have shown it to be very effective, by comparison to it's counterparts.

Again, we started REALLY low and increased slowly with this one too, because of the significant fungal die-off we saw when it was first introduced.  So we started with single drops of the liquid version and then increased to the tablets when doses warranted a higher amount. 

**Anytime you decide to use antimicrobials to kill off anything, be sure to support the liver, because all these toxins will be filtered via the liver.  You can use artichoke extract, milk thistle (very high oxalate in the herbal form), Liver Life, Taurine, and any number of other liver support products.  If your liver can't handle the toxic die-off of these microbes, the body will suffer and symptoms will worsen.  There is always a period where things get worse before they get better, but you can reduce that by supporting the liver.  If the die-off (herxheimer) is too bad to handle, take an activated charcoal tablet about an hour away from anything else.  It will absorb the toxins, thereby preventing the uncomfortable side effects.

They should be used year round, but when sick, especially anything gastrointestinal, INCREASE, increase, increase. 

Virastop - This enzyme breaks down virus cell walls leaving them vulnerable to the immune system and is always a part of our virus-healing regimen.  I consider this the catalyst to healing, by it's ability to open the doors for the natural antimicrobials above to do their work more effectively.  Healing enzymes should always be taken BETWEEN meals, not with them, otherwise they will be used in the digestion of food.

Thymucin - The health of the thymus gland is crucial to supporting your immune system.  We use this as a regular part of our supplement list during times of high illness.

Supporting the adrenals with supplements and/or adrenal cortex products.  Our adrenals are fatigued during times of stress and being sick or exhausted are forms of stress on our adrenals and thymus glands.  Other supplements that support the adrenals are Rhodiola, Taurine, Pantothenic acid, relora, natural salt, iodine and magnesium.

Our physical body sometimes takes the hit from dry heat, lack of moisture and exposure to rough weather.  Hands get dry and crack, lips peel, our hair becomes dry and in my case, my face resembles the moon's surface!!  Shea butter can be used for all of the above!  I make my own lip balm and use it on my face, body and hair, in place of most other products now.

I have had an unbelievable experience with shea butter!  Here are photos on my FB page of my skin and hair after just a few days of shea butter use.  This is the story I shared on my FB page, Wellness Warriors...

If you are like me and have horrible skin drying and possibly even acne, keep reading. I have spent my entire adult life searching for anything that would help me balance the delicate intricacies of horrible unrelenting acne and flaky dry skin. How could I be so oily, yet so dry at the same time? As I near 40, I have finally learned that my subclinical hypothyroidism could be the cause, so while I treat the underlying cause, I continued to struggle with ways to tame the increasingly dry skin and the unbearable acne hiding and worsening beneath it! The Fall always does this to me, without fail. I wish I took pictures before and after, because words will do no justice to the drying flaky skin I had. It was painful, peeling in sheets (I kid you not) and it was my ENTIRE face, none of my skin spared, not one inch. Combine this with painful acne that couldn't surface, because of the dryness, and ouch....not to mention YUCK! I wouldn't leave the house! I've always had skin problems, but this particular time in my life has taken the cake. Getting ready for the day was like painting an oil painting every day from scratch. The work it took to look normal was intense. I was attempting to remove the dead skin (even though some of it was still fully attached and alive) with microdermabrasion. In the past, it has always worked to smooth things out for the day. In this case, it just made a bad situation worse, causing my skin to flare and become inflamed and raw, just to start cracking and peeling all over, but now on top of raw skin. I showed my husband up close what I was dealing with and his response was, "That is just crazy!!". And it was, completely crazy. So a few days ago I was making lip balm and as I was using the shea butter (important to know that it was organic and unrefined), I thought, "Hmmmmm, this is thick and smooth, but slightly greasy......I wonder if it's worth trying on my face". I was REALLY desperate and although I completely fear trying ANYTHING new on my horrible skin, because of break outs, I was willing to risk acne for the traumatizing evils of this insane dry skin. I put a dab on my forehead, rubbed it in. It felt soothing, a little greasy, but not as bad as I thought it would be. It absorbed fully and the drying started to come back a little, but not nearly as bad, in fact, the loose stuff started flaking off. So I got daring and covered my face, all of it!! Talk about risky, with my skin, I could have thrown myself into months of acne reaction, but honestly, it would have been better than this! I can artfully cover acne!! THEN, I thought, "Maybe I should check this out online?" Low and behold, TONS of testimonials about the benefits of using unrefined, organic shea butter (with nothing else) for not just dryness, but ACNE!! WHAT?! Holy moly, I was on to something. Since it's pretty greasy when it's first put on and makes your skin so smooth and shiny (a healthy shine, more like a glow!) I decided I should probably avoid trying it under make-up until I get my skin under control, so I started using it at night instead of my face lotion (oh and worth mentioning here that I have been trying to find a lotion that balances being toxin-free, with not making me break far a losing battle there too) before going to bed. It's been TWO days and I cannot believe the improvements in my skin. Seriously floored by this. The peeling is almost gone entirely, my skin tone is more even, my pores are smaller, the skin is tight and smooth rather than lumpy and wrinkled close up, there is a glow to my skin, and my acne is actually clearing up and FAST!! The areas that were effected before using the shea butter were increasingly getting worse, I had cysts that were painful, they are gone! Anyone who has had cysts knows that two days for a cysts to heal is incredible, they last WEEKS if not longer, then they leave scares behind. Inflammation is gone! Healing is rapid! All I can say is wow, wow, WOW! Now, considering it's only been a few days, I don't know the long-term effects, but I am usually effected negatively pretty quickly by something that isn't going to work for me, so I have high hopes. I thought this was worth sharing for those who would like a more natural skin cream. You can't get more natural than this! I've always believed that if you can't eat it, you shouldn't put it on your skin. Well, this you CAN eat! On this site (, organic shea butter is $8 for a POUND! At the rate it's used that could last your entire life, hahaha. You don't put it on in globs like lotion, just a little softened on your finger goes a really REALLY long way! I've started putting it on a bad scar I have too, because I read that it heals scars and stretch marks as well.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Homemade toothpaste

I began making our toothpaste when I realized that during homeopathic use, mint will antidote the remedy.  It's very hard to find safe toothpaste without mint!

We have been avoiding dangerous ingredients for much longer, ingredients like sodium fluoride, triclosan, FD&C Blue Dye #1 and 2, sodium lauryl sulfate, and hydrated silica.  And don't think that because you don't swallow the toothpaste that you aren't ingesting it, you are, it's absorbed through the mucus membrane of your mouth which is one of the most sensitive to absorption.  This is why we take sublingual supplements to be dissolved in the mouth, it goes directly to the bloodstream from the mouth!  According to the Physician’s Desk Reference, the mucosa lining inside of the mouth has an absorption efficiency of over 90 percent. Because of this, these carcinogens get into your blood, your brain, and your cells in no time at all – especially when you consider most people use dental care products 2 to 3 times a day.

Each of the ingredients mentioned here could have a blog entry all of their own, but I am going to try to keep it simple....Here is a brief description of some of the dangers involved with each ingredient:

Fluoride - Fluoride destroys the brain (accumulates in the pineal gland), the bones, the organs and causes cancer.  It is used in rat and cockroach poisoning!  Did you know that most popular toothpastes contain enough fluoride in four ounces to kill a small child within 2 to 4 hours? (From “Fluoride Retained From Mouth Rinses and Dentifrices in Preschool Children.”)  It is also a little known fact that fluoride compounds were added to the drinking water of prisoners to keep them quiet and to hamper noncompliance with authority, both in Nazi prison camps during World War II and in the Soviet gulags in Siberia. (From The Cold War and the University)

Surprisingly, fluoride has never been approved by the FDA.  A 1990 study stated that fluoride has been shown to NOT reduce cavities and scientists are now linking fluoride to dental deformity, arthritis, allergic reactions and about 10,000 unnecessary deaths each year from cancer. (From “Fluoride an equivocal carcinogen. National Cancer Institute)

More on fluoride here.

FD&C Blue Dye # 1 & 2 - Food coloring is neurotoxic.  They are made of petroleum, acetone and coal tars that are synthetically engineered, ick!  Ironically, food coloring WAS approved by the FDA.  In studies in which rats were given doses of artificial food coloring versus a placebo and then placed in a maze, it was found that the rats were hyperactive and had difficulty staying on task and retaining attention (From "Potential Health Hazard", 2011 Kamel & El-lethey). This is interesting because, as a lot of brightly colored snacks have lots of sugar as well as artificial color, so people blame the sugar for hyperactivity. However, the coloring itself may have something to do with this, as well.  Some parents have concluded this on their own from observations at home, too.  It has even been linked with rashes, asthma and tumors!  If your child has problems with phenol foods, it would be wise to steer clear of these ingredients.  There are many other food coloring ingredients that are not found in toothpaste, but are harmful, as well.

Sodium lauryl sulfate - One of THE most dangerous ingredients used in personal care products.  It's added to toothpaste as a foaming agent.  Do you need your toothpaste to foam?  Really?  It is used around the world for clinical testing as a primary skin irritant.  Laboratories use it to irritate the skin on test animals and humans so that they can then test healing agents to see how effective they are on irritated skin.  You want that in your kids mouths??  Or on their heads, or on their skin for that matter?  Remember that once this stuff enters the bloodstream, it travels throughout the body.  A study at the University of Georgia Medical College indicated that SLS penetrated into the eyes, as well as the brain, heart, liver, etc.....and showed long-term retention in the tissues.  This study also proved that it penetrated the eyes of young children and prevented them from developing properly as well as causing cataracts to develop as adults.

Here is an MSDS sheet for SLS. 

Triclosan - Pesticide!!  Do I really even need to go further?  Ok, well I will tell you why it is in toothpaste, it's antibacterial.  But honestly, with the sheer number of natural antibacterial herbs, foods and oils, this is just ludicrous!   It's seen increasingly on many other kid's products too, in an attempt to reduce the spread of germs.  If we just took care of ourselves better, washed our hands more, stayed home when we were sick and used natural products to heal ourselves, coating everything with Triclosan wouldn't be necessary.  Oh and one little known fact about Triclosan, while these companies claim it's safe, even the EPA has it registered as a dangerous pesticide.  In fact, they give Triclosan high scores both as a human health risk and as an environmental risk.

Hydrated silica - A whitener that damages tooth your TOOTHpaste?  Yup.   Hydrated silica is primarily used as an abrasive in toothpaste, is made from a crystallized compound found in quartz, sand, and flint. (From “The Safe Shopper’s Bible”)

Just by looking at those ingredients, not counting the preservatives, sugars and other additives, how do you feel about putting that glob in your mouth tonight or tomorrow morning?

So let's get onto the toothpaste recipe, right??  Because you certainly can't go on using that toxic time bomb waiting in your bathroom cabinet.  I'm not sure it even belongs in the trash where it will pollute our world.  Maybe you could clean your car engine with it.

RECIPE (finally!)

Place the first list of ingredients into a small pot on "low" heat until it becomes a thick liquid then turn it off while you go onto the next step, to allow it to cool slightly.  ( I don't like putting hot ingredients into my Magic Bullet since I imagine it might have BPA in the plastic)
  • 5 generous Tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp xylitol (be sure it's made from birch, not from corn)
  • 2 Tbsp aluminum-free baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt (we use Real Salt, because it is the least heavy metal ridden, per independent testing my biological dentist had done on various sea salts)
Add the remaining ingredients directly to the blender so the heat doesn't damage them
  • 2 tsp vegetable glycerine
  • 1 tsp aloe vera gel
  • 1/2 tsp or less of hydrogen peroxide (this is an individual choice, I like it for some whitening and bacteria control)
  • any essential oil mixtures you would like to flavor the toothpaste with (I like spicy clean flavors like clove and cinnamon or even a little rosemary, you could do a fruity flavor or even mint if you are making your toothpaste just to be healthier)
Now you can mix in the cooled mixture from your pot on the stove and blend to emulsify the mixture.  Immediately, pour into a zip lock baggie and roll it so that it stays in the bottom of the baggie while you cool it in the fridge.  Be careful not to leave it too long or the mixture will separate and harden.  I massage it a few times to keep it blended and as it gets thicker, take it out.

When you take it out of the fridge, it should be firm or at least thick with no liquid.  Allowing it to cool to room temp will turn it into a squeezable gel.  Cut the corner into the size hole you want to dispense it through and store upright in a cup on your sink.

If you would like to know more about the reason I chose the above ingredients, keep reading:
  • Virgin coconut oil - coconut oil is antimicrobial and it solidifies at room temp (turns to liquid over 78 degrees, so store it somewhere cool if you are in an exceptionally warm climate).
  • Xylitol - balances the PH in the mouth, preventing the growth of bad bacteria and because it's also a sweetener, it naturally sweetens the toothpaste.
  • Aluminum-free baking soda - Well, of course we are making our own toothpaste to avoid toxins, so aluminum-free is a must.  Baking soda also increases/balances the PH in the mouth, and body, plus it's slightly abrasive naturally and will scrub the teeth.
  • Sea salt - in addition to being an abrasive that suits cleaning the teeth, it will re-mineralize the teeth with the trace minerals found in natural unrefined sea salt.
  • Aloe vera gel - aloe is a natural antimicrobial, but it is also soothing and reduces inflammation.  The "gel" part is nice for the toothpaste consistency too.
  • Vegetable glycerine - this is not a necessary part of your toothpaste, but it is naturally sweet and helps firm up the toothpaste.  I just like it, but your toothpaste will do just fine without it.  I've made it both ways successfully.
  • Hydrogen peroxide - Whitening power!!  It also fights microbes and fungus, but use very little, because it can be harsh in high amounts.  Also, some people don't do well with H2O2, because it is a strong oxidizer, so if you have oxidative stress, consider avoiding this ingredient.
  • Essential oils - consider oils that will fight bacteria, neutralize toxins and satisfy your taste, like cloves, lemon, cinnamon, mint, etc.
This can be a fun task to do with your kids so they see each of the ingredients and then the final result.  They will WANT to brush their teeth with their new homemade toothpaste!!  What fun!

Happy brushing to you and your family.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The three year wait

I have waited THREE YEARS for today.  I couldn't imagine life like this and both my husband and I got teary eyed acknowledging that we are getting there....We've seen hints of it, little glimmers that it was possible, but nothing ever like this.

The three year wait....for what?  I'm not talking about a doctor waiting list or an opening in a highly respected school, I am not even talking about finally having a nice night out alone with my husband (Lord knows we need that!).  What is different about today is that Grayson just went through a round of chelation (low, frequent oral dose) without a single regression!!  His belly remained flat, he slept well and didn't have any bed wetting incidents, he woke happy and stayed happy through the entire round, no irritation, he's been patient, cooperative, helpful, independent, flexible, very affectionate to us AND to Gavin....I am completely and utterly amazed!  For those who know what I am talking about, seeing a round with no regression is nothing short of a miracle.  Our kids have ALWAYS regressed on round, and sometimes pretty significantly.  They always came out of it a few days later and often with gains they didn't have before, but the round itself was like a living hell.  That is why we can only handle one round every two weeks.  We are now post round by one day and STILL nothing negative!!  Everyone went to sleep well without melatonin.  We even increased his ALA recently!  He reacted SO severely to our original addition of ALA and then again with any subsequent increases, we even had to reduce our increases numerous times because he wasn't handling it well.

We just finished round 63 and I had heard that when you get past round 60, things start changing for the better.  When we reached round 60, things were actually getting worse!!  So this comes as a huge surprise that we would see a round this good so soon after those traumatizing days. He's been doing really well lately, but this just tops the cake!

I don't know, if all rounds will be such a breeze, and frankly I don't care.  If we only have one of these rounds every now and then, it has shown me what is possible.  I am grateful for the reminder of what we are working so hard to recover.  When I look back to where we started, how incredibly difficult life was every single day, I want to cry tears of joy for the progress we have made, and believe me, I do.  I have never been more grateful for anything in my entire life, it gives me goosebumps.

We've had parent teacher conferences with both boys' schools in the past week and our children are not just doing well, they are excelling and flourishing.  They are respectful, well rounded children and I am proud to know that they will be astounding members of our community some day, because of this intense labor of love.

In honor of all of the recovering children out there, if you are a biomed mom, please raise your right hand....higher, bend it and pat yourself on the back!  You deserve it.  This is no easy road, in fact, it is downright grueling at times.  Life changes and we accept it and challenge it, we take the bull by the horns and we dominate this illness like warriors!!  And thanks to all those who paved the path before me, my children are living proof that this IS reversible, healing the immune system IS possible!

I am a firm believer in living one day at a time, and this is one heck of a day...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Left-sided symptoms

I am on round 14 with my chelation and it has been challenging to increase past 8.8mg of DMSA and 7.5mg of ALA.  To give you an idea of how low this is, my children are on 5mg which is even low for them, lol.  I have tried twice to go up to 12.5mg of DMSA and nausea would set in really fast.  I can handle a lot of things, but nausea isn't one of them, so I have been stuck at 8.3mg for the last 13 rounds.  I increased again for this round and FINALLY I am tolerating it!!  The only difference I have noticed so far is increased neuropathy in both feet (it used to only be one, pre-dental revision) when I first wake up in the morning.  Oh, and today I noticed a new symptom, breast pain, weird!!

I've noticed a trend in my physical symptoms, something most likely related to the largest filling in my mouth.  This filling was on my left side and I always had trouble with pain and ringing in my left ear, periodically as well as neuropathy in my left foot daily, upon waking.  Once the filling was removed, that all went away....that is, until I got closer to my "dump phase" which is when the mercury dumping spikes naturally.  Everything started picking up quite a bit around 5 months post-revision and peaked at 6 months, now it finally feels like the majority of my symptoms have subsided unless I am on or post round.  I tend to be really good while on the round, I have energy, and feel happy even though I wake up all night for my doses.  Two to three days post-round are my absolute worst days and that has yet to be revealed since my DMSA increase.

So back to the left-sided symptoms.  I began noticing that starting with my ear pain and ringing, all of my other symptoms were left-sided too:

  • Neuropathy - my left foot was the only one effected by the numbing and tingling feeling when I woke in the morning, up until about three rounds ago when my right foot joined in.  In between rounds though, I don't have it at all which is a HUGE improvement from the every day tingling and pain I was getting upon rising in the morning.  It didn't last long, but it was a sign that something was clearly not right.
  • Varicose veins - I have one large varicose vein on the inside of my left knee and it has been there since I was pregnant with Gavin.  Since starting chelation, I see many changes in the veins of my left leg.  The vein I've had for years fades between rounds and is prominent during a round.  Most recently I noticed that I would get a new one somewhere else, and it would stick around for weeks, then disappear.  They are showing up around the knee and then fading away with my rounds.  Goes to show you that our vascular system is very effected by chelation.   There are doctors who do chelation for arteriosclerosis patients.
  • Wrinkles - not your every day kind of wrinkles, but oddly placed and very distinct wrinkles.  One is on my face, under my left eye.  It's more obvious in the morning, but it's always there slightly.  It's more like a deep crease about an inch below my eye.  It looks like I slept funny on my face causing a big crease from the sheets, but it generally doesn't go away, although lately I am noticing it change in severity.  I have always also had a sleepy eye that isn't always obvious, but it shows up in pictures (2D).  The other wrinkles are a large section on my left forearm.  I remember the first time I noticed them.  I had been carrying Gavin around a lot (he was a mama's boy early on) and my arm looked like he had been held too long, an entire roadmap of itty bitty wrinkles on my arm just above my wrist, almost like how you would expect dehydrated skin to look.  At first it didn't phase me, because like I said, I thought it was from holding Gavin, but then I noticed it wasn't going away, whether I was holding him or not.  It was obviously not normal and it didn't match anything else on my body, my other arm didn't have them.  With my first round of chelation, I noticed that it disappeared completely while I was on round!  Now, like many of the other symptoms, it comes and goes with rounds.
  • Ear pain - my left ear has been a problem for as long as I can remember, in fact when I met my husband, I was having back to back ear infections, always in that ear.  Since having the dental revision done, the only time I have pain is when I am exposed to mold and luckily, it's short-lived.
  • Wrist pain - when I started taking olive leaf extract regularly for microbe and viral control during chelation, my left wrist experienced significant pain, initially.  I haven't had that pain again since, but it was pretty bad for a good week.  
  • Stiff neck - when I don't stay on top of taking my supplements regularly, I get a stiff neck on my left side.  A lot of vitamin C clears it up pretty fast and staying on my laundry list of 40+ pills a day keeps it at bay.
  • Hair - the most superficial of all of my symptoms, but possibly one of the most annoying, lol, is the left side of my hair!!  Since having Gavin my hair has gotten pretty wavy, well, all except the left side!  It's so weird.  It is even more frizzy and flat.  The right side curls right up, the left side, not so much, it just sticks out awkwardly flat.
It's clear to me that my body has been effected more on one side than the other and coincidentally it's the same side that had the majority of the metal.  The cavitation on the bottom left side was also the worst of all four.  It was right next to the filling.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lightbulb moment!

My husband and I have always noticed that when we don't give our boys grapefruit seed extract (GSE) they respond negatively, almost immediately.  When we had their last stool test done, it showed encouraging results of no yeast or bad bacteria.  Now, we know that yeast can be systemic and may not be in the GI tract, so we never really questioned it beyond that, but I must say, we were slightly perplexed by the fact that they needed the GSE so frequently.  In further reading, I came across some information that made the lightbulb in my dusty brain flicker!

Let me start by edumacating you.

Our natural detox system is broken down in phases in the liver.  The Phase 1 pathway is dependant on many enzymes in our body and is responsible for breaking down toxins for easy transport, but in that process, they actually become more toxic so it's very important for the Phase 2 pathway to step up and remove those toxins from the body, and fast.  If these two phases aren't working together, a toxic bottle-neck occurs.

Here is the layman's picture.  You take your garbage out to the curb for pick-up weekly to keep the house clean (Phase 1).  Let's just say the garbage truck (Phase 2) starts coming less frequently, but you are still putting the garbage out.  It starts to pile up!  It becomes more stinky, toxic!  Now imagine that going on in your blood...

Many people who are mercury toxic have slower Phase 2 cycles, causing the toxins to sit around poisoning the body.  Now more interesting news....GSE slows down Phase 1 liver function.  And even more importantly, methylators like MB-12 and DMG, taurine, glycine and epsom salt baths (sulfation), speed up Phase 2!  Another important part of Phase 2 is....GLUTATHIONE!  Helloooo, mercury toxic and chronically ill people are low in glutathione!  While it's not beneficial to try to take glutathione in the form of a supplement, there are ways to increase your own.  You can take certain supplements like NAC and you can eat foods like avocado, etc.  Click on the link above to learn more about glutathione.

I have always known that the liver phase pathways determine our ability to detox, I never really boiled it down to why the supplements we give the kids effect this process!  (ding, ding, ding)

There is a test that will look at your DNA to determine how your liver is detoxing and because it uses DNA, it is a test that only needs to be done once in a lifetime!  The test by Genova Diagnostics is called DetoxGenomic Profile.  It requires blood work, so you will have to get your doctor involved in this order, but WELL worth knowing!!  I would hate to be giving our children supplements that could slow something down that doesn't need slowing down, especially when it involves our natural detox mechanism.  I know that Grayson is a slow methylator from an organic acid test we have done in the past, so this will inevitably effect his phase 2 pathway.

I love when things make more sense.  This is why I read endlessly.  It creates a deeper understanding to why I work so tirelessly at helping our family get healthy.  It also makes it easier to know when to tweak things as healing occurs.  I wish it was as easy as popping a single pill and moving on with life, but it just isn't that easy.  Recovering from chronic health issues requires a deep understanding of how our bodies work and then years of helping them get back to that healthy place.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The oxalate roller coaster

When we started the Low Oxalate Diet (LOD) a year ago, we intended for it to be a trial period.  We had no idea how much it would change our lives and I don't mean the endless restrictions on food.

The first week is typically referred to as the honeymoon period, for good reason.  In that week, when oxalates are leaving the body fast and furious, the positive effects are clear and bountiful!  But like anything else, that provides deep healing from the inside out, the honeymoon period is short lived, as to be expected.  The following 8 weeks was nothing short of painful, for all of us!!  I've labeled that period of our lives as one of THE most challenging.  Just about every symptom they have ever had, came back in that short period of time, magnified!  As we were living it, we couldn't see the end in sight.  We didn't know that some day, the torture would end and our kids would come out of it glowing.  But when they finally did, we knew we could never go back, well, at least I knew that.  As is often expected, the spouses who just go with the flow of biomedicine question the validity of the diets, supplements and treatment protocols.  Not a bad thing, it encourages balance, and it keeps us honest.  But with this, I stood my ground, never losing trust in this important dietary change I chose to make for our boys.  Needless to say, after my husband saw the results of Gavin's oxalate dump, he was brought entirely on board with me.  There is nothing like witnessing your 30 pound child pee out thousands and thousands of oxalate crystals!! 

It's difficult, very difficult, to feed children who are already on such restricted diets, but with some research and experimenting, just like anything else, it became second nature.  A person on the LOD cannot eat grains, nuts and many common vegetables and fruits.  "Healthy" food choices are a matter of perspective.  In our case, spinach, raspberries and almonds, which are highly regarded as superfoods, would be physically harmful to our children.

So what does this all have to do with today's blog entry?  I'm sure you have seen my son's oxalate crystals picture in a recent entry.  In the process of "trying" a higher oxalate food (green beans!) I have caused my children to begin the dumping process all over again.  I don't know, if it will last quite as long as the first one, but as the oxalates leave the cells, there is no shortage of dumping symptoms in our house!!  Gavin is experiencing extreme moodiness, he looses the ability to communicate with us, staring at us blankly when we ask him a question, he has multiple potty accidents a day, he easily angers, he continuously tries our patience by doing things he knows are unacceptable (all while watching us for a reaction), he becomes defiant, he is clicking his tongue almost non-stop, and his BMs hurt even though he is not constipated.  He also becomes clingy and needy, he whines instead of talking (unless we remind him not to, over and over again) and he has regular belly aches.  Some of you are probably thinking, "this sounds like typical kid stuff to me"'s not.  We have seen our children thrive on the LOD and we see the effect of what putting back the higher oxalates foods into the diet does to them.  It's simple, cause and effect.  If this is "typical" kid stuff around your house, I would encourage you to do some investigating!  Children with high oxalate problems become adults with kidney stones and worse.  Oh, and one undeniably huge sign for us is constant hunger.  When Gavin is dumping oxalates, it's as if he can't get enough food and considering his small stature, I can't imagine where he is putting it or why it doesn't cause him to gain more weight!!  I wish it would, that would be the up-side to this frustrating event!!  The oxalates must do something to the body that prevents him from using the nutrients in the foods he eats all day.

Susan Owens has been heading up private research into the connection between oxalates and autism for over 15 years.  She is part of the Autism One research Think Tank Team.  I asked her, if she could explain oxalates to me and I would like to share that explanation here:

Well, this is a whole different thread of autism research, so there is a bit of a learning curve here as there is for all of the different therapies, but let me see what I can do to define some things for you.

Oxalate is a simple but very reactive chemical that plants make in order to defend themselves against insect predators. I saw a presentation in Houston by an oxalate scientist who had modified a plant that caterpillars eat to remove the gene that made oxalate, and after the plant didn't make oxalate, that caterpillar would strip the plant until all that was left was the stick. This caterpillar might start munching on the oxalate-containing version of the plant, but would stop quickly. The scientists dissected the caterpillars who tried to eat the oxalate-containing plant and found their teeth were broken and down to nubs, which is why they stopped eating it!

I guess it is a good thing that not all plants make large amounts of oxalate, or we would have nothing to safely eat!

Our bodies are adapted to eat oxalate when everything is working the way it was designed. Our flora are supposed to have a microbe called oxalobacter formigenes that only eats oxalate and cannot survive on anything else, but it has been frequently killed back by antiobiotics that are used routinely. Also, most of the calcium that enters the gut from food (80%) stays in the colon and it is available to bind free oxalate and that keeps the oxalate from being absorbed in the colon. Casein contains a lot of calcium, so when someone is casein-free, the amount of calcium they get from the rest of the diet is reduced, so there is less calcium there to bind the oxalate that is in the diet. Taking calcium as a supplement before meals helps to remedy or at least help that situation, but timing is everything!

Once oxalate has been absorbed through the colon or through a leaky gut anywhere in the GI tract, it circulates through the blood and can enter cells, especially cells that are looking for sulfate, for it hitches a ride into cells using the sulfate transporter. If you are low in sulfate and high in oxalate, this is a problem!

Once inside cells, oxalate inhibits many enzymes, and almost all enzymes it is known to bind are enzymes that contribute to our energy or mitochondrial function. Key members of that group of inhibited enzymes are the ones that use biotin.

Biotin is a sulfur-containing vitamin that you get both from food and from bacteria that live in the gut. Oxalate inserts itself next to biotin in the active site of these enzymes, and shuts down the operation of the enzyme.

Because of which enzymes are involved, this affects our ability to use glucose, to make glucose, to make ATP, to regulate our fatty acid metabolism, and to run the Krebs cycle.

Scientists learned that the inhibition of these enzymes could be diminished by giving high doses of biotin. What we've learned on our listserve, is that in children with autism who definitely have oxalate issues, sometimes it takes biotin supplements even greater than 20 mgs. a day to overcome the enzyme inhibition.

A lot of the leakiness of the gut goes away when people first remove gluten from the diet. This seems to help many children gain gut integrity so that they won't absorb as much oxalate.

Ordinarily, people only absorb 1-2% of the oxalate in their diet, but if you have a leaky gut, that level can get as high as 50%. A normal diet has about 100 mgs of oxalate per day, so a healthy gut would only absorb 1-2 mgs. An unhealthy gut would absorb as much as 50 mgs. on a normal diet.

With the low oxalate diet, in adults, we cut back the oxalate that is eaten to 40-60 mgs a day, and in children less proportionately. This is not as big a deal as you would think, but it seems a big hurdle if someone has decided that human beings were designed to have spinach as a daily member of the diet!

I have heard of some implementations of SCD, for instance, that may have been as high as 400 mgs/day or four times a normal diet. On gf/cf, the vast majority of oxalate is likely to come from eating too many baked goods (although starch itself is not very high) but whole grains and brans are very high). They also may eat too many chocolate goodies, and way too high a quantity of milk substitutes. Every milk substitute but coconut milk and chestnut milk are very high oxalate, even in just one cup.

I think a lot of this would become much easier to grasp if you read the following mini-paper about the leaky gut that was written for parents and others who are new to all these concepts: www.lowoxalate.

Susan Owens

I will be sending Susan Gavin's oxalate crystals in a baggie.  I hope it will help in the advancement of her research!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oxalates move to front burner again

We have been on the low oxalate diet (LOD) for just over a year now.  We started it, because we noticed that although Grayson was doing better overall, he still had a lot of ups and downs that we couldn't tie to anything.  The bloating was not subsiding no matter what we did for him.  So the LOD was originally instated as a trial in September of 2010 and the severe dumping we experienced (in both boys, surprisingly) lasted well over a month.  It was one of the most trying times in our years of biomedicine.  We knew this was our new necessity!  The LOD became the new norm.

A year later, we are still on the LOD, although we do allow a few moderate oxalates in the diet on a rotation basis like GF oatmeal (due to such limited breakfast options) and very small amounts of strawberries.  Other than that, we are very strict with the diet.  So it came very much as a surprise to me when I saw this in Gavin's little potty last night!!

These are oxalate the apparent thousands!! 

Crystals coated the bottom of his potty - this was a small "tinkle" left behind

Very close-up of the crystals, OUCH!  They look painful, don't they?

He has been having mood swings, BM changes and constant hunger that I was chalking up to the parasite (although we just recently treated with Alinia for 34 days). Anyway, yesterday was a busy day and so when he used his little potty above (as we were running out the door), I left it. It was just a tinkle anyway. When I got home and went to clean out the potty, I couldn't believe what I found.....a potty full of the oxalate crystals you see in the pictures!!! And there was not much urine to create this, so it was highly concentrated!

I have NEVER seen this from him before. The things that have changed in the recent past, besides the parasite medicine (which he has been off of for about a month now) are the following:

-Started feeding green beans, which we used to avoid or only give in very small amounts.  Some green beans are high, so this could be part of the problem.

-Allowing small amounts of strawberries, not even adding up to 3 strawberries at a time, every couple of days. We've been doing this for a while though. Strawberries are moderate oxalate.

-Just 2 days (today was third dose) ago we began using BioRay Cytoflora, the dump was the very next day after starting it, not sure, if this can cause dumping.

-We are in the midst of a supplement break and have begun re-introducing his supplements back in slowly. So far we have added back Vit D3, magnesium, krill oil with astaxanthin, zinc, flax oil, and today lithium orotate.

-Haven't reintroduced biotin back in yet, maybe I will add that back in today even though it hasn't been a few days since adding the lithium...

The symptoms we have been having for about a week are: excessive hunger (constant I should say), saying "hiney hurts", mood swings, defiance, lacking cooperation especially when it involves his older brother (lots of fighting), frequent potty accidents (it's like he doesn't even try), he even had a small BM accident yesterday which he has never done, whiny, looking for his lovey all day (which is kept in his bed for sleepy time, so now he is up in his bed reading books to be with it), saying he wants to "go to bed" all morning (but could be related to needing his lovey), had a very odd BM the night before the crystals appeared that was fluffy, chunky and half floated, half sunk and lastly his keratosis which is pretty much always there, is worse lately. I was thinking it was all related to the parasite possibly coming back, but now with this potty incident, I am thinking dump and wondering why.  Time to get back on the Trying Low Oxalates Yahoo board and figure this out.  It most definitely could explain the random bouts of regression we keep experiencing.  I am certainly confused between the parasite symptoms and this now though!!  In one strange sense, this is a bit of a relief, because maybe the parasite ISN'T back, like we originally thought!!  We will need to retest in a few weeks to confirm anyway, but the symptoms are so similar it's hard to tell.  It's pretty obvious we have an oxalate issue to resolve now though.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Have you been wondering, if the diet really works?

Ok, so maybe you have been an avid reader, and maybe you have a child who could benefit from something, you just don't know what yet, and maybe you have even considered going GFCF at minimum...but don't have enough evidence that it will work and just the thought of the intense changes in diet make you sick to your stomach.

Now, if I could just briefly hit on my biggest hot button in all of this?  A child does NOT have to be completely autistic to have these deficiencies, in fact, neither does an adult.  Dr. Kenneth Bock has made it VERY clear in his book Healing the New Childhood Epidemics that people with allergies, asthma, ADHD and even autoimmune diseases have their roots in the same soil as autism.  Autism is just one facet of this "illness" on the rise.  It takes the shape of many faces and does not have to go by any one label.  

Well, let me enlighten you!  It may not be enough for little old me to tell you the diet works (I have seen it, like night and day, especially during an infraction that changes my children practically overnight, turning them into a sensory snowball), but what if a well-known National autism nutritionist was able to tell you this, and what if she even had a double blind study to further prove it?  Would it be worth it then?

Feast your eyes on THIS!

One of the Most Comprehensive Studies on Nutrition for Autism

One of the Most Comprehensive Studies on Nutrition for Autism
By Julie Matthews, Certified Nutrition Consultant
As a nutritionist working with children with autism for ten years, I was particularly excited to read the most recent research findings. For those who continue to say, “There is no science behind diet and nutrition for autism” or “there is nothing you can do about autism,” you’re about to finally be convinced.

A study entitled, “Nutritional and Metabolic Status of Children with Autism vs Neurotypical Children and the Association with Autism Severity,” conducted by Jim Adams, was recently published in the journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in June 2011. It provides an excellent framework for consideration of dietary intervention and supplementation for children with autism.

This study validates what many clinicians have observed in their practices for years—that children with autism have biomedical imbalances that are strong factors in their autistic symptoms, and that diet and supplementation play a role in helping children to heal, even lose their autism diagnosis. In my clinical experience, I’ve witnessed hundreds of children improve through specialized attention to diet and nutrition.

A fairly large number of children (99) were included in the research that measured a wide range of nutritional and metabolic markers—i.e. scientific, quantitative indicators of children with autism’s unique biochemical status.  In the “Background and Significance” and “Discussion” sections of the published paper, Adams, et al. provides a straightforward interpretation of the results that were measured, and explains functional testing, interpretations, and makes comparisons to previous study results (both consistent and contrary).  I believe it’s an excellent analysis of the current biomedical understanding of autism and supports clinical findings reported worldwide. And, it presents fresh new data to guide the use of supplementation and diet.

The study compared 55 children with autism diagnoses with 44 controls (neurotypical children of similar ages ranging from 5-16 years old).  Neither group had taken nutritional supplementation for two months prior to the testing conducted in the study.

The research indicated that for the children with autism, their levels of vitamins, minerals, and most amino acids were within published reference ranges; however many of their biomarkers were significant different from the control group.  Biomarkers are a way of discovering the functional insufficiency of a nutrient by measuring markers in biochemical pathways that indicate a deficiency, and comparing that to the actual amount of the nutrient in the body (as measured in blood, etc).
This is an interesting finding—nutrient levels appear “normal” but functional testing shows that they are not normal in children with autism. Functional testing (that identifies these biomarkers) are not used in most traditional medical settings.  If the medical community is looking for nutrient deficiencies through standard testing of nutrient levels (as an underlying factor and course of treatment), they most likely will not find it – even though biochemical/nutritional insufficiencies are common and supplementation is necessary.

In this study, biomarkers for increased oxidative stress, decreased sulfation and detoxification, vitamin and glutathione insufficiency, and reduced energy transport were also found. And, several of the biomarker groups were significantly associated with the severity of autism.

Again, this parallels what autism clinicians routinely report —that children with autism have decreased detoxification, energy disregulation, and increased oxidative stress.

The authors conclude, “These nutritional and metabolic differences are generally in agreement with other published results and are likely amenable to nutritional supplementation.”
I absolutely concur.

Here are some of the specific areas measured and details of the study’s findings, and my discussion of the results.

Biotin was the only vitamin with a significant difference in the children – it was 20% lower in the children with autism.  B5, vitamin E and total carotenoids levels showed “possibly significant” lower levels in children with autism.

The functional need for certain vitamins (folate and niacin) was assessed using FIGLU and n-methyl-nicotinamide, and were somewhat higher and possibly significant in autism.  This suggests and an increased need for folate and niacin in children with autism.

While most mineral levels tested within neurotypical reference ranges, the study found a statistical significance with lower levels of WB (whole blood) lithium, but higher levels of iron in the autism group. Twenty-five percent of the autism group was below the reference range for iodine and calcium.

Free and total sulfate in plasma (necessary for adequate sulfation) were very significantly lower in children with autism – 28% and 65%.

Sulfate is necessary for proper sulfation. Sulfation comprises varied processes that use sulfate (sulfur) in the body, such as in forming sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGS) in the gut for intestinal integrity, or detoxifying compounds in phase II liver detoxification. Sulfate is used in many biological processes, and adequate sulfur is required both from consumption of sulfur rich foods and recycling sulfate in the kidneys.  The results of this study are consistent with the findings of Dr. Rosemary Waring who found children with autism (and adults with autoimmune conditions) to have low sulfate levels.

SAM (S-adenosylmethionine) was also significantly lower in children with autism – very much so. Uridine in plasma was very significantly higher in children with autism +93%. Uridine is believed to be a marker of methylation status, with high levels indicating poor methylation.  For SAM, SAH and SAM/SAH ratio 25-39% of the autism group had low levels.

SAM is the primary methyl donor in methylation reactions (more than forty in the body).  Methylation is important for the methylation of neurotransmitters, proteins, and DNA methylation (gene expression).  Methylation affects fatty acid metabolism, allergic responses, myelination, cellular energy, and more.  Proper methylation is also necessary for the body to produce adequate levels of glutathione.

ATP is the primary energy source for the brain and the body.  SAM is converted from methionine with methionine adenyosyl transferase, which requires ATP.  Methionine was at normal levels but ATP was very significantly lower in the autism group. The authors suggest, “low levels of ATP are at least part of the reason for decreased levels of SAM.”ATP is required by the kidney to resorb sulfate and “recycle” it. The authors believe that decreased ATP is a significant contributor to decreased sulfate levels in children with autism.

I believe that oxalates could be a factor.  When sulfate is insufficient, oxalate (instead of sulfate) can be shuttled into the cell on the sulfate transporter and “gum up” the works of the mitochondria, affecting ATP and energy metabolism.  Could there be a “vicious cycle” at work, where adequate sulfate is needed to produce ATP and ATP is needed for recycling sulfate?  Given the benefits I’ve observed with the low oxalate diet, I’d welcome more research and discussion of this possibility.

Oxidative Stress
Reduced plasma glutathione (GSH) was very significantly lower in children with autism. All three markers for oxidative stress were very significantly higher in children with autism; oxidized glutathione (GSSG), GSSG/GSH ratio, and plasma nitrotyrosine.  NADPH, a precursor to ATP, is needed to recycle GSSG to GSH.  NADPH was found to be substantially lower in the autism group.  These results were also consistent with the work of Dr. Jill James, who found low levels of glutathione in children with autism (as well as positive benefit of certain forms of folate).

Glutathione is imperative for preventing oxidative stress.  In addition to being an antioxidant, it supports proper detoxification, inflammation, pathogen fighting, and more.

Amino Acids in Plasma
Two amino acids used in building neurotransmitters were significantly different from controls. Tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin was significantly lower in the autism group, and glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, was significantly higher.  Low tryptophan can play a role in depression and poor sleep, and glutamate is a factor in hyperactivity. Other differences were possibly significant such as slightly decreased tyrosine and phenylalanine and slightly higher serine.

Dietary Intervention and Supplementation
This study supports the use dietary intervention for autism (individualized to the child). There is much valuable data we can gather from this study on how to apply and adjust diet and supplementation for autism.

Adequate protein intake is crucial for children with autism.  Decreased levels of amino acids such as tryptophan, phenylalanine, and taurine most likely indicate a need for increased protein intake or proper digestion of protein (possibly through the use of digestive enzymes).  Supplementation with individual amino acids, particularly those consistent with signs of deficiency, may be warranted.  For example, tryptophan or 5-HTP supplementation may be helpful with a low tryptophan level and depression.

This study highlights the need for foods rich in antioxidants and antioxidant supplementation for children with autism.  Foods rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E, as well as zinc and selenium are important.  Berries, beans, spices like turmeric and rosemary, nuts, grass-fed beef and pastured poultry are good sources of antioxidants. Foods rich in glutathione and glutathione precursors to include in your child’s diet consist of: broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, garlic, kale, cumin and cinnamon, eggs, and avocado.

Supplementation with biotin, folate, vitamin B12, liposomal glutathione, SAM, lithium, sulfate, and many other nutrients are important (on an individual basis) for children with autism.
The Feingold and Failsafe diets remove salicylates, amines, and glutamates, substances that require proper sulfation (and methylation) for proper breakdown.  For the children with these biochemical insufficiencies, these diets can be very helpful.  I was glad to see further research that supports what I am finding clinically.

The low oxalate diet has been very helpful for many of my clients with autism. More discussion is needed about the role of oxalate in the oxidative stress and low ATP found in this study in children with autism.  For these children, the low oxalate diet may prove particularly helpful.

Benefit to Autism
I greatly appreciate scientists and researchers like Dr. Jim Adams, whose dedication has helped thousands of parents and clinicians to gain useful information about addressing autism.
I’ve spent more than 5 years compiling research and presenting the case for diet and supplement intervention in my book “Nourishing Hope for Autism,” which has nearly 200 scientific references regarding the biochemistry of autism and the use of food, nutrition, and supplementation to ameliorate symptoms. Dr. Adams’ earlier research was instrumental in guiding my query.

The current study by Adams, et al greatly advances our understanding of these factors and further solidifies the case for “Autism is treatable.” It solidifies a foundational understanding of how diet and nutrition intervention benefits autism and helps nutritionists like me address the diet naysayers who deny Hippocrates dictum “let food be they medicine” by asking “is there a double-blind study to support diet changes?”

Yes, there is!

Adams JB, Audhya T, McDonough-Means S, Rubin RA, Quig D, Geis E, Gehn E, Loresto M, Mitchell J, Atwood S, Barnhouse S, Lee W. Nutritional and metabolic status of children with autism vs. neurotypical children, and the association with autism severity. Nutrition & Metabolism 2011 Jun 8;8(1):34.

Here is the link for this article.