Great Smokies Medical Center of Asheville

Archive for September, 2005

Lymphocytes and Your Health

Monday, September 12th, 2005

Few people would check their car’s speedometer once a year and think that doing so would protect them from getting a speeding ticket later that year.
Yet, that is exactly what many people do with their health if they rely on the laboratory serum tests routinely performed during annual physical exams to screen for health problems. Just like a speedometer reveals a car’s speed at a particular moment in time, serum testing that is routinely done in physician’s offices measures the biochemical status in a narrow window of time.
Routine serum testing is useful in detecting some acute health problems and to monitor chronic diseases. But, serum testing is not useful in assessing nutrient status, in large part because nutrients aren’t necessarily in the serum. For example, 50 percent of the body’s total magnesium is in bone and 49 percent is inside cells. Only one percent of the body’s total magnesium is in the serum.
Scientific research originating in the 1950s eventually led to the development of more sensitive laboratory assessment of nutritional status using white blood cells (lymphocytes) instead of serum.
Since the average life span of lymphocytes is four to six months, functional testing of nutrients in lymphocytes reveals a person’s nutrient history over a far longer period of time than serum testing can.
An overwhelming amount of scientific evidence documents the ability of deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, and other essential micronutrients to suppress the function of the immune system. Suppression of the immune function has been shown to contribute to chronic diseases such as arthritis, cancer, and heart disease, to name a few. Nutrient deficiencies also contribute to millions of people becoming the "walking wounded," going through life not ever feeling or functioning well.
Causes of nutrient deficiency include poor dietary quality, decreased absorption, and genetic defects. Certain stages of life (such as adolescence, pregnancy, lactation, and aging) and circumstances in life (such as overly strenuous or prolonged exercise, stress, prolonged or extreme dieting, and many illnesses) can create a temporary exaggerated need for specific nutrients.
One need look no further than nature for everyday examples of how people become sick or age. Oxidation is a natural process by which all matter decays. Examples of oxidation in nature are iron turning to rust, a cut apple turning brown, and a newspaper turning yellow with age. Oxidation in the body has been shown to cause cellular damage that results in heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and virtually all chronic illnesses. It has been said that we don’t age, we rust.
Some nutrients function as antioxidants to keep oxidation in check. These nutrients include the vitamins A, C, and E; the minerals zinc and selenium; glutathione, and many others.
SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc., of Houston, specializes in functional assessment of a select group of nutrients and antioxidants in lymphocytes that play vital roles in health and disease.
Virtually everyone could benefit from knowing their glutathione and antioxidant status and taking appropriate steps to correct any deficiencies.
SpectraCell’s Functional Intracellular Analysis (FIA) can be used preventively to tweak and promote good health over a lifetime or to monitor the effects of a particular nutritional regimen.
People who take prescription drugs may find that identifying and correcting their nutrient deficiencies may enable them to decrease or even discontinue their drugs under medical supervision.
People facing an inherited pattern of disease may find that risk can be minimized by correcting nutritional deficiencies. Many inherited health problems need nutritional deficiencies for the risk to manifest, such as elevated homocysteine levels associated with heart disease that is fueled by deficiencies of vitamins B6 and B12, and folic acid.
The nutritional recommendations based on lymphocyte testing is very individualized, unlike the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) which are merely intending to avoid a blatant deficiency state and not optimize health.
SpectraCell’s functional nutrient and antioxidant laboratory tests are covered in part by Medicare. In our experience, private insurance generally follows Medicare’s precedent, but we cannot speak for any specific insurance company’s decision as the specifics of their contracts with members vary from policy to policy.
Established GSMC patients who would like to be tested for underlying nutrient deficiencies should make an appointment for a routine non-fasting blood draw by GSMC’s lab staff, and schedule a 30-minute appointment about three weeks later with their GSMC healthcare practitioner to get their test results and recommendations based on their specific deficiencies.

If You Were Stuck on a Remote Island

Monday, September 12th, 2005

Q: Drs. Wilson and Wright recently put their heads together to answer this question: Excluding a multiple vitamin/mineral formula, what five supplements would you choose to have with you (and why) if you practiced on a remote island?

A: First, Vitamin C. Unlike nearly every other mammal, fruit bats, guinea pigs, and human beings have lost their ability to make vitamin C due to the lack of the enzyme L-gulonolactone oxidase. In fact, any pamphlet on caring for guinea pigs comes with precautions to include Vitamin C in their diet to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, people don’t come with such pamphlets to guide their care and feeding. Vitamin C has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties, and assists mercury detox. In high doses, Vitamin C has anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. It helps prevent platelets from sticking together, making clot formation less likely. Vitamin C is inexpensive and can be taken orally or intravenously. It also is supplied in a liposomal base that can be given topically to dramatically help skin conditions ranging from burns to conditions of aging to mysterious rashes.
Second, magnesium. More than 300 of the body’s enzyme systems require magnesium. Add the fact that 85 percent of the population is estimated to be deficient in magnesium and you have one effective and useful therapy: magnesium replacement. Magnesium regulates muscle response, heart rate and rhythm, bone formation, bowel function, helps prevent kidney stones, and protects against radiation exposure. Dr. Wilson earned the title "Dr. Magnesium" when he regularly administered magnesium intravenously for asthma, PMS, high blood pressure, headaches, heart failure, etc., when he started practicing at GSMC in 1991.
Third, Vitamin B12. People with deficiency of hydrochloric acid (HCl) produced by the stomach are more likely to be deficient in B12. The use of prescription drugs that block HCl production in patients with reflux or heartburn can result in deficient B12 levels, as can long term vegan diets, and aging. These facts give this special B vitamin a place in our docs’ top five list. Though the biggest impact is obtained through giving vitamin B-12 by injection, our testing reveals that oral or sublingual forms of B-12 can also correct less severe deficiencies, though they do so more slowly. Deficiencies of vitamin B-12 result in fatigue, anemia, asthma, menstrual problems, heart disease, diabetic neuropathy, hives, bursitis, poor memory, confusion, and various neurological problems. Many people report an energy boost from B-12 injections.
Fourth, EPA and DHA fish oil: Our docs find that a day does not go by that they don’t recommend the use of these important oils. Eicosapentacoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in oilier fish (salmon, herring, and mackerel) or can be supplemented in capsule form. Fish oil fights heart disease three ways: preventing clots, improving lipids, and decreasing formation of atherosclerotic plaque in arteries. Other conditions that benefit from fish oil include retinal problems, ADD/ADHD (the brain is 60% fat), autoimmune disorders, inflammatory conditions (notably arthritis), and cancer (in particular breast, prostate, and colon). High quality fish oils such as those recommended by GSMC doctors are tested by independent third party labs to assure they are free from oceanic environmental toxins, notably mercury.
Fifth, Co-Enzyme Q10. If you were a carburetor, CoQ10 would be your spark plug. CoQ10 provides a spark of energy that facilitates oxygen transport to cells. CoQ10 is used to address problems associated with aging, including memory problems, and all sorts of heart problems including heart failure, angina, arrhythmias, and valvular heart disease. In addition, CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant. Research suggests that CoQ10 may be beneficial when used in high doses in treating breast cancer. It is also useful in treating allergic diseases, chronic fatigue, and any condition that would benefit from enhanced oxygenation. Some classes of drugs lower CoQ10 levels, including cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins), beta blockers, and sulfonylureas that are used to treat diabetes.
Sixth, (The docs snuck in an extra one!) Vitamin H. One of the requirements for a substance to be designated as a vitamin is that it must have a deficiency state. Vitamin H is also called hope. A deficiency of hope leads to feelings of discouragement and high stress levels that can interfere with recovery. In fact, just five minutes of even recalling a past stressful situation has been shown to result in six hours of immune system suppression. That’s one little negative nostalgic indulgence with a pretty big price tag. All thoughts have a downstream consequence in the physical body. Vitamin H synthesis starts gradually with awareness of habitually stressful thoughts. Once identified, (we all have them), move away from them and toward what brings you happiness. Then, simply do more of the happy thing and less of the stress thing. Use your brain . . . for a change.

Dietary Soy Intake Linked to Nutrient Deficiencies

Monday, September 12th, 2005

Soy is recommended by healthcare providers for its ability to modulate the metabolism of estrogen in both sexes, and is commonly used in soy-based infant formulas.
Soy, once touted as a perfect, inexpensive protein source, has worked its way into the American diet in a big way and has done so with the blessings of many healthcare providers and nutritionists. Soy is now found in non-traditional, convenience foods such as bread, pasta, veggie burgers, soy milk, soy cheese, soy ice cream, roasted "nuts", hot dogs, sausages, high protein energy bars, and powdered nutritional beverage mixes.
Advocates of eating soy products say that millions of Asians can’t be wrong, claiming Asians have eaten large amounts of soy for centuries. In Asia, soy is traditionally eaten in small amounts as a condiment in the forms of slowly fermented miso and tempeh. (The increased Asian consumption of fish is more likely related to their lower occurrence of heart disease and some cancers.)
When it comes to soy, the American tendency to believe that if a little is good, then more is better, could be putting the health of some soy consumers at risk.
So what’s the problem? Nutritionists are concerned about organic acids in soybeans called phytates blocking the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, and soy’s trypsin inhibitors blocking the absorption of protein. This reduced nutrient uptake is thought to be responsible for the short stature of the Asian population. Phytates and trypsin inhibitors are particularly high in non-fermented soy products, such as texturized vegetable protein (TVP) in soy burgers and convenience foods.
Soy is among the top six most allergenic foods (corn, egg, milk, soy, wheat and yeast) and, unless otherwise stated on the label, soy can be assumed to be genetically modified (GMO). Genetically modified soy results in sterility when fed to Monarch butterflies. Because humans have longer life spans than butterflies, the effects of GMO soy on people are difficult to study and are thus unknown at this time.
More studies are needed to define the impact of a diet excessively rich in convenience soy foods. In the meantime, we advise eating organic, non-GMO soy such as miso, tempeh, traditional tofu, and natto in moderation to both prevent nutrient deficiencies from phytates and trypsin inhibitors and to prevent unwanted estrogen modulation. We don’t recommend the use of soy-based infant formulas due to the unknown effect of estrogen modulation on infants.

Signs and Symptoms of Specific Nutrient Deficiencies

Monday, September 12th, 2005

The following nutrient deficiencies can result in the listed signs and symptoms:
Fat-soluble Vitamins
Vitamin A: Increased susceptibility to cancer, acne, night blindness and other eye problems; impaired maintenance, repair, and healing of skin and mucus membranes; impaired bone and teeth formation; accelerated aging
Vitamin D: (Rickets) Bone loss (osteoporosis); low blood calcium; osteomalacia (pain in ribs, spine, pelvis, legs, muscle weakness, brittle bones); retarded growth; muscle weakness, impaired tooth development; rickets in children
Vitamin E: Susceptibility to cancer and heart disease; anemia; lethargy; apathy; inability to concentrate; muscle weakness; decreased sexual performance
Vitamin K: Impaired blood clotting
Water-soluble Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): (Beriberi) Impairment of gastric acid production, blood formation, circulation, and starch metabolism; gastrointestinal, neurological, and heart muscle tone problems, learning and growth; low energy
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Impaired metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins; impaired cell growth and production of antibodies; tired eyes; cataracts; sores and cracks in corners of the mouth; decreased iron and pyridoxine levels
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): (Pellagra) The three D’s: dermatitis, dementia and diarrhea; circulatory problems; heart disease
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): headache, listlessness, fatigue, insomnia, intestinal disturbances, and numbness and tingling of hands and feet
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Fatigue; carpal tunnel syndrome; water retention; irritability; increased premenstrual stress; allergies; asthma; weakened immune system; heart disease
Vitamin B12 (Hydroxycobalomin): Anemia; improper digestion and metabolism of foods; nerve damage; fatigue; uneven gait; infertility; memory loss; cataracts
Folic Acid: Fatigue, anemia, weakness and low energy; problems with clotting and bruising; birth defects; cervical dysplasia; elevated homocysteine level (a risk factor in heart disease)
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Weakened immune system; increased susceptibility to cancer; impaired wound healing; gum disease; damage to nerves, eyes and vascular system; bruising
Minerals
Calcium: Osteoporosis; muscle cramps; joint aches; increased cholesterol levels; nervousness; heart rhythm irregularities; skin disorders; brittle nails; rheumatoid arthritis; tooth decay; sleep disturbances; numbness in arms and/or legs; rickets
Magnesium: Muscle weakness and twitching (spasm); depression; dizziness; high blood pressure; heart disease and cardiac arrhythmias; asthma; menstrual cramps
Phosphorus: Mineral imbalance, especially calcium and magnesium; impaired bone and teeth formation; kidney function; heart muscle contraction problems
Potassium: Heart irregularities; increased blood pressure; muscle twitches; weakness; fluid imbalances
Trace Minerals
Chromium: Poor glucose/insulin control.
Copper: Fatigue; impaired wound healing; osteoporosis; altered sense of taste
Iodine: Lethargy, constipation, dry skin
Iron: Anemia; fatigue; weakness and low energy; clotting and bruising problems
Selenium: Increased susceptibility to cancers of liver, skin, breast and colon; stroke; heart muscle disorders; immune system deficiencies; allergy
Sodium: Fluid and electrolyte imbalance, weakness and fatigue;
Vanadium: Poor glucose/insulin regulation.
Zinc: Impaired wound healing; weakened immune system; impaired sense of smell and taste

Nutrient Deficiencies Can Result in Serious Health Problems

Monday, September 12th, 2005

A tragic reminder of the consequences of nutrient deficiencies occurred in November 2003, when the deaths of three Israeli infants were linked to the use of a Kosher soy-based infant formula manufactured in Germany that was sold as Remedia. Fourteen more infants were treated for problems associated with using the infant formula. Remedia was not commercially marketed in the United States, though some may have been imported via mail order. Laboratory analysis revealed that the formula did not contain any Vitamin B1, thiamin, even though the label stated it did. Thiamine deficiency results in a condition known as beriberi which causes a variety of cardiac and neurological problems and, if untreated, death.
While a dramatic example of the effects of nutrient deficiencies, it brings to mind the more subtle but very significant roles that chronic nutrient deficiencies can cause throughout a lifetime.
Nutrient deficiencies can be caused by food supply problems from homelessness, poverty, and isolation, in addition to some psychiatric disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, paranoia, and depression. Mechanical problems such as ill-fitting dentures and poor dental health also contribute to nutrient deficiency, as can laxative abuse and lack of sunshine. Side effects of prescription drugs include their ability to deplete essential nutrients, as does consumption of alcohol and a diet rich in soy. Even when an adequate diet is eaten, nutrients may not be absorbed due to inadequate production of hydrochloric acid or digestive enzymes, and inflammatory bowel disease.
That being said, the number one cause of nutrient deficiencies in the United States is eating processed and junk food, fast food, food high in sugar, and "bad" fat. We don’t need box cutters to undermine our nation. We’ve got spoons and forks!
Nutrient deficiencies usually don’t directly result in death, but more often undermine health in ways not easily apparent. The afflicted person does not feel or function well and is often clueless as to why. A physician trained in nutritional medicine can be alerted to clinical signs and symptoms that suggest nutrient deficiency. When deficiencies are treated and the body’s functions are supported, some prescription drug use can be decreased or even prevented altogether.
Junk food eaters beware: Before you improve your diet, be aware that if too many people decide to eat a nutritionally sound diet, disease incidence would decrease and our health care system could collapse due to fewer people seeking healthcare.

The Cholesterol Hypothesis of Heart Disease and Statin Drugs

Monday, September 12th, 2005

The guys in white coats are in your television set, and they’re advertising cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) 24/7. They know if they throw enough spaghetti on the wall, some of it will stick. Americans spend $12.6 billion/year on statins, proving the cholesterol hypothesis has stuck.
The theory that cholesterol causes heart disease is called the cholesterol hypothesis. Its general acceptance as fact has resulted in cholesterol, a critically important molecule in health, being wrongly singled out, tried, and convicted of causing heart disease. This popular hypothesis falls short of explaining why people with low cholesterol have heart attacks, why people with high cholesterol can be free of heart disease, and why cultures such as the Inuit, who have fat-rich diets, have low heart disease incidence.
What has cholesterol done for you lately? For starters, feeling good is a symptom of adequate cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is required for the body to make reproductive hormones and the body’s anti-stress hormone, cortisol. Eighty percent of the cholesterol in the blood is made by a healthy liver that makes, every single day, as much cholesterol as is in six to eight chicken egg yolks. Cholesterol is part of the protective coating, the myelin sheath, that insulates nerves. Cholesterol "waterproofs" the protective cell membrane in each of the body’s cells. Cancer rates increase when cholesterol levels decrease. Cholesterol is required for the body to make Vitamin D. Stroke risk increases as cholesterol levels drop. High cholesterol levels in older people are related to longevity.
The cholesterol-lowering drugs of concern are statin drugs: Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, Lescol, Mevacor, and the new kid on the block, Crestor. (The 80 mg dose of Crestor was removed from the market shortly after it was introduced because of reports of kidney failure.)
The adverse side effects of statin drugs are well known and include rhabdomyolysis, muscle deterioration that can be detected by a routine blood test. Less well-known are partially reversible muscle disorders that cannot be detected by blood tests. If the affected muscles are involved in breathing, shortness of breath may result. If the affected muscle happens to be the heart, heart failure may result. Statin drugs inhibit the production of Co-enzyme Q10, an enzyme that drives energy production in every cell, notably in the liver and heart. Many animal studies show an increase (cont. p.2) (cont.) in the incidence of cancer with exposure to statin drugs. In fact, some researchers consider statin drugs to be carcinogenic. Peripheral neuropathy results in pain and lack of sensation in the feet and legs. This, as well as depression, irritability, and memory and cognitive problems are known side effects.
Many physicians and researchers question not only the safety of taking cholesterol lowering drugs, but they also challenge the validity of the hypothesis that cholesterol causes heart disease.
Well-established causes of heart disease include poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, low copper, excess iron, poor antioxidant status, low HDL cholesterol, infection, inflammation, smoking, and various toxins (notably mercury).
In a drug-based healthcare system, what were once thought to be scientific "facts" are routinely replaced by new, updated "facts of convenience." For years, the acceptable level of LDL cholesterol was less than 130 mg/dl. The bar was recently lowered again, so statin treatment is now recommended to attain LDL levels at 70 to 100 mg/dl, resulting in 36 million Americans being targeted as potential users of statins. Six of nine physician panelists serving on the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) that made the latest recommendations have been exposed as having received funding from drug companies that manufacture and market statin drugs.
If circulating LDL cholesterol were inherently dangerous, all arteries would have equal exposure to it and would be equally diseased. But LDL only penetrates the lining of an artery (epithelium) where the lining is damaged. As a result, vascular blockage occurs in already compromised sections of arteries.
When is "bad" LDL cholesterol good? LDL cholesterol has several important functions, including a starring role in the synthesis of cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. Elevated LDL levels are nature’s defense against viral infections. Once viruses are bound to LDL, the ability of the virus to release cytokines (chemicals that cause inflammation, pain, and clotting) is impaired.
Oxidized LDL, not LDL, is associated with arterial damage. Addressing causes of oxidation (excess iron, smoking, poor quality diets, etc.) and glycosolation (diets high in sugar) are two natural approaches that address underlying causes of damage to arteries.
Responsible recommendations for prescription drug use are made on a one-to-one basis between a physician and patient, not to 36 million people. People taking statin drugs need at least 50 mg of CoQ10 daily and are advised to report to their physicians any of the aforementioned side effects. Lifestyle modifications that can address known risk factors for heart disease include minimizing sugar intake, exercising, stopping smoking, and taking antioxidant supplements.

Angioplasty with Stent Placement vs. Exercise Training

Monday, September 12th, 2005

Research results reported in the March 2004 issue of Circulation may be the best news for heart patients since, well, the bicycle was invented.
The benefits of stent angioplasty as rescue intervention in acute coronary problems is well established. But its benefits are less clear in a patient with stable exercise-induced angina.
Cardiologists in Leipzig, Germany, studied 101 men with exercised-induced angina who had received routine coronary angiography. Participants were randomly divided into two groups: those who received 12 months of exercise training (20 minutes of bicycle ergometry daily and one 60-minute session of group aerobic exercise training per week) and those who had stent angioplasty.
The study rated clinical symptoms (the ability to exercise without angina), the level of oxygenation of the heart muscle, the necessity of further interventions (coronary artery bypass surgery and angioplasty), as well as adverse clinical outcomes (death from cardiac cause or stroke, and increasing angina resulting in hospitalization).
After one year, men in the exercise training group had an 88 percent event-free survival rate compared with 70 percent in the stent angioplasty group. The exercise training group had a 16 percent greater maximal oxygen uptake than the angioplasty group.
This study did not use drug-coated stents. Statistical adjustment for drug-coated stents puts their event-free survival rate at 72 percent.
The study results make sense when considering three facts. First, the heart is a muscle, albeit a very specialized one, and it can be conditioned by exercise. Second, the blockage of a coronary artery is not just a simple mechanical problem, but is the result of a complex series of events including inflammation, clotting, and immune responses. Third, stenting addresses one short segment of the coronary blood vessels, while exercise impacts the function of all the blood vessels.
Note that this study was performed in men with stable angina. Stable angina is pain of cardiac origin that occurs with exertion or intense emotion at a predictable level, decreases with rest, and does not progress to a heart attack. Crescendo or unstable angina is sudden or increasing pain of cardiac origin that occurs either at rest or with exertion and is associated with unstable plaque that is threatening to advance to a heart attack.
GSMC physicians recommend individualized risk assessment, a customized program of heart-friendly nutrients, and chelation therapy in addition to exercise.
People with heart disease should consult their physician for exercise recommendations.

Autism Web Resources

Monday, September 12th, 2005

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned — unless it is a mother of a mercury toxic, autistic child. The tragedy of autism has been the birthplace of thousands of activists who want to spare other families from similar tragedies. Check out this small sampling of web sites that are excellent examples of informed activism:

Amy Carson, mother of an autistic son, is a self made one-woman political force to reckon with both nationally and in Western NC. She is unstoppable in her efforts to mandate safe vaccines for children: www.momsagainstmercury.com.

Lujene Clark. RN, CPA and her husband, Alan Clark, M. D., parents of an autistic son, combine science and politics in their web site to educate consumers and help mandate safer vaccines for all children. Check out: www.nomercury.org.

A parent group, the Coalition for SAFE MINDs’ (Sensible Action For Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders) web site is a source of terrific scientific and political data: www.safeminds.org.

Dr. Sherri Tenpenny has produced a DVD that is a comprehensive overview of the use of vaccines titled Vaccines: The Risks, The Benefits, The Choices. Highly recommended and available at GSMC or from: www.nmaseminars.com.

Could Autistics Be All Doped Up?

Monday, September 12th, 2005

Though autism is traditionally defined as a psychiatric disorder, we now know that autism has roots in genetics and immunology. Exposure to environmental stressors can profoundly affect neurological and immune development, particularly during the vulnerable times during gestation and early childhood.
Take, for example, the role of damaged intestinal lining present in many autistics. Compared to the general population, autistics have a higher incidence of adverse reactions to the proteins in wheat (gluten) and dairy (casein). These reactions are not primarily allergic in nature, but are a result of toxic byproducts of impaired digestion and metabolism.
Normal, healthy digestion breaks down the proteins gluten and casein into their smallest basic units, amino acids, which play several roles in critical body functions. Amino acids then link together to form peptides that profoundly influence how a person feels and functions.
However, when some autistics with impaired digestion eat wheat or dairy, they form abnormal peptides that function like opiates in the brain. These opiate-like compounds (gluteomorphins and casomorphins) enter the general circulation and can disrupt brain chemistry. Just like opiates, these mind-altering peptides result in the autistic person feeling pleasantly "doped up." While an opiate addict needs his fix of opium, an autistic child needs his fix of wheat or dairy, and a food craving is thus born.
Every autistic should have a trial of a gluten free/casein free (GF/CF) diet to see if there is benefit from avoiding these foods that can profoundly affect brain chemistry. Additionally, essential fatty acids, zinc, enzymes and beneficial gut-friendly organisms normally present in healthy intestines are often recommended for intestinal immune support.

Autism and Methylation

Monday, September 12th, 2005

Methylation is a very important chemical reaction in the body that is responsible for well-being, health, and longevity. It protects DNA, impacts brain function, regulates detoxification and reproduction, and determines the rate of aging by turning numerous chemical processes either on or off. The ability to methylate naturally slows with aging, but it can prematurely burn out in autistic children.
Most, but not all, autistics are poor methylators, resulting, in effect, in a biochemical "short circuit." When important biochemical circuitry in the body does not work, toxic metabolic byproducts build up and stop important biochemical processes from working. Specific nutrients can help correct impaired methylation circuitry, resulting in symptomatic improvement.
Subcutaneous injections of Methylcobalomin (vitamin B12) and sublingual dimethylglycine (DMG), plus oral supplementation of vitamin B6, folinic acid, MSM, choline, SAMe, selenium, zinc, inositol, and a wholesome, nutrient-dense diet form the nutritional approaches used to help autistics directly or indirectly support undermethylation. A two-month trial may be necessary to see a response.

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