Today I came across this devastating message from a mother of a child with autism: “I am very confused. My non-verbal son did something very strange, he insisted that I touch him! I am terrified that somebody is sexually abusing my son! I’m terrified and extremely lost in what to do. Please help. WHAT DO I DO?!?!!!”
This is just another of the many cries for help from aconcerned mother of a non-verbal child on the spectrum. It is a cry from a parent who truly worries about her son. However, what is especially frustrating is that this desperate situation is actually very common in families with children with autism. Even verbal and high functioning children can be very vulnerable in our “mean” society because they are open and naïve. So, how can children with autism be helped in this situation? How can parents be less anxious about the safety of their loved ones? The only answer is to help these children improve their symptoms as much as possible, so that they have a better chance of integrating into society and taking care of themselves! Honestly, this is the only way for these kids to avoid being abused and manipulated! It is at this point that some of you may sceptically say that such a thing is impossible and simply give up reading here.
But, please, let me explain! Maybe you will see what I mean.
For some time, Autism was considered as a genetic disorder that permanently effects the function of the brain. It was widely accepted that Autism is a life-long condition and that all that can be done for children on the spectrum is love, support and protect them as much as possible. However, since we have altered the way we look at our general health and at Autism in particular, this statement is no longer true.
If we start looking at any chronic health condition as a result of a whole body biochemical imbalance rather than just as the manifestation of certain symptoms, we immediately have a better chance of understanding the core issues and, therefore, of dealing with them effectively. The same strategy applies to Autism! Yes, there is a certain genetic factor in Autism, but it is only a partial risk factor, a specific genetic susceptibility that plays along with many other elements that contribute to Autism, for example, elements such as toxic chemicals, stress, exposure to infectious agents and so on. The combination of these different risk factors plays a huge role in today’s Autism pandemic. Therefore, IF WE CAN MINIMISE THE IMPACT OF SOME OF THESE FACTORS, THE OVERALL RESULT CAN BE CHANGED AND THE BALANCE IN HEALTH CAN BE RESTORED.
While we cannot control a genetic predisposition towards Autism, we definitely can control several of the environmental factors and lifestyle factors that influence genetic expression and activate certain genetic mutations. For example, we can try to avoid unnecessary toxicity by staying away from processed food and drink, by eating organic, by switching to more natural body care and household products, by minimizing our use of plastic ect. We can control our level of stress by practicing mindfulness, positive thinking, by doing physical exercises and regularly spending time in nature.
We have already discussed all these approaches to some degree in my previous blogs. However, in some cases this may not quite be enough and a more precise intervention may be necessary. What is truly fascinating about modern science, is that it allows us to look at our individual genetic profiles and see which genetic weaknesses play important roles in our health. For children with Autism this is definitely a very powerful tool that can help them to progress to a completely different performance level. This is fantastic news! We have a way to understand and adapt to our genetic limitations, and this is exactly what Nutrigenomics is about! NUTRIGENOMICS IS THE SCIENCE OF HOW NATURAL PRODUCTS, SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBS INTERACT WITH PARTICULAR GENES TO REDUCE THE RISK OF CERTAIN DISEASES. DNA testing allows us to see biochemical imbalances or blockages in nutritional genetic pathways. Once identified, such imbalances can be resolved by providing specific nutrients through food or supplementation. The blockage can be bypassed by delivering a missing nutrient of the required form and concentration into the body. This allows the biochemical insufficiency to resolve itself and for the body to be restored to its normal functioning. In other words, by pinpointing a specific genetic issue, we can solve the problem through appropriate nutrition and supplementation, which will in turn positively affect the whole body.
Let’s see an example. There is a very important process in the human body called methylation, which is involved in almost every biochemical reaction. One such important reaction in the body is the conversion of folic acid from food into its usable form in the body called methylfolate. Methylfolate is necessary for the production of many important substances such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Adrenaline, and others. Wow! Can you imagine how much your body would struggle if this process of folic acid transformation into methylfolate were to be disrupted? If your body doesn’t have enough Serotonin, you will develop depression. If your body lacks Dopamine, you will become apathetic. If you do not have sufficient amounts of Adrenaline and Noradrenaline, you can become anxious and lose focus. Therefore, this reaction is very important! Each biochemical reaction in the body is controlled by enzymes and this particular reaction is regulated by an enzyme called MTHFR. What is astonishing, is that 90% of children with autism have MTHFR gene mutation. This simply means that they cannot properly convert folic acid into methylfolate and, therefore, they do not have an adequate amount of any of the above mentioned neurotransmitters, like Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine and Adrenaline. You can give your child lots of folic acid rich food, like leafy green vegetables, beans and citrus fruit, but their body still won’t be able to transform it into adequate amounts of its active form. This partially explains lots of the behavioural challenges and learning issues in children with autism. A recently published study (Metab Brain Dis, 2016) clearly suggests a strong correlation between MTHFR gene mutation and Autism. However, if we know that a child has such a mutation, we can actually help them! In this case the solution comes in the form of supplementation, this is an effective way to supply missing methylfolate into the body!
This is just one example that clearly illustrates the main principle of Nutrigenomics, a principal that has been very successfully implemented into the treatment of Autism and from which numerous children have already benefited. The bottom line is that this method can help further identify missing important nutrients in the body, whose absence does not allow the brain to function properly. Just recently I was interviewing Senta Depuydt, a mother whose son completely recovered from Autism. She mentioned that methylfolate supplementation was one of the key points in her son’s treatment. After this intervention, her son started to speak much better and made huge progress in his recovery. How great to hear this real-life result! And, indeed, research findings also support the link between methylfolate and improved communication and eased symptoms in language-impaired children with autism (Mol Psych, 2016).
This is a very empowering result and information. Especially when I think about the mother I quoted at the beginning! Would it not be fantastic, if her son could start expressing himself more clearly and explain what is going on in his life. Wouldn’t this mother then finally be able to consider the future of her child as safe? Do not get me wrong, I am not suggesting you give every child with autism methylfolate! Any supplementation needs to be chosen based on individual test results and specific needs! SO, MY MESSAGE FOR YOU TODAY IS ABOUT CONSTANTLY LEARNING AND LOOKING FOR NEW WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILD. Nowadays, we have lots of tools and opportunities at our disposal that can help your loved one to get better or even completely recover!
If you want to learn more about Nutrigenomics, please, let me know.
I look forward to receiving your ever-valuable questions, comments and feedback.
Please contact me at www.liveright.eu or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Story of recovery of Anthony by his mother Kimberly Ruckman: “We will always need to keep an eye on Anthony and do annual blood work. But as of today, Anthony has experienced autism recovery and has a very bright future ahead of him. You can read more of our story at www.biomedheals.com”