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Autism Coach

Metabolic Profile of a Typical Individual Within the Autism Spectrum

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This article is a work in progress.

Each individual within the autism spectrum is a unique individual with a unique metabolic profile and biomedical issues.  Of course, it is recommended seeking out health care professionals who can perform tests that precisely determine the issues and biomedical needs of individual within the autism spectrum.

However, there are are statistically a significant number of individuals within the autism spectrum that have a commonality of biomedical issues, some of which are listed below:

  • impaired ability to detoxify and remove heavy metals and toxic chemicals from the body - this may be in part due to individuals with autism pretty much consistently having low levels of glutathione, which is the body's primary molecule for detoxification.  There is some research to indicate that one reason the incidence of autism may be higher in boys and girls is because testosterone tend to bind to mercury while estrogen tends to excrete it.  There are also genetic factors that contribute to some people excreting toxins more efficiently than others.  For example, the marker for color-blindness is tied to an impaired ability to excrete toxins.
  • undermethylation - an impaired ability to use and absorb B vitamins that do not have methyl donors attached.  About 80% of individuals in the autism spectrum are undermethylators and tend not to be excessively high energy.  About 20% of individuals are overmethylators and tend to be more hyperactive. 
  • high levels of heavy metals - such as mercury, lead, cadmium and antimony
  • unusual levels of neurotransmitters - too high or too low
    • low GABA - the primary calming neurotransmitter - Theanine is a supplement that is a precursor to GABA.  When neurons can't calm down after being exposed to something that excites them, they can be overstimulated to the point of triggering neuronal die-off.  Neuro-excito toxins include Aspartame and MSG - they should be avoided.  If you have ever observed your child become extremely excited after eating certain foods and then be lethargic for hours or days afterwards - you could be observing the effects of your child's consumption of neurotoxins and foods that trigger this should be eliminated.
    • low or high levels of serotonin/melatonin- these neurotransmitters convert into each other; serotonin during the day converts into melatonin at night.  Excessively high levels of serotonin can interfere with the development of oxytocin receptor sites in the brain.  If your child is blissed out and always happy but dreamy and foggy - they may have excessively high levels of serotonin.
    • low levels of Monoamine Oxidase A (MAO-A) - this crucial enzyme is needed to convert serotonin and melatonin into their active metabolites that are transmitted through the synapses of nerves.  For more information, refer to our article on the MAO-A Theory of Autism.
    • low dopamine - there is a correlation between Parkison's and autism running in the same families.
  • a deficiency of oxytocin receptor sites in the brain.  Oxytocin receptor sites are critical for developing language and being able to read people and social situations.  Studies with individuals with Asperger's Syndrome inhaling oxytocin preliminarily show increased interest in social interactions, better empathy and ability to read people.
  • adrenals - typically depletion of adrenal glands and higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers the fight or flight response in people; generally supplements that help to support the adrenal glands are of benefit
  • frequent infections - depressed immune system
  • intestinal issues
    • overgrowth of pathogenic yeast in the gut and bacteria including clostridia and klebsiella, which can produce neurotoxins as by-products and increase levels of ammonia in the brain which is also a neurotoxin, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) attempts to improve intestinal health by removing foods which pathogens can feed on
    • gluten and casein protein maldigestion - when the gut does not break down molecules of gluten and casein found in food properly, these partially digested molecules can form opiate-like compounds that can bind to receptor sites in the brain and gut and interfere with neurological development.  The gluten free/casein free (GFCF) diet benefits about 90% of individuals within the autism spectrum.  Special autism enzymes help to break down these molecules so that they do not form opiates. 
    • allergies - when food is not digested completely, it tends to trigger the development of allergies.  Also having low levels of MAO-A can cause levels of histamine to be excessively high (histamine is broken down into its active metabolite by MAO-A) leading to an increased likelihood of developing allergies.
  • high oxalates - according to researchers at Great Plains Laboratories, a significant portion of the autism population has high levels of oxalates as found in individuals with kidney stones.  They recommend a low-oxalate diet.
  • seizures - the older the children get, the more likely they are to experience seizures.  Carnosine has been shown to be effective in a double-blind study in reducing or eliminating seizures.