Posted on 22 December 2009 by admin
I want to touch on the issue of bowel movements in children again because this is an important concept to understand. I have seen a lot of kids in my practice who have loose stools and chronic diarrhea. But I have also seen quite a few kids on the spectrum who also have chronic constipation, I have talked about this quite a bit. There are a couple of different things to consider with respects to constipation.
One is, does your child have the sensitivity or the urgency to have a bowel movement. Meaning can they feel when they need to have a bowel movement. If they can, and basically which means they are actually trying to go to the toilet or you know they are trying to have a bowel movement whether it is their pull-up or their diaper that is a good sign because it is showing you they have the neural connections to demonstrate to their brain that their bowel has fecal matter in it that needs to be excreted.
Some kids with either a change in diet, if you are doing a gluten and casein free diet sometimes you are lacking fiber, so adding more fiber can help or they are not drinking enough fluid or they are not getting enough probiotics or there is a lack of minerals in the body like magnesium and kids may become constipated so they may have the urgency to go but they just can’t get the poop out because it is too hard and compacted. That is usually an easier form of constipation to deal with because you can just use some types of laxatives over the counter or supplement laxatives like probiotics or vitamin C and magnesium which can help them have a bowel movement easier.
The other scenario is with kids who just lack the sensation in the body that they even need to have a bowel movement. This is usually a little more difficult to deal with because they just don’t have the urge to go and the fecal matter can build up and build up and build up to a point where it gets so big and massive that they may just have an explosion because their bowel can’t handle anymore of it but they may be left with a lot of fecal matter in their digestive tract. This is more of a difficult situation because you are talking about a neural connection between the brain and the nervous system and to the gut and just not a good feedback mechanism to tell that child hey I actually need to have a bowel movement.
Posted on 21 December 2009 by admin
As I discussed in part 1 of this series, constipation can have many negative effects on behavior in children with Autism. I discussed the effects of autointoxication, whereby toxins from un-expelled feces are reabsorbed and recirculated through the body which can lead to behaviors such as aggression and irritability as a result of that constipation.
You can also get direct absorption from toxins from the digestive tract from the yeast and bacterial overgrowth. I have seen it clinically many, many times in my practice over the years. An onset of constipation can lead to behavioral problems, lack of eye contact, it will even lead to lack of speech in many kids. So if you are seeing improvement in the therapies you are doing, it doesn’t even have to be biomedical therapies, it can be speech, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy but then they start to regress and you can’t figure out why, maybe there is an underlying constipation problem and they are not having bowel movements as normally as they should.
Ideally they should have a bowel movement once a day or even twice a day. The other thing to watch for with constipation is I have heard a lot of parents say their child has a bowel movement every day but how big is it and what is its shape and size. They may have a bowel movement that is fairly large but there may be a lot more stool left in your child’s digestive tract that they are not getting rid of. Or they could be pooping out little small pellets that are really hard and dry. So the assessment of the digestive tract is key.
A simple thing you can do is to take your child to your doctor, pediatrician and have an abdominal x-ray done and see if there is a large amount of fecal matter stored in their digestive tract. So the bowels become a seat of not only nutritional input into our bodies from food but they also become a seat for toxicity for our body if there is a tendency for constipation. That constipation can also lead to behavioral problems too.
Posted on 21 December 2009 by admin
Why do some kids on the Autism spectrum when they become constipated become aggressive, become very irritable and agitated, lose eye contact, losing focusing and attention? A lot of people have constipation issues but they are not aggressive. A lot of people have constipation issues including neurotypical kids many times, don’t lose attention and focusing but why does it seem to happen with some children on the spectrum?
There could be an underlying pain response so just being constipated and not being able to have a bowel movement could lead to irritability because it is painful. Because many kids on the Autism spectrum can’t speak and they can’t communicate their needs they will either act it out whether that is hitting themselves, head banging or just being irritable.
There is another reason too, it is called autointoxication. What happens is the digestive tract is the large portal of entry of nutrients into our body. It is this tube that runs through the middle of our digestive system. It can also be a major seat of toxicity because it is also the main route to get rid of toxins through our body as well. If we become constipated we block the ability to get rid of those toxins and some of those toxins can actually be reabsorbed back into the blood stream and then dumped out into general population. There are toxins from yeast, there are toxins from bacteria that are known to actually cause imbalances in brain chemistry. For a child who already has a susceptibility to neuro chemical imbalances, anything else that adds insult to injury can potentially worsen behavior.
What happens is there is a venous system called the portal venal system that returns blood back to the liver of things that have been removed from the digestive tract and if you have a constipation issue, particularly in the large bowel you may get toxins that would normally get excreted out through fecal matter and bowel movements, it gets reabsorbed, taken back into the liver, dumped back into the blood stream and starts to recirculate over and over again causing chemical imbalances.
Posted on 17 December 2009 by admin
I have talked before in some previous videos about oxytocin. The reason I keep bringing up oxytocin is because there is more and more research showing that for many individuals on the Autism spectrum, a lack of oxytocin plays a significant role in their inability to socialize, a lack of oxytocin increases anxiety and it particularly affects their ability to recognize facial expressions as well as voice cue emotional recognition. So their ability to recognize the difference between a sad voice to a happy voice to somebody who is being inquisitive, etc. The same thing with visual cues as well, to be able to tell the difference between someone who is smiling, frowning, someone who is happy. So oxytocin plays a significant role because it helps to activate various parts of the brain that are involved in the manifestation of those abilities.
Now there is a link between cholesterol and oxytocin and if you understand that there is actually a number individuals, particularly kids on the spectrum who actually have very low cholesterol, sometimes less than 100. The lowest I have seen in my practice was around 65 which is extremely low, and understanding the link between the two. You can actually get total cholesterol from any lab, any reference lab or hospital clinic can run a total cholesterol on your child. It is important to understand that cholesterol and oxytocin are linked because cholesterol is an activating chemical for the oxytocin receptors in the brain. If your child doesn’t have enough cholesterol their own brain’s production of oxytocin isn’t going to work as well if they don’t have enough cholesterol activating those oxytocin receptors. Those receptors are these lock and key mechanisms in the brain. The brain is activated and nerve impulses are generated through the brain by receptor interaction with various neurochemicals. So when a chemical attaches to a receptor, it is a lock and key mechanism and you have to have the right lock to open the door. Once that door is open you can get a flood of chemical information that is transported throughout the brain. Oxytocin actually needs an adequate amount of cholesterol activating the oxytocin receptor in order to work appropriately.
So again oxytocin is very important with respects to facial recognition, voice cue recognition, it helps with anxiety and just that social bonding. And cholesterol is very important and one of its functions is to help with that oxytocin receptor. You can have your child get a simple blood test of total cholesterol to see where their levels are. We usually like to see the levels around 170 to 180 to be optimal and that is a simple thing you can do so talk to your doctor about that.
Posted on 16 December 2009 by admin
I want to talk to you real briefly about mitochondria. We know that in Autism, mitochondria play a big role in body metabolism. But mitochondria play also a role in all of our health, in everybody’s life with respects to how our body produces energy. But there are some individuals that truly have an underlying mitochondrial disease, and these are usually detected very early in life and can be life threatening. But there are people who actually have underlying mitochondrial dysfunction that although they are not life threatening, can be problematic if they are challenged environmentally. If they get sick, if they have a vaccine reaction or if there are heavy metal toxins, whatever it may be, that over stresses their body.
In chronic fatigue syndrome we know that mitochondria can be stressed to where their body just isn’t producing enough energy and somebody has a chronic fatigue state. In Autism we know that mitochondria can become dysfunctional and energy metabolism is greatly affected and that affects almost everything from the immune system, to the detoxification system, to the nervous system.
Think about mitochondria like little factories inside our cells and they produce a tremendous amount of energy. What mitochondria use primarily as a fuel source for that energy is fat and protein. So we get a tremendous amount of byproduct from fat and protein production than over say sugar metabolism which usually doesn’t give a lot. The mitochondria are very important as far as producing this energy currency on the body.
The way I always think about this from a real simple standpoint, if you are going to build a campfire what are you going to first do? First you are going to get some kindling, some small branches, some dried leaves, and this will be your kindling to get the fire started. The kindling is equivalent to sugar or glucose. It burns quickly but it doesn’t have long lasting effect. Once you get the fire started though you need something that has more bulk behind it in order to get that long term fire potential. This is where you are going to get the medium to large sized logs. The medium to large sized logs that you put on your kindling and get those burning are equivalent to the protein and fat in the body. For long term energy support our body will usually convert into burning fat as the most productive way to utilize energy metabolism and use sugar as a quick start, inefficient form of body metabolism.
The problem is when you start having issues in the mitochondria and its ability to regulate metabolism. This is something seen quite often in Autism where there are different factors inside the mitochondria that become dysfunctional. We use various supplements like CoQ10, ribose, or NADH to try and fuel and feed the mitochondria to function more appropriately. So mitochondria is something you will hear about, it is an energy system inside our cells. Mitochondria is like the little energy factories of our cells. Mitochondria packs a big punch with respect to the amount of energy it produces to just keep us healthy and really just keep all of the organ systems in our body working appropriately.
Posted on 14 December 2009 by admin
I wanted to talk to you about something called biofilms. This is going to part 1 of a 2 part video series here on biofilms because this topic is quite lengthy. Biofilms is a very interesting discovery that has been found within medicine over the past number of years it is a big problem in hospital settings and can be a source of chronic infection. In the world of engineering, particularly in water treatment facilities, they have known about biofilms for a long time as a source of water contamination but in the medical field it is just getting more recognition now.
What are biofilms? Bacteria and yeast that exist in the natural world generally live is a state of biofilm. What a biofilm is is these organisms are secreting a type of filmy substance that they surround themselves with. Not only does it act as a defense mechanism against other pathogens within the natural world but it is also a communication structure that one cell can communicate with another cell at quite a distance. In the human body we know that biofilms can accumulate on the skin, so individuals who have burns, who have ulcerations in the skin can accumulate biofilm from yeast and bacteria that can settle in those areas. But inside the digestive tract we can develop biofilms as well where yeast and bacteria secrete this biofilm structure and it is a way for them to survive for extended periods of time in these sort of complex mucous type of layers which actually makes it very difficult to eradicate. In the hospital setting they are quite a problem, biofilms can attach themselves to catheters, to plastics, they can attach themselves to metals and other types of utensils used in hospitals and this can be a recurrent source of infection for hospital patients so it is becoming more and more recognized that this is an area that needs much more research.
In the Autism community biofilms are a real entity particularly with digestive problems and the chronic nature of yeast and bacteria. It can be one reason why kids can’t actually get over their bacterial and yeast problems because essentially what is happening is nothing is being done to address the biofilm state and how these organisms are surviving. I just wanted to give you a heads up that there is a condition if you will called biofilms. There are programs, protocols to help break these biofilms down. They can be a real problem with recurrent yeast and bacterial problems.
Posted on 13 December 2009 by admin
We know that inflammation is a big problem in chronic illness. We see it quite a bit in a lot of degenerative conditions in our country whether it is diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, cancer, inflammation is always a problem, particularly if it is chronic inflammation. In Autism we also know it is a problem, particularly neurological inflammation. There are various markers that can indicate some type of inflammatory process in the body that could be affecting these kids from a neurological standpoint, tumor necrosis factor, interferon gamma to name a few.
Digestive inflammation is a real problem for some kids on the spectrum particularly with respects to inflammatory bowel disease. But anytime you are generating inflammation, whether it is in the gut, whether it is in the blood stream, whether it is from a virus, whether it is from a vaccine reaction, whether it is from food sensitivities it can have a negative impact on the brain. Now neurologically we know that inflammation seems to affect kids not only globally but certain areas of the brain too, particularly the temporal lobes. The temporal lobes are the lobes that are on the side of the head . Particularly the left side is where some of the language areas are. Any problems with inflammation in those areas can cause a depletion or at least decrease in blood flow. When you decrease blood flow to certain areas then you will decrease the ability of the blood to deliver oxygen so that can be quite problematic.
There have been many remedies that have been implemented as having a positive influence, or at least the attempt is to use these things as a positive influence on neurological inflammation. Actos, is a medication that has been used with fairly good success in some individuals with Autism to help decrease neurological inflammation. Actos was originally a diabetic medication to help control blood sugar but it was found to have some positive influence on the way cells in the body produce inflammation. Spironolactone is another type of medication commonly used for many years for particularly women who have too much testosterone. It helps to regulate that condition called hirsutism. But it is also a medication that helps to regulate sodium and potassium levels in the body so it is a good thing to use for edema or swelling, especially in the lower extremities. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been another helpful remedy for neurological inflammation. We know that hyperbaric oxygen therapy not only helps to increase blood flow to the areas of the brain, specifically increased oxygen, but the pressure of the hyperbaric seems to help decrease some of the inflammatory problems. Another interesting herbal remedy is from an Indian spice called Turmeric, the active ingredient being called curcumin. This also has an anti-inflammatory effect as well and it showing good success with kids on the spectrum not only of gut inflammation but also neurological inflammation. So the issue of inflammation is a big problem in chronic illness, it is certainly a problem in Autism. This is a whole other area to explore but I wanted you to be familiar with it because it will come up in some of your research that you do and there are some specific therapies that can be implemented to help.
Posted on 10 December 2009 by admin
If you have ever done a comprehensive digestive stool analysis, there is a marker on the stool analysis called SIGA which stands for secretory IgA. If you got it from Great Plains Laboratory, secretory IgA is generally the bottom marker on page 2, in many kids it is very low. What secretory IgA indicates is something called the mucosal immune system. Secretory IgA is the secreted form of an antibody in the blood called IgA. IgA is produced in the blood, taken into the gut, secreted across the mucosal lining into that mucous layer that is the surface lining of our digestive tract. It is the mucosal immune barrier or first line immune defense.
When secretory IgA is low it can indicate that there is an overall deficiency of this particular immune chemical in the gut. Getting a one time secretory IgA marker on a stool test can be a little tricky because it can be low due to other factors. If you are seeing secretory IgA low in conjunction with a lot of food sensitivities, yeast, bacterial problems, that is a pretty good indicator that your child tends to run low on their secretory IgA.
Why is this important? Well we think of our digestive system as somewhat separate from the rest of our body. Our digestive tract is actually a tube that runs through the center of our body and the lining of the mucosal barrier is just encased in this secretory IgA chemical as a way to neutralize against pathogens like viruses, candida and bacteria but also as a control mechanism for the rest of immune system throughout our body. The mucosal barrier doesn’t just make up the surface lining of the digestive tract. It makes up our mouth, our throat, our intestines, all the way through the rectum. We also have secretory IgA secreted in our eyes, nasal cavity, the upper part of our lungs, in the urethra in both men and women and in the vagina in women. So it is those external surfaces of the body that are bathed in this secretory IgA chemical.
A couple of things can help raise secretory IgA. Colostrum is one, colostrum is that premilk immunoglobulin mixture that is secreted from the mom’s breast in the early stages of breast feeding. Colostrum has a lot of antibodies in it and that can be a stimulus for secretory IgA production. Probiotics, the normal bacteria like acidophilus and bifidobacter, also help to stimulate secretory IgA production. Cayenne pepper, which isn’t something you will get a lot of kids to take, but cayenne is also a stimulant for secretory IgA production. If your child can swallow capsules then you can put some cayenne powder in capsule form and have them take 2 or 3 per day and that can be something to help stimulate secretory IgA production over time. There is another remedy that can too and this is a probiotic called saccharomyces boulardii. Saccharomyces boulardii is actually a yeast, but it is a healthy yeast for our digestive tract and helps fight off some of the pathogenic yeast like candida. But it also a stimulant for secretory IgA production. So if you see the secretory IgA marker you now have a better understanding of what it means. Secretory IgA is generally an indication of the immune system in the gut which is our first line immune defense and it is called the mucosal barrier.
Posted on 09 December 2009 by admin
Let’s talk a little bit about cod liver oil. Cod liver oil has been a remedy and around the Autism community for quite some time. A lot of kids show benefit to the use of cod liver oil not only because it is a fish oil that has the essential fats that many kids need for brain development such as EPA and DHA. Cod liver oil also has natural vitamin A which is very effective for the health of the eyes.
So why is this important in Autism? Many years ago there was a researcher by the name of Dr. Megson who found that a lot of kids who have visual stimming, whether that is side glancing out of their eyes or flicking their fingers in front of their eyes, just doing things from a visual standpoint, many of these kids benefited from cod liver oil. Sometimes it was a teaspoon or two of cod liver oil a day where their visual stimming would actually improve. It was found that what the natural vitamin A that was found in the cod liver oil was doing was having a positive influence on various receptors in the retina in the eye and the way visual information was being passed from the eye to the visual cortex of the brain.
So as time has gone on, this theory has been proved correct over and over and over for many of these kids where cod liver oil has become a pretty standard treatment for kids on the Autism spectrum particularly if they have had visual stimming issues or side glancing issues or other types of visual problems. You can actually use cod liver oil as a remedy for that. If you look at most supplement programs for kids on the spectrum it will generally include a multi-vitamin, a multi-mineral, a probiotic, some zinc and cod liver oil is usually on that list as well.
Think about cod liver oil as a nice remedy for your child to help with some of the visual issues, visual stimming, etc. The cod liver oil is a common remedy that is used and has a lot of essential fats, it is generally very easy to take. New Beginnings Nutritionals has a couple of different versions of cod liver oil. You can check out their website and I think cod liver oil will be a helpful remedy for your child.
Posted on 08 December 2009 by admin
I wanted to talk to you real briefly about hyperbaric oxygen therapy what is also called HBOT. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been a very effective therapy for many kids on the Autism spectrum and there are a couple of reasons why. What they have found from testing standpoint is that many kids are lacking blood flow to certain parts of the brain, particularly to the temporal lobe which is on the side of the head. When you get a lack of blood flow in those areas, it can greatly compromise particularly things like speech. We know that that is something that is happening with some kids. And when you are having a lack of blood flow many times it is caused by inflammation, We know that neuro inflammation or inflammation mediated through the immune system for a variety of reasons can cause a lack of blood flow to certain parts of the brain and that can create problems as I mentioned before, speech.
So hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one therapy that can help not only increase oxygen carrying capacity into the brain which helps metabolic function of the brain but also there is another effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, it seems to help reduce inflammation, particularly neurological inflammation. We know that hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used for many, many years with all different types of health conditions. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy was primarily used in medicine in individuals with skin infections or burns or whatnot, things that are affecting their skin.
But we know from other medical uses hyperbaric oxygen therapy is now being used in things like autoimmune disorders, neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, it is being used for patients with diabetes and sometimes even heart disease. But hyperbaric oxygen therapy’s primary use in the Autism community is to help very much with kids improve their cognitive ability, help with their speech, help decrease inflammation, help oxygen carrying capacity through their body, help their over all metabolism as well as decrease the chemical mediators that seem to increase inflammation.
So there is a lot to learn about hyperbaric oxygen therapy. There are a lot of wonderful places that provide hyperbaric oxygen therapy. There are freestanding clinics or you can get hyperbaric oxygen therapy in your home. You can bring a rentable chamber into your home. I have a lot of information on my biomedical website regarding the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in Autism at www.autismactionplan.org. I have a whole video series as well as biomedical protocols on the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy so check it out. It is called HBOT and I think it can be a useful thing to consider for you child as a part of their overall biomedical treatment program.