Archive | December, 2009

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Autism Treatment –Glutamate, Excitotoxicity and Autism

Posted on 07 December 2009 by admin

There is a theory within Autism, it is also a theory within the Alzheimer’s community and other neurological disorders as well, that states that many kids on the spectrum have a hyper excitability in the brain triggered by something called glutamate. Glutamate is an amino acid, it is found prevalent in our diet and it is also fairly significant concentration in the brain. Glutamate is one of the most abundant amino acids in the brain.

The feeling is that with certain individuals there is receptor sensitivity to glutamate. What happens is on the surface of the brain you have receptors and receptors take in information from other chemicals. It is sort of like a lock and key mechanism. What glutamate does is trigger a specific receptor called the NMDA receptor. When that triggering or lock and key function happens, it unlocks electrical activity in the brain cells and that causes electrical transmission of chemical impulses. That is a necessary thing to happen for normal brain function.

However, when you are getting too much of this electrical activity happening from glutamate, it can cause damage prematurely to cells and in some cases even premature cellular death. In Alzheimer’s they know that too much glutamate activation of the NMDA receptor can be a predisposing factor to neurological damage and dementia. So there are a variety of things that are being used now to help alter that glutamate sensitivity.

There is a medication called Nameda. Namenda is an NMDA receptor blocker that is used in Alzheimer’s and it has been used in Autism as well with glutamate sensitivity. It has been very helpful for hyper excitability, stimming behavior, sometimes aggressive behavior.

There are two natural substances which can also be used, which have been helpful for glutamate sensitivity as well. One, which I talked about in a previous recording, is Lithium, or elemental lithium, natural lithium, not the drug lithium, that is found in many supplements has a blocking effect or a regulating effect on NMDA receptor activity in response to glutamate. Another supplement is called Theanine. Theanine is an extract of green tea and Theanine is also helpful in regulating the NMDA receptor, decreasing its sensitivity to glutamate so you are basically decreasing that over stimulation of the brain cell. Again, that theory has to do with glutamate and NMDA receptor activity in the brain leading to hyper excitability. Lithium and Theanine are two natural substances which have been found to be helpful.

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Autism Recovery – Constipation and Tru Fiber

Posted on 07 December 2009 by admin

We know that constipation can be a big problem for kids on the spectrum. I have talked about this in previous recordings. There is an excellent fiber supplement which you can get. New Beginnings Nutritionals has a product called Tru Fiber.

Tru Fiber is a granule form of fiber, it is very easy to mix into juice or water and does not have a bad taste. Kids take Tru Fiber in my practice without issue. The dose of Tru Fiber is anywhere between ½ – 1 scoop 1 to 3 times per day, you kind of have to regulate it with your child to see what helps. Most kids in my practice are using 1 scoop twice a day in many cases.

Tru Fiber is a good fiber source and the other benefit to the Tru Fiber it that it is what is called a prebiotic. Prebiotics are various substances that help to support the underlying natural bacteria in the digestive tract. The digestive system is full of natural bacterial, acidophilus bifidobacter for example. You can think about Tru Fiber as fertilizer for those natural bacterial. And if you are using any kind of probiotic whether it is Culturelle, Therbiotic complete, Probiotic Support formula, etc. there is a wide variety of probiotics, which are bacterial supplements on the market. Those help supply natural bacteria to the digestive system. The Tru Fiber taken along with those probiotics essentially is like giving a fertilizer to help the probiotic to help with natural growth of the natural bacteria in the digestive system.

So not only is Tru Fiber a good fiber source to help your child have more regular bowel movements but it is like fertilizer in essence for the natural bacteria. Again the product is called Tru Fiber and you can get it from New Beginnings Nutritionals.

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Autism Recovery – Nutritional Lithium, Mood, & Behavior

Posted on 02 December 2009 by admin

One of the things I have seen help a lot of kids who have mood issues, behavioral problems, temper tantrums, very irritable most of the time is something called nutritional lithium,. It is interesting because lithium has been around a long time as a medication, specifically something called lithium carbonate. Lithium carbonate has been generally used in people with bi-polar, depression, manic issues and in some cases can be quite helpful for that.

A lot people don’t realize though that lithium is actually a nutritional element that we get through our diet, not in really high amounts but it is important to help stabilize brain chemistry. There have been studies where they have looked at various communities and one thing they have recognized is that as the lower the rate of lithium in the water supply in particular communities, the higher the rate of crime, sometimes violent crime. So in this study, it has been repeated in various communities around the United States as well as around the world.

One thing lithium helps to do is stabilize a particular receptor in the brain called NMDA. NMDA is very much associated with the electrical or excitatory activity within the brain and certain substances like glutamate, glutamate is amino acid and helps to stimulate NMDA receptors, and lithium helps to stabilize that receptor. Which basically means lithium helps make that receptor site not so sensitive, not so easy to activate. That is very important because in a lot of neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s for example or other types of neurological conditions, and for Autism as well, NMDA receptor activity or over excitability of the NMDA receptor can lead to premature cellular damage and can lead to many neurological problems.

So lithium as a particular nutritional supplement, in low doses, we are talking sometimes 500 mcg to 1000 mcg maybe upwards of 5000 mcg in some individuals, can be very helpful for brain support and I have seen lithium be very helpful to stabilize their mood, decrease some of the irritability and agitation that kids can have. We also know this can be helpful in adults as well. So think about nutritional lithium as a potential supplement for your child if they deal with mood disorders, irritability, agitation, even aggression as well. New Beginnings Nutritionals, www.nbnus.com, carries a very good form of nutritional lithium.

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Biomedical Autism Treatment – Bowel Pain, Posturing, and Odd Behavior

Posted on 01 December 2009 by admin

We know that bowel problems are a big, big issue in Autism. It is almost universal from my experience that small child, slightly older child, teenager, etc. is going to have some sort of bowel issue and there can be a lot of reasons for that. A child can have a hard time having a bowel movement because just they lack the sensation of feeling the need to go to the bathroom. You can have kids who have inflammatory bowel problems which you know can be a problem. On the other end of that they can be severely constipated and there can be a lot of behavioral things tied up in that.

One thing I want to point out real quickly to you is the issue of your child posturing themselves over the furniture. By posturing I mean leaning over the edge of the chair or leaning over the edge of the couch, trying to leverage themselves in some respect and trying to bring some relief essentially to their abdominal area. This isn’t just a playful thing where they do it for a couple of seconds and then go away. I have some kids where they literally lean over the edge of the coffee table for example and be there for 2, 3, 4 minutes it just looks like what they are trying to do is find a comfortable position. That maybe in some cases where it is a clear sign of an underlying bowel problem.

It could be constipation where they have so much stool building up in their abdomen and they are not going everyday and it is causing cramping and discomfort and they are trying to find a relief point for that. Typically in small kids, they don’t have enough strength in their arms and their hands in order to push on their abdomen to relieve the pain. It can also be an indication of underlying inflammation. So we know that small bowel inflammation can be very, very painful and kids will actually try to leverage themselves over the furniture to try and relieve that pain. So if you see that type of behavior, recognize it as potentially an underlying medical problem and seek medical attention.

A very simple thing to do with your pediatrician or your family doctor is to get an abdominal x-ray to see how much stool they have built up in their bowel. It may be that your child has a bowel movement everyday but if you are looking at a bowel movement that is several inches long, which is actually pretty big for a small child, they may have a whole lot left in their belly that needs to come out. So unless you take a look you won’t know.

So again, this posturing behavior over furniture, over a couch, over a chair, over a coffee table, even a child who is laying on the ground on their tummy and trying to roll their tummy back and forth can be an indication of an underlying bowel problem. Make sure you check it out with your doctor. There are a number of things you can do to help relieve that. If they have constipation then doing some things to help relieve that with magnesium or some other types of laxatives. If they have diarrhea and they are doing that type of thing then you are probably looking at some underlying type of inflammatory problem, or maybe an infection. Doing a stool test or what not can be important. You are always looking for clues for these types of things and posturing is a real important one with respects to underlying bowel problems.

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