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To Infuse or Not to Infuse?

by Willis S. Langford

Autistic children, it has been discovered, can often be helped dramatically by an infusion of the intestinal hormone secretin. The need and the beneficial response to secretin, I think, are dependent upon the amount of damage to the duodenum and upper small intestine from whatever cause, and on the stomach’s ability to produce adequate hydrochloric acid (HCl) for proper digestion. Since these two things largely determine proper digestion, it is vital that both be present. Without adequate HCl, secretin infusion can, at best, be only partially effective in restoring digestion and proper physical and mental function. With proper HCl present, secretin infusion may be totally unnecessary.

The path of autism is different for each child. Some are prone to seizures, some are not; some behave aggressively while others are overly passive. However, children with autism share several factors. There is a deep disturbance in their fatty acid metabolism and often in their electrolyte balance; their production of red and white blood cells is irregular; there is often heavy metals poisoning, their minerals and amino acids are deficient and/or imbalanced, and they have a dysfunctional immune system. The possibility of each of these imbalances should be examined, and, if present, corrected. These alterations in normal body chemistry are largely due to a damaged, chronically-irritated gastrointestinal tract.

Leaky Gut

In a test of 36 autistic children reported by Repligen Corporation, 75% had a greater than normal pancreatic response to secretin infusion, especially among those with diarrhea (whose stool improved in consistency for several weeks afterward). These children are probably producing too little secretin, and thus receptor sites have proliferated. When given secretin, there is overactivity. They also documented a pattern of intestinal inflammation (esophagitis, gastritis, and duodenitis that would greatly hinder absorption of nutrients) in the majority. This inflamed gut (dubbed "Leaky Gut" because it has become porous allowing large, food particles to unnaturally pass into the blood) produces a number of symptoms. Seventy percent showed reflux with symptoms of wakefulness with irritability or crying, pressing of the lower abdomen, and diarrhea.  Thirty-nine percent were deficient of the enzyme Lactase, and thus had digestive problems with milk, with bloating, and gaseousness. These too suffered loose stool. (None showed signs of Helicobacter Pylori, fungal, or bacterial overgrowth even in the one-third with suspected fungal or bacterial overgrowth based on urine acid test results). Particles called peptides that pass through the “Leaky Gut” activate the immune system creating many allergic symptoms, and also create opioids in the brain that cause much of the “weird” behavior. Are the symptoms being suffered symptoms of “autism”, or of malnutrition induced by that chronically inflamed gastrointestinal tract? Can nutritional intervention ameliorate these “autistic” symptoms?

Digestion 101

Digestion begins in the mouth. Here foods are to be chewed until totally fluid, thus mixing ptyalin and other enzymes necessary to digestion of starch with the food. No fluids should be taken during chewing. Furthermore, thorough mastication of food may nourish the gut by providing it with salivary Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) which is healing to the epithelial lining of the gut. Purified Epidermal Growth Factor has been shown to heal ulceration of the small intestine. The food then passes to the stomach where it may lay for an hour while starches continue to digest. At some point, histamine acts on the H2 receptors of the stomach’s parietal cells and causes hydrochloric acid to be secreted into the stomach to begin the breakdown and digestion of proteins. Pepsinogen, and “intrinsic factor” necessary to utilization of vitamin B12, are also released. If these things are not happening, your child may refuse meat, or will not digest it.

The volume of acid may be as important as its strength (acidity). It must register a pH of 3 or below for pepsinogen to be converted to pepsin—needed to dissolve proteins into polypeptides in the first step of reducing protein to amino acids that the body can use. In today’s crazy world, even children do not produce enough HCl to digest their foods properly! It seems that autistic children in particular have a preponderant number who are lacking HCl.

When the chyme leaving the stomach is sufficiently acid, it triggers the release of secretin from the duodenum walls. HCl is the only known stimulus of secretin. The amount of secretin released is dependent on the volume and pH of the chyme. This release of secretin does three things immediately. 1) It signals the stomach to shut down HCl production (indicating that infusions should not be administered immediately after a meal, and that signs of an acid stomach after the stomach is empty may be due to a lack of secretin output), 2) to release bicarbonate of soda in precisely the right amounts to neutralize the acid, and 3) to release pancreatic enzymes to continue the digestion of the food. The secretin then passes throughout the system, even into the brain, where it affects many body functions. Slowed emptying time of the stomach, reduced gastrointestinal symptoms, and—in many—dramatic improvements in behavior, as manifested in improved eye contact, alertness, and expansion of expressive language, is documented in those receiving infusions.

Secondly, secretin indirectly generates a signal to the gall bladder to send down appropriate amounts of bile to aid the digestion of the sensed amount of fat present. The body has many “backup” or secondary systems to function under varied conditions. When fat and protein enter the duodenum, apparently even in the absence of sufficient acid to trigger secretin production, cholecystokinin (CCK) is secreted from the walls of the duodenum which signals both the pancreas and the gall bladder to do their thing. That is why we can exist without HCl, but not well, for the protein has not been broken down by HCl/pepsin in the stomach, and vitamin B12 is not being assimilated. Similarly, if food is not thoroughly chewed, some carbohydrate digestion will still take place in the small intestine due to the pancreatic enzyme Amylase (which is often deficient in Autism).

CCK is dependent upon an adequate supply of the amino acid phenylalanine. Secretin and other hormones are also dependent upon adequate amino acids substrates. Due to poor digestion, and the poor eating habits of these children, amino acid concentrates must be supplemented. Lewis Laboratories’ Brewer’s yeast, or desiccated liver, or pure amino acid supplements must be supplied. SeaCure™ , a specially predigested concentrate of white fish, is a good way to go.

If the fat is not digested because of insufficient bile or of the pancreatic enzyme lipase, there will develop a fatty acid deficiency, and a deficiency of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. The already dysfunctional immune system will be further compromised. If the stool floats, is light tan or gray in color, bulky, shiny, and foul smelling, then fat is not being digested. I’ll say more on that later.

As with secretin, CCK does many things throughout the body. There are two receptors identified: CCKA found abundantly in the pancreatic acinar cells, and CCKB, which functions also as gastrin receptors. That is the predominant form found in the brain where CCK produces satiety. Both secretin and CCK have a direct gut/brain connection. It would appear that gastrin, a hormone produced by the G-cells of the stomach, but secreted not into the stomach but into the blood stream, may have widespread effects also as it uses CCKB receptors.

Many forms of CCK are active but the octapeptide form of CCK, which is a chain of eight amino acids, is able to promote the same degree of signal at the CCKB receptor regardless of whether sulfate has attached to it or not. On the other hand, the CCKA receptor is a thousand times more responsive to sulfated octapeptide than it is to the octapeptide’s unsulfated form In a condition of low sulfate, CCK’s maturation might be affected, and the delivery of its signal at the CCKA receptor would be unreliable. When one looks at the function of the CCKA receptor, the possible relevance to autism begins to become clear. Though it is clear there are some regions where the CCKA receptor does not regulate the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, it clearly does have effects in the hypothalamus, and it is also clear that CCK has very powerful effects on serotonin in other regions where the receptor has not been differentiated. It may consequently have effects on serotonin’s metabolite, melatonin, in the pineal gland. Serotonin, through its effect on CCKB, produces satiety. The CCKA receptor powerfully regulates another neurotransmitter dopamine, and regulates the release of the hormones oxytocin, dubbed the “social hormone”, and motilin. Thus, a lack of sulfation will greatly diminish available pancreatic enzymes necessary to digestion, and adversely affect all these neurotransmitter functions (see the information on sulfation deficit, and PST below).

The digestive actions of motilin are suppressed when there are high levels of histamine from an allergic reaction or from an immune attack against parasites, and when there are low levels of serotonin in the gut. Lowered gut levels of serotonin might occur if bacteria were squandering available tryptophan in order to produce the precursor to indolyl acryloyl glycine (IAG). IAG is very often extremely elevated in urinary profiles of those with autism. Motilin also appears to be very influenced by opiates. This regulatory influence could have significance in a syndrome in which excess opiates from dietary sources (gluten and casein) have been frequently described; and in which inflammation is frequently seen, because inflammation would induce the expression of endogenous opiates, such as interferon-alpha. These influences upon motilin’s digestive activity may account for the variable digestive difficulties that are commonly described in autism.

Motilin is reported to be elevated in the plasma of some autistics. Motilin has similar effects to morphine on the reflex involved with urination, and may cause difficulty in potty training. Acute elevations in plasma motilin seem to follow on the heels of immune activation in the gut and in other GAG-rich areas such as the lungs. It could become elevated in plasma due to a regulatory effect of low bicarbonate released from the pancreas. This could happen if secretin levels were unusually low, or when CCK is not fully sulfated. Since secretin seems to stimulate the release of sulfated GAGs from some epithelial tissue, these interplays of intestinal hormones may furnish more reasons why secretin has recently been found beneficial to those with autism. Motilin is also an important neurotransmitter found in abundance in the areas of the brain suspected of having problems in autism. It is a major neurotransmitter in Purkinje cells in the cerebellum, where the most conspicuous problems in brain morphology in autism have been described. Colostrum is very high in motilin.

The pancreas secretes many enzymes, including amylase (starch digesting) lipase (fat digesting), protease (protein digesting) lactase (milk digesting), and peptidase. The peptidases will breakdown the peptides of milk and gluten that, if undigested, may pass through a damaged “Leaky Gut”, and become responsible for many of the problems seen in the autistic. The allergic response this causes makes the gut all the more permeable. The rapid turnover of the epithelial cells of the gut (3 to 6 days) demands high nutritional levels which are not being supplied, especially the sulfates. A low level dysfunction called “dysbiosis” develops within the gut. Ordinarily unvirulent organisms begin to alter the metabolic and immune responses of the body. The immune system may react to and destroy normal gut flora. Contributing to this may be a low grade, measles infection in the gut from vaccines. The liver is overburdened, creating a flood of free radicals that damage the liver and create toxic bile that can damage the pancreas. It has been observed that those children whose autism appears at or around the time of birth may have a problem with casein whereas those whose autism becomes apparent at about two years of age, when a wheat based diet is more likely to be adopted, have particular difficulties with gluten. One way of temporarily addressing that undigested peptide/leaky gut problem is to remove the casein and gluten, and the allergens from the diet. I urge you to undertake that as early as possible (See However, this is a very difficult, expensive stopgap unless the improved condition it brings is used to heal the digestion and the inflamed, leaky gut.

When the duodenum or upper intestine is damaged, as in celiac disease, secretin production may be diminished or lacking. That may require administering secretin even when adequate HCl is present, as well as going on a gluten-free diet, at least until the damaged gut is healed. I think that frequent transdermal application is more natural if secretin is to be used. This would avoid the trauma of infusion, and the possibility of seizures following infusion that have been reported  in rare instances.

“Autism” is of unknown cause, and has no effective treatment, however this failure of digestion, whether from HCl or secretin deficiency, or a damaged gut, causes most of their mental and physical symptoms! These symptoms of malnutrition can be ameliorated by nutritional intervention.

Serotonin Connection

Serotonin (5-HT) content of blood platelets is variously reported to be excessive in 30% to 50% of autistics due to an errant peptide or to a variant gene (note that those with more than one autistic offspring are apt to fall into this category). A  high blood level of serotonin is surprising in view of the limited protein intake of most autistics. No consistent pattern of behavior or symptoms have been identified that relate to this high platelet level of serotonin.

This imbalance in allocation of available serotonin, a tryptophan deficiency, a vitamin B6 deficiency, or a deficiency of the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase, or some combination, leaves a deficit for the brain producing restricted and repetitive behaviors (stereotypical movements), whirling, flapping, pacing, rocking, self injurious actions (banging and hitting self), rituals associated with anxiety, toe walking (often associated with constipation), and aggression. These behaviors become more pronounced when tryptophan is purposefully restricted, and are greatly reduced by drugs that inhibit transport of serotonin (tricyclic antidepressants), or that hold more serotonin in the synapse between brain cells [Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI)]. Normally, the enzyme MAO destroys some serotonin in the synapse while a major part is sucked back into the neuron that created it (reuptake). There needs to be more serotonin available in the synapse when needed. That can best be assured by increasing the supply in the neuron—naturally—by increasing the precursors it needs to make serotonin.

It should be possible, then, to reduce these behaviors by increasing serotonin production, or if drugs are to be used, by use of transport inhibitors or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (specifically St. John’s Wort) rather than unnaturally interfering with serotonin reuptake by SSRIs (which typically depletes the already reduced supply still further). The best way to meet the need for serotonin is by supplementing 5-Hydroxy-Tryptophan (5-HTP), a metabolite of tryptophan that easily translates into increased serotonin, and melatonin. 5-HTP is available at any health food store. To ensure proper conversion, supplement vitamin B6. A good choice would be Super Nu Thera™, by Kirkman Laboratories. It is specifically formulated to help autistic children.

Since there is no indication that the ones with these problems of hyperactivity are necessarily the ones with excess platelet saturation, and no symptoms have been associated with that condition, I believe, where these behaviors are a problem, it warrants introducing 5-HTP in small, increasing amounts while carefully observing behavior. If present symptoms worsen, reduce or discontinue the 5-HTP. As always make such a potentially serious change only in consultation with your medical professional. First, make sure the child eats protein at every meal. Disguise it, supplement amino acid powders or SeaCure™ (a concentrate of white fish), whatever, get it down him. This is absolutely necessary for growth and development, and “normal” behavior. For sleep problems primarily, take 5-HTP (100 mg) two to four hours before bedtime (each child may vary in how long it takes to work). This has solved the sleep problem for many. For the behavioral problems take 25 to 50 mg several times through the day. It could be a problem for school if the child is made to be drowsy, in which case reduce the amount or give it later in the day.

Sleep can be poor because of sugar problems. When blood sugar drops in the middle of the night, the child will awake. If this be the case, 5-HTP may not work until you remove the offending sugars and high glycemic foods from the diet, especially from the evening meals or snacks. Feed him at least 30% protein with each meal. Remember, sugar promotes candida, with its multiple problems, and sugar can actually make the child drunk! Sugar tends to destroy the beneficial flora in the gut depriving the vital B-vitamins they manufacture, and the fatty acids they give off to nourish the cells of the gut lining. Sugar is a deadly poison to these beautiful children. You wouldn’t give them arsenic would you?

Healing the Leaky Gut

To heal the digestion and the leaky gut, basically seven things are needed—supplement the following divided into 2 or more servings:
 1. The amino acid L-glutamine (1500 mg/day) which also reduces blood and brain ammonia levels. Experiments with various animal models have demonstrated that the provision of glutamine can result in better nitrogen homeostasis, with conservation of skeletal muscle. There is also considerable evidence that glutamine can enhance the barrier function of the gut. Furthermore, it is now known that the gut produces large amounts of a vital antioxidant, glutathione, when adequate glutamine is present.

Glutamine is the principal metabolic fuel for small intestine enterocytes, lymphocytes, macrophages, and fibroblasts (major players in the immune function). Supplemental use of glutamine increases intestinal villus height, stimulates gut mucosal cellular proliferation, and maintains mucosal integrity. It also prevents intestinal hyperpermeability and bacterial trans- location, which may be involved in sepsis and the development of multiple organ failure.—Miller AL, Altern Med Rev, 1999 Aug, 4:4, 239-48
 2. Bromelain (200 mg/day), a digestive aid and anti-inflammatory.
 3. A digestive aid of pancreatic enzymes, including lactase and peptidase, (with ox bile if there is evidence of indigestion of fat). Use enough to correct all observed stomach or bowel irregularities). There is only a couple of possible downsides. If you are taking large, regular doses of aspirin or NSAIDS, these will make your stomach so raw, and your gut so leaky, that the protease could eat a hole in your stomach or gut. To give the stomach full protection against HCl and protease, drink a large glass of water one-half hour before eating (this will hydrate the mucus lining of the stomach), and take the enzymes in the middle of your meal (mix it with the food of children). So, if taking lots of pain pills or if you have an ulcer, or severe gastritis, find an enzyme supplement without protease. RGardens, International, “Gamma Zyme”, 200 capsules for $30.00 is the only one I know of.  Phone # 800-700-7767.

Enzymes introduced in large amounts too quickly can affect the bowel: usually diarrhea, intestinal bloating, peculiar acrid smell of the stool, and, in some cases, itching of the perianal area. Work up to dose slowly, back off if these symptoms persist.
 4. Probiotics (Acidophilus, Bifido Bifidus—these produce most of available vitamins B–complex and K, and the fatty acids that the cells in the lining of the gut depend on for their nutrition).
 5. Vitamin A and D [preferably as cod-liver oil to 5000 to 10,000 IU vitamin A, 500 to 1000 IU vitamin D), and the mineral zinc (15-30 mg/day) and copper (in a 1 to 8 copper/zinc ratio, unless testing shows there is high copper already] in addition to a broad-based, multi- vitamin/mineral supplement Nutrilite™ Food Supplement by Amway™ or, preferably, Profile by Mannatech™.

Dr. Woody McGinnis, MD, Tucson, Arizona, USA has this to say about copper: “I think a lot of our behavioral kids are intolerant of even a milligram or two of extra copper, even in the face of high Zn supplementation.  This is contrary to the usual proportional balance we like to strike. I get a serum Cu and a plasma Zn and try to keep the ratio less than 1:1”
 6. Aloe (preferably Manapol™, or Ambrotose® by Mannatech™ that contains Manapol™ and many other saccharides for even better results, for they are the only stabilized, standardized aloe products available).
 7. Fructooligosaccharide to provide an environment for the “good guys” to overcome yeasts and other “bad guys”, or other non-gluten fiber.

When the gut is healed and the digestion restored, bizarre eating habits will cease and a more balanced dietary will be possible. There are two things to know about glutamine:
 1. It can cause a buzz like excess caffeine—the kid will be hyper, in which case reduce the amount until this disappears. The amount recommended is not likely to do this.
 2. It is the precursor that, with the help of vitamin B6, produces the amino acid GABA. GABA is an inhibitory transmitter that exerts a calming action.


Recent research by Ed Cook and associates at the University of Chicago established that there is one or more genes on chromosome 15 that manifests in autism. The chromosome 15 children studied so far showed regression. Between 12 and 24 months of age they lost skills. These children displayed low muscle tone. “They walked on time,” Cook says, “and they can eat OK; it’s not severe. They might have had a little trouble holding their heads up as infants, and show a history of low tone in other ways. Most kids with autism aren’t like that, so the floppy ones stand out a bit. A lot of them visually look like Fragile X, with hyper-extensibility of the joints, double-jointedness, and ears that may be a bit longer than normal, and incorrectly ‘rotated’ backward.” Experiments with various animal models have demonstrated that the provision of glutamine can result in better nitrogen homeostasis, with conservation of skeletal muscle. There is also considerable evidence that glutamine can enhance the barrier function of the gut.

The prospects for knowledge of chromosome 15 leading to a biomedical treatment for autism are high. This is so because the affected region on chromosome 15 contains three genes that code for the neurotransmitter gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), This is the neurotransmitter involved in anxiety. Alcohol, anticonvulsants like Gabapentrin and Vigabatrin, and anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Valium all work by attaching to the GABA receptor. GABA is an “inhibitory” neurotransmitter; it prevents cells from firing. Some call it the brain’s “braking system.”

This brings us to another line of converging evidence: in the cerebellum, the Purkinje cells—which Margaret Bauman has found to be diminished in the autistic brain—release GABA.

Bolte notes that tetanus infection of the intestines leads to the formation of toxic compounds called phenols, and studies of autistic individuals have detected markedly elevated levels of the phenolic metabolite DHPPA. Several autistic children with high DHPPA levels, “have shown a significant reduction in stereotyped behaviors when treated with antimicrobials effective against intestinal clostridia”—a genus of bacteria that includes tetanus. The children became more sociable, spoke more, improved their eye contact, and were less hyperactive and hypersensitive. Bolte adds, “Parents also noted that regression occurred very quickly” after treatment was discontinued.

Given these findings, Bolte says, “Parents, doctors, and researchers must combine efforts to determine if some people diagnosed as autistic are actually suffering from unrecognized forms of sub-acute tetanus.”

In addition, she notes, inhibitory neurons that release the neurotransmitter GABA are a preferred target for tetanus neurotoxins—and the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum, which often appear highly abnormal in autistic individuals, are inhibitory neurons that release GABA.

One mother has noted increased verbal capacity after supplementing the amino acid GABA! An adult, Polly Hattemer, says, “I tried GABA. It made me regress intellectually. I could hardly recall any nouns. GABApentin (Neurontin) was helpful.” The type apt to respond to GABA are the clearly identified “chromosome 15” kids, and those with high phenol levels (See PST below.) Methinks, maybe we should try GABA before Pepcid™?

A Second Scenario

The stomach does not produce enough hydrochloric acid (HCl) and pepsin to breakdown the proteins in the stomach. Additionally, reduced HCl cannot activate the enzyme protease that is necessary to complete protein digestion. Other stomach hormones are reduced or lacking, and harmful bacteria are allowed to enter the gut with the food. The chyme leaving the stomach is not acid enough to trigger the secretin release. Digestion is greatly hindered for want of pancreatic enzymes (including peptidase), and the person so afflicted lacks the nutrients of protein, vitamins A, C, E, B-complex, and most of the minerals, all of which depend on HCl to be digested and assimilated effectively. One symptom may be Vitiligo. The lack of pancreatic enzymes, including peptidase, leads to peptides passing into the blood stream, and to the brain, creating many of the autistic symptoms. The environment of the gut is greatly changed, inviting overgrowth of candida yeast that produces a multitude of adverse symptoms. Bacterial overgrowth, such as citrobacter fruendii (that destroys the mucus lining of the gut), is also a result of this lack of HCl. See my Electronic Book “Self-help to Good Health”, Chapter  “Candidiasis”.

Great Smokies Diagnostic Labs does a stool test to determine what bacteria are present, and the natural substance to which they are susceptible. These are the substances that may overcome these “bugs”: Berberine, Oil of Oregano, Plant Tannins, Uva-Ursi, and Tanalbit (3 caps per meal). [Intensive Nutrition Products, 1-510-632-2370, Oil of Oregano (1 cap AM meal/1 cap PM meal—capsules need to be made—8 drops per cap)]. If you can tolerate it, perhaps an easier way is to periodically use colostrum (Kirkman Labs' Colostrum Gold™ is casein free—others may not be), or whey. These provide lactoferrin that deprives these bacteria of the iron they need to replicate. In any case, use of these natural aids will protect the “good guys” unlike antibiotics which destroy everything including the gut. Uva-Ursi is normally used for lower urinary tract infections (bladder and urethra), and as a mild diuretic. Some are using it for candida.  It probably should not be used by children for it may damage the liver, nor should it be used for prolong periods, or in high doses. Use it only under a doctor’s supervision. Please note that Diflucan™, an effective anti-candida drug is fluoride based, and it is best to avoid it.

Of course, there will be a deficiency of vitamin B12 so vital to growth and development. In any case, this vital vitamin ought to be supplemented by sublingual (under the tongue) tablets. Unfortunately, these often contain dyes and sweeteners you may find unsuitable. There are liquid vitamins that can be sprayed into the mouth and held there. You may want to check their suitability. Using these sublingually will supply the needed help regardless of the digestive problems.

Negative Effects of Secretin

Let’s stop and think what secretin does to lipid (fat) metabolism. Autistic kids are universally deficient in the fatty acids. Secretin is a pro-oxidant hormone. It stimulates the beta oxidation (burning) of fats. When a child receives secretin over and over again without replenishing the lipids (fatty acids) and catalysts (vitamins and minerals) then the impact could ultimately be quite negative. On the other hand, children with autistic spectrum disorder tend to have a buildup of very long-chain fats, and the use of secretin stimulates the burning off of these aberrant lipids that irritate the brain (and many other systems of the body) thus, in that degree it is of immediate benefit (Dr. Patricia Kane, Ph.D.). Dr. Jeff Bradstreet reported that children who took oral myelin basic protein (Sphingolin™) seemed worse when they were infused with secretin. The secretin burned off the fats (needed to make myelin and prostaglandins, both the insulating fats and the very long chain fats). It is a big “no no” to stimulate with peptides with Sphingolin™ without fats!  If you choose to infuse, you must supplement generously with borage oil or flax oil, and antioxidant vitamin C and vitamin E with selenium. Additionally, Dr. Woody McGinnis, MD, of Tucson, Arizona, USA, has reported investigating two seizures during or immediately following infusion. One was near fatal. Make sure the one infusing is ready for any emergency.

In the case of inadequate HCl production, infusion or transdermal supply of secretin may indeed help, but it does not fully address the most basic need—that of necessary digestion and utilization of food. The proper course for many seems not to be secretin infusion, but a supplementing of hydrochloric acid to the degree necessary to trigger release of the secretin so vital to proper digestion and hormonal response. The gut may well be able to release adequate secretin. The supply of adequate acidity to the chyme would then “Kick Start” secretin production. One mother reports, “Since I followed your suggestion, and supplemented HCl, my son has the same responses he had to his secretin infusion!”

Hydrochloric Acid May be a Solution

In view of the above, I think it better to address the need for HCl first. You may obtain Betaine Hydrochloride or Glutamic Hydrochloride, 10-grain capsules from the health food store. If allergic to beets, choose Glutamic Hydrochloride. If sensitive to sulfites [MSG—Chinese restaurant syndrome, or diagnosed as suffering from phenol-sulfo transferase deficiency (PST)], choose Betaine Hydrochloride. A child should get good results with one to five, 10-grain capsules. Adults with five to ten (a predominantly pasta meal would need less than a high protein one). Start with one, and increase gradually. For children who will not swallow a capsule, it may be mixed with the food, or mixed in a small amount of drink that will be consumed completely.

We are talking acid here. One 10-grain tablet of HCl in 1-1/2 ounces of water will have a pH of about three. This is not nearly as strong as what you may have experienced when you burped, and the acid really burned your throat; but, when HCl is mixed with food, it must be swallowed right down without chewing. Do not leave this food in the mouth. It could damage the enamel on the teeth. Additional food should be eaten immediately to clear the throat. If mixed with a drink, drink it with a straw to protect the teeth. Rinse the mouth, and swallow to clear the throat. Try it yourself, Mama. As with all such matters pertaining to your child’s health, consult with your medical professional.

If the hydrochloric acid is sufficiently strong, and the gut is able to release secretin, and the pancreas is functioning, the use of an enteric-coated, alkaline tablet will not be needed to neutralize the acid in the intestine. The pancreas will normally release enough bicarbonate based on the strength of the secretin signal. The amount of secretin released is dependent on the amount of hydrochloric acid in the chyme entering the gut.

Where HCl is adequate, but secretin is not being adequately produced, or the pancreas is not functioning well, the proteolytic enzymes may not be released; or, because of a lack of bicarbonate of soda, they will be destroyed by the acidity of the chyme. This can result in incomplete breakdown of proteins. These “foreign” protein molecules may be absorbed into the bloodstream, and circulated throughout the body. These “peptides” can cause all types of allergic (autoimmune responses) or toxic reactions, in particular those relating to breathing and skin irritation. Taking an alkalizing substance (an enteric coated pill) in that case, will neutralize the stomach acid in the gut, prevent the destruction of the proteolytic enzymes if any are available, and maintain an environment for the flora of the gut. If a tablet is not available, taking 1/2 teaspoon of aluminum-free bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water after the stomach begins emptying (about 2-1/2 or 3 hours after eating) can be just as effective. Without sodium being present glucose cannot be absorbed. Picture a revolving door in the wall of the gut with two segments. Without these two substances filling the segments, the door won’t turn.

Do not take any water, tea, or other nonfood drink with a meal or within two hours as that will dilute the HCl and hinder digestion. If you must drink water to take pills, put a tablespoon or more of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in the water to help preserve stomach acidity.

As to the amount of acid in the capsules, you will not begin to administer as much as a normal stomach produces. It is the quantity as well as the degree of acidity that is important. Normal pH must be below three (preferably two) to convert pepsinogen into pepsin (needed to digest protein). It is often as low as one (the strongest acid).

If there is burning or pain, or if the digestive distress experienced previously (bloating, belching, heartburn, reflux) becomes worse, discontinue the use of the hydrochloric acid. Sensitivity of the stomach to acid (especially a burning pain just below the sternum) may indicate an ulcer. However, it likely indicates the person is dehydrated, or using aspirin or NSAID for pain. Everyone should drink a large glass of water 30 minutes before eating. That will rehydrate the mucus lining of the stomach, and protect the stomach from the acid. If there seems to be adverse reactions other than pain or burning, an allergy to Betaine (beets) Hydrochloride may be the cause. Try Glutamic Hydrochloride instead—unless there is a problem with PST.

HCl production is controlled by the enzyme carbonic anhydrase. A lack of zinc depresses this enzyme. The inflamed, irritated gut of autistics will not absorb zinc well. You must supplement zinc, and balance your zinc-copper ratio, and restore the proper body pH to restore HCl production.

Solutions to the Problems

Olfactory and gustatory symptoms of psychiatric patients ameliorated completely or partially by zinc supplementation. In a small study (Am J Clin Nutr 53:16, 1991), 30 mg zinc per day intake increased the short term recall of visual images. Since it is known that essential fatty acid metabolites stimulate intestinal zinc, supplementing fatty acids with zinc is clearly warranted. Zinc is known to help in the healing of gastric and peptic ulcers. This is probably because zinc is required for the synthesis of gastric mucosa. Zinc is also required for prostaglandin synthesis that is protective from the excessive gastric secretion of HCl.

Children that are unsettled, frequently demanding attention, upset much of the time, and those whose sleep is regularly broken during the night can be very wearying on parents to say the least. Dr. Joseph T. Hart, a pediatrician of Portland, Oregon, has found that by supplementing zinc you may be able to eliminate the problem of sleeplessness. He has supplied zinc drops to hundreds of children, and in the majority of the cases the chronic sleeplessness has disappeared! Dr. K. M. Hambridge of Denver, Colorado, observed that zinc-fed babies were much less irritable. Hart reports that zinc supplementation also produces improvement in appetite, and reduces daytime irritability, diarrhea, skin rashes, and pallor. In older children, whose wakefulness was followed by climbing out of bed and getting in with their parents, the habit was lost.

Zinc also helps get rid of the terrible two’s. Within a week you can often see a definite settling down, and reduction of tantrums and of the terrorizing of the poor mother! Zinc is being successfully used for learning disabled children, for children with seizures, skin lesions, and histories of infections. Zinc is essential for new tissue formation. It is essential for white blood cell and antibody formation. It helps neutralize toxic minerals in the body, such as lead, cadmium, and copper. It also seems to make other nutrients work better. New research from Israel and the UK indicates the hyperactivity of ADHD is linked to zinc deficiencies. Any white spots on finger or toe nails?—definitely supplement zinc. Don't let the doctor ignore a low Alpha Phosphatase (alk phos) reading for a lack of this zinc dependent enzyme means you need zinc. I read that regular zinc tablets may be irritating to those with ulcerated stomach or gut. The zinc drops then being preferable. Consult with your medical professional about this possibility.

A British allergist has found that adults taking 500 mg of the amino acid L-histidine, twice daily, improved gastric acid production in allergic patients. (Children should use one-half that amount.) This is because it increases histamine production. (The amino acid L-glycine also increases gastric acid output. This is often seen in its metabolite form Dimethyl [DMG] or Trimethyl [TMG] glycine).
TMG has been used for many years in the treatment of hyperactivity even though the mode of action has remained unclear. This compound will, it is said, by slowly releasing hydrochloric acid, increase the acidity of the stomach contents.

Histamine: Solution or Problem?

Since the mid forties, we have been told we need an antihistamine for allergies. Before we were sold that bill of goods, Dr. Horton of Mayo Clinic had remarkable results against allergies, including MS and others suffering demyelination, by infusing histamine. So, I suggest that you allow the body to produce its histamine naturally by supplementing L-histadine.

Histamine acts on the H2 receptors of stomach cells increasing production of HCl. It also increases production of the “intrinsic factor”, allowing digestion and assimilation of vitamin B12. However, histamine, acting as a neurotransmitter, has an inhibitory effect on the speech and social action centers of the brain; so, if there is regression in eye contact, social  interaction, or speech, cut back or discontinue the L-histadine. Histadine is an excellent chelator of zinc and copper and heavy metals as well, so when using this amino acid, you must supplement all the known minerals, particularly zinc and copper (unless suffering a high copper condition already). It is vital that you have your doctor monitor the zinc-copper ratio in particular.

The amino acid methionine serves to decrease histamine. It methylates, and thus detoxifies, histamine and many heavy metals. It should offer some of the same benefits as the H2 blockers. Therapeutic doses for adults run from  200 mg to 1000 mg per day. Methionine and glycine are sulfur bearing aminos, and may be contraindicated for those unable to oxidize sulfur efficiently.

Enzymes: The Fountain of Life

One should additionally supplement digestive enzymes (pancreatic enzymes). This seems particularly so for those suffering the PST/sulfate problem. This will often improve HCl production, and will improve digestion enabling a universal restoring of health, and of physical and mental function, as a result of improved nutrition. If the stool is light or gray colored, or frothy, floating, bulky, shiny, and foul smelling, choose one with ox bile to help digest the fat. Lactase in the supplement would help digest milk products better, and would be beneficial to at least that 39% reported deficient. Supplementing peptidase would break down the peptides of casein and gluten, and relieve the problems attributed to that. Introduce enzymes gradually in the diet, with food, otherwise it may cause diarrhea, or even constipation. Increase the amount used until the fat is being digested. The health food store will have several choices for you. Papaya is a good source of the peptidase enzyme. Enteric coated papaya tablets are available at the health food store. Serenaid, by Klaire Labs, 1-800-533-7255, $49.95 for 180 capsules, is a peptidase supplement especially prepared for autistics. Dr. Baker ( has a peptidase supplement that is effective in breaking down all peptides. It’s very effective, but a little more pricey at $67.00 for 100 caps of 500 mg. One mother, who had recommended Dr. Baker, says: “I have found a peptidase that is exactly the same quality as Dr. Baker’s for only $22.00—from Nutrition 2000.”

Improved Digestion Relieves Diarrhea and Infection

Supplementing the amino acid L-taurine (500 mg daily, shortly reducing to 100 mg) will improve the function of the liver, producing better quality bile (darkening of the stool), protecting against gall stones, and improving the digestion of fats. Taurine is vital in preventing cataracts. It spares potassium in the heart, preventing arrhythmia’s, aids in detoxifying the body, and serves as a neurotransmitter in the brain. Its function and effectiveness are also controlled by zinc. Zinc is almost universally deficient, and is lost due to diarrhea. Considering the atrocious diet, why wouldn’t an autistic need to supplement zinc? Always balance with copper in a 1-to-8, copper/zinc ratio, unless you know a high copper condition exists, and monitor that ratio lest you create a copper anemia that will be made worse if you treat it with iron.

Most of these children eat such a poor diet they suffer either diarrhea or constipation (sometimes producing the odd symptom of toe walking), perhaps alternating. An additional supplement can help alleviate that. The use of soluble fiber: psyllium, oat, guar gum, pectin, or combination of fibers; along with a probiotic (preferably goat yogurt, if not on GF diet, or capsules of these beneficial bacteria) will work wonders to improve the bowel and the digestion. Most of these children have been proven vitamin A and zinc deficient, a lack of which causes diarrhea. Supplementing digestive enzymes, HCl, fiber, borage oil, cod-liver oil (vitamins A and D, and fatty acids), and zinc will relieve both diarrhea and ear infections usually.

What? Rickets?

There is also a condition growing quite common: children with unrecognized subclinical rickets. If your child has a sweaty head when asleep, coupled with sensitive scalp that makes it a struggle to comb the hair, and when walking the child keeps calling, “Mommy, pick me up”, the child needs cod-liver oil to avoid full blown rickets. Fish oil and flax oil can inhibit the action of the staphylococcal membrane damaging toxins also. Rickets also presents a bulging forehead and a sunken chest. Get the kid in the sun. He needs the vitamin D.

Fatty Acid Imbalances

Autistic children usually have fatty acid deficiencies and imbalances—including too many long-chain fatty acids. Since one of their many functions is to regulate water loss, a deficiency is often indicated by dry skin. The enzyme delta 6 desaturase is needed to convert this linolenic acid (LA) into gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Its activity can be disturbed by hypothyroidism. Also, according to Sally Fallon, Omega-6 vegetable oils interfere with this enzyme. Children with eczema and asthma usually have a weakness in this enzyme, and can be benefited by supplementing GLA. Virtually everyone is lacking (GLA) and DGLA, found in Evening Primrose and borage oil. In fact, the typical American diet is overbalanced to Omega-6/Omega-3 about 24 to 1. It should be 2 to 1. Since we quit solid fats and use oils, we are getting too much Omega-6 which tends to inflammatory conditions throughout the body. That imbalance can be helped by eating fish two or three times a week—or cod-liver oil, or flax oil, and cooking with olive oil. If you want to really understand many of these implications, read Enter The Zone, by Barry Sears, Ph.D.

Completely remove hydrogenated fats with their “transfatty” acids from your home and dietary. Because of their long chain fats which suppress the immune function and increase free radical products in the bile causing  irritation in the intestines, and because of their high Omega-6 content, avoid canola, Safflower, cottonseed, corn, and peanut oils, and peanut butter (especially the hydrogenated) and mustard. People with AIDS have found olive oil and coconut oil to be the most useful. If the child becomes very thirsty after taking cod-liver or flax oil, it indicates a problem metabolizing the fatty acids of these oils. Choose Evening Primrose oil or borage oil. They may be better utilized. Dr. Horrobin, MD, has noted that high eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (low docosahexaenoic acid—DHA) fish oils like Kirunal™ have been effective in ADHD. Dr. Patricia Kane recommends six capsules of Efamol™ Evening Primrose oil, and a few teaspoons of freshly ground flaxseed. After about six weeks, add one capsule of Efamol™ Omega Combination, or two capsules of Nordic Naturals DHA JR. This contains full-bodied fish oil that can be chewed. It tastes like strawberries, with a fishy aftertaste that most kids tolerate.

Correction of fatty acid imbalances, largely by supplying Omega-3, has been successful in greater ease in reading and learning, improved motor skills and coordination, and reduced behavioral problems according to Dr. Leo Galland. It also boosts immune function. The vitamin A from cod-liver oil corrects night blindness, prevents rickets, and enhances immune function reducing ear infections also.

Essential Fatty Acids are the building blocks of the membranes (gate keepers) of every cell in the body, with the brain containing the most fats. The brain is 60% fat, and 30% of that is in the form of long chain fatty acids (DHA). Brain synapses require long chain fatty acids to be efficient. The forebrain (the part used the most for sustained attention) has the highest concentration of DHA. DHA, along with vitamin A, is needed by the “rods” in the retina of the eye for normal dark adaptation (seeing well in the dark, and adapting to bright lights). It is required for proper fetal and infant brain development, and has greatly benefited Cystic Fibrosis patients and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It also helps lower high blood pressure and heart rate.

Unsaturated fatty acids increase cancer risk unless sufficient antioxidants are present. When you supplement EFAs, supplement Vitamins C, and E, and the mineral selenium, and other antioxidants to counter free radicals produced by these already over-stressed bodies. You need the EFAs to help get the inflammation down, but you don’t want to over do these.

Some find the Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) helpful to combat chronic viral infection. MCTs in coconut oil are saturated. In other oils, they may not be; so, one must be careful when buying MCT oil. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which is said to convert in the intestines to an anti-viral substance, monolaurin. Dr. Darrell See, immunological researcher, found no antiviral activity indicated for monolaurin against one representative-type virus (Coxsackie virus B4, strain E2), however, he did establish that it is not toxic to the liver or Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells, and did not affect Phase 1, liver enzymes. It seems, however, that it is effective against measles and HIV retrovirus. One mother's son tested "zero" on lauric acid. When she gave Monolaurin, he began to speak in complex sentences for the first time in his 18 year life!

Now everyone “knows” that saturated oil raises cholesterol. But if you add just a little EFAs, it doesn’t work like that.  If you use the natural coconut oil, then it will raise low cholesterol, but lower high cholesterol. If you try the coconut oil, start with a very small amount—one teaspoon per day for an adult. Three tablespoons per day is a therapeutic amount for an adult. To learn more about coconut oil check this website:

To convert these oils into prostaglandins, you need coenzyme B6 (Pyridoxal 5' Phosphate, often referred to as P5P) and magnesium. Some might have essential fatty-acid, deficit symptoms, but the problem could really be a lack of vitamin B6 and magnesium. You must supplement vitamin B6 and magnesium, especially when using coconut oil. P5P is apt to be more effective because a large majority of “healthy” people do not convert regular vitamin B6 to its metabolite form. One study showed 19% were deficient of one or more B-vitamins, but 62% were deficient in their necessary metabolites. Zinc deficiency can also look like a fatty acid deficiency, and children with milk intolerance have been shown to be deficient in EFA's.

Raymond Peat gives an example of feeding cattle coconut oil. Coconut oil increases the metabolism, and increases the need for vitamin B6. The cattle became lean and active, but their skin wasn’t right. Some said it was due to a lack of essential fatty acids. Others found that it was really due to a need for more vitamin B6. I suggest that you try magnesium and P5P (Super Nu Thera by Kirkman Laboratories) before overdoing the essential fatty acids.

Three Metabolic Types

It is important that a person eat according to his metabolic type. I can send you a questionnaire that will aid you in determining your and your children’s type. It gives a shopping list and meal ratios to serve for each of three types. The fat, carbohydrate, and protein must always be served in balance for best energy and health. There must be protein in every meal. Think of your body as a fireplace. It must be stoked with light, intermediate, and heavy fuel, or you will never get it to burn and heat properly. Just as it is important to balance these major components, the vitamin-mineral supplements must be formulated for each metabolic type for best results—and to avoid adverse results. For those who eat mainly carbohydrate, you must quit feeding high glycemic foods, and use only low glycemic ones. If you send your mailing address, I will send you the questionnaire, and a glycemic index of foods. There is no obligation.

Tums™ Anyone?

A deficiency of HCl sometimes manifests as “stomach problems”—bloating, fullness, burping, heartburn. Most people grab a Tums™, or Pepcid™ AC, or Tagamet™ that makes the matter of digestion and utilization worse, even though it may relieve the symptoms. What is probably needed is more acid not less! The symptoms are the same!

Tagamet™ is a dangerous drug in combination with anticoagulants and theophylline (asthma drugs), anticonvulsants, antifungals, and heart drugs such as calcium antagonists and quinidines. Both Tagamet™ and Zantac™ reduce effectiveness of antifungal drugs such as Nizoral. In fact, all these H2 blockers encourage candida and bacterial overgrowth by reducing HCl.

Many are now being told that Pepcid™ is helping autistics. Pepcid™, Tagamet™, Prilosec™, and other H2 blockers are “antihistamines”. In 40 mg to 100 mg doses in adults, Pepcid™ has improved eye contact, reduced social withdrawal, and improved speech in schizophrenics. Children may metabolize these drugs more quickly than adults, and need a higher dose per body weight noted Dr. L. A. Linday, MD, Pediatrician. Dr. Linday postulates that the similarity between schizophrenia and autism indicates Pepcid™ may benefit some autistics in the manner it does schizophrenics. She says histamine as a neurotransmitter is inhibitory in its action, and inhibits the social and speech areas of the brain. Using Pepcid™ “Frees Up” these areas, and enables restoring of speech and social skills. The dose she uses is quite high, and should not be attempted except under close supervision of your doctor. Because they are “antihistamines”, they would probably have some beneficial effect on some allergy symptoms, possibly by making more histamine available to H1 receptors.

Water is the best antihistamine known. Make sure you and your children are drinking one-half your body weight in ounces of pure water each day. Water—not fluids (that’s doctor talk). Water—not juices or coffee, or tea, or soft drinks. These are all diuretics, and further dehydrate the body—drinking them requires one drink still more water! This dehydration increases the allergic responses due to the fact that a thirsty cell releases histamine—that irritates and swells mucus membranes and can cause pain anywhere in the body. Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, MD, states passionately that he has cured asthma and all gastrointestinal diseases in over 3000 cases with nothing but water—and a little salt taken on the tongue after drinking a glass of water.

More importantly, as regards Pepcid™ and Prilosec™,  they not only reduce HCl and the “intrinsic factor” produced by the stomach, but they act on H2 receptors throughout the system. They seem to have secondary, side effects that have been reported very beneficial in alleviating autistic symptoms. However, giving these to a child who makes too little acid would further reduce digestion and assimilation to a dangerous degree. This would affect not only assimilation of vitamins A, C, and B-complex, but protein and all minerals. It would surely cause a vitamin B12 deficiency, causing growth problems, because the same cells of the stomach that produce hydrochloric acid produce the “intrinsic factor” necessary to absorption of vitamin B12. Prilosec™ specifically drains the body of vitamin B12, and Pepcid™ depletes calcium, folic acid, and vitamins D and K. If  these drugs are used, these nutrients must be supplemented at higher rates than the minimal amounts recommended (RDI-RDA).

As indicated above, hydrochloric acid is necessary to digestion and utilization of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Acidity is also the trigger for secretin release in the duodenum, and that accounts for the release of bicarbonate of soda and pancreatic enzymes, and indirectly for the release of fat digesting bile. Now why would you want to interfere with that life-giving process when these children are suffering symptoms that can best be described as starvation? Nevertheless, I know of one case where Prilosec™, but not Pepcid™, has given dramatic improvement, with prompt regression when it is removed. It seems it is not the reduction of HCl that is helping, but rather a beneficial “side effect” of Prilosec™, unless Prilosec™, in usual dosage, is doing what it takes large doses of Pepcid™ to accomplish in blocking of histamine in the speech and social behavior areas of the brain.

A related thing we adults do. We have a bit of stomach distress so we grab a Pepcid™ AC, or Tums™. It stops the symptoms of stomach distress, but so would additional hydrochloric acid! Which would improve our digestion? About 80% of those grabbing a Tums/Pepcid are actually deficient in digestive acid, and thus starving themselves all the more when they grab that alkalizer. (O, the power of advertising!) Of course Pepcid™ is not an alkalizer. However, it hinders the stomach from producing acid. If one is, in fact, producing too much, that may be a good thing, but, as I’ve indicated, most have too little acid. The symptoms of too much or too little are the same! It is interesting to note that Dr. Jeff Bradstreet has said that 90% of his autistic patients are blood Type A. It has also been noted that Blood Type A people are apt to be deficient of hydrochloric acid, and are apt to be the ones with vaccine problems!

There may be an advantage in taking Pepcid™ or Prilosec™ for those autistics who do make too much acid. That would reduce gastric distress caused by an over-acid stomach. Find out if that is a fact before using these drugs for they reduce the amount of hydrochloric acid and “intrinsic factor” the stomach produces. The child that makes too much acid would probably also show signs of low blood sugar.

Make sure that you use these H2 blockers only under direction of your doctor who has checked the child’s hydrochloric acid production. Ask for the Heidelberg test. That involves swallowing a small radio that broadcasts on various frequencies depending on the strength of the stomach acid. If you find that one of these drugs produces benefits for your child by blocking the action of histamine, make sure his stomach is producing enough HCl to digest the food properly. That will probably necessitate supplementing hydrochloric acid as suggested above.

Occasionally, the stomach produces strong acid at night, when the stomach is empty, causing reflux and pain and sleeplessness. Remember the 70% that showed reflux with symptoms of wakefulness with irritability or crying, pressing of the lower abdomen, and diarrhea?  A Tums™ or a little bicarbonate of soda should work wonders. Be careful not to over alkalize the child by too large or too frequent dosing with soda.

Phenol-sulfo-transferase Deficiency

I mentioned PST above. PST (phenol-sulfo-transferase) is an enzyme that detoxifies leftover hormones and a wide variety of toxic molecules, such as phenols and amines that are produced in the body (and even in the gut by bacteria, yeast, and other fungi) as well as food dyes and chemicals. The enzyme links an oxidized sulfur molecule (a sulfate) to these substances to solubilize them so the kidneys can dispose of them. Obviously, if sulfate is low or missing this can’t happen effectively. Hence, the problem can be two fold: there may be a lack of phenylsulfo-transferase enzymes, or of the sulfates (due to the absence of or to the poor absorption of amino acids in the diet, or due to a failure to metabolize them into sulfate form). Dr. Rosemary Waring believes the lack of sulfates is the primary problem This could well be due to the largely carbohydrate diet of most of these children. There is likely to be a combination of the three things. In any case, toxic compounds of these aforementioned chemicals can buildup to dangerous levels.

There are two pathways by which the body processes these toxins, one attaches the sulfates as mentioned. The other attaches glucuronide. Dr. Waring has found that in autistic patients there is not nearly enough sulfate to glucuronate ratio. She and her associates feel that the “leaky gut”, that causes a need for a GF/CF diet, is because of this lack of adequate sulfate to provide sulfation of the glucosaminoglycans (sulfated sugars). They found that the glucosaminoglycans (GAGs) in the gut were very under sulfated, and that this causes a thickening of the basement membrane of the gut.

Sulfates have a negative charge and repel each other, so that charge forms a barrier on the outside of the cell called the matrix, or the glycocalyx. Sulfate is often found in the glycoprotein film also. These films are on all cells of the body, so if systemic sulfate is low, you most likely have a big problem that is quite general to the whole body. Specifically, the more densely sulfated the GAGs, the more they can resist all kinds of infection. These sulfate molecules govern or influence the ability of the cell to produce its unique set of specialized proteins. It is not something you want to be operating from a deficit, yet that is the condition of most autistic children.

Dr. Waring found that autistic children seem to be wasting sulfate in the urine, for plasma levels are typically low and urinary levels are high. There is also an abnormal cysteine to sulfate ratio. Cysteine is the amino acid that should be used to make sulfate, so it appears that this pathway is probably being utilized far faster than the cysteine can be converted, leaving a deficit of sulfate. Cysteine is formed from the essential amino acid methionine, that requires sufficient vitamins B6, B12, folic acid, and magnesium to normalize its metabolism, and vitamin C is needed to prevent cysteine (which contributes its sulfur more readily) from converting to cystine, its oxidized form.

This excess cysteine/low-sulfate condition may be because of a deficiency of  the amino acid histidine that can be run low by seasonal allergies, and the medications taken to treat them. Metal toxicities can run it low. Experimental deficiency of histidine causes an excess of free iron in the blood. This can adversely affect the enzyme cysteine dioxygenase (CDO), the essential nutritional components of the enzyme being histidine and iron. A deficiency of this amino acid not only affects HCl production, but it will likely cause a toxic build up of the amino acid cysteine, and a lack of sufficient sulfates contributing to the PST problem.

Those with inadequate protein in the diet, or with poor assimilation, resulting in a deficiency of histadine and other nutrients, form poorly sulfated GAGS. Those with chronic infection shed and replace GAGs so quickly that inadequate sulfate is available even with adequate protein intake. Vitamin A deficiency has been shown to produce an accelerated turnover of GAGs as well as their undersulfation. Most autistic children are vitamin A deficient. The measles virus hidden in the gut is able to create a vitamin A deficiency. Supplement the amino acids, and vitamin A (preferably as cod-liver oil).

It is known that those with a chronic disease often do not convert methionine to cysteine. Trimethylglycine (TMG), a metabolite of the amino acid glycine, can improve the conversion of methionine to cysteine, and raise the levels of this vital substance. To ensure that cysteine converts to its metabolites and oxidizes to its sulfate form make sure there is adequate amino acids available, especially glycine and glutamine, along with the necessary B-vitamins. This will aid in supplying needed sulfates, and raise the levels of the desperately needed antioxidant glutathione. It is also said to increase oxygen to the brain, a shortage of which is present in autism.

It was Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s work that showed that at the core of the problem might be an inflammation in the gut caused by a chronic measles infection. The gut sheds sulfated glucosaminoglycans during inflammation which could account for the low levels there and the high levels in urine. This leads to a “Leaky Gut” condition, and to the excess opioid problem. Not only do macrophages eat GAGs and release inorganic sulfate, there is a transporter the intestines use to absorb sulfate from the diet, called the DRA transporter. Its levels will decrease five-to-seven fold when the gut is inflamed. That would make it extremely difficult to absorb adequate sulfate from food or from oral supplements. The problem is a nutritional one, but it is not one easily solved by oral supplementation of a missing substance. The gut must be healed.

Since sulfur intake is low, and its oxidation is slow in many autistic children, sulfate is low, and PST activity is slower than it would be otherwise. It would seem that this sub optimality of sulphotransferase activity is a function of low plasma sulfate levels rather than of deficits in the actual enzyme. Thus, any foodstuff that requires or uses up sulfate ions during its metabolism, will make the situation worse. These foodstuffs include apple juice (and one mother reports her child drinks a quart a day!), citrus fruit juices, chocolate, and paracetamol (Tylenol™). For instance, one or two minutes after a dose of Tylenol™, the entire supply of sulfate in the liver is gone! In fact, any chemicals with a high proportion of phenolic groupings will have this effect, and will enhance the problems referred to above. Many coloring materials, whether of natural or synthetic origin, possess phenolic groupings. If this enzyme (PST) is deficient in some 70% to 80% of autistic kids as some say, it behooves mothers to seriously heed the information in this section and to carefully guard their children from certain obvious sources of trouble.

There are a number of consequences including effects upon the metabolism of classical neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine; impaired breakdown and metabolism of the bile pigments bilirubin and biliverdin; impaired action of the hormone CCK on CCKA receptors which would result in decreased secretion of pancreatic enzymes and of bile from the gall bladder and biliary tract into the intestines. This would result in low uptake of certain vitamins and other nutrients from the intestines; reduced activity of gastrin (and subsequent reduced secretion of stomach acid, mucus, and pepsin in the stomach and, probably, reduced production of secretin further downstream.

Because there is a lack of serotonin available to the brain, which itself causes many of the most distressing symptoms of autism, it seems reasonable to build the available serotonin by providing its precursor 5-HTP. The use of 25-50 mg several times a day (unless it causes a drowsiness that interferes with school) should be most beneficial. If drowsiness interferes with school, reduce the amount and/or give it later in the day. Giving 100 mg two to four hours before bedtime has safely improved the sleep of many.

Those with these deficits cannot readily excrete the phenols, amines, and other listed toxic substances. They are strongly acidic, and they exert toxic effects in the brain, where normally certain enzymes prevent their accumulation. They build up to abnormal levels and interfere with the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline among other things. Symptoms of PST/sulfate deficiency are reddened ears, night sweats, black under eyes, excessive thirst, facial flushing, and odorous bed clothes. Certain foods may cause fevers, and some, especially those taking Paracetamol™ (Tylenol™), may go up to 24 hours without urination. These children probably have heavy-metal poisoning with lead and mercury, and should be detoxified, for mercury impairs the enzyme sulfite oxidase, and interferes with sulfur oxidation. Do not use the chelators DMPS or DMSA as these will likely damage the gut further, and they will impair Phase 1 liver enzyme function causing a further buildup of toxins. They can also damage the sulfur oxidation system still further (especially DMPS) by draining the system of copper, molybdenum, zinc, and other mono-oxidase Phase 1 liver catalysts. Under no circumstances use DMPS and then Tylenol™ for pain. Tylenol™ toxicity from such a combination is a very real danger.

Avoid also Alpha Lipoic Acid, or use very low doses, as it significantly alters thiol (sulfur) metabolism, excretion, and distribution—significantly increasing plasma cysteine levels and bile excretion of glutathione resulting in depletion of the liver stores of glutathione. This will seriously affect the availability of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. There is compelling scientific evidence that high and constant doses of lipoic acid, as is sometimes advocated to chelate mercury, has potential to seriously disregulate a number of key minerals including copper, zinc, and molybdenum. Many of the “backfires” from using DMPS indicate a loss of the sulphur-oxidizing enzyme “sulfite oxidase”, a molybdenum-histidine enzyme. This will compound the PST/sulfate problem. Antibiotics should be avoided for the same reason, and steroids will do more harm than any long term good. Giving steroids might reduce the rate of demyelination, if that exists, or “cool” an inflamed gut, but giving steroids can also further disrupt the immune function and exacerbate an underlying infection such as HHV6 or blood-brain-barrier, localized measles. Save the drugs until all else recommended herein fails (it won’t). The best detoxifier of all in this instance is glutathione. Build glutathione and “cool” the inflamed gut and the autoimmune response with Ambrotose® and Phyt•Aloe® by Mannatech™.

These children likely have a family history of food intolerance, and may need Enzyme Potentiated Desensitization (EPD) therapy, or NAET because allergies can cause many of these children’s symptoms, including hypoglycemia which itself mimics a multitude of diseases. Nevertheless, many, if not all, of these problems will disappear when healing of the digestion and gut progresses.

By supplementing molybdenum and histadine (molecules needed in the molybdenum-histadine containing enzymes, sulfite oxidase and cysteine dioxygenase, that oxidize sulfur), along with iron, and the B-complex, and certain sulfate containing substances such as glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, minerals in sulfate form, such as zinc sulfate (may irritate sensitive stomachs), iron sulfate, and Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate—a good laxative for those that need it), one may supply both the magnesium and the sulfate needed, and enhance the efficiency of the available PST enzymes in doing their job. Due to the problems outlined, this may not be too successful, however. The best way is to take an Epsom salts bath (two cups or more in a tub of hot water). Soak it up through the skin for 20 minutes, and don’t rinse off—and don’t worry if the child drinks some of the water. This bath has been shown to increase sulfur content of the blood up to four times. Be sure to filter chlorine and other poisons from the water you drink and bath in. Chlorine in bath water is breathed and absorbed, especially from hot water. This is important as chlorine is a deadly poison. It can produce fatigue and tiredness after the bath. I should mention that there is a small chance of magnesium toxicity. If there has been any indication that the child’s kidneys are not functioning fully, check with your doctor before using the magnesium (or potassium), and have him monitor magnesium levels. Strive for high normal levels.

Sulfate is the most oxidized form of sulfur. It doesn’t need to be oxidized any more, so supplementing or bathing in sulfate supplies what is lacking because of the body’s inability to oxidize the sulfur in foods. Sulfate will be poorly absorbed; so, supplement a gram or more of sulfate each day. Some will get through. Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, MD, father of an autistic child, has this to offer: “If the child has an unusual odor at night or their bedclothes do, or if they sweat while asleep (PST) defect), use MSM 1500 to 3000 mgs per day. In the study, 83% of autistic children were PST abnormal, and MSM should help this. It did in our son’s situation.” Oral sulfate and copper tends to deplete molybdenum, so it must be supplemented. A coenzyme, vitamin B-complex supplement of moderate potency should be supplemented. One mother in supplementing molybdenum reports that her daughter, who was doing quite well, regressed into severe, autistic symptoms for three days, including 18 hours of screaming—possibly due to a detoxifying. Her doctor urged her to cease, but she stayed the course, and today her daughter is far and away better! This is serious stuff.

Incidentally, a gross deficiency of molybdenum manifests as tachycardia, headache, mental disturbances, and coma. An excess intake of 10-15 mg daily (for adults) can cause a gout like syndrome because of an elevated production of uric acid. Dosage range should not exceed 1 mg per day. Very little molybdenum is needed, but it is an important element in several important metalloenzymes (xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase, and sulfite oxidase) that participate in crucial liver detoxification pathways.

Until the body regains its ability to oxidize sulfur, it may help to limit high sulfur containing foods (cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, turnips, eggs, red meat, turkey, dairy products); and supplements like alpha lipoic acid, and L-cysteine, and N-acetylcysteine [NAC—though it can be better tolerated when used with its team mates, the amino acids glycine and glutamine in ratio 2:1:1 (remember: glutamine is also a sulfur-containing amino), and the B-complex vitamins. It should be tried for the glutathione it produces is so vital]. Those who have a problem with these foods likely have an impaired sulfur oxidation (a cysteine oxidation) problem, and should be alert to cysteine toxicity. Supplying any of these sulfur foods may be a problem to some of these kids who do not oxidize sulfur well. One indicator may be fatigue after eating these. However, to restrict these foods unnecessarily will cause a reduction of the vital antioxidant glutathione, and interfere with the conversion of T3 thyroid hormone into T4.

Blueberry extract, and grape seed extract, and other things have phenols, salicylates, and other stuff that are normally detoxified by PST. Excess boron interferes with the metabolism (breakdown and excretion) of phenols. Ritalin, used in the treatment of ADHD, inhibits the metabolism of coumarins (phenols). Boron is found in apples, pears, grapes, nuts, leafy green vegetables, and legumes. Supplying these substances to PST deficient children will cause a build up of phenols, amines, salicylates, and other toxic substances normally cleared by PST. In fact, any chemicals with a high proportion of phenolic groupings will have this effect, and will enhance the problems referred to above. Many coloring materials (porphyrics), whether of natural or synthetic origin, possess phenolic groupings. For this reason, some practitioners recommend the removal of all pigmented foods from the diet (Sara's Diet). You must at least reduce juices (or limit to a little pear juice), and eliminate all artificial colors and flavors.

DPT immunization in inbred mice has been shown to result in decreased synthesis of cytochrome p450, and of phosphosulfotransferase, and of the messengers RNA necessary for their production. A decrease in production of the liver enzymes phosphosulfotransferase and the cytochrome p450 family of enzymes causes failure to break down food proteins (including gluten and casein) into peptides. Anything that further inhibits these cytochrome p450 liver enzymes would compound the problem of sulfur toxicity, and further contribute to the opioid problem. Additionally, multiple chemical sensitivities and liver pain would likely result.

These are some of the things to avoid: Azole antihistamine: cimetidine (Tagamet™); Azole antifungals: fluconazole (Diflucan™—it is fluoride based); and ketokonazole, itraconazole, Nizoral™, Sporanox™; Azole antiparasitic drug: metronidazole (Flagyl™); and all porphyrics. Many popular herbs inhibit Phase 1 enzymes and should not be used: barberry, black cohosh, blue cohosh, chaparral, boneset, buchu, comfrey, cyani, elecampane, fever few, gotu kola, grapefruit extract, grapeseed extract, Irish moss (red seaweed), juniper, kava kava, mistletoe, mullein, nettle, periwinkle, pokeweed, Pycnogenol™, quercetin, Reishi mushroom, Rosemary, seneca, Shitake mushroom, una de gata (cat's claw), and Valerian are ones that I know of.

Using these will lead to a buildup of Phase I toxins, for example, benzene-aromatic rings such as found in gasoline vapors; 1,4-dichlorobenzene such as found in mothballs and room deodorizers; xylene such as found in deodorants, room fresheners, gasoline, and paint vapors (do you get a headache); dioxin such as found in herbicides, auto exhaust, and wood treatment; styrene such as found in Styrofoam cups and on carpet backing; ketones: these accumulate, leading to ketoacidosis (ketosis). The early signs are nausea and a faster rate of breathing. This can be followed by increased thirst, excessive urination, abdominal pain or vomiting, listlessness, and eventually sleepiness. If not recognized and dealt with, this acidosis will lead to coma. The build up of ketones in the blood for a few days, or even a few hours, can be life threatening. If you are not feeling well, or you are showing excessive amounts of sugar in the blood, you must test for ketones. (Use Acetest™ tablets or Ketostix™ dipsticks.); aldehydes (formaldehyde, furfural); and various perfumes (most are made with these petroleum chemicals, not with flower scents). These children must be kept away from these substances some of which are found in aerosols and room fresheners that have been shown to contribute to headache and depression in adults, and to ear infection and diarrhea in children.

Glutathione (along with L-histidine) is a key resource for the formation of metallothionein. This molecule prevents cellular toxicity by creating a stable storage molecule for excesses of both essential minerals such as copper and zinc, and toxic metals such as mercury and cadmium, and possibly these PST types? Another interesting connection: Some cysteine is broken down into taurine and sulfates unless the essential enzyme cysteine dioxygenase is missing. It appears then that the PST troubled kid may have a light-colored stool, and a failure to digest fat from a lack of taurine-formed bile. This seems to be added reason to supplement L-histadine and L-taurine.

Following the Feingold diet plan will benefit these kids by exclusion of foods known to include phenols, salicylates, dyes, and such. For a small membership fee, The Feingold Association will provide a listing of foods to avoid, as well as a continually updated list of safe foods. Their address is: Feingold Association of the United States, PO Box 6550, Alexandria, VA 22306, 1-800-321-3287.

Some have found Essaic™ tea helpful in this condition. It is a proprietary formula of Burdock Root (arctium lappa), Slippery Elm (ulmas vulva), Sheep Sorrel (rumex acetosella), and Indian Rhubarb (rheuma palmatum). It probably should be used intermittently for Burdock is toxic to the liver and peripheral mononuclear blood cells (PMBC). Sheep Sorrel enhances cytochrome p450 (Phase 1) liver enzymes which will deplete fatty acids, steroids, estrogen, Prostaglandins, and body alcohols faster, and make many drugs less effective. At least be aware, and if you use it, supplement fatty acids (flax oil, borage oil, or Evening Primrose oil if your child can tolerate them), and have the doctor watch the liver and PMBC functions carefully. For limited periods, use of herbs that enhance Phase 1 liver enzyme action would seem beneficial to those with the PST/sulfoxidation problem. Some nontoxic herbs that do that are Milk Thistle, Bistort, Ginger, Royal Jelly, and the aforementioned sheep sorrel.

An example of what can happen when cysteine (sulfur) toxicity occurs: this happened to a mother of a 17 and a 15 year old, both autistic—the older one more severely so. She is a very experienced, well informed mother who taught me much of what I know. In fact, she has seen tremendous gains in the past year using Mannatech™ products and many other nutritional interventions. Her son no longer suffers daily seizures, only one in over a year when something became a little imbalanced. She has been using Immunocal™ for both for six months or longer. Though she had seen this PST/sulfate information, she overlooked their obvious PST symptoms. While Christmas Shopping, her daughter, who passes for “Normal” suddenly began screaming, attacked her, nearly ripped off one side her face, bit her arm—generally went berserk. Her eyes were glaring with the pink of a bunny rabbit! A red, lacy rash broke out all over her body! Of course, she hastened home, only to see the rash disappear almost as quickly as it came. The child showed high anxiety, and a day later diarrhea. She suspected Immunocal™, called them, and was informed it was possibly a sign of Immunocal™ having created too much glutathione. I suggested that before glutathione excess would come cysteine/cystine excess (what with it not being oxidized). When I listed the symptoms of cysteine/NAC toxicity: violence, rash, anxiety, wheezing, nausea, cramps, and diarrhea, she immediately recognized these as the symptoms her daughter displayed, and when I reminded her of PST/sulfate symptoms (listed above), she acknowledged that both children had them, red ears and all! She now has discontinued Immunocal™. This is serious stuff! Pay attention to what I am saying. We are modifying a child’s brain and central nervous function.

What Is MHPG? Why Should We Measure It?

MHPG (3 methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol) is a natural breakdown product of a class of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers which pass across the narrow space, or synapse, between neurons) called catecholamines. One of the catecholamine neurotransmitters which is broken down to MHPG is norepinephrine (NE).  Since the 1970s, the urine of autistic children has been known to contain abnormally low amounts of MHPG (Young, J.G. et al, Decreased 24-Hour Urinary MHPG in Childhood Autism. Am J.Psychiatry 136, August 1979, pp. 1055-7).

In order for the body to get rid of MHPG, it has to convert it, in a process called “conjugation”, either to MHPG sulfate or MHPG glucuronide—the two pathways referenced above.

By measuring the amount of MHPG sulfate, MHPG glucuronide, and total MHPG (the sum of the sulfate and the glucuronide) excreted in the urine in 24 hours, we can find out two things:

 1. The turnover rate of the catecholamine neurotransmitters, especially NE, in the body. It is the use (i.e., the release) of NE that leads to the breakdown of NE to MHPG. Low total urinary excretion of MHPG suggests that smaller than normal amounts of NE are being released into the synapses of the brain. (Young, J.G., et al. Cerebrospinal Fluid, Plasma, and Urinary MHPG in Children, Life Sciences, Vol. 28, 1981, pp. 2837-45) and Peyrin, L, Urinary MHPG Sulfate as a Marker of Central Norepinephrine Metabolism: A Commentary, J. Neural Trans [Gen.Sect], Vol. 80, 2990, pp.51-65)
 2. The relative efficiency of the two main conjugation pathways for MHPG (and by extension, for other phenolic compounds, such as salicylates and artificial food colors):   sulfoconjugation and glucuronidation.

Sulfation Ratio as a Measure of PST Activity 

Conjugation means the joining of two dissimilar molecules. In the body, MHPG can be conjugated (joined) to sulfate (sulfoconjugation) or to glucuronide (glucuronidation). In either case, the conjugation of MHPG facilitates the removal of MHPG from the brain and its excretion by the kidneys. The ratio of the amount of MHPG conjugated to sulfate to the amount conjugated to glucuronide is the “sulfation ratio” of MHPG. The sulfation ratio of MHPG is a measure of the efficiency with which the enzyme PST is functioning in the body. Certain areas of the brain appear to lack the glucuronidation pathway, and in those areas deficient PST activity might allow the accumulation of toxic phenolic compounds.

We know that when the body is faced only with a small load of phenolic compounds (such as those produced on the Feingold diet, or those produced by yeasts and fungi in the intestine), even a rather PST-deficient individual will sulfoconjugate a normal proportion of these phenolic substances. in this case, the term used for the behavior of PST is “first order kinetics.” With first order kinetics, the greater the need for an enzyme, the faster it works. Enzymes also work faster in an acidic environment.

As we increase the phenolic load through this “first order segment” of the sulfoconjugation curve, sulfoconjugation keeps pace with the increasing need. As larger amounts of phenolic compounds are introduced into the body, the enzyme PST can become saturated so that a higher proportion of the phenolic load is conjugated to glucuronide instead of sulfate. By this process, the sulfoconjugation curve transitions from its first order segment into its saturation segment, where the sulfoconjugation rate can no longer increase as a function of need. With additional phenolic loading, the glucuronidation pathway is utilized relatively more heavily, and the sulfation ratio falls. This allows a buildup of the harmful toxins being discussed.

Yeast and other fungi, as well as the exposure or intake mentioned above, all produce phenyls, and as phenyls build up they reduce norepinephrine, and interfere with NE's function in the synapse. This produces very adverse effects in the brain. NE is the neurotransmitter whose effect in the brain is augmented by stimulant drugs such as amphetamine and methylphenidate (Ritalin). Children whose learning was affected by the challenge dose of artificial color mixture proved to be those who had an earlier “positive” effect with this type of stimulant medication. In other words, children who respond to the Feingold Diet, which eliminates all artificial colors and certain other compounds, are the same children who lack sufficient NE effect in their brains, and who respond to Ritalin™. (Swanson, J.M. and Kinsbourne, M., Food Dyes Impair Performance of Hyperactive Children on a Laboratory Learning Test. Science 207, March 1980, pp. 1485-7). Dr. Robert Sinaiko, MD, says, “The children upon whom I have obtained the 24-hour, urine MHPG test have thus far sorted themselves into four groups”—three of which respond to the Feingold Diet.

In addition to the behavioral aspects, normally, NE’s role in the regulation of immunity is one of “fine tuning” and adjusting the timing of the various phases in the immune response. Some evidence suggests that the brain’s supply of NE may become depleted if the immune system is constantly stimulated by infection or allergy as it is in most autistics. So, if you want to protect against the harmful effect of the PST/sulfoxidation problem, and perhaps get your kid off Ritalin™, what can you do? In addition to shielding the body from sources of the toxins as outlined above, eliminating allergens, ingesting sulfate, and taking Epsom salts baths, how can we ensure adequate NE is available? Be sure that you eat an adequate intake of protein. Dopamine and norepinephrine levels can be raised by eating a high protein meal (avoid fatty meats and cheese which rob the brain of oxygen and reduce alertness), and by using a supplement of the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine. The amino acid methionine also produces serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Additionally, supplement Ambrotose® and Phyt•Aloe® from Mannatech™. Clinical studies available on request.

The following nutrients have been found to inhibit MAO reducing losses of neurotransmitters: dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C (ascorbyl palmitate), and E, para–aminobenzoic acid (PABA), folic acid, beta–carotene, calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium picolinate, selenium, glutathione (an antioxidant), and St. John’s Wort (hypericum).

The Thyroid: Metabolic Regulator

There is another vital imbalance said by Raphael Kellman, MD, The Center for Progressive Medicine in New York, to be present in his autistic patients—an underactive thyroid. He states that 90% of medical problems of both mother and child result from a lack of proper attention and testing of the thyroid and its functioning. The problem is that the standard medical tests for thyroid function, even the newer TSH test, are totally inadequate. The one diagnosing must not rely on these readings alone, but must carefully consider the presenting symptoms. In final analysis, the bottom line is, “Did the patient respond favorably to thyroid medication?”

Once damage to the thyroid takes place it affects all the other organs—starting with digestion and absorption. Toxins start accumulating in the system. You can have an array of symptoms: Heart disease and its complications, high homocysteine levels, poor circulation (especially to the skin), weight gain/weight loss, depending on the type of metabolism you had to begin with, no appetite or binge eating, bloating, fluid retention, skin problems (itching, eczema, psoriasis, acne, hives, and other skin eruptions, skin pallor or yellowing), aching joints, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, low libido, hair loss, and sensitivity to cold. The immune system starts to deteriorate because the necessary nutrients are not being absorbed. Repeated ear and urinary tract infections occur, and colds and upper respiratory infections are frequent. This leads to antibiotics use, creating a “leaky gut”, and destroying the essential bacteria, allowing Candida yeast to take over. Candida itself creates a multitude of debilitating symptoms. This results in an IgG imbalance (delayed food allergies), and opens the door to virus and parasite infestation.

Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid are: fatigue, constipation, depression, low body temperature, infertility, menstrual disorders, memory disturbances, concentration difficulties, paranoia, migraines, over-sleeping and/or the inability to sleep due to gastrointestinal discomforts, anemia, “laziness” (no motivation), muscle aches and or weaknesses (low muscle tone), hearing disturbances (burning, prickly sensations, or noises in the head), slow reaction time and mental sluggishness, labored breathing, hoarseness, speech problems, brittle nails, and poor vision and/or light sensitivity.

All of Dr. Kellman’s autistic patient’s have a wide variety of these symptoms, and all have malabsorption causing deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. There are problems with the amino acids’ balance and stores. It has been shown that a deficiency of vitamin A, the amino acid cysteine, and of the antioxidant glutathione (which requires cysteine) will adversely slow the thyroid function. This creates chemical imbalances resulting in neurotransmitting problems.

The thyroid problem is relatively easy to treat once the doctor is convinced it is malfunctioning, and the results are dramatic. It can be quite effectively regulated, however, by supplying the necessary nutrients, including iodine-bearing kelp, the amino acid tyrosine, and desiccated thyroid concentrate. I recommend Dr. Jonathan Wright’s Thyroplex for Men (Women) that supplies 1/4 grain of the actual thyroid glandular containing all the thyroid functioning hormones: T4, T3, T2, T1, along with other nutrients to nourish the rest of the endocrine network. Order from Life Enhancement Products,, 1-800-543-3873.

The amino acid tyrosine and the mineral iodine are necessary to form thyroid hormones, and the liver requires glutathione (GSH) in adequate amounts to convert the hormone T4 to T3. Glutathione also enables the cell to take up T3. GSH is essential to the immune system, to antioxidation processes throughout the body, mercury detox and excretion, phase II liver detox, and mitochondrial energy production. This powerful antioxidant is required throughout the body; so ensure adequate substrates of the amino acids. An amino acid supplement would be most helpful. Typical blood panel tests for glutathione are inadequate for the liver and/or tissue levels can be very low, but the blood may still be normal.

A simple test to determine if adequate iodine is available for proper thyroid function, and to resupply stores if needed is this: obtain a bottle of standard iodine (sodium iodide, 2.4%) from the drug store. Paint a 50 cent–sized spot on the tender skin of the belly or thigh where clothes will not rub heavily. Watch that stain for 24 hours. If it disappears in less than 24 hours, there is a need of iodine, and the thyroid is likely sluggish. Continue to paint a spot each day until it remains visible for 24 hours. One should supplement selenium and kelp also, but do not use the drugstore iodine internally. For the autistic, a supplement of tyrosine would likely be necessary.

To determine if there is still a problem, perhaps as an aid to convincing the doctor to give the only effective, medical, thyroid test, the TRH test, do this: For five days, on awakening, without moving around except to reach the thermometer prepared the night before (shake down below 960 F), measure underarm temperature for ten minutes. Average the results for the five days. If that average reading is below 97.80 F, you may have a problem. Below 97.20 F, you definitely have a problem. Women still menstruating get the best readings on the second and third day after menstrual flow starts. Supplement kelp and Dr. Wright’s formula as indicated above, and supply a wide range, multivitamin/mineral formula. Other supplements recommended in this article would be appropriate, especially the zinc and glyconutrients. If that doesn’t correct the body temperature reading in reasonable time, demand the TRH test.

Forskolin: Poor Man's Secretin

Coleus Forskolin is a blood-vessel-dilating compound that stimulates increased production of thyroid hormones T4 and T3 greatly assisting in overcoming sluggish thyroid activity. It also increases the activity of an enzyme Adenylate Clyclase (AC) that resides in the membrane of all cells, enabling greater cAMP production and activity within the cell. In the pancreas, studies show it increased amalyse secretion. In fact, it increased AC pancreatic activity 26-fold, and potentiated the increase induced by secretin. Its activity is weak compared to that of secretin, but forskolin also potentiates the activity of CCK-8 which affects the redistribution of cellular calcium.

In one study, secretin increased cAMP activity up to 10-fold, which mediated the enzyme Tyrosine Hydroxylase (TH) activity up to three-fold. Forskolin also increased cAMP and TH activity. In fact, forskolin stimulates TH activity in the hypothalamus, hippocampus, and frontal cortex of the brain, whereas secretin activated TH only in the hypothalamus and hippocampus. Use of 2 mg two times a day improved speech and induced sleep more quickly in one child. Additional dosage may be needed, and seems to be dependent on body weight.

Michael Murray, prominent naturopath, has this to say in his book:

“It has a long history of use in ayruvedic medicine for treatment of cardiovascular disease, eczema, abdominal colic, respiratory disorders, painful urination, insomnia and convulsions. The basic mechanism of action of forskolin is the activation of an enzyme, adenylate cyclase, which increases the amount of cyclic adensosine monophosphate (cAMP) in cells. Cyclic AMP is perhaps the most important cell regulating compound. Once formed it activates many other enzymes involved in diverse cellular functions.

“Under normal conditions cAMP forms when a stimulatory hormone (e.g. epinephrine, or secretin) binds to a receptor site on the cell membrane, and stimulates the activation of adenylate cyclase. This enzyme is incorporated into all cellular membranes, and only the specificity of the receptor determines which hormone will activate it in a particular cell. Forskolin appears to bypass the need for direct hormonal activation of adenylate cyclase via transmembrane activation. As a result of this activation of adenylate cyclase, intracellular cAMP levels rise.

“The physiological and biochemical effects of a raised intracellular cAMP level include the following: inhibition of platelet activation and degranulation, inhibition of mast cell degranulation and histamine release, increased force of contraction of heart muscle, relaxation of the arteries and other smooth muscles, increased insulin secretion, increased thyroid function, and increased lipolysis (fat burning).

“Recent studies have found forskolin to possess additional mechanisms of action independent of its ability to stimulate adenylate cyclase and cAMP dependent responses directly. Specifically, forskolin inhibits a number of membrane transport proteins and channel proteins through a mechanism that does not involve the production of cAMP. The result, once again, is a transmembrane signal that results in activation of other cellular enzymes.

“Forskolin also antagonizes the action of platelet activating factor (PAF) by interfering with the binding of PAF to receptor sites on cells. PAF plays a central role in many inflammatory and allergic processes, including neutrophil activation, increasing vascular permeability, smooth muscle contraction (including bronchoconstriction), and reduction in coronary blood flow. After treatment of platelets with forskolin prior to PAF binding, a 30-40% decrease in PAF binding was observed. The decrease in PAF binding caused by forskolin was concomitant with a decrease in the physiological responses of platelets induced by PAF. However, this forskolin induced decrease in PAF binding was not a consequence of cAMP formation, as the addition of a cAMP analog could not mimic the action of forskolin. In addition, the inactive analog of forskolin, dideozyforskolin, which does not activate adenylate cyclase, also reduced PAF binding to its receptor. Researchers speculate that the action of forskolin on PAF binding is due to a direct effect of this molecule and its analog on the PAF receptor itself, or to components of the postreceptor signaling for PAF.

“These are some of the things they say forskolin may be helpful and useful for: eczema, psoriasis, asthma, hypertension, congestive heart failure, angina, cerebral vasodilator indicating that it may prove to be useful in cerebral vascular insufficiency and post stroke recovery, increasing intraocular blood flow, weight loss programs (due to its lipolysis stimulation), hypothyroidism, malabsorption and digestive disorders, depression, prevention of cancer metastasis, and immune system enhancement.”

This is what he says about hypothyroidism, malabsorption, digestive disorders, and immune system enhancement which are our concerns here:
“Hypothyroidism—forskolin increases thyroid hormone production and stimulates thyroid hormone release. Malabsorption and digestive disorders—forskolin stimulates digestive secretions including the release of hydrochloric acid, pepsin, amylase, and pancreatic enzymes. Forskolin has been shown to promote nutrient absorption in the small intestine. Coleus forskohlii extracts may prove useful in treating dry mouth, as forskolin increases salivation. Immune system enhancement—forskolin exhibits potent immune system enhancement (primarily through activation of macrophages and lymphocytes) in several models.”

Summary and Miscellaneous

In summary, ensure adequate production of hydrochloric acid, or supplement Betaine hydrochloride. Supplement with the indicated amino acids, fatty acids, forskolin, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, glyconutrients, phytonutrients, and digestive enzymes, and expect a miracle.

If on a gluten free diet, the following is pertinent:

It is important to know that Lactase enzyme supplement (Dairy Ease™) had gluten in both their tablet and drop forms. Furthermore, Gas-X™ (simethicone), Pepcid™ (Famotidine), Tagamet™ (Cimetidine) also contained gliadin. Karoly Horvath, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Maryland at Baltimore Tel: 410-328-0812 Fax: 410-328-1072. Prilosec™ is reported to contain lactose.

I have other suggestions for controlling parasites and yeast, and for improving mitochondrial function. Feel free to send me any questions you may have, there is no obligation, and the counsel is free.

Willis S. Langford
3579 Santa Maria Street
Oceanside, CA, 92056 USA for personal
(760) 439-7884

Revised 12/19/99

Acknowledgments: I wish to acknowledge and thank Kathy Blanco, of Beverton, Oregon USA ( for introducing me to the Internet experience of counseling autism, and who has contributed much of what I have brought to you. I also wish to acknowledge and thank Paula Reza, of Glasgow, Scotland, UK, for her suggestion that I write this type of paper, and for her insightful and helpful encouragement, and for many of the ideas included. It was she who introduced me to the condition labeled PST, and asked my help in addressing it. I thank her for the openness and willingness to try many of my suggestions, and to share many of her interventions which I have included. I appreciate, too, her willingness to introduce these ideas to friends in the autism community. I’m happy to report that her daughter, Asiya, has responded remarkably well to many of the ideas included herein. Andy Cutler and Jeff Clark of Metals Board at, and numerous others have contributed bits and pieces. Credit is given to Susan Owens for her valuable contributions to my understanding of GAGs, CCK, and Motilin as quoted herein., and to Dr. Robert J. Sinaiko, MD, for quotes from his paper “The Biochemistry of Attentional/Behavioral Problems”..My contribution was to put it all into a useable format.  is intended as an educational tool only. A physician or healthcare provider, is essential to diagnose conditions and supervise the use of any medications to treat individual health problems. This website is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical care. You should seek the best medical resources available to help make informed medical decisions.

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