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Might autistic children be the proverbial "canaries in the coal mine" whose nervous systems are more susceptible to the impact of toxic heavy metals in the environment incurring neurological damage even at low exposure levels? One recent study found that in one group of 18 autistic children 16 had blood levels of toxic heavy metals and chemicals exceeding adult maximum tolerance. This build-up of toxins may not arise simply from excessive exposure but from a marked inability to process and eliminate toxins from the body. Indeed when the children were assessed using a biochemical analysis to gauge the body's ability to detoxify substances researchers found that every child showed out-of-range results suggesting a defect in this two-phase detoxification process. (Reason Extreme Health's Liver Support Formula is important.) Researchers explained that such a mechanism could lead to a backup of toxic heavy metals and chemical toxins with increased free radical activity in the body. Since the blood-brain barrier of children is still not fully developed these toxic and oxidized molecules could penetrate into regions of the brain and damage neutrons receptors synapses enzymes and cell mitochondria and also set off auto immune reactions triggering further damage.

According to other studies autistic children may have problems metabolizing and detoxifying certain compounds due to an impaired biochemical process called sulfation. Sulfation plays an important role in the second phase of the detoxification process. (Reason Extreme Health's Liver Support Formula is important.) Impaired sulfation could make autistic children more vulnerable to multiple heavy metal and chemical sensitivities. It may also help explain an exacerbation of behavioral problems after children eat foods containing phenol tyramine and phenyl compounds which are normally neutralized through the sulfation process.

Much concern has been raised over the link between exposure to heavy metal toxins and neurological brain damage associated with learning and behavior disorders in children. Indeed research shows that exposure to heavy metals such as lead mercury and antimony can impair brain development at very early ages even at low doses previously deemed "harmless." Children are particularly susceptible to the deleterious effects of heavy metal exposure for several reasons. First their developing nervous systems are more sensitive. Second their bodies absorb toxins more rapidly yet clear them from the system more slowly than from adults.(Reason Extreme Health's Liver Support Formula is important.) Finally a child's blood-brain barrier the natural protective mechanism which blocks harmful substances from entering and damaging the brain is not yet fully formed.

Many professionals working in the field of autism have expressed concern that some autistic children were exposed to potentially damaging levels of ethylmercury which is a preservative used in certain vaccinations. Clinical neurobehavioral symptoms of mercury poisoning seem to parallel closely many common symptoms of autism. In response to pressure from the FDA the U.S. Public Health Service and other regulatory health agencies vaccine manufacturers have since worked to reduce or eliminate the use of ethylmercury as a preservative in many vaccines.

In addition several studies have associated high lead levels in children with autism. Elevated levels of lead in hair - signify long-term toxic exposure to this heavy metal - were correlated with increased behavior abnormalities and learning disorders in children. Based on clinicians' observations antimony a potential toxin found in some fire retardant materials is also a possible cause for concern.

Nutritional balance and healthy metabolism are also very important. Dr. Lynn Wecker and his colleagues at Louisiana State Medical Centre observe that trace element imbalances in the human body can disrupt neurotransmitter function and produce marked changes in behavior; many of which are consistent with symptoms of autism. For this reason Dr. Wecker and his team evaluated trace element concentrations in the hair of autistic children. They found clear deficiencies of calcium, copper, zinc, and chromium that were so striking that they allowed them to discriminate between autistic children and healthy controls with a high degree of accuracy using just test results. Deficiencies of mineral nutrients can make a child more susceptible to heavy metal absorption. Magnesium deficiencies associated with attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity may also be clinically significant in autism.

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