These are the EXACT steps I used for my daughter to go from severe, self-injurious, non-verbal autism to regular kindergarten(and used by 1,000+ parents and grandparents)
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This week's Ask Dr. Lyons is focusing on metabolic disorders specifically, folate metabolism problems. I answer the question "Should I give my child with autism a folinic acid supplement?" Folate metabolism can be a comorbidity with autism. Comorbidity is defined as the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient. If you want an optimal outcome from autism all of your child's comorbidities need to be addressed. And the good news is that many comorbidities have treatments! So let's now focus more on folate metabolism.
Vitamin B9, folic acid and folate are often used interchangeably but on the molecular level there is a difference. Folates are found in foods and folic acid, the more stable form, occurs rarely in nature but is the form most often used in vitamin supplements and fortified foods. Our bodies have to process the folic acid in order to use it whereas folate is easier for our bodies to use as ingested. One of the most important roles of folate is in energy production via the methylation cycle…degrade excess methionine in the liver to homo-cysteine and further broken down into sulfate and pyruvate with the latter being used for energy in the Krebs cycle. The Krebs cycle occurs in the mitochondria and produces energy for the cell...very important for optimal functioning of our body.
Polymorphism is a genetic variation that occurs commonly in the general population. It is not a mutation…a rare genetic change.
In those with autism, many have a polymorphism that decrease both the production and transport of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (MTHFR). Not everyone who has this polymorphism has autism and not everyone who has autism has this polymorphism. Remember it is not a mutation but a common polymorphism. Polymorphisms in the autism population are found in genes that code:
Reduced folate carrier
Folate transport across the blood-brain barrier can also be compromised due an inefficient folate receptor alpha many times from autoantibodies to the receptor. If severe dysfunction, cerebral folate deficiency occurs leading to epilepsy, neurodevelopmental regression, autism and other neurological abnormalities like spasticity and movement disorders. Reduced folate in the brain can cause central nervous system mitochondrial dysfunction. And we're back talking about mitochondria again...because it is soooo important. Mitochondria govern many metabolic processes including fatty acid oxidation, Krebs cycle, oxidative phosphorylation. Mitochondrial disease refers to a group of disorders that primarily affects the ETC and therefore the production of adenosine-triphosphate (ATP), the major cellular energy carrier. I will discuss mitochondria metabolism in another blog post/video...it needs its own post.
Folates are common treatments for those with autism but this is all new and not thoroughly documented. So it is important to have a detailed conversation with your child's doctor if you are considering treatment. Folate problems can occur not due to genetic issues but a production of autoantibodies that block the folate receptor alpha from transporting folate to the brain. Folinic acid (0.5-4 mg/kg/day) as a supplement treatment has been shown to improve and in some cases complete recovery of autism symptoms and other problems like seizures. Dairy free diet is also used as a treatment because it lowers autoantibodies to folate receptor alpha.
Our bodies need folate and we can get it from food but bacteria can produce folate: L. plantarum WCSF1 (commensal) B adolescentis DSM 18350 (probiotic) Examining the genomes of 256 human gut bacteria, 40–65% possessed the biosynthesis pathways to produce eight B-vitamins (biotin, cobalamin, folate, niacin, pantothenate, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and thiamin). Some special diets focus on rebalancing the gut microbiota. It's a win-win for your body when you eat the right food and have the right bacteria in your gut. Finding the right special diet for your child is vital and very efficient. That's the facts. Many parents have asked for supplement brand recommendations and this one is the best one based on reputation and ingredients: Feel free to watch the video if you learn best that way...
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