Vitamin Therapy
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The Autistic Spectrum

Here you will find articles and links about vitamin therapy for children on the Autistic Spectrum. Please note:  It is important to check with a qualified medical doctor for your situation when taking anything over the Recommended Daily Allowance of anything.

Di-methyl-glycine (DMG)
Written by Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D.
Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon
DMG is another nutrient that, according to reports from thousands of families, is quite beneficial to many autistic individuals. Similar to vitamin B6 and magnesium, DMG is safe, relatively inexpensive, and helps about half of autistic children and adults.
Research on humans and laboratory animals have shown that DMG strengthens the immune system. The immune system is dysfunctional in many autistic individuals. Some autistic children and adults have seizures, and there are two published reports of decreases in seizure activity as a result of DMG (New England Journal of Medicine, 1982, 307, 1081-1082; Epilepsia, 1989, 30, 90-93).
Two studies have shown no improvements from DMG in autistic individuals; however, at least one of the studies used only half the recommended dose. A recent double-blind placebo-controlled study involving 84 participants doc-umented a significant decrease in behavior problems (Unpublished study by Drs. Shin-siung Jung, Bernard Rimland, and Stephen M. Edelson).
The recommended daily dose of DMG is between one to four 125 mg tablets for a child, and between two and eight tablets for an adult. Initially, a person should begin with one 125 mg tablet (a tablet for a small child), and then increase the amount by one tablet every 2 to 3 days. DMG is also available in capsule, liquid, and sweet-tasting dissolving tablets.
There are no documented long-term side effects from DMG; however, in a few cases, parents report agitation and/or hyperactivity in their children. In these cases, it is recom-mended that folic acid also be given to the person. The suggested amount is two 800 microgram tablets for each 125 mg tablet of DMG. Some professionals suggest that DMG should always be supplemented with folic acid since folic acid cannot cause any harm, reduces the possibility of agitation/hyperactivity, and could possibly be more effective than when giving DMG alone.
Parents have also reported positive results with a similar product, tri-methyl-glycine (TMG). There are, as yet, no published reports on its efficacy for autistic individuals. TMG breaks down into DMG and SAMe in the body. SAMe is a nutritional supplement and is sometimes used to treat mood disorders such as depression.
Note: DMG can be purchased at the urls shown down below.
Vitamin B6 and Magnesium
Written by Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D.
Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon
An effective intervention for many autistic children and adults is the use of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and magnesium. For over 30 years, parents have given B6 and magnesium to their children and have observed benefits ranging from mild to dramatic. B6 and magnesium are safe and inexpensive.
B6 and magnesium have received more scientific support than any other biological intervention for autism. There are 18 studies showing that B6 and magnesium are beneficial to about half of autistic individuals. Eleven of these studies involved a double-blind placebo design. These studies have documented decreases in behavioral problems, improvements in appropriate behavior, and normalization of brain wave activity and urine biochemistry. There is also evidence that B6 and magnesium may reduce seizure activity. Parent reports also include: improvements in attention, learning, speech/language, and eye contact.
Information about these research studies along with other relevant information can be obtained from the Autism Research Institute (e.g., answers to frequently asked questions, dosage/weight chart).
Kirkman Laboratories in Lake Oswego, Oregon has been manufacturing a flavored B6/magnesium formula, Super Nuthera, for use in autism since 1968 (see link below).
The average effective dose is 8 milligrams (mg) per pound (lb.) for vitamin B6, and 3 mg per lb. for magnesium. These recommendations are for the average autistic person; thus, a person may respond better on a lower or higher amount. Parents should first give about one-fourth of this dose (i.e., 2 mg per lb. for B6 & 1 mg per lb. for magnesium) and gradually increase the amount every 3 to 4 days. Parents should keep track of their child’s behavior to determine the appropriate dose.
It is very important to give magnesium along with B6 because B6 requires extra magnesium to be effective, and thus may cause a deficiency. Problems associated with magnesium deficiency include: enuresis (bedwetting), irritability/agitation, and sound sensitivity. Occasionally, an autistic person exhibits one or more of these behaviors when given B6 along with magnesium. In these cases, the person may need more than the recommended amount of magnesium. Magnesium is relatively safe--too high of a dose will cause diarrhea (e.g., Milk of Magnesia).
A comprehensive multivitamin/multi-mineral supplement is strongly recommended since vitamins and minerals assist in metabolizing B6 and magnesium. Be careful: many children’s vitamins contain Aspartame (or Nutrasweet) which is used as a sweetener. Parents should try to avoid products with Aspartame because research has shown that Aspartame can cause neurological damage (see Russell L. Blaylock’s 1996 book entitled Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills).
There is some discussion on the side effects of high doses of B6. The only documentation of an adverse reaction to very high doses (higher than the recommended doses for autism) is peripheral neuropathy, but this is extremely rare. Peripheral neuropathy refers to tingling or numbness in the fingers and/or toes. Reducing the amount of B6 will usually eliminate the tingling or numbness within a day or two.


Autism Research Review International, 1997, Vol. 11, No. 4, page 3

What is the right 'dosage' for Vitamin B6, DMG,
and other nutrients useful in autism?

Bernard Rimland, Ph.D.
Autism Research Institute
4182 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116

I place quote marks around "dosage" because "dose" typically refers to drugs, and the nutrients to be discussed are definitely not drugs. A drug acts by blocking or interfering with a natural bodily process, while a nutrient permits or enhances these processes. That is why drugs are so often harmful, while nutrients are characteristically not only safe, but beneficial.

We are very often asked, "What is the right dosage of this or that for our child?" The answer is, for nutrients as it is for drugs--no one knows. Each person is very different from everyone else, and only by experimenting--trial and error--can it be determined if a substance will be helpful and in what amounts it should be given. Given that as a base fact, here is what I have learned over the last 30 years:

Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 (must be given with magnesium) was found to be helpful in almost half of all autistic children and adults included in 18 consecutive studies between 1965 and 1996. In our own studies, the average amount of B6 found to be beneficial was around 8 mg of B6 per pound of body weight, per day. (This is about 500 mg/day for a 60 pound child.) Gilbert Lelord and his group of researchers in France arrived at an almost identical amount: 17 mg/kg/day.

But--this is just an average. In ARRI 9/2 we published a letter from a father whose son did very well on about 40 mg/day. We suggest starting with one-quarter the target amount and increasing slowly over a 10- to 14-day period. If too much is given for that child, or if the dosage is increased too quickly, there may be minor side effects, such as hyperactivity, nausea, or diarrhea--but this is rather rare. In such cases, the dose should be cut back and increased again slowly, to try to find the right levels. We advise the parents to refrain from mentioning the experiment to teachers, therapists, relatives, and neighbors, so they can benefit from unsolicited comments.

The upper limits advised for adults or those above 120 pounds is 1,000 mg/day, although some have been on 1,500 mg/day. I added 500 mg/day to my own son's 1,000 mg/day for one year, but saw no improvement beyond the 1,000 mg that he had taken for 20 years, so I reverted to 1,000 mg/day.

Last year a Florida mother phoned to tell me that on visiting her adult son's group home she was appalled at his deteriorated behavior. On investigating, she found they had run out of his supply of B6/magnesium, which should have provided 1,000 mg/day of B6. She then ordered three times the usual supply of the powdered B6/magnesium formula, to protect against running out again. On her next visit she was amazed at the improvement in her son. He actually showed affection toward her for the first time! She then learned that her instructions had been misunderstood and her son was now getting 3,000 mg/day of B6--three times the recommended amount. Despite the improvement, the physicians in charge stopped the B6, claiming it was dangerous. He is now on a drug which is dangerous.

The only known harm from megadoses of vitamin B6 is peripheral neuropathy--seen as a tingling and numbness in the hands and feet. It is very rare--I have encountered only four cases in 30 years, and the problem went away when the B6 was stopped. A few people are supersensitive to B6.

The B6/magnesium will often produce benefits within a few days. If no improvement is seen in about a month, I suggest stopping it.

Magnesium: Giving about 3 or 4 mg of magnesium per pound of body weight, up to 400 mg per day for adults, enhances the effects of the B6 and protects against possible B6-induced magnesium deficiency. This is not a megadose of magnesium, but rather the amount that many researchers, including me, believe that everyone should take for optimum health. Almost every type of food processing depletes magnesium, so supplemental magnesium is essential to avoid a deficiency.

Dimethylglycine (DMG): The best suppliers of DMG provide it in tablets or capsules of 125 mg each. Determining right dosage really depends on trial and error experimentation. Young children are generally found to do well--if they respond to DMG--on anywhere from one-half tablet to three or four tablets a day, although one mother, a physician, found that her five-year-old son needed 16 per day! (He did well for several hours on four tablets, then regressed, so was given four more. This happened every few hours, so he reached 16 per day.)

Another physician, also the mother of an autistic son--a 170-pound man in his late 20's-- ended up giving her son 26 DMG per day, for the same reason. It seems that a few people metabolize the DMG very fast, and thus need more per day than most.

Radio talk show host Gary Null of New York City told me that many marathon runners take one DMG every mile they run--26 in all. They perform better and suffer fewer physical problems. There is ample scientific research showing such benefits to be highly expectable.

Although there is a very wide range of dosage levels reported by those who use DMG, the usual dosage for children ranges up to about four per day, and for adults to about eight per day. As with B6, the differences between individuals are huge.

A small percentage of autistic children become hyperactive when given DMG. That is their way of telling you they need more folic acid. Folic acid, a B vitamin, may be bought in 800 mcg tablets or capsules. Two of the 800 mcg folic acid tablets with each DMG will usually solve this problem.

Folic acid: Folic acid itself has been reported to be helpful in autism (ARRI 8/4). The great French researcher Jerome Lejeune reported that supplements of about 250 mcg of folic acid per pound of body weight per day brought on major improvement in several autistic children. Dr. Lejeune gave thousands of retarded children (mostly Down syndrome) 20 mg of folic acid per day in his various studies, with no harm, nor would any harm be expected.

Vitamin C: In 1991, Lelland Tolbert and his associates reported that giving 8,000 mg/ day of vitamin C to adolescent and adult autistic persons brought about significant improvement (ARRI 6/1). Since vitamin C is found in very high concentrations in the brain, this is not a surprising finding. A number of the world's leading experts on vitamin C, including Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, recommend that most people take at least that much vitamin C each day for optimal health. I have studied vitamin C for some 30 years, and own almost every book ever written on the subject. I take about 12,000 mg of vitamin C daily (three level teaspoons), in the form of sodium ascorbate powder (only about $18 per pound, from 1-800-325-2664). A small percentage of people get diarrhea on such doses--for the rest of us, especially those with autism, there is much to gain.

As the many benefits that nutrients can and do confer become more widely known and accepted, increasing numbers of parents will turn to these natural and healthful substances in preference to harmful drugs. ARRI will keep readers informed about research into these valuable treatments.



Fish Oil Supplementation and Autism/Asperger's Syndrome: A New Study
Two American researchers, Louise Patrick, SLP, and Ronald M. Salik, MD, have recently reported the results of a clinical trial of the effects of a fish-oil supplement on language development and learning skills in children with autism or Asperger's syndrome1. Fish oil provides essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are critical for brain health. Children with attention deficit, autistic, and related disorders have been shown to have significantly lower levels of EFAs in their red blood cells2.
The Patrick-Salik trial was an open-label study involving children aged 3 to 10 years who had been diagnosed with autism or Asperger's syndrome by a pediatric neurologist or qualified pediatric specialist. Children with a diagnosis of seizures, an allergy to fish or borage oil, or who were currently taking an EFA supplement were excluded. Parents were asked to refrain from adding new therapies during the study, and parental consent was obtained for each child.
The supplement, ProEFA™ from Nordic Naturals, combines omega-3 from fish oil and omega-6 from borage oil to provide 247 mg EPA and DHA, 40 mg GLA, and 14 IU Vitamin E. The children were each given one gram of ProEFA (Complete Omega™/Omega 3.6.9 Jr.™) per day for 90 days. If swallowing the capsule proved difficult, parents were encouraged to squeeze the contents into a food.
On days 0, 45, and 90 of supplementation, 49 developmental items from the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS), a criterion-referenced tool, were used to measure eight primary areas of language and learning: receptive language, requesting, labeling, intraverbals, imitation, play skills, social interaction, and generalization. Both the initial and final assessments were conducted by Ms. Patrick, a certified speech pathologist. An adult who knew the child well (parent, teacher, therapist) and who had been trained in scoring assessed the child on day 45 using the same 49 items. The score from day 0 was not referenced during evaluation on day 90.
Of the initial 22 children, 18 completed the 90-day trial. All of the children displayed significant increases in their language and learning skills based upon the ABLLS. A t-test analysis of the data in the areas of receptive language, requesting, play skills, intraverbals and social interaction resulted in a p-value < 0.0001. A p-value of <0.001 was obtained in the areas of labeling and generalization. In addition a p-value of <0.01 was obtained for vocal imitation. These p-values demonstrate that the increase in scores from day 0 to day 90 had high statistical significance. Ms. Patrick noted the importance of fish oil purity and, keeping in mind the hypersensitivity of most children with autism-related disorders, of beginning with the lowest possible dose for this population. "Our significant results were achieved with a relatively small amount of essential fatty acids," she observed.
Dr. Salik is the Medical Director of the Children's Emergency Center at Tucson Medical Center in Arizona. Ms. Patrick has over 10 years' experience providing services for children with autism and Asperger's syndrome. She is available for free consultation regarding EFA supplementation for children with communication difficulties at
To learn more on this topic, be sure to also read the related article, Vaccines found to contain mercury; are vaccinations safe?
See more articles like this one at
Original news summary: (
* Fish Oil Supplementation and Autism/Asperger's Syndrome: A New Study

Fish Oil: An Essential Tool to Improve Autism
With the autism epidemic surging, the number of autistic children in the United States has greatly increased. Estimates range from one in 500 to one in 1,000 cases in the United States each year. However, this condition -- responsible for a range of social and developmental problems -- doesn't plague American children only.
Autism rates in Scotland have also increased dramatically within the past decade, leading Scottish researchers to conduct a study in hopes of revealing the cause. And they made an exciting breakthrough: Childhood autism may be associated with a deficiency of fatty acids (omega-3 fats) found in oily fish.
Promising Results
According to a pilot study of about 20 autistic children, cell membranes in the blood of autistic children processed fatty acids at a much faster rate than other children. Brain cell membranes are largely made up of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, substances found in oily fish such as:
    * Mackerel
    * Salmon
Based on their discovery, researchers speculate fatty acid deficiency may be a partial trigger for autism.
The Scotsman June 1, 2005
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Dr. Mercola's Comment:
I feel very strongly that omega-3 fat deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional deficiencies in this country and results in profound contributions to nearly all disease. Not only are these fats important for your child's neurological development, they also have vital contributions to:
    * Preventing inflammation
    * Improving cardiovascular function
    * Optimizing your immune system function
Breastfeeding your child is one of the most important first steps you can take in encouraging normal development of your child's brain and nervous system. Breast milk is naturally high in omega-3 fats and other important nutrients. It is important to remember, though, that if you are going to have healthy breast milk you must eat well and get enough high-quality omega-3 fats in your diet.
Finally, while the results of the above study are certainly exciting, the researcher's advice to eat more fish as a source of omega-3 fats should be taken with caution. An unfortunate result of modern times is that our lakes, streams and oceans have become contaminated with a number of toxins, including mercury.
As some of you may know already, mercury is another important contributing factor to the development of autism. While its potential connection to the disease is most commonly seen with vaccinations, seafood and other sources like dental fillings are also important to be aware of.
This is why you will want to find a clean source of fish oil. You can purchase certified mercury-free salmon but that is expensive as it is shipped frozen overnight from Alaska. Alternatively, a less expensive option would be to find a high-quality fish or cod liver oil. As we have just passed the first day of summer, most of us should be receiving our vitamin D from the sun, not from cod liver oil. So, unless you are getting little to no sun exposure it would likely be best for you to use a high-quality fish oil at this time of year.
Related Articles:
    Did You Know the Autism Rate is Rising?
    Cod Liver Oil May Make Children Smarter
    The Dramatic Effect of Fish Oil on Learning & Development
Omega-3 Fish Oil May Improve Autism
Childhood autism may be linked to a deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, Scottish researchers said yesterday.
A pilot study at the University of Stirling found that children with autism had cells that broke down fatty acids more rapidly than normal cells. A further study has been commissioned to research what autism advocates call a "crucial piece of the puzzle" for a condition with no known scientific explanation.
Autism rates in Scotland have risen dramatically in the past ten years, a trend mirrored across the developed world. In Scotland, an estimated 50,000 people, nearly 7,000 of them children, suffer from autism.
The condition, which causes a range of social and developmental problems, has baffled scientists searching for a cause and cure. But now they think fish fats may be crucial to understanding the condition.
Brain cell membranes are composed primarily of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, substances found in oily fish such as mackerel and salmon.
A study of about 20 autistic children last year revealed that cell membranes in their blood metabolised, or processed, fatty acids at a faster rate than other children. The discovery led to speculation that a fatty acid deficiency may be partially responsible for the onset of autism. A further study of 50 children will attempt to confirm the results.
"We have already seen a connection between omega levels and schizophrenia and dyslexia," said Dr Gordon Bell of the university. If cell function in the brain is changed, the behaviour of the brain will change as well.
"In exactly what way we don’t know, but if our hypothesis proves accurate, it could be a first step to uncovering some of the mysteries of autism."
John McDonald, chief executive of the Scottish Society for Autism, welcomed the new research as an aid to families struggling to understand the condition. "There’s so much information we don’t have," he said. This particular piece of research will just add another piece to the jigsaw. The good news is that good quality Omega-3 fish oil is inexpensive and abundant.

Many people report their children  having difficulty getting to sleep.  Down below is some information on Melatonin, as well as Epsom Salt Therapy.
Melatonin - The Sleep Master: An emerging role for this over-the-counter supplement in the treatment of autism.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH
One of the most common and most troubling times we experience is when we or our children cannot fall asleep effectively. Autistic children appear to be especially prone to this problem, and in has been estimated that more than half exhibit some disturbance in sleep patterns. This suggests some form of deficit in the brain systems that normally promote sleep. During the past decade there has been great progress in understanding the normal brain mechanisms which sustain restful sleep. Since a great number of sleep promoting substances exist in the brain and body, any of them might be deficient in neurological condition we call autism. Here we will focus on one of the major factors, melatonin, which is presently proving to be a remarkably effective natural sleeping aid not only for restless autistic children but also their often bedraggled parents.
As many parents have already discovered, this natural sleep molecule is presently available over-the-counter at many health food stores and distributors (although the ever present danger exists that special-interests will succeed in coaxing the FDA into taking this safe and effective aid off the shelves, as has already been done for several other important supplements, most notably tryptophan). Of course, as with any powerful and effective substance, there are certain guidelines that one should follow to maximize benefits and avoid problems. Although there are sound theoretical reasons for believing that autistic children may be manufacturing either too much melatonin (see Chamberlain & Herman, 1990) or too little, our own viewpoint has been that many kids do not secrete enough (see Panksepp, Lensing, Leboyer & Bouvard, 1991).
Unfortunately, there presently is simply not enough good data to decide which viewpoint is correct. However, the fact that melatonin can stabilize and promote normal sleep and daily bodily rhythms is presently certain. However, it is important to learn how to use this remarkably safe and powerful substance wisely. After briefly summarizing how melatonin works in the brain, we will share some important advice in the proper use of melatonin (including when it should be given, how much should be given, and what to do if melatonin stops working, as sometimes does happen). The first thing that is important to know is that our brains contain a wonderful clock-like mechanisms that normally keeps time with about a 24 Hr. period, but its accuracy is controlled by many factors such as light (i.e.,.., day-night cycles) and various brain chemicals, especially melatonin. This clock-like control center is situated in two small clusters of neurons at the base of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) which, as the name implies, are situated directly above the optic chiasm, the place where half the nerves from each of our eyes cross over to the opposite halves of our brains. The many output pathways from the SCN control practically all behavioral rhythms that have been studied, from feeding to sleep. When both nuclei are destroyed, animals scatter their behavior haphazardly throughout the day instead of maintaining a well-patterned routine of daily activities. Our own natural melatonin secretions, which normally occur during the early morning hours when we have our deepest sleep, coordinates the accuracy of the SCN clock. People who have lost their sight, and hence are unable to coordinate their bodily clock via the influence of natural day-night cycles, are able to stabilize their rhythms by taking small amounts of melatonin at exactly the same time each day. And that is really the secret to proper melatonin use--it should be given only once a day in small amounts, and the proper time is about half an hour before one's normal sleep-time.
Within our bodies, melatonin is naturally produced within the pineal gland, a glandular organ nestled between the cerebral hemispheres, that the great French philosopher Descartes once proposed to be the "seat of the soul." In that gland, melatonin is synthesized in two steps from the precursor neurotransmitter serotonin. Pineal stores of melatonin are typically released into the circulation when illumination diminishes, and may help explain why most of us sleep better when the lights are off.
During those morning hours when melatonin levels begin to diminish, birds begin to sing and we also tend to wake up, restored, to start our daily activities. It is easy to understand why lack of sleep might increase behavioral and psychological problems during the day. In addition, melatonin does a remarkable number of beneficial tasks in the body: Not only is it a powerful inducer of sleep, but it also regulates a variety of other bodily processes ranging from brain maturation to the vigor of our immune responses. It has been found to retard the growth of some cancers, and quite independently of that beneficial effect, it can also alleviate certain forms of anxiety and depression. Most remarkably, given in the drinking water, it has increased life-span in various experimental animals by about 20%. It also helps control the onset of puberty during adolescence.
In short, melatonin exerts many beneficial effect on the brain and body, but parents are well advised to follow certain guidelines in its use as a sleep-promoting agent:
WHEN? It should be given only once a day, about half an hour before the regular sleep-time. Supplementing with additional melatonin in the middle of the night may be effective, but it is not a smart policy, for that can shift the biological clock in chaotic and undesirable ways.
HOW MUCH? Although melatonin is very safe (people have consumed grams each day for many day with no ill effects), very small amount can go a long way. Commercially available preparations usually come in 2.5 or 3 milligram (mg) tablets, and a young child should do well on a third of this amount. The higher amounts will produce deeper sleep, but the hormone may still be circulating at quite high levels in the morning, and there are reasons to believe that is undesirable.
POTENCY CHANGE? Melatonin usually does not diminish in its effects even with prolong use, but for unknown reasons, this is not the case in all individuals. If a low dose of melatonin that has been effective for some time seems to be losing its effect (i.e., tolerance is setting in), one is wiser to stop giving the supplement for a while rather than increasing the dose. Some parents seek to restore the desired effects by increasing the doses, but that only seems to intensify the tolerance process. It is better to take a week to a month off, and then see whether sensitivity has returned. In our experience, sensitivity is usually restored in this way. Many autistic children that have been receiving melatonin on a regular schedule appear to exhibit benefits above and beyond the improvements in sleep. They are more "with it" during the day. These may be the side-benefits of the still mysterious restorative processes that sleep provides for all of us. Additional benefits may arise from the stabilization of body rhythms that may have been out of synch before the melatonin supplementation.
Although we do know that melatonin and sleep have many bodily benefits, we do not have adequate evidence about the many "hows and whys." Our knowledge of such matters has not progressed much beyond Shakespeare's speculation that the function of sleep is "to knit up the raveled sleeve of care" even though modern thinkers are more likely to suggest that "sleep restores brain neurochemistries and other bodily resources that have been depleted by waking activities." Melatonin appears to be a prime guardian of such restorative processes, and without it, our lives become raveled indeed. It is likely that the for presently unknown reasons, the brains of some autistic children are deficient in this important chemistry. If so, early supplementation with this hormone may be essential for normalizing development. Unfortunately we know little about such matters, and only future research can give us the answers that we desperately need now.


Why Use Epsom Salts


Dr Rosemary Waring found that most people with autism conditions have a deficiency in a key detoxification pathway. The pathway involves using sulfur in the form of sulfate (known as sulfation). The enzyme involved is phenol sulfur-transferase (PST), but the problem is thought to hinge on an inadequate supply of usable sulfate ions, not the metabolic enzyme itself.


Dr Waring found that most children on the autism spectrum are very low in sulfate and may be as low as 15 percent of the amount in neurologically typical people. People with low or no ability to convert compounds to sulfate have problems handling environmental chemicals, some medications, and even some chemicals produced within the body. They include people with other conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and chemical sensitivities.


The PST sulfation pathway is necessary for the breakdown and removal of certain toxins in the body. This includes the processing of a type of chemical called a phenol. Phenols are a regular and necessary part of life. All foods contain some phenolic compounds. However, some foods have a much higher content than others do. If the sulfation pathway is not functioning well, a person may not be able to process out the phenolic compounds as fast as they consume them. There is a cumulative effect. When the phenols start backing up in the system, it can cause a myriad of negative reactions. Symptoms of phenol intolerance include night waking, night sweats, irritability, eczema, and other skin conditions. The symptoms of phenol intolerance and yeast may be very similar because they both involve the body trying to deal with toxins.


This detoxification pathway processes other phenolic compounds including salicylates (salicylates are a subset of phenols), artificial food colorings, artificial flavorings, and some preservatives. Besides requiring PST, research has found the salicylates further suppress the activity of any PST enzyme present, making matters worse. Food dyes also have been shown to inhibit the PST enzyme.


First Part


You can unclog this ‘bottleneck’ in one of two ways. One is reducing the amount of phenols and toxins entering the body. This is the basis of the Feingold Program or diet. The Feingold Program removes the hard-to-process artificial colorings, flavorings, and three preservatives. It also removes the most problematic of the salicylate foods at the beginning of the program. Later in the program, you may be able to add these salicylate foods back after testing them one at a time. The foods targeted by the Feingold Program and their effects on hyperactivity in children have been extensively studied. Eliminating these chemicals has been effectively helping many children with all sorts of behavior problems for many years, although the reasons why are just now beginning to be understood.


Feingold/Failsafe Programs


There is an abundance of studies in the references that specifically show that eliminating these types of chemicals significantly improve neurological problems in children.


Note: look in the Research section at the top of the page at the above link. This site contains information on the possible symptoms from various food and environmental chemicals also.


A literature review by Kidd (2000) concludes that although the exact cause of attention deficit conditions is unknown, the current consensus is that genetics plays a role. Other major contributors include adverse responses to food additives, intolerances to foods, sensitivities to environmental chemicals, nutrient deficiencies, and exposures to neurodevelopmental toxins such as heavy metals. This sounds exactly like the factors contributing to autism, migraines, sensory integration issues and other related conditions.


Second Part


The second method of enhancing the detoxification process is to supply more sulfate. This increases the amount of toxins processed out. Sulfate ions may not be absorbed well from the gut, so simply giving more sulfur directly by swallowing supplements may not produce satisfactory results. Some people have seen improvements by supplementing with the sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and taurine, or MSM (methysulfonylmethane), or by using one of the many commercially available MSM creams. However, others have not found this tolerable. This may be because their body is unable to convert the sulfur to the needed sulfate form.


Most people do see improvement with Epsom salts because the form of sulfur in the Epsom salts is already sulfate and readily available to the body.


What are Epsom salts and how do they work?


Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate. Salts are just molecules that form because the parts have opposite electrical charges that bind together. Magnesium has a positive charge. Sulfate has a negative charge, and performs all sorts of unique biological functions. The two elements dissociate in solution (English translation: break apart and separate in liquid). Epsom salts are available at most local grocers or health food stores, or inexpensively in bulk at agricultural supply stores.


The magnesium and sulfate in the salts are absorbed into the body through the skin. Because the sulfur is already in the sulfate form, it does not need to be converted like other forms of sulfur do. Sulfate is thought to circulate in the body up to about nine hours. Any Epsom salts left on the skin may continue to be absorbed as long as it is still on the skin, offering continuous ‘timed-released’ input into the bloodstream – like medications given through skin patches. Many people on a typical ‘modern’ processed diet are very deficient in magnesium as well, which Epsom salts also supply in a highly available form. Main effects of insufficient magnesium are hyperness, irritability, anxiety, and muscle twitching or spasms. So the salts may provide two-way assistance. see Magnesium


How to give Epsom salts


Here are several methods for giving Epsom salts. The ratio is not exact, just what seems to get the salts dissolved and on the skin.


Epsom salt baths – Most people use about one to two cups per tub. Dissolve the salts in hot water first and then fill the tub to about waist deep, as warm as possible. The amount of salts you may find works best will depend on the individual tolerance, the temperature of the water, and the size of the tub. The warmer the water and larger the tub, the more salts will dissolve. If you see negative reactions, such as irritability or hyperactivity, then decrease the amount of salts. You may need to start with as little as one tablespoon of salts, and work up gradually. Epsom salts baths are very calming for most people. This works well just before bedtime. Most guides say to soak for about 20 minutes or more. It is okay to let the salts dry on the skin. You may notice a dry clear-white powder. If it is too itchy or irritating, just rinse it off. If the skin feels too dry, use lotion or oils to moisturize. Diarrhea or loose stools may result if children drink the bath water.


Spray – Mix one part salts and one part water (add more water if the salts are not dissolved) and put in a spray-squirt bottle. Mist the person’s chest and/or back and let it dry on the skin. This method works well in the summer.


Footbath – Mix one part salts to two parts water (or more so the salts dissolve) and let the person soak their feet in it. My boys would soak their feet about 30 minutes while they did reading or homework.


Homemade lotion recipe:


Heat some Epsom salts with a little water to dissolve them. I put about one teaspoon of water in three tablespoons of salts and microwave for a minute or so. Add more water if necessary. Then mix this into around four ounces of any lotion or cream you like. I have used suntan lotion, handcream, cocoa butter, body lotion, aloe vera cream, whatever I find that is on sale or inexpensive without the chemicals I am trying to avoid. This seems to work better if the cream or lotion is water-based rather than oil-based. Good buys are at the local grocer in the lotion section. Apply to skin anywhere as often as desired. Some new commercially prepared Epsom salt creams are available but can be very expensive and may contain chemicals that are not tolerated.


Epsom salt oil – Neither of my sons nor I liked the salty film left on the skin after a bath (felt itchy). I mixed some coconut oil in with the salts and water. Actually, it is more oil than water. Three tablespoons water plus four tablespoons salts plus 12 tablespoons coconut oil. The coconut oil is good for the skin anyway and it seems to counter the drying effect of the salts. I found that just mixing the salts and oil did not dissolve the salts, so I needed to add some water. I apply this liberally on the skin and it soaks in plus leaves the skin smooth and soft. Adjust the quantity of salts to your liking.


Sponge – A solution of one part salts to four parts water works well. Dampen a sponge in the mixture and apply to any part of the body.


Poultice or skin patch – You can mix some Epsom salts and whatever kind of lotion the person can tolerate into a paste. Put this paste on a large bandaid and apply to the skin. The salts will soak into the skin.





 (Please note: No-Phenol can be ordered from Kirkman Labs, url down below.)



Epsom Salt Bath experiences:
Our Experience......
We started using it in July and saw a DRAMATIC improvement in Alex's verbal skills. He was more willing to use speech, was able to string 4-5 words together (till then it had been 1 or 2), and even his articulation improved. It was the biggest jump in his language skills since he first began to talk at 6.2 years old. If only 5% of these language gains can be credited to the salts, that's still pretty impressive. We discontinued use once and once we started again he had another language spurt.
Alex *must* like it as he often fixes the bath himself, adding the correct amount of Earth salts.
From another Mother...............

I read with the greatest of interest the section on Earth Salts baths and decided to try this for myself. Logan has always had 'sores' on his tongue and every doctor has said it was thrush and tried to treat it accordingly with absolutely no effect. However after giving him the baths it cleared up within a couple of days. On one occasion I hadn't used them for a week and the sores came back so again I used the Salts and again it cleared up. I now bath him every second night using the Earth Salts and his tongue has stayed clear.
Karen Bell (and Logan of course)

Scientists Warns 'No-Phenol' Digestive Enzymes 'Dangerous' Autism Treatment Enzymes, amino acids and phenol in autism
[The giving of digestive enzymes that purport to mediate the effects of gluten and casein in the diet of one's autistic child is the current trend du jour in the autism community by many parents. This is readily witnessed by the mercurial rise of enzymes and autism oriented email groups on the Internet, replacing the spot once enjoyed by secretin. Dr. Jon Pangborn is an early creator of such products, now being marketed by Kirkman Labs, Klaire Labs and a newer company, Houston Labs.
In a commentary in the current Autism Research Review International, Pangborn issues a warning on the risks of a new "enzyme supplement that destroys all dietary phenols" - the kind recently introduced by Houston Labs, apparently.
Dietary supplements are not government regulated. The consumer relies on a company's reputation, and the word-of-mouth endorsements of other consumers to gauge product safety and efficacy.
So, especially in such an environment of lesser science, dire warnings issued by an industry scientist must be taken seriously, and so this one is presented here.
In an article in the same publication that accompanies this warning entitled "Autism, digestive enzymes, the Internet, and fraud", Dr. Bernard Rimland, founder of the Autism Research Institute and the DAN! Conferences goes into detail on the unseemly underside of this business. Excerpts of that expose appear following this article. Immediately below is the full text of Dr. Pangborn's warning and contains technical language. FEAT has no independent means for evaluating this warning, nor the comments made by Dr. Rimland following. The material is reproduced here without endorsement, as clippings for the readers' information only. -LS]
One purpose for providing special digestive enzymes is to aid the complete breakdown of dietary proteins and peptides into single, free-form amino acids. An objective is to reduce or nearly eliminate harmful peptides that can act as false neurotransmitters and disregulators of immune response. For this objective, both dietary restrictions and enzyme supplementation are advisable.
Free-form amino acids can be easily absorbed and utilized in body tissues. Each then has work to do in the body. The amino acid tyrosine is needed for formation of thyroglobulin, catecholamines hormones (dopamine, noradrenalin), melanin pigment molecules, and other essential metabolites. When tyrosine is deficient, thyroid functions, mood, behavior and attitude can be affected as can rest and sleep patterns and cognitive abilities.
Tyrosine is a phenol; simply stated, it is phenol-alanine (4-hydroxyphenylalanine). While some phenols, such as pentachlorophenol, can inhibit sulfation, other phenol molecules, especially tyrosine, are essential to human life. In this author's opinion, it is absolutely wrong to provide an enzyme supplement that destroys all dietary phenols. A "no-phenol regimen" invites metabolic disorder, especially for individuals who may have problems with tyrosine adequacy.
Many autistics do seem to have a problem in this area. They do not make enough tyrosine from its essential precursor, phenylalanine, and they then depend much more heavily on dietary tyrosine. In fact, individuals with disordered phenylalanine metabolism and deficient tyrosine were among the first to have a metabolic explanation for their autism. A product that destroys the phenol tyrosine is certain to be harmful or dangerous to such individuals. I emphatically urge that any such product not be used for human consumption.
-Jon Pangborn, Ph.D., F.A.I.C.

Note:  Please click on the GFCF Diet, Food Issues, Etc. page for more info. Or, or click on this link and you'll be taken directly to that page.

Links for vitamins, enzymes, etc.
Houston Nutraceuticals Inc.
Omega Brite  Omega 3 Formula