Our Autism Detoxification Protocol
So far, I’ve covered the first two elements of our 4-D autism treatment plan. I’ve discussed Ethan’s highly-restricted yet nutrient dense diet. I have also explained that my son’s body has been overrun by foreign microbes like Candida. Genetic predispositions and early medical challenges left our son with a severely impaired immune system and a broken detoxification pathway. Consequently, his body has been overwhelmed with toxins. We believe these toxins prevent normal biochemical cycles from completing properly thus causing or at least worsening his autism symptoms. In order to treat those symptoms and help Ethan be the best he can be, we are working to fix his broken detoxification pathway, and get those toxins out. This brings us to Phase 3 of our 4 phase plan: Our autism Detoxification protocol.
Our 4-D Autism Treatment Plan
- Phase 1 Diet
- Phase 2 De-Bug
- Phase 3: Detox: Our Autism Detoxification Protocol
- Phase 4: De-Stress
Body Burden: How Do We Know His Body is Toxic
Medical testing confirms that Ethan has a high toxic load. These elements are preventing his body from running optimally. We know for sure that Ethan has elevated levels of mercury, lead, & arsenic as well as antimony, tin, barium, and uranium. These were revealed through hair, blood, and urine test. I suspect his body burden of toxins also includes many other chemicals. There is no real need to test for any more. We can clearly see that Ethan is in need of detox support.
Many kids with autism have testing that reveal a similar body burden of toxins. They may have different chemicals to deal with like perchlorate (from fertilizers), PBDEs (flame retardants), plasticizers, or aluminum. I believe all kids on the spectrum can benefit from some type of autism detoxification protocol to reduce their body burden and help them function better.
Where Did These Toxins Come From?
We live in a toxic world. Unnatural chemicals have become ubiquitous in our society. They are in our cookware, our kid’s toys, and even our clothes. We sleep on mattresses and sit on furniture doused in flame retardants. We spray our homes, offices, and ourselves with toxic unnatural fragrances. Even our air, food and water supply are filled with toxins. Everyday we make our world a more dangerous place to live. Nowhere is this danger more evident than in the autism population. Rates of autism have skyrocketed. I was born in 1980 when the rates of autism were 1:10,000 kids. In my lifetime, that number has jumped to 1:68. 1 in every 68 school-aged children have autism. (or about 4 million Americans) I believe the toxic world we created has greatly contributed to the rise in autism. In fact, many consider the autism population to be canaries in the coal mine.
Everyone is exposed to toxins everyday, so why doesn’t everyone have autism. Individuals with autism are more sensitive to toxins in the environment. Whether due to poor gut health, a weak immune system, genetic mutations, infections, or chemical body burden, they cannot effectively remove toxins as well as others can.
What is Broken and How Are We Trying To Fix It?
Our autism detoxification protocol addresses a few specific issues. This is targeted directly at our son’s needs. However, many kids on the spectrum are likely affected by the same problems, and could benefit from these strategies. In order to support detoxification, we are addressing the following:
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Poor gut health
- Impaired Methylation
- Depleted Glutathione
I discussed the first 2 issues in the first 2 phases of the 4-D program. In my Diet post, I discussed how our nutrient dense diet will help normalize vitamin and mineral levels. Additionally, we are supplementing calcium, magnesium, B6, & folic acid. In my Debug article, I talked about how we are addressing his gut health using things like probiotic foods and targeted antimicrobial herbs & prescriptions.
Our Autism Detoxification Protocol
Step #1: Shut Off the Faucet
Before we can start to detoxify my son’s body, we had to first stop or at least dramatically decrease the flow of toxins in which he is introduced. Our home is about as toxin free as we can get it. You will not find an artificial fragrance, cleaning chemical, or processed food in our house. We use a coconut-based soap. I make our own laundry detergent, and we clean with vinegar. I will even air out new electronics/plastics in the garage or backyard before bringing them into the house. We are also in the process of looking for a new home more in the country, so we can reduce our exposure to environmental pollution and grow our own food as well.
Step #2: Provide the Right Fuel
Once again, diet comes into play. Detox is a process that takes place mainly in the gut. It is important to provide the body with proper nutrients and plenty of probiotic organisms. Sulfur rich vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower) should help to eliminate harmful toxins. Good bacteria can themselves process and eliminate toxic substances in the body giving us yet another reason to eat fermented foods and take a daily probiotic. We are providing Ethan with all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help his body re-start the natural detoxification processes (methylation).
Step #3: Kill the Bugs
As I discussed in my last post (debug), Ethan has an imbalance of good vs bad microbes.
His main intruder is an overgrowth of yeast called Candida. It causes a whole host of problems, but Candida does do one thing that benefits the body. It sequesters heavy metals really well. Candida holds on to things like lead & mercury, which is good because it prevents them from settling in his brain and causing even more severe problems. However, it also makes it even harder for Ethan to excrete those metals. We recently did a hair mineral test that showed absolutely zero mercury in his hair. This is very much a red flag for me. Mercury and other metals are all around us in the air, water, jewelry, toys, light bulbs, vaccines… Mom has mercury dental amalgams, and I’m quite certain Ethan picked up mercury from her in utero. There is simply no way that Ethan (or anyone for that matter) has zero mercury in his body. For whatever reason, he is not able to detox it. I believe his broken detoxification pathways is a big reason for this, but also the overgrowth of Candida is making it that much tougher for my little guy to get rid of this potent neurotoxin. In order to detox the metals, we have to simultaneously go after the yeast and other bugs as well. As the yeast starts dieing, they let go of the metals. Hopefully, that’s when they will be grabbed by our binding supplements and taken to the liver/kidney for processing and removal.
Another problem with an overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeast is they contribute to the body’s toxic load. Microbes make their own toxins either as waste products or for defense. For example, fungi produce oxalates. If you’ve ever seen stalactites growing in caves or seawalls, those can be produced by fungi like Candida. Stalactites are a form of calcium oxalate, and I would imagine it would be quite painful having those stalactites growing inside your body. My son’s oxalate levels are 3 times above the normal range, so getting Candida under control is crucial for his health and the key to helping him feel better.
Step #4: Targeted Supplements
Ethan, and most kids on the spectrum, have an impaired ability to detox thanks to poor methylation. Methylation is a biochemical process occurring in the body billions of times every minute. It’s responsible for things like making dopamine, serotonin, and glutathione, but it also plays a major role in detoxification. Kids with autism likely have poor methylation because of genetic mutations. My son has a couple key mutations along this pathway, but we believe infectious organisms and toxins are also blocking several steps along this cycle. Hence the need for a debugging & detoxification protocol.
Often called the master antioxidant, glutathione is the body’s main detoxifier. Due to a weak methylation process, most kids with autism have depleted levels of glutathione. Unfortunately, supplements are largely ineffective. Most oral glutathione does not make it through the digestion process, so using it is pretty much like throwing away money. IV glutathione is available but the cost is high and intravenous is quite impractical. Instead, we are supplementing with glutathione precursors such as Alpha Lipoic Acid & N acetyl cysteine. These should help boost the body’s natural production of glutathione and thus, support detoxification.
The majority of our detox plan uses nutrition, probiotics, and a reduction in toxin exposure. However, we do give Ethan several different supplements that are used for binding purposes. These binders can also help to pull the toxins out of the cells. Once toxins are pulled out of the tissues, we want to make sure something is there to attach to it and escort it out. Chlorella, citrus pectin, and activated charcoal are our main binders. We also use small amounts of bentonite clay and caster oil.
Step #5: Water, Water, & more Water
When trying to detoxify the body it is really important to drink plenty of water. The body rids itself of toxins in 3 ways. They can be processed by the kidneys and excreted through urine. They can be processed by the liver and taken out the back door, or they can leave through the skin. All of these require water to make sure things continue moving.
The skin is an underrated method of detox. However, just as you can absorb toxins through the skin, you can also excrete them. We give our son detoxifying baths. We alternate epsom salt and bentonite clay baths at least every 2 days. Both of these compounds have been used for health for thousands of years. They help to gently pull toxins from the body. The toxins then head down the drain with the bath water.
Sweat is also an effective way of releasing toxins, so I am working on getting him to sweat more. (easier said than done) I am trying to get Ethan outside in the sun, moving and exercising much more, but he still doesn’t sweat enough. I would love to get him in a far infrared sauna to help speed detoxification through the skin. Detoxifying medications, supplements, and herbs can be hard on the liver and kidneys. Saunas are much gentler on the body, so I’d really love to implement the use of a sauna soon. Unfortunately, infrared saunas are quite expensive, so we may be waiting awhile for this therapy.
Enhance the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal
As you can see, our plan to remove toxins utilizes natural means to enhance the body’s ability to detoxify and heal itself. We have tried more aggressive detoxification methods in the past through different medications and strong herbals. However, we think they were too tough on Ethan’s body. Therefore, working with his doctor, we have gone to a more gentle approach. This method will take longer, but it is much less likely that we will see negative side effects or regression.
In summary: Our Autism Detoxification Protocol:
- Reduces Incoming Toxins
- Provides Optimum Nutrition
- Kills Candida & Other Bugs
- Provides Targeted Supplementation
- Plenty of Water to Drink & Give Detox Baths
Simple lifestyle changes like making homemade laundry detergent and eating a nutrient dense diet makes up a large portion of protocol. We do use some targeted supplementation and medications as directed by his doctor. Ethan drinks a ton of water and we give him detox baths about 4 times a week. We feel this is the best way to go for our son, and anyone can use a lot of these strategies if they suspect a toxic burden. We’ve been using this protocol for about 7 months, and have seen very little side effects. We feel like he is responding well and we plan to continue this for the foreseeable future. If you have yet to read about the other elements of our plan, I encourage you to go back and read them. Then subscribe to I’m Simply A Dad and learn about the final phase of our 4D protocol: De-stress.
We Recently added the Ion Cleanse system to our detox toolkit. Read more about that here. http://imsimplyadad.com/ion-cleanse/
** Remember, I am no doctor. I’m Simply a Dad working closely with his son’s doctor to help him feel better. **
Make sure you take a look at all the elements in our protocol. Follow the links below.
- Overview 4D Autism Treatment Plan
- Phase 1: Treating Autism with Diet
- Phase 2 Helping Our son Fight Candida and other bugs
- Phase 4 DeStress. Stay tuned for the final piece of our treatment plan. **Subscribe to ImSimplyaDad.com and be notified when this post is ready**
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Want to learn more about methylation and/or glutathione? Here are a few resources for you.
- Dr Amy Yasko:A Pioneer in Methylation Treatment
- TACA Detoxification & Methylation
- Treat Autism
- Center for Autism Research and Education (CARE)
- Infrared Sauna for Detox