Detox has become a popular buzzword these days. The interwebs are filled with promises of feeling great after a 5-day detox or a 7-day lemon juice and cayenne pepper cleanse. When it comes to a true detox however, it has to go much deeper than this, and when autism is involved you need a thorough autism detoxification protocol to ensure it’s done safely.
Fortunately, there are things we parents can do to help our kids detoxify. There are plenty of things we can do own our own, but I would recommend you work closely with a good MAPS doctor when creating your autism detoxification protocol to ensure the kids detox safely.
In this post, I will discuss what I’m doing for my son. You will be able to apply some of these things right away for your own kids. You’ll also learn about more powerful tools and strategies that you and your doctor may want to implement as part of your own autism detoxification protocol.
Our Autism Detoxification Protocol
Our 4-D Autism Treatment Plan
- Why We Treat Autism Holistically
- Phase 1 Diet
- Phase 2 De-Bug
- Phase 3: Detox: Our Autism Detoxification Protocol
- Phase 4: De-Stress
Detoxification is the 3rd element in our 4-D autism treatment plan. Each element of our treatment plan is equally important and they each support one another. For example: diet will support the body’s detox organs, provide the clean energy to detox, and help kill bad gut microbes (de-bug). As the bad microbes die, they release toxins which your detox protocol will help sweep up. Of course, none of these will function optimally if the body is in a state of fight or flight, so a stress management plan is essential (de-stress).
How Do We Know His Body is Toxic
Medical testing confirms that Ethan has a high toxic load. These toxins 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, but 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 kids’ 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 1:36. 1 in every 36 school-aged children have autism. 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.
The Need for an Autism Detoxification Protocol
As with many kids on the spectrum, 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 behaviors and symptoms. In order to treat those symptoms and help him be the best Ethan he can be, we are working to fix his broken detoxification pathway, and get those toxins out.
What is Broken?
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
- Heavy Metals
- Body Burden from Toxins
Where to Start?
It’s always best to start with diet for any type of holistic autism treatment. For us, diet is playing a huge role in supporting many of our issues. The vitamin and mineral deficits are improving as a result of a nutrient dense diet. Probiotic foods and targeted antimicrobial supplements and prescriptions are improving gut health. His diet is also providing many of the essential nutrients needed to support methylation (more on this later).
For many of us parents, we want to immediately start throwing supplements and things to help our kids. Before you add in any supplements or start a major detox protocol, you want to first take away all the things that could be flairing the immune system and/or causing inflammation. Once the body calms down a bit, then you can start an autism detoxification protocol. Detox done too fast or too soon can be dangerous, so make sure you’re working with a good doctor.
If you haven’t started a special diet for your kid with autism, I recommend you start with the basic GFCF diet before trying anything else. I have a free comprehensive guide to help you get started with this diet. At the same time, it will be helpful to read about our current diet as well. It will give you an idea of how to refine your diet should the basic GFCF diet not be sufficient.
Our Autism Detoxification Protocol
Simple Solutions to Support Detox
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. The biggest impact you have with reducing toxins is in your home and through your diet. Avoid the harsh chemicals in cleaning products, body care products, and air fresheners. Make sure the diet is as clean as you can afford. This means no preservatives, artificial ingredients, and pesticide residues (eat organic when possible).
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 oil-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. This reduces the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released into our air.
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
My son has an imbalance of good vs bad microbes (like many other ASD kids). 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…etc. Mom also has mercury dental amalgams, so 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 dying, 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
Remember to take away anything that could be causing inflammation for your kids before adding in any supplements. A body with an overactive immune system will likely not be able to utilize the supplements you’re giving it. At best, you’d throwing money away and at worst, you could be causing further inflammation.
When it comes to supplementation and detox, you want to add things in that will support what is known as methylation. This 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.
My son, and most kids on the spectrum, have an impaired ability to detox thanks to poor methylation. This is likely due to genetic mutations, toxins, or bad microbes. My son has a couple key mutations along this pathway, but we believe infectious organisms and heavy metals are also blocking several steps along this cycle. Hence the need for a debugging & detoxification protocol.
Work closely with your doctor when giving supplements to ensure safety and determine the best dosage. Generally, supplements that can support detoxification include folinic acid (in the form: 5-MTHF), B-12, magnesium, zinc, and glutathione. These are the more common and safer supplements, but again, work with your doctor to determine the best supplement schedule specific to your kiddo.
The Master Antioxidant:
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 this critical nutrient. Unfortunately,glutathione 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. Your doctor can give you an intranasal glutathione, and you can also get more expensive liposomal forms.
For our son, we are supplementing with glutathione precursors such as N acetyl cysteine. Whey protein can also help increase glutathione, but should not be used on a dairy free diet. These should help boost the body’s natural production of glutathione and thus, support detoxification.
You Need a Sponge to Clean Up
When you are actively detoxing, you need to include a binding supplement. As the toxins are released through detoxification, something will need to grab that toxin and transport it to your liver, kidneys, and out the door. Think of these binders like sponges. They absorb the excess toxins and transport it down the drain. Chlorella, citrus pectin, and activated charcoal are the most common binders. We also use bentonite clay baths and oral castor oil.
Some binders can cause constipation, which is the enemy of any autism detoxification protocol. Again, work with your doctor to ensure you are doing everything to safely and effectively detox.
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 sufficient hydration 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.
Fiji water is actually one of the few things that can help the body detox from aluminum. Recent studies are revealing high levels of aluminum in the brains of kids on the autism spectrum. Therefore, it’s important to help the body rid itself of this neurotoxin.
The magic of Fiji water specifically is that it contains silica that can cross the blood brain barrier and bind to aluminum in the brain. The body can then get rid of that aluminum.
Our Autism Detoxification Protocol
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 had to take a step back as they were too tough on Ethan’s body.
Therefore, working with his doctor, we created a program to better prepare his system to handle the detox. This program is essentially the 4-D Treatment Plan that includes the information you just read through. We’ve followed this plan for about 18 months and we are now ready to try more powerful detox solutions.
More Powerful Solutions to Support Detox
The Ion Cleanse is basically a really fancy footbath. It uses the electrolysis of water to create both positively and negatively charged ions. Opposites attract, so the negatively charged ions will attract and neutralize positively charged toxins in the body. Positively charged ions will attract and neutralize negatively charged toxins. According to AMD, the company that makes this system, “neutralized particles will be pulled from the body through osmosis. The toxins will be harmlessly pulled from the cells and will come out in the water through the feet.”
However, It’s my own belief that the system works by pulling out toxins from our cells and then releasing them into the bloodstream. It’s then up to the body’s natural detox system to grab those toxins and escort them out. Again, here’s where having a good binding supplement will help in safely removing these lose toxins.
Chelation is a treatment for removing heavy metals like lead and mercury. It is a popular yet highly controversial therapy for kids on the spectrum. Remember, my son’s lab test indicated a need for chelation. Past efforts at chelating were stopped as it proved too harsh.
Now that his body is better prepared, we are going to try again. This time however, we are going to try a frequent low dose chelation. This is known as the Andy Cutler Chelation protocol and it can be much gentler and safer for the body.
We are using a transdermal cream that contains a chelating agent. It’s essentially a lotion containing a powerful antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid (ALA). According to Dr Andrew Cutler who developed this protocol, ALA can remove mercury from the brain.
We will be applying this cream every 3 hours for 3 days and then taking 3 days off. This is referred to as a “round”. We are combining these rounds with rounds of the Ion Cleanse to double our detoxification effect. Every 3 days, he gets both theIon Cleanse and the ALA cream. Then, we give him 3 days off to allow his body to reset.
Again, we are working closely with our son’s doctor to prevent any adverse reactions. I highly advise you to do the same.
To ensure we are doing this safely, we have many different binders in place as well as supplements to support detox and prevent constipation. For more information, check out the book Fight Autism and Win.
Infrared saunas are a very effective way to boost detoxification. Sweat is an effective way of releasing toxins, so I am working on getting my son 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. In order to open this path of detoxification, I need a powerful tool known as an infrared sauna.
This is one tool that we haven’t added to our detox toolkit just yet. 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.
We are finally getting a sauna for my son!!! I have partnered with Therasage, which is an amazing company that makes no EMF, full spectrum infrared saunas. We will begin using their portable sauna in late March/early April 2019.
Words cannot express how excited I am about this development. I truly believe this will be a game changer for my son!!! I’d recommend you check them out too.
In summary: Our Autism Detoxification Protocol:
- Reduces Incoming Toxins
- Provides Optimum Nutrition
- Kills Candida & Other Bugs
- Provides Targeted Supplementation & Support
- Plenty of Water to Drink & Detox Baths
- Careful Use of More Powerful Detox Methods
Any autism detoxification protocol should begin by cleaning up the diet and the environment. Before starting any further steps, consult with a qualified doctor. Detoxification can be dangerous if done improperly, so use caution and good judgement when detoxing.
As you can see there is no shortage of the things you can do to help your child detox. We all need a little detox support, but our kids on the spectrum especially need a targeted autism detoxification protocol to help them rid their body’s of harmful toxins. As the body burden of toxins gets better, our kids begin to think more clearly. They also start to feel better, and that is the goal of our autism detoxification protocol.
Supplements to Consider
Binders & Constipation Preventers:
Tools For Detoxification
** Remember, I am no doctor, and this should not be considered medical advice. 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 3: Our Autism Detoxification Protocol (you’re here)
- Phase 4: Decreasing Stress for Autism Treatment
- Dr Amy Yasko:A Pioneer in Methylation Treatment
- TACA Detoxification & Methylation
- Treat Autism
- Center for Autism Research and Education (CARE)
- Infrared Sauna for Detox
- Shockingly High Aluminum in the Autism Population
- Fiji Water Can Reduce Aluminum
- ACC Chelation