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Category: autism

Increase in electromagnetic radiation may be associated with increased autism

A graph showing a similar rate of increase in electromagnetic radiation exposure and increased rates of autism can be seen around 42 minutes in the following video, Dr. Erica Mallery-Blythe – Electromagnetic Radiation, Health and Children 2014:

This type of radiation can be from wireless cell phones or laptops or from living very close, within a few miles, of high powered electric lines or power stations.

And even wirelessly connected toys might be harmful to children. [1, 2, 3] A computer or telephone that is not wireless, but is on an old-fashioned landline would not have the same level of electromagnetic radiation.

Tinfoil hats would only act as an antennae and possibly increase radiation absorption, however grounded metal foil might absorb the radiation rather than deflecting it and causing it simply to bounce around more. Water also absorbs this type of radiation which may be part of the reason electromagnetic radiation is dangerous to humans and other life forms – we are water based. [4]

A nonprofit organization of physicians who would like to increase awareness of electromagnetic hypersensitity has more information available on their website and an opportunity to join their group: http://phiremedical.org/tag/pdfs-for-electromagnetic-hypersensitivity/

I’ve filed this under both autism and calcium because EMF radiation can cause an increased flow of calcium into the interior of cells which can lead to overexcitement of the cell and may lead to cell death. People with hypersensitivity to electromagnetic radiation have measurable differences in their skin in response to exposure to EMF radiation compared to non hypersensitive people. An increase in mast cells may be part of the difference between the two groups.

See this video for more information, and/or a research article by the speaker regarding electrohypersensitivity, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17178584:

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

World Autism Awareness Day; “Please teacher” video

It is World Autism Awareness Day and a video (follow the link in the Tweet) was shared of students with autism addressing their teachers about their differences. The person who shared it describes it as heart breaking and it is but it is also hopeful.


Recently I was reading a poem by someone with autism and it reminded me of me. It was describing a feeling of not fitting in with the normal types of people but not wanting to be lumped in with the type of people who couldn’t communicate at all:

High functioning people with autism might understand and listen and be interested but not be comfortable or able to speak their thoughts well. They might enjoy going to a party and just listening and smiling on the outskirts rather than chatting much but they could still be enjoying themselves in their own ways. I liked to water plants during social gatherings at a church where I was a member. I was part of the group and enjoyed saying hi’s briefly to people and it helped the plants and gave me something to do so it wouldn’t seem odd to not get into longer chats with people. I’m much better at talking about nutrition then about social chit-chat.

Some families have found that smartphones allow instant texting as a modern solution to conversation. The family talks and the person with autism listens and texts back to them in response. It can also be common for people with autism to communicate in snippets of quoted lyrics or other phrases – using other’s words to say what’s also on their mind.

The Legoland article reminded me of my favorite “amusement” museum. The City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri is full of decorations made from recycled materials built into mosaics and patterned walls. The museum is built within and on the grounds of a large multi-storied building that was a shoelace factory. Shoelaces are still made there and can be purchased. There are numerous imaginative landscapes that can be physically explored and played on and in and under and above – the place is a jungle and cavern and a maze and amazing – truly. If I could live anywhere on the planet that I wanted to, then it might be here: http://www.citymuseum.org/

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

The herbicide Round-Up found more dangerous than Glyphosate alone

The herbicide Round-Up contains glyphosate which is considered the active ingredient but research suggests that the supposedly inert ingredients in the mixed product make Round-Up as much as 125 times more dangerous to health than glyphosate alone. An international society for science has assembled a review of literature on the topic within the following article:

Round-Up ready crops have been found to require more water and do less well in drought situations than normal crops. Pigs fed GMO based foods were found to become significantly healthier when the farmer switched to non GMO based feed for them.

Glyphosate residues have been found to drop after individuals switched to a diet based on non GMO, organic foods and autism symptoms were found to improve for individuals who were switched to a non GMO organic food diet. Single case studies may be considered anecdotal and not worth considered but each and every patient is a single case study for themselves.

How many people need to get sick in the U.S. before we decide that we would rather not be experimented on by agribusiness and the processed food industry?

Excerpts from the article:

Glyphosate widespread in the environment and in our bodies

“Due to the official ‘safe’ status of glyphosate, data on how much we are being exposed have been scarce, forcing citizen activists and civil society organizations to find out for themselves. Friends of the Earth Europe commissioned an analysis of 182 volunteers across 18 EU countries and found detectable levels in 44 % of urine samples [13] with concentrations ranging from 0.16 ug/L average in Switzerland, to 1.82ug/L in Latvia. Of the UK citizens tested, 7 out of 10 were positive. In the US, urine samples show concentrations 8 times those in Europe [13]. The analysis, commissioned by Moms Across America, also tested 10 mother’s breast milk, which came up positive for glyphosate with levels ranging from 76 µg/L to 166 µg/L (76-166 ppb) (see [14]). These levels are 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides, and raise obvious concerns as they fall within the range of concentrations at which developmental toxicity has been observed in animal studies (see below). This analysis is the only study on breast milk to date, as no government or public health body has found it necessary to carry out any study on bioaccumulation in internal organs and tissues or in breast milk fed to infants.”

Health of American citizens deteriorating

“One argument for the safety of GM food and their associated pesticides is that the US has been consuming them for years without ill effect. However, in the absence of labelling GM foods, it is illegitimate to make such a claim. On the contrary, there has been a drastic deterioration of public health in the US since GM crops were introduced. A new publication by Swanson and colleagues plots the rise of 20 chronic diseases using available US government data, all correlating closely with increasing glyphosate application to corn and soy crops, especially over the past several years. The diseases included cancers, Parkinson’s, autism, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, digestive disease and kidney failure [62]. Correlation does not prove causation, but such strong association certainly cannot be dismissed, especially in combination with the plethora of other evidence from laboratory studies, and the experiences of doctors in their clinics and farmers in the fields. For a detailed analysis of the study please see [67] Marked Deterioration of Public Health Parallels Increase in GM Crops and Glyphosate Use, US Government Data Show ( SiS 65).”

Read more: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Roundup_of_Roundup.php

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Glycine is an amino acid with neurotransmitter roles

Subtitle: Rebranding and the power of a name: “Essence of Meat-ade” or “Cheerful Juice.”

Sub-subtitle:  Genetic defects in metabolism can affect the entire body due to lack of essential nutrients.

Background: I was found to have eleven of thirty defects in the methylation cycle that were known to be more common in patients with autism spectrum disorder. The screening is not for diagnostic purposes at this stage but is available to consumers interested in the information for their own research purposes (which might include what to feed their child or themselves for better management of autism symptoms – but it is use at your own risk information rather than ‘evidence based’ medical treatment approved for a certain diagnosis).

One of my genetic defects affects my ability to break down betaine into the free amino acids glycine and methionine (roughly, I would have to review the chemistry for the specifics). So armed with this new information I ordered tablets of each amino acid and started taking them each day as supplements. They seemed to help but it wasn’t a dramatic change in how I felt.

A month or two later before reordering more bottles I considered the question of just how much glycine or methionine I might need each day if I had a defect that prevented me from digesting protein and releasing the essential amino acids. When I looked into how much glycine might be needed by the body each day, I didn’t find much research but there was some and the amount suggested was far greater than the amount I was taking in the form of a tablet — 200 milligram tablet compared to two grams of the essential amino acid as a minimum recommendation with up to ten grams being proposed as possibly beneficial. And no toxicity risks were mentioned. Two grams is equivalent to 2000 milligrams or ten of the tablets each day, which would be expensive and a lot of tablets.

Many things that are available as supplements are also available in bulk as a powder that companies might use to make capsules or tablets for the individual consumer to purchase. The amino acids glycine and methionine were available online in a package size that was designed for individual use, possibly being marketed to people interested in body building or weight lifting.

A teaspoon of a powder substance is roughly five grams, depending on the density of the powder. I decided to try one teaspoon of glycine and one teaspoon of methionine per day as that would easily provide two grams and might provide up to five grams per day.

Results: Free essential amino acids are acidic — like lemonade — but taste a little like protein aka meat, so two teaspoons of free amino acids in water tasted VERY BAD. My nickname for the concoction became “Essence of Meat-ade” for the first day or two, however almost immediately after drinking the vile drink my mood became incredibly cheerful and I was suddenly filled with energy. I was amazed — how could a horrible tasting glass of water change my mood? I started looking forward to the drink and while I had started taking it in the evening I gradually switched to taking it earlier in the day and even twice a day occasionally, which would provide about ten grams of the powder.

My mental nickname changed from “Essence of Meat-ade” to “Cheerful Juice,” it helped my mood so much that I loved the stuff no matter how silly my face looked while trying to gulp it down too quickly to taste. I was amazed, and a little sad to consider that I had been without “Cheerful Juice” for my first fifty years of life — but better late than never is a motto of mine. With a double genetic defect I wouldn’t have been able to release glycine or methionine from larger proteins for my entire life — and therefore wouldn’t have had the cheerful effects or boost in energy due to the incomplete digestion of my food.

Why would a bad tasting drink give me a good mood?

I knew the amino acids glutamine and aspartic acid can act as messenger chemicals within the brain so I looked up glycine and methionine and sure enough they both also can act as brain signaling chemicals.

The rest of this information is about glycine’s role as a brain neurotransmitter. It doesn’t cover methionine but it also has roles in brain chemistry.

Glycine is a Neurotransmitter: 

Glycine has inhibitory and excitatory roles in the brain as a neurotransmitter – a type of chemical that can serve as a messenger between brain cells which are called neurons.

“Interestingly, glycine receptors comprised of a1 subunits are efficiently gated by taurine and b-alanine, whereas a2-containing receptors are not (8). The a1 and a2 genes are expressed in the adult and neonatal brain, respectively.”

ie-the type of glycine receptor found within the baby brain is not as well protected as the type found within the adult brain, later in the next paragraph:

“Recently, the expression of a1 and a2 subunits has been shown to be developmentally regulated with a switch from the neonatal a2 subunit (strychnine-insensitive) to the adult a1 form (strychnine-sensitive) at about 2 weeks postnatally in the mouse (8). The timing of this “switch” corresponds with the development of spasticity in the mutant spastic mouse (5), prompting speculation that insufficient expression of the adult isoform may underlie some forms of spasticity.” [1]

Background: Glyphosate is chemically very similar to glycine in that it may be incorporated into proteins but is not functionally the same. A protein containing glyphosate instead of glycine would be dysfunctional. Glycine provides methyl groups which are important for turning strands of DNA on and off, (DNA is the genetic material that acts as recipe cards for making proteins).

If glyphosate is being physically incorporated within body tissues in place of the amino acid glycine, then the role of glycine within early fetal development discussed in the above excerpt might be part of the mechanism for how autism risk may be occurring during the prenatal stage of life.

From a Marketing Perspective: How to sell something that tastes horrible but makes certain people feel great?

From my experience working with special need infants and children I learned that sick children when given a formula they can tolerate will cheerfully start drinking the formula if it  isn’t making them feel sicker — no matter how bad the formula tastes — and some of them are like “Essence of Meat” because they are based on free amino acids that would be easy to digest and wouldn’t have the same allergy risk as the larger and more complex proteins.

So how to market a specialty product? Target the special needs market, and pitch having the genetic screening done first in order to find out who needs the special product — and put the bulk powder in capsules  😉 , I tried to add lemon flavoring to make it more like lemonade but that didn’t change the flavor enough — I’m working on acquiring a taste for it instead.

The genetic screening I had done is “For Research Purposes Only” but it was assembled by a specialist with a PhD and experience in genetics. She is not a medical doctor and no diagnoses are provided however some health information is provided I haven’t reviewed it yet and therefore can not provide any feedback regarding it.

  • The Methylation Cycle genetic screening test: http://www.holisticheal.com/dna-methylation.html
  • My results and my notes regarding the 11 defects, this is a list of notes rather than being in article format, see number three of the double defects for details about the gene BHMT/1 (Call – T), which is for the enzyme Betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT): https://jenniferdepew.net/2016/03/30/methylation-cycle-defects-in-me-genetic-screening-for-research-purposes-only/
  • An excerpt from that post regarding diagnoses that may be helped by use of dimethylglycine (DMG) and methionine as supplements : DMG has been found helpful in ADHD, autism, allergies, alcoholism, drug addiction, and chronic fatigue syndrome among other chronic issues. Methionine has been found helpful in treating depression, allergies, alcoholism and schizophrenia among other chronic issues.

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

  1. Steven M. Paul, GABA and Glycine, https://www.acnp.org/g4/GN401000008/Default.htm

Dr. Herbert wrote a book about autism for parents and general readers

“The Autism Revolution” is available in paperback form on Amazon and more information is also available at the website http://www.autismrevolution.org/ . I haven’t read the book yet but it was recommended by a neuroscientist who has attended a conference held by Dr Herbert which was for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. He said it was quiet the entire time as the audience paid such close attention.

Children with more severe symptoms can hurt themselves banging their heads on the wall or by tearing the curtain rods off the wall or by wandering away and getting lost outdoors. Having a child with autism can mean that society loses the productive work of at least one parent if not both – someone needs to sleep some of the time. Improving nutrition and changing lifestyle routines can sometimes make an enormous difference in the severity of symptoms – normal is likely not possible but less severe symptoms may be possible — with guidance.

The metabolic issues that can be due to genetic defects underlying autism symptoms can be complex to try to cope with through changes in diet and supplements – but with guidance, symptoms can improve with better nutrition and health of the gastro intestine tract (and our good guy bacteria which help protect us against the more harmful microbes in our microbiome).

  • The Autism Revolution: Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be, by Dr Martha Herbert, MD, PhD and Karen Weintraub, Paperback – March 12, 2013 [link]

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Dimethylglycine (DMG) has one less methyl group than Betaine (TMG)

In the last post I mentioned that I started taking a specific form of an amino acid after I had found out that I have a genetic defect but that I didn’t really know how much might be necessary per day. The difference in my genes affects my ability to convert betaine the common name for trimethylglycine, into a more usable form called dimethylglycine. Betaine has one more methyl group than DMG. It is also called vitamin B15.  Methyl groups are important for many things including preventing cancerous changes from occurring in the genetic structure of cells. [1]

What I didn’t know was how much might be necessary for me to take for daily health. A reference suggested that two grams per day is a minimal daily goal but that up to ten grams per day may be more optimal for health – not enough information is available about that however.

Two to ten grams per day is a specific number. I was taking two 100 milligram tablets per day. Two hundred milligrams is 1800 milligrams less than two grams – so I let my fingers doing the walking and found a bulk supply which I will be able to spoon into something liquid and just drink or eat. The switch will also save me a significant amount of money.  [2]

The bottle of sixty 100 mg tablets provided 6000 milligrams / 6 grams of DMG at a price of $7.64 which I would use in one month. That seems inexpensive but it only provides 200 mg per day not 2 grams which is 2000 milligrams. At that level of use the bottle would last three days. At 10 grams per day I would need more than one bottle per day. The one kilogram bag supplies 1,000,000 milligrams for $65.96. If I use 2 grams per day the bag will last me 500 days or 100 days if I tried to use 10 grams per day. (2 grams of powder is roughly less than one teaspoon, there’s about 5 grams of liquid in a teaspoon but you would need to know the density/weight/mass of a powder to be able to calculate how many grams of a powder would fit in a teaspoon [3])

The genetic defect is in the gene that produces an enzyme that helps break down betaine/trimethylglyine into dimethylglycine and it is also involved in methionine metabolism but that is a different supplement/different topic. The gene is BHMT/1 (Call – T), and the enzyme it encodes for is Betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT). See point #3 in the following post: Methylation Cycle Defects – in me – genetic screening “for research purposes only” . The post includes the link to the company that provides the genetic screening tests ‘for research purposes only’ (in other words: it can not be claimed to be ‘for diagnostic purposes’ legally at this stage of research and federal regulations).

The screening panel was developed to screen for defects that have been found to be more common in patients with autism. It was created by a scientist with a PhD and experience in genetics rather than an MD. The company provides nutritional information and possibly supplements but I haven’t spent enough time looking at the information to provide any review or opinion. I looked up information about my defects (11 out of 30) on my own. My notes are included in the linked post, it is not written as an essay type article with a beginning and end, it is a long list of notes for each defect*/gene allele/anomaly.

*Some gene differences are not negative as the word ‘defect’ suggests; allele is the word used in genetics for all the many known variations of one gene, there can be many slightly different forms with effects that might be good, bad, or cause no difference in health.

Nutrigenomics is an new area of science which specializes in providing individualized dietary counseling based on a person’s specific genetic structure. A person with typical genetic structure wouldn’t need to consider such a high dose of Dimethylglycine.

If the concern however is glyphosate substituting for glycine within proteins, then assuring that the body has a plentiful supply of the right kind of puzzle pieces (glycine) could help the body build more functional proteins, as repair and growth occurs every day. Glycine is an essential amino acid and and is not considered dangerous in isolation to my knowledge. (Aspartic acid and glutamate are also free amino acids and they can e dangerous in quantity to the brain as they can activate cell function and cause overwork to the point of cell death, hence the nickname excitotoxins – they are used in the food supply in a popular artificial sweetener and as a flavoring agent in substances such as MSG.)

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

  1. http://naturalhealingretreats.com/products/essential-vitamins/vitamin-b-15-dimethylglycine-dmg/
  2. https://www.amazon.com/BulkSupplements-N-Dimethyl-Glycine-Powder-Kilogram/dp/B00GI24VNG/ref=sr_1_12_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1474328044&sr=8-12&keywords=dimethylglycine&th=1
  3. https://www.reference.com/food/many-grams-make-teaspoon-cfafd9ead940e296

Glyphosate was found in vaccines; and tips for reducing dietary exposure

The nonprofit organization Moms Across America paid to have five types of vaccines tested in an accredited laboratory for the presence of the herbicide glyphosate. The chemical, which was originally patented as an antibiotic and mineral chelator, has never been tested or marketed as an injectable drug. Vaccines are injected directly into the blood stream which bypasses the protection of the gastrointestinal system.

The World Health Organization has advised that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen and it may affect hormones which would make it dangerous potentially for pregnant women and their expected infants:

“Honeycutt continues, “The public must know that their vaccines likely contain glyphosate, a toxic weed killer, which is acknowledged by the EPA as a “reproductive effector” ( i.e.: endocrine disruptor) which “can cause liver and kidney damage” and has been shown to be a neurotoxin. The WHO has deemed glyphosate a probable carcinogen.” – Moms Across America

The MMR II vaccine by the Merck company was found to have the highest level of glyphosate, 25 times more than what was found in the other four types of vaccines that were tested: “had levels up to 25 times higher than the other vaccines, at 2.671ppb.” The MMR II vaccine has been associated with autism as an adverse reaction (possibly due to an encephalitis reaction which then leads to the more extreme brain damage seen in patients with autism).

This supports the theory discussed by Professor Seneff, that glyphosate may be in vaccinations due to the use of animal products in the gelatin based Petri dishes in which the antigens for the vaccinations are grown. The theory suggests that glyphosate is similar enough to the amino acid glycine that it may be being built right into the protein structure of the animals body parts which include the collagen that is used to make gelatin. The glyphosate would be acting like a puzzle piece that kind of fits in one side of the protein but has the wrong shape on the other side of the puzzle piece so no other pieces of the puzzle can be added afterwards. One part of glyphosate would fit well into the protein structure but then another part wouldn’t be able to do what glycine does – which is donate methyl groups – which can help protect against cancer.

Some genetic canaries in the coal mine, such as myself, may have errors in the methylation cycle that disrupt the glycine function without needing any help from glyphosate. While filling my vitamin boxes for a week’s supply I was reminded that one of the supplements I added after getting my genetic methylation cycle results is . . . DMG . . . which is Dimethylglycine. I’ve been taking one of the capsules in the morning and one in the evening — but there is no guidance for how much of it I might need with my particular genetic defect.  My favorite phrase – or least favorite: “More research is needed.” Current information available suggests 2 grams of glycine per day may be a typical amount provided by the diet but ten times that amount may increase health benefits, no toxicity upper limit has been set; https://draxe.com/glycine/

Professor Seneff included tips for how to possibly reduce your exposure to glyphosate and some strategies that have been used on farm animals who were made sick by acute exposure to glyphosate.

Professor Seneff’s slides for her discussion lists”Some Important Nutrients“:

  • Curcumin
  • Garlic
  • Vitamin C
  • Probiotics
  • Methyl tetrahydrofolate – (this is the bioactive form of folic acid)
  • Cobalamin
  • Glutathione
  • Taurine
  • Epsom salt baths  [My how to tips for Epsom salt baths]

She also recommends:

  • Get Grounded” — ie work on general lifestyle and stress reduction strategies;
  • Eat organically grown foods whenever possible;
  • Eat foods containing the mineral manganese; (as glyphosate is a mineral chelator which may limit manganese’s availability for essential functions.) She mentions a few foods and shares an image which appears to include: organic whole grains, seeds, organic tofu and other beans, shellfish, tea, dark green leafy vegetables. This list provides more information — for example cardamom and pumpkin pie spice are sources of manganese:  http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000126000000000000000.html
  • Eat foods containing sulfur; (and/or take the Epsom salt baths which would supply magnesium and sulfur.) She mentions a few foods and shares an image which appears to include: beer, cabbage, organic eggs, especially the yolk, crab, shrimp and scallops, cheese, onions, garlic, organic liver, chicken, and something I’m not going to try to guess. Based on this list of the sulfur content of many foods the image may include a picture of dried apricots:  http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/info/books-phds/books/foodfacts/html/data/data5g.html

Professor Seneff speaks very quickly, I may have missed some of her tips for trying to protect yourself from exposure to glyphosate.

She includes information about extracts from common plants that can treat glyphosate poisoning including:

Extracts from common plants such as dandelion, barberry, and burdock can protect from damage, especially if administered prior to exposure.”* (*C Gasnier et al. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology 2011, 6:3). [https://occup-med.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1745-6673-6-3]

And cows with glyphosate poisoning have been treated with:

Activated charcoal, bentonite clay, humic and fulvic acids, and sauerkraut juice have been shown to be effective in reducing glyphosate and improving animal health.“** (** H Gerlach et al., J Environ Anal Toxicol 2014, 5:2). [http://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/oral-application-of-charcoal-and-humic-acids-influence-selected-gastrointestinal-microbiota-2161-0525.1000256.pdf]

See the research papers for more detail and a functional medicine professional may be able to help guide individualized treatments with some of the items that are mentioned such as activated charcoal– but seek guidance, professional help is recommended even when using natural treatments.

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

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