Thursday, June 25, 2015

More on stopping Autism and Depression….

Today's Post:  Thursday, 6-23-2015

1.  A while ago, in early April, 2014, I did a post on research that found that getting the real optimum intake of vitamin D3 3,000 to 7,000 iu a day increased serotonin levels in the brain.

2.  AND, research that children with autism had LOW blood levels of serotonin in the brain; but high levels in their blood.  And, that the high blood levels of serotonin were associated with high chronic inflammation.

The research further said that people who have medium or high levels of serotonin felt better and were more social than people who had very low levels.

[Oddly for some reason, this post disappeared from my blog and the link to it that existed last just a few days ago!  So at the end of this post, I’ll include it from my record files!]

So this suggests strongly that in part autism can be caused by the quite common very low levels of D3, severely deficient, that can happen to kids who rarely go outside and get no D3 from foods or supplements. 

That suggests that having autistic kids take 5,000 iu a day of D3 might have very good effects on reducing the symptoms of their autism after a few weeks of doing so.

And, it suggests that autism may be caused in part by high chronic inflammation. And if autism isn’t caused by high chronic inflammation, it still might be made better by doing safe things to turn it off.

First, because severely low levels of vitamin D3 depress the immune system enough to put kids at risk from dying of infections including the flu, it strikes me as imperative that autistic kids be given 5,000 iu a day of D3.

Second, I read of a woman who had apparently turned off her child’s autism by ensuring that her child only eat real food and absolutely NO junk or packaged foods with MSG.

MSG is really nasty stuff.  It’s not only proven to fatten people who eat it compared with people who eat the same foods with the same calories, it causes damage to your thyroid that can make you fatter later by lowering your metabolism.

Not only that; but Dr Russell Blaylock’s research found that MSG is an excitoxin that harms brain nerves and can help cause Alzheimer’s disease in adults.

So, this woman, by turning off this source of harm to her child’s brain may well have turned off her child’s autism!

But this also has two other very important things to consider.

The foods that contain MSG quite often also contain GMO grains such as GMO hybrid refined grain wheat flour AND soy and corn oils and even hydrogenated versions of those oils AND high fructose corn syrup.  So, since these things are all pro-inflammatory, her efforts may have done more for her child than just removing the MSG!

And, guess what, we now know that having people take omega 3 supplements and DHA and eating wild caught fish at least twice a week that are high in them helps balance omega 6 oils in grains and their oils. So this suggests that giving autistic kids these too would help!

And, there is still more!  Once kids can be helped to exercise too, we know that these omega 3 oils plus exercise release the growth hormone BDNF that literally repairs damaged or missing brain cells!  So to the extent autism is from damaged brain cells that might well have curative effects.

Lastly, having autistic kids eat foods spiced with ginger or the combination of turmeric and black pepper (curried foods) lowers inflammation without the nasty or dangerous side effects of aspirin or NSAID OTC drugs!

So, besides the social skills and self control tutoring that can help autistic kids, we may have a whole tool box of curative methods to turn it down or turn it off!

3.  For many years doctors have been trying to help depressed people who act as if they have low brain levels of serotonin by giving them SSRI’s to increase their serotonin levels.

This doesn’t seem to work for most people; the ones it seems to work for can take weeks to see any effects; and the drugs are addictive.

Worse, they seem to increase BLOOD levels of serotonin but not do so very much for brain levels of serotonin.

We know separately that many people given extra D3 do seem to become less depressed. And, since D3 does increase BRAIN levels of serotonin, that makes sense.

Secondly, it has been shown separately that exercise plus DHA and other omega 3 oils DOES help depressed people and people with PTSD by repairing the part of their brains causing part of the depression and making the PTSD worse.

In summary, could it be that the same actions that help stop autism and the actions that stop some depression and PTSD be the same?

It certainly looks like it!

(Here’s the post from April, 2014 from my record file:

D3 effects may stop autism AND depression....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 4-1-2014

Autism is a complex condition that likely has several causes.

Depression definitely has several causes.

But there is some evidence that both share a low level of serotonin in the brain. 

And, some of the damage that seems to be involved to parts of the brain in autism might be an autoimmune effect.

A new study shows that getting enough vitamin D3 helps stop BOTH of those problems.

The drugs to boost serotonin for depression, seem to have little or even no effect possibly because they cause blood changes in serotonin levels but don’t do much inside the brain where the depression is located.

So, when I found this study, I was extremely encouraged.

Simply put, it found that if blood levels of vitamin D3 were below the optimum of 50 or more, the blood level of serotonin was low even if the blood level was high!  And, the level of regulatory T cells that limit autoimmune responses was also low.

Looks like that well may mean that ensuring that pregnant and nursing mothers and younger children have enough vitamin D3 that their blood level is high enough will make autism far less likely or will help reverse it. 

(The evidence is clear that taking 3,000 to 5,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 does the job in most cases and that megadoses of vitamin D2 are far less desirable or effective in adults.)

Here’s some of the article I found in the Medical News Today: (The link to the whole article follows.

Then I add my own comments at the end.)

Causal link indicated between vitamin D, serotonin synthesis and autism   Friday 28 February 2014 - 1am PST

A new study by Rhonda Patrick, PhD and Bruce Ames, PhD of Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) demonstrates the impact that Vitamin D may have on social behavior associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Dr. Patrick and Dr. Ames show that serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin, three brain hormones that affect social behavior, are all activated by vitamin D hormone. 

Autism, which is characterized by abnormal social behavior, has previously been linked to low levels of serotonin in the brain and to low vitamin D levels, but no mechanism has linked the two until now.

In this study, Dr. Patrick and Dr. Ames show that vitamin D hormone activates the gene that makes the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2), that converts the essential amino acid tryptophan, to serotonin in the brain. This suggests that adequate levels of vitamin D may be required to produce serotonin in the brain where it shapes the structure and wiring of the brain, acts as a neurotransmitter, and affects social behavior.

They also found evidence that the gene that makes the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (TPH1) is inhibited by vitamin D hormone, which subsequently halts the production of serotonin in the gut and other tissues, where when found in excess it promotes inflammation.

This mechanism explains many of the known, but previously not understood, facts about autism including: 1) the "serotonin anomaly" low levels of serotonin in the brain and high levels in the blood of autistic children; 2) the preponderance of male over female autistic children: estrogen, a similar steroid hormone, can also boost the brain levels of serotonin in girls;

3) the presence of autoimmune antibodies to the fetal brain in the mothers of autistic children: vitamin D regulates the production of regulatory T-cells via repression of TPH1. The Patrick/Ames mechanism is relevant to the prevention of autism, and likely its treatment.

The current guidelines for adequate vitamin D levels are concentrations above 30 ng/ml. Most Americans' vitamin D is made in the skin from exposure to UVB radiation; however, melanin pigment and sunscreen inhibit this action. This is an important cause of the well-known widespread vitamin D deficiency among dark-pigmented Americans, particularly those living in Northern latitudes.

The most recent National Health and Examination survey reports that greater than 70% of U.S. population does not meet this requirement and that adequate vitamin D levels have plummeted over the last couple of decades. This precipitous drop in adequate levels of vitamin D in the US is concurrent with the rise in autism rates. 

The study suggests dietary intervention with vitamin D, tryptophan and omega 3 fatty acids would boost brain serotonin concentrations and help prevent and possibly ameliorate some of the symptoms associated with ASD without side effects.

There is little vitamin D present in food and fortification is still inadequate as is the amount in most multivitamin and prenatal supplements. Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and offer a simple solution to raise vitamin D levels to an adequate status. In addition, vitamin D levels should be routinely measured in everyone and should become a standard procedure in prenatal care.

Causal link indicated between vitamin D, serotonin synthesis and autism
A new study by Rhonda Patrick, PhD and Bruce Ames, PhD of Children's Hospital 
Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) demonstrates the impact that Vitamin D may 
have on social behavior associated...

A.  Autism:

1.  ALL pregnant women should get tested for blood levels of vitamin D3 and given 3,000 to 5,000 iu a day if it's in the 30 to 50 range and at least 5,000 and maybe 10,000 iu day if it's 20 to 30 and 10,000 a day for a month at least if it's below 20.

2.  Children showing signs of autism should be given enough D3 to get their blood levels to at least 50.

3.  Both pregnant women -- and children showing signs of autism, should take the omega 3 DHA. This has already been shown to boost the IQ and mental skills of children when this is done.  AND, DHA is separately shown to facilitate new nerve and brain cell growth AND to do so when repairs or restoration is needed.

B.  Depression should be treated in the exact same way.

Depression has enough other causes it may well need solutions for those causes also which range from bad self talk to brain damage from injuries.

But increasing these neurotransmitters to normal with vitamin D3 and taking the DHA to help repair some brain damage may each help stop depression, particularly if exercise is added because the combination of enough DHA with exercise has been shown to release the nerve and brain cell growth hormone BDNF.

IF this set of things helps, taking the drugs designed to boost serotonin is not needed.

IF this set of things does NOT help, the drugs likely won't either unless brain levels of serotonin are still low which is quite unlikely.

AND, if vitamin D3 does not help particularly when combined with exercise and DHA, this is an indicator that brain damage or horribly bad self talk or very high stress or sleep deprivation or lack of enough daylight or comparable bright lights or social connections is likely also present and needs separate treatment. 

Part II.

a) Other information on autism that may prove to be helpful:

One mother found information that suggested to her that MSG might contribute to autism or to it continuing according to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

She found that due to very incomplete labeling laws for MSG and its near universal use in fast food restaurants that removing it from her child’s diet was a considerable challenge.

(As we’ve posted often before MSG is often indicated by the ingredient listings, “spices” and “natural spices.”  Finding condiments without either is very difficult to impossible in most stores.  Whole Foods Markets and Annie’s Naturals are the two sources I’ve found that do NOT have those labels on all their condiments!)

Did her efforts work?

They did seem to work very well on her child which made the news article of considerable interest!

MSG is an excitoxin that may also cause brain damage, definitely fattens, and appears when used for many years to damage the thyroid.

MSG is also a totally unneeded source of excess sodium.  And excess sodium that’s too high helps cause blood vessel damage, gout, high blood pressure, and heart disease!

So, keeping MSG out of your food is important too!  

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