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Autism 25 July 2009

Autism is a multifactorial condition which usually manifests during early childhood and presents with social separation, language delays and impaired socialisation skills.

Management should involve 3 core strategies:

  1. Dietary modification to decrease allergenic and acidic foods. This should be followed by gut repair.
  2. Specific targeted nutrient therapies to target epigenetic factors in the development of these disorders. Dr Emerson has trained with the Walsh-Pfeiffer Institute in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, including pyroluria, histapenia, histadelia, and zinc/copper imbalances.
  3. Heavy metal and other toxin removal.

Dietary Modification

A study published in the August 2002 edition of the journal Alternative Medicine Review found that most children with autism have impaired gut health. Most autism experts recommend eliminating simple sugars which encourage the growth of harmful fungi and acidify the body. They also suggest eliminating artificial sweeteners and food additives which contain toxins. Allergenic foods should be avoided and most children with autism do better off dairy and gluten (which contain proteins that irritate the brain).

Probiotics are frequently recommended to repair the gut and prevent the development of harmful bacteria. A study published in the November 2004 edition of the journal Applied Environmental Microbiology found that a large proportion of children had clostridial gut infections. Once the normal gut flora has been reestablished probiotics can be stopped and measures taken to alkalinise the gastrointestinal system- providing the ideal environment for the normal flora to flourish. For more information, see acid:alkaline balance and water.

Nutritional Supplements

A study published in the April 2002 edition of the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics confirmed that inflammation in the gut of autistic children resulted in poor absorption of nutrients. Autism has been linked with deficiencies in vitamin A, B1, B3, B5, B6, B12, selenium, zinc, magnesium and essential fatty acids. A study published in the December 2004 edition of the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine found that children with autism improved with a multivitamin. The multivitamin should not contain copper because this mineral is frequently elevated in children with autism.

The combination of magnesium with vitamin B6 has been described as a “breakthrough autism intervention” with improvement in 50% of children. Levels required are B6 75-800mg and Mg 100-700mg. A French study published in the March 2006 edition of the journal Magnes Research used B6 (0.6mg/kg) and Mg (6mg/kg) for 6 months and 23/33 children improved particularly in the areas of social interaction and communication.

Iron levels are frequently deficient and symptoms improve when iron levels are restored. L-carnosine has been prove to of benefit as have omega-3 fatty acids.


A study in the June 2007 edition of the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health found elevated levels of mercury and lead in children with autism and a review in the December 2002 edition of the journal Alternative Medical Review provided evidence that removal of heavy metals (chelation therapy) improves autism. Mercury has subsequently been removed from most vaccines but a study in the April 2004 edition of the journal Paediatrics confirms that environmental mercury remains a concern. Glutathione and lipoic acid are 2 very safe nutrients which both improve detoxification pathways and remove heavy metals. Because they lock each other into the body, heavy metals and chronic infections must be dealt with simultaneously in autism (in chronic disease in fact).

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