Recovery From Autism is Possible

My son is proof that it is possible to take back our children from the grasp that autism has on them.  For those skeptics out there that only believe autism is a psychiatric condition, well, read on. My son was not born with autism. He regressed around age 2 or 3.  I’m not certain exactly when because it was a slow process of regression and delayed development.  Autism gently nudged me over the course of a year.  I came to grips with it by the time my son turned 4.

That’s also when I discovered the Autism Research Institute and information on the biomedical treatment of autism. It made complete sense to me.  After several lab tests, we discovered that my son’s key biochemical pathways were dysfunctional and he was not detoxifying. These toxins caused dysbiosis, oxidative stress, and inflammation in his digestive tract.

What researchers have found, is that in most kids with autism, it is a disorder that affects the brain, immune system and gut.  We have the same neurotransmitters in our digestive tract (gut) as in our brain. They communicate with each other. Also, approximately 60 – 70% of our immune system lies within our “gut”.  Therefore, if your digestive system is suffering from inflammation, oxidative stress and dysbiosis, your brain and immune system are also affected. My son’s autistic behaviors were resulting from his overall biochemistry that was out of whack.  Once we treated his body, his brain started to function more neuro-typical. And he was able to catch up developmentally with behavior therapy.

Based on my own experience, research studies, and other parent testimonials, I believe that recovery from autism is possible. Today, my son is more neurotypical, than autistic.  If you met my son at age 4, and then again three years later, you’d be a believer too.  He’s not fully recovered, but if I had to put it into a percentage, I’d say he’s 85% there.  And we’re not done yet with therapies that can still help him.

Behavior therapies like ABA, DTT, Floortime, and more, can bring your child out of their world and back into your life.  Add biomedical treatments into the mix and your child will be more receptive to the therapies and catch up developmentally much quicker than without them.

Notice the word I’m using is RECOVERY. Not cure. Autism is not something that can be cured with a single protocol by medical doctors. It is a multifaceted, biochemical train wreck that manifests itself through behaviors caused by the brain reacting to the body’s illness.  Jenny McCarthy has said she compares it to being hit by a bus. You can get medical care and heal the body. You aren’t cured of a bus accident, you recover. Same goes for autism. You can get your child back. It’s going to take a lot of effort, time, perseverance and in most cases, money. Hopefully, one day, money won’t be an issue and parents will be able to obtain therapies and biomedical treatments for their child without mortgaging their life. It’s on the horizon. I’ve seen some signs of it.

Autism is treatable. Never give up hope. One day, the skeptics will be believers, and they too will know that recovery from autism is possible.  1 in 110 children are diagnosed with autism. I long to see that statistic change to 1 in 110 children recover from their autism diagnosis. Anything is possible!

The Truth About Nitrites (For my bacon and hot dog lovin’ friends)

I’ve been on the “no nitrates/nitrites in my house” bandwagon for a few years now. Then a friend told me that she heard the celery juice/powder used in organic, uncured hot dogs was the same as the sodium nitrites they add chemically.  So I had to research this and find out the truth about nitrites.

Nitrates vs. Nitrites

I always thought they were one and the same, besides being bad for you.  Not so.  Nitrites are related to but not the same as nitrates. Nitrates are present in many vegetables.

Vegetables high in nitrates are beets, lettuce, spinach, and most green, leafy vegetables.  When we eat nitrates, a small percentage of the nitrates is converted by the body into nitrites. A higher pH level in gastric juices results in more conversion of nitrates to nitrites. Although vegetables constitute a fair amount our nitrite intake (after conversion), vegetables contain antioxidants that reduce the formation of nitrosamines, the real risk of nitrites.

So here is how dietary nitrates (in vegetables) are good for you. They help to increase the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide (NO) helps blood vessels relax, lowering blood pressure. Nitric oxide (NO) has anti-inflammatory activity as well inhibits blood clot formation somewhat.

For example, when you drink beet juice, the bacteria on your tongue changes the nitrates in the beet juice into nitrite. In your stomach, nitrite turns into nitric oxide. Then it gets into your bloodstream as nitrites.  Your blood pressure goes down when the nitrites in your bloodstream are highest.

So Why Is Sodium Nitrite Used to Cure Meats?

The primary reason is that it inhibits the growth of Clostridium Botulinum, the bacterium which causes botulism. It is also gives cured meats that nice pink color and depth of flavor.  The USDA has imposed limits on the amount of sodium nitrite that can be used for processing purposes. Nitrites/Nitrates cannot exceed 200 ppm (parts per million).


So how are nitrites bad for you?  Well, it’s pretty much due to nitrosamines. Cured meats can contain nitrosamines because they contain amines and sodium nitrate. When meat containing nitrites is heated (particularly at high temperatures), nitrosamines are produced. They are compounds that have been linked, but not proven, with health issues such as cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Around 1970 it was discovered that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) inhibits nitrosamines formation. Consequently, the addition of 550 ppm of ascorbic acid is now required in the manufacture of cured meats in the U.S. Another antioxidant, alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), is added to some cured meats to inhibit nitrosamines formation. As a result of adding these antioxidants, there are now significantly lower levels of nitrosamines in fried bacon and other cured meats than there were years ago.

Organic Uncured Meats

Celery juice powder is now used as an organic replacement for sodium nitrite. Remember, certain vegetables, including celery, have naturally occurring nitrates in them that our body converts to nitrites. Several organic meat farmers use celery juice and salt in place of sodium nitrite. I purchase my favorite uncured bacon at Trader Joe’s and it’s from Niman Ranch. Below is the statement found on their company website on how they “cure” their meats.

Despite USDA regulations, it’s probably more accurate to say that
our uncured products are naturally cured. Instead of adding nitrate or
nitrite chemicals, we use celery juice, a source of naturally occurring
sodium nitrate. During processing, the nitrate in celery juice is
consumed by lacto bacteria, anaerobic organisms similar to the friendly
bacteria in yogurt that like a salty environment. As the natural curing
process occurs, the nitrate in celery juice is consumed by the lacto
bacteria and converted, first to nitrite, then to nitrous oxide,
dissipating into the atmosphere. As a result, only minute amounts of
nitrate remains in the meat. But the nitrate has done its job: inhibiting
bacteria, helping meat to retain its pink color, and adding depth of

So do nitrites cause cancer? Not sure. Are they bad for you? Not if you eat them in the form of fresh, organic vegetables (nitrates). As for eating them in “cured” meats, well, in moderation is wise. Also, make sure you eat foods rich in vitamins C (tomatoes, kiwi, peppers, mangoes, papayas, oranges) and E (most nuts, tomatoes, olive oil) with that bacon or hot dog.  The antioxidants from these vitamins will reduce the formation of nitrosamines, and makes eating nitrites a negligible health risk.

Seasonal Flu? Asthma? Get More Vitamin D!

Vitamin D is important for everyone, but it is especially helpful for preventing the seasonal flu, and people with asthma. My family takes vitamin D to prevent the flu and cold viruses, and for our overall health.  We live in sunny Southern California, and yes, we still need vitamin D supplements. I had our sons’ levels tested and they were deficient. They spend a lot of time outdoors too, and without sunscreen at times. So imagine if you live in climates that don’t get as much sunshine? What do you think your levels are?

The vitamin D formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight regulates the expression of more than 2,000 genes throughout your body, including ones that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Hence, being overwhelmed by the “flu bug” could signal that your vitamin D levels are too low, allowing the flu virus to overtake your immune system.

Vitamin D levels in your blood fall to their lowest point during flu seasons. The reason is when the flu season hits us…during the sunless winter months. Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides) that are released by vitamin D, a person with a low vitamin D blood level is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections. So take preventative measures now. Not curative steps later when you have the virus.  Start building up your vitamin D levels in the fall, before the seasonal flu is upon us.

Now, to the other option for seasonal flu prevention; the flu vaccine. Here are some facts that aren’t necessarily touted when the CDC, WHO, and our FDA promote getting vaccinated. (By the way: what other industry other than the pharmaceutical industry have government agencies promoting their products?)

Each dose of these flu vaccines contains more than 250 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limit for mercury.

By now, most people are well aware that children and fetuses are most at risk of damage from this neurotoxin, as their brains are still developing. Yet the CDC still recommends that children over 6 months, and pregnant women, receive the flu vaccine each year.

In addition to mercury, flu vaccines also contain other toxic or hazardous ingredients like:

  • Formaldehyde — a known cancer-causing agent
  • Aluminum — a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Triton X-100 — a detergent
  • Phenol (carbolic acid)
  • Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
  • Various antibiotics: neomycin, streptomycin, gentamicin – which can cause allergic reactions in some people

Yikes!  This alone is enough information to convince me that vaccines may do some areas of our population more harm than good. Especially kids with immune system problems, which include a lot of children with autism and ADHD.

A Japanese study from last year showed that a group of children taking vitamin D3 was 58 percent less likely to catch influenza A. That’s a higher effectiveness than any flu vaccine can claim, and doesn’t come with a barrage of potentially devastating side effects!

There people at a higher risk of complications if they contract the flu virus, such those that have asthma, and doctors recommend the flu vaccine. But did you know that not getting enough vitamin D may make asthma worse?

According to a new study, researchers found that low vitamin D levels were associated with worse lung function compared to higher vitamin D levels in people with asthma.  In addition, the study showed that people with low vitamin D levels didn’t respond as well to asthma treatments compared to people with higher vitamin D levels.  The study findings suggest that vitamin D levels influence a number of important features of asthma, including lung function, bronchospasm, and therapeutic response to steroids.

In the study, published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine,  researchers compared vitamin D levels and asthma severity in 54 people with asthma.

The results showed that people with higher vitamin D levels had better lung function measures than people with lower vitamin D levels. In particular, people with low vitamin D performed worse on tests of lung function and airway hyper-responsiveness, two hallmarks of asthma.

Researchers say vitamin D levels were directly related to the participants’ score on the breathing tests: the lower the vitamin D levels, the worse their performance.

Vitamin D is important for everyone, especially if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.  An article published May 1, 2010 in the American Academy of Pediatrics News recommends pregnant women take 4,000 IUs of vitamin D daily to fight infection and disease, to maintain good health, and to deliver healthier, stronger babies.

But even this seemingly large amount may be seriously inadequate in many women. Some may need more than 10,000 units per day and the only way to know for sure is to have your vitamin D level tested.

Since we already know that most children and teenagers are vitamin D-deficient, I urge you to get your child’s vitamin D levels tested, and if found deficient, increase their daily vitamin D supplement between 2,000 – 5,000 IUs/day.  Do this, and they’ll be far less likely to catch any cold or flu this year.

Related post:  “How My Kids Fight The Flu Season”

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