Research has shown us that there are a few factors that contribute to Autism. Toxins, oxidative stress and a deficiency in key antioxidants all lead to neuro-developmental problems, brain damage and potentially Autism.
Glutathione and Autism
One of the most crucial components in our body’s fight against oxidative damage and the accumulation of toxins is Glutathione. It is the most important and powerful antioxidant in the body, present in every cell. However nearly everyone is deficient in this miraculous antioxidant, leading to an increasing number of people suffering from oxidative brain damage.
Glutathione deficiency has an enormous impact on brain health and neurological development, but it is also the keystone of our immune function. Because children with Autism have a significantly decreased level of Glutathione, they are extremely vulnerable to illness, disease and infection.
Understanding Glutathiones contributions to our neurological development and health, it is not a huge surprise that it has quickly become one of the focuses for Autism treatment. Already there have been breakthroughs in how we treat and prevent Autism through optimizing Glutathione levels.
Autism and N-Acetyl Cysteine Study
Children with Autism have very low levels of Glutathione. Could the severity of their symptoms be reduced by enhancing their Glutathione though?
Researchers at Stanford University decided to tackle this question head on, and what they found was remarkable.
The study included a group of 33 children with Autism, separated into two groups. One group received an increasing dose of N-Acetylcysteine (a precursor to GSH production) for 12 weeks, while the second group was given a placebo to be used as a control.
After the twelve week study the children were assessed, and the results have changed the way we approach treating Autism.
The children who were given NAC showed a huge improvement in behavioral symptoms associated with Autism. Reducing their “irritability scores” by 80%. Making N-Acetylcysteine treatment a viable and powerful treatment for irritability in Autistic children.
How Glutathione Benefits Autism
What this NAC study on Autism found, is that by enhancing Glutathione synthesis you can help improve neurological health and balance brain chemistry. Removing the toxins and repairing the oxidative damage to the brain, allowing it to function properly and help reduce the symptoms of Autism.
The study used one of the precursors of Glutathione synthesis known as N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC, but this is not the only way to improve GSH levels. You can orally supplement Acetyl Glutathione to not only improve GSH synthesis, but directly enhance Glutathione levels in the body.
Methylation – MTHFR and Autism
In short, the methylation cycle is a process in which a single molecule (the methyl donor) transfers a methyl group, consisting of 3 hydrogen atoms and 1 carbon atom (CH3) to another molecule. This second molecule becomes methylated, this is an essential process that is responsible for our body’s Glutathione production and a myriad of other effects. The methylation cycle is a critical factor in the development and progression of Autism and the many symptoms associated with it. As well as being hugely important in nearly every bodily process. Specifically the MTHFR gene, about 40% of people have a genetic defect with this MTHFR gene. This reduces the efficiency of our methylation cycle, a system which is essential for repairing our DNA, keeping inflammation in check, controlling homocysteine levels and recycling key antioxidants like Glutathione.
98% of Autistic children have a MTHFR gene mutation, meaning they cannot synthesize Glutathione effectively. They cannot control homocysteine and their oxidative stress levels are elevated. Leading to neurological problems, severe damage to brain cells and an extremely weakened immune system.
The body is flooded with homocysteine and oxidative stress, damaging every system and cell. Causing the immune function to be overloaded with work, constantly occupied with trying to cleanse the body of the accumulated toxins associated with this MTHFR dysfunction. The body is incapable of dealing with the exogenous toxins and infective agents that bombard us daily. Worsening the problem and increasing the level of toxicity in the body. This allows disease to flourish, neurological damage to run rampant and worsen the condition of anyone with this genetic mutation.
Essential Supplements for Autism and MTHFR
Balancing this methylation cycle is critical in improving the health of your body and cells. By increasing Glutathione levels you can help combat the symptoms of MTHFR dysfunction. Supplementing the nutrients which are integral to the methylation process is also necessary. Specific B Vitamins are needed to do this, Vitamin B12 Methylcobalamin for one, as well as Vitamin B9 L-Methylfolate.
Balancing the methylation process and improving Glutathione levels has a huge impact on neurological development and health. These are key factors in the treatment and prevention of Autism.