Sulforaphane and Autism, Our Avmacol Experience

There’s a lot I’d like to post about today but we didn’t sleep very well and my brain is a little foggy. (That explains my broccoli style banana phone graphic. I just had to.)

Gavin is at ABA therapy as I type this – it’s day 3. He is doing well and very happy to be there. Yesterday he ate lunch with them and I hope he will eat today as well. Then we are off to speech therapy, then home for a nap. I hope he has enough energy for all of this today! We’ll see.

Since I am not very spunky today, I managed to do only one thing so far in my constant world of research and that thing was: sulforaphane. I finally responded to a team member at Nutramax, the makers of Avmacol. They replied back to my initial email weeks ago but one thing led to another and I didn’t reply or order the supplement. Today I ordered two bottles of Avmacol and updated them, explaining how I really hope it works for us. The person already emailed me and told me to let him know how it goes. I am so floored by the fast response that I am not even sure what to say. It all seems too good to be true. Avmacol is supposed to be the best way to get sulforaphane working in the body and the people who work there seem to be pretty amazing people so far.

So about Avmacol: it’s a combination of sulforaphane and myrosinase which “ignites” the benefits of sulforaphane right there in the digestive system. I gave Gavin some other sulforaphane supplements before, but not on a regular basis, so I don’t know what the outcome was. But then I kept reading about it and decided that if I do this again I’d make sure to get the best formulation of sulforaphane possible. That’s when I heard about Avmacol and the way it is different than other supplements out there of the same type. It’s even the chosen tablet for clinical trials for sulforaphane.

I’ll update this post after we have been taking it for at least four weeks. The two bottles will arrive soon so hopefully I will see positive changes in Gavin shortly after his fourth birthday.

I’m leaving some details about two clinical trials with sulforaphane below, in case someone stumbles across this post and wants more details right away. There was a study completed in 2014 which showed positive outcomes in males with autism who were over 13. The second study I found is apparently still going on and I have emailed the researchers to ask if they can pass any info along to me to share with you. It’s another trial that doesn’t involve anyone younger than 13, but I hope it sheds some light on the benefits so that more people can use it successfully.

Sulforaphane Clinical Study 1 – Lurie Center for Autism 2014

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4217462/

This study was conducted at the Lurie Center for Autism of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) for Children with approval of the MGH and Johns Hopkins University Institutional Review Boards, and was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT 01474993 under Food and Drug Administration IND 113542).

“The decision to test sulforaphane to treat ASD was based on four premises. First, extensive evidence shows that sulforaphane counteracts many of the same biochemical and molecular abnormalities associated with ASD, including oxidative stress and reduced antioxidant capacity, defects in glutathione synthesis, mitochondrial dysfunction and low oxidative phosphorylation, increased lipid peroxidation, and neuroinflammation. Although it is unclear whether these anomalies are etiological or secondary manifestations, their correction often improves ASD behavior

Second, a variety of small molecules including sulforaphane can ameliorate a number of unrelated genetic disorders by activating the “stress proteome,” which regulates many of the aforementioned damaging processes. Sulforaphane, as well as hydroxyurea, phenylbutyrate, and trichostatin A, have been shown in vitro to have therapeutic potential to reestablish cellular homeostasis in a number of unrelated genetic disorders.

Third, sulforaphane is a dietary phytochemical, derived from its precursor glucosinolate glucoraphanin, that is widely consumed in cruciferous plant-rich diets, and qualifies for consideration as a food, a dietary supplement, or a drug, depending on its intended use. Sulforaphane is therefore justifiably considered to be of low toxicity, and its administration to humans is well tolerated.

Fourth, widespread anecdotal reports have suggested that fever can dramatically but temporarily ameliorate the disturbed behavior of many autistic patients. Notably, the degree of improvement (mostly in stereotypic behavior and inappropriate speech) was unrelated to the severity of fever or of autism. This study explicitly suggested that elucidation of the fever response might provide insight into the mechanisms of ASD and point to new therapeutic approaches. Fever up-regulates heat-shock proteins and related mechanisms central to multiple cellular processes in the CNS, including synaptic transmission, and may improve long-range cerebral cortical connectivity that is depressed in ASD. Sulforaphane also up-regulates expression of the heat-shock response.

Participants, all male, were 13–27 y old at enrollment (median: 17 y). A history of behavioral improvements with fever was given by a large majority (32 of 40; 80%) of participants.

At 18 wk there was a 34% reduction in ABC and a 17% reduction in SRS scores,

Significantly greater improvement was observed among participants randomized to sulforaphane at 4, 10, and 18 wk for irritability, lethargy, stereotypy, and hyperactivity subscales of the ABC, and in awareness, communication, motivation, and mannerism subscales of SRS. After stopping sulforaphane treatment, both ABC and SRS subscores tended to revert toward baseline.

Our clinical impressions during the study, although blind to group assignment, were that 13 of the 40 participants improved noticeably with respect to sociability and behavior, usually observable by 4 wk; all were receiving sulforaphane. In queries to families and caregivers, before unblinding, 17 of 26 whose sons had taken sulforaphane reported gradual changes within the first month of treatment and correctly surmised their group assignment, whereas the remaining 9 on sulforaphane—and all but 1 of 14 who received placebo—were not improved, and believed that their sons had not received sulforaphane. Positive responses to sulforaphane were spontaneously reported by parents and caretakers, who commented (before disclosure of treatment category) on improved social responsiveness, behavioral compliance, and calmness in the subjects with ASD who were taking the active compound.”

Sulforaphane Clinical Study 2 -Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, University of North Carolina School of Medicine

A second study from 2017 and still ongoing with Avmacol brand of sulforaphane:  https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02909959

I am going to try to get information about this trial to see the results. From the link above, it shows the way they will measure the outcomes but I don’t see any results  just yet.

Autism Life is Moving Along: Things We Did Today, Volume 4

Confession: This post is really, really late. Aah! It’s almost December but I never updated at the beginning of November.  It has been super busy and we have all been tired. The basic recap is:

  1. We have been healthy all month (luckily!) and no one has been sick in our family. This is the first November like that on record. Still in disbelief that we made it. (Of course, now worried about what December holds and downing the vitamins.)
  2. Our experience with our new ABA therapy center has been great so far and very timely. Gavin can start therapy on December 3.
  3. The ABA center wants Gavin to do an intensive schedule Monday through Thursday, even on Fridays too eventually. This means we had to pull him out of his preschool on Tuesday and Thursday morning. Tomorrow is his last day. This was a very hard decision. I love the teachers there, just as amazing and caring people foremost! I wanted Gavin to have the same kind of experience that his brother Liam had there. The truth is, the experience is not exactly the same. I cannot expect that to happen. They welcome Gavin to come back in the spring if he has a lot of success and if the center feels that he can skip Tuesdays and Thursdays and return to school on those days. I think right now Gavin will benefit more from therapy daily than going to preschool. The teachers there and the teachers from PPS agree. They have all made me feel much better about it all. I can’t thank them enough for all they do.
  4. I began this post saying that we have been tired. Gavin did have some sleeping issues throughout the month at times. I started giving him his B12 shot every night instead of every other night. That seems to have been a mistake because he did seem to be overstimulated by it. Then we received his new compounded injections with B12, folinic acid and NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine). He has now been on a regular schedule of every other night with these injections and seems to be back to the way he was at the very beginning of November. He is calm, happy and sleeping great. Naps too. (They will end at some point, but not sure when! Let’s see how daily therapy effects him.)
  5. Gavin has been babbling more than ever again (I feel like I have been able to report that a lot over the past year) and loves going to speech therapy. ABA therapy will also cause changes to our speech therapy sessions which are normally at least twice a week. Our therapist, Dani, is also an awesome person we are lucky to be working with. She says we can still squeeze in Fridays with her at least if we can, and even though she normally doesn’t schedule sessions that day.

“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.” – The Velveteen Rabbit

Tomorrow will be a big day with a lot of emotions. If Gavin is ready, I am. 🙂

Autism Mom Bloggers, Favorite Autism Blogs List

Autism Mom

This is one of the first sites I found a while back but sadly she will not be blogging any longer. I hope to read through all of the posts when I have free time. I love her gentle and calming writing style and I am sure many, many people will miss new posts from Elizabeth. One of her golden passages that I can’t forget: “Some days it takes everything I have to be patient. Some days I fail, and the shouting goes both ways. I am not very happy with myself on those days – I am the grown-up, I should do better and set the example. I sit back and think about what I could do differently. Maybe when he gets home from school he needs more of a break. Maybe we could schedule the putting away of the lunchbox and the chore for later, give him more time to decompress. Maybe that would ease his stress and reduce the arguing. Sometimes it is my failures that can be the best teachers. As long as I keep thinking and learning, I can keep supporting him every step of the way.”

Finding Cooper’s Voice

I think a lot of people know about Cooper’s mom, Kate, and their family’s journey. They went viral multiple times after all! Her blog is a good starting point to read through if you are just beginning the autism journey. She helps us all stay grounded through her writing which comes from her heart. A quote from Kate: “There is an element of grief that goes into raising a child with special needs. That statement offends some people while parents of kiddos with needs are nodding their heads. I was pregnant just like my friends. I pictured the future and raising my sweet little baby. Never once did I factor in having a child with severe needs. I pictured baseball games, funny conversations and bike riding — not doctor’s offices, IEP’s and communication devices. His diagnosis was shocking to me. I felt the need to grieve the little boy that I had pictured in order to accept the life I was given. My advice to parents is to give yourself time to accept your child’s diagnosis. You are human. Cut yourself some slack. And then you will be able to love the child that you have in an even stronger way.”

The Autism Dad

Some of the most useful and thought provoking posts I’ve read have been from an autism dad, not a mom! Rob’s site is full of thoughts and questions we have all had at some point. It’s comforting to find another person on the same page. Also we both have a son named Gavin, so that was interesting! From Rob: ” While reading, you will bear witness to all the raw emotions I’ve experienced along the way. You’ll experience our true happiness and utter heartbreak as life presents us with things that no child should ever have to face, or any family has to deal with. It’s raw, visceral, transparent and brutally honest. It’s our real-life story and we don’t hide from it. For almost a decade, people from across the globe have found comfort and solace in my thoughts because they put words to what they’ve been feeling.”

Avoiding Salicylates and Additives for Autism Symptoms

It might be helpful to follow a low salicylate diet for anyone, including those with autism. Foods with salicylates might be irritating to the digestive system. Many fruits and vegetables especially are high in salicylates. The symptoms of salicylate intolerance for most people are:

Sinus inflammation and infection
Polyps (small, non-cancerous growths) in the nasal and sinus passages
Asthma
Hives
Fever
Tissue swelling
Inflammation of large intestine, which can cause abdominal pain and discomfort
Diarrhea

However, the symptoms for those with autism are:

laughing at inappropriate times (at night or when something is not funny)
strange rashes that appear on the body
erratic behaviors and moods
self-stimulatory behaviors
waking up in the middle of the night
having a difficult time with their stools (constipation, diarrhea, and/or undigested foods)
headaches

From SCDLifestyle.com:

In a normal body, one with the correct levels of sulfates and liver enzymes, phenols and salicylates are easily metabolized. The body utilizes what it needs from the chemicals and properly disposes of the rest through the bowels. In those whose levels are abnormal, or in the case of leaky gut syndrome, intolerance to this chemical family can occur rather quickly.

Many people with gut issues, such as yeast/bacteria overgrowth or digestive diseases, can develop salicylate intolerance as a result of leaky gut Syndrome.  Leaky gut is a result of various digestive problems and occurs when the small intestine becomes too damaged to properly filter the size and types of food particles or chemicals that enter the bloodstream (for more on leaky gut read this). When these improper particles are allowed to repeatedly enter the bloodstream, the body tries to get rid of them by triggering an immune system response. Because phenols/salicylates are so common in most foods, a person with a leaky gut will have much higher than normal levels of these chemicals in their blood and can very quickly develop intolerances to these specific particles.

The first and easiest step to eliminating most salicylates from the diet is removing any food dyes, artificial flavorings, natural flavors (if you can’t verify that it’s really natural – don’t eat it!) and preservatives. Just doing that is a relief for anyone’s body. Once this step is done, the rest of the lifestyle change is easier.

The following list covers the foods that are safer to eat (with absent or marginal levels of salicylates) if you want to follow this diet plan for a few months and see if there are any changes.

  • meat
  • dairy
  • breads
  • noodles
  • rice
  • butter
  • vegetable oil
  • molasses
  • golden syrup
  • maple syrup
  • brown sugar
  • cocoa powder
  • carob powder
  • chamomile tea
  • garlic
  • vanilla
  • cashews
  • poppy seeds
  • grains
  • pecans
  • peanut butter
  • sesame seeds
  • hazelnuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • plain potato chips
  • bamboo shoots
  • brussel sprouts
  • cabbage
  • celery
  • choke
  • beans
  • peas
  • leek
  • lentils
  • iceberg lettuce
  • potato white
  • beansprouts
  • asparagus
  • beets
  • carrot
  • cauliflower
  • corn
  • french beans
  • mushroom
  • onion
  • pumpkin
  • spinach
  • tomato
  • turnip
  • banana
  • pear, peeled
  • apple, golden delicious
  • custard apple
  • fig
  • cherries, sour canned, morella
  • grapes, green
  • lemon
  • mango
  • pawpaw
  • papaya
  • passionfruit
  • persimmon
  • pineapple juice
  • pomegranate
  • rhubarb
  • tamarillo

Dr. Feingold developed a diet plan in the 1960s based on removing salicylates. The diet plan recommends this example meal plan –

Breakfast
Breakfast can be as easy as scrambled eggs, toast and fruit or you can modify your own recipes so you can serve pancakes or waffles.

For those times when you are in a hurry, try one of these:

Serve a cup of (Feingold accepted brand) yogurt and a piece of fruit for a quick meal.
Melt a slice of cheese on a slice of whole grain bread, along with a glass of juice.
A smoothie made from a cup of milk, a cup of juice and a banana will feed two hungry children

Lunch
The old stand-bys work great for lunch. Tuna salad sandwiches, egg or peanut butter. Try to keep things simple and as close to what you normally serve as possible. They key is to modify by using accepted brands and items that you will find in our “any” list. These ingredients don’t need to be accepted and listed in our Foodlist. You can purchase “any” type of these items.

Dinner
The same thing goes for dinner. Modify your families favorite meals. This will ensure a successful result. Whether it is fried chicken, meatloaf, spaghetti or taco’s. All you need are accepted ingredients to make meals that your family loves.

What Are the Most Reputable, Trusted Supplement Companies?

While I’ve researched a lot about which supplements to take and why, the last piece of the puzzle has remained: which brands can we trust the most? I purchase most supplements on Amazon and with that said, there’s always room for more research on the ingredients in those bottles. Let’s start with the most popular, the affordable and work our way to the most expensive. We’ll find out what deserves high price tags and which do not.

Swanson

This is the brand you will see on Amazon very often since they make or acquire every vitamin and mineral under the sun. I always thought Swanson made TV dinners or did food delivery. Turns out that was Schwan’s. The brand Swanson does make broth (owned by Campbell’s) and frozen dinners (owned by Pinnacle Foods) but that brand name isn’t related to Swanson Health Products. Swanson Vitamins, underneath the Swanson Health Products umbrella, is the United States’ largest privately held vitamin catalog retailer, was founded in 1969 in North Dakota. The founder (the big pill, if you will), Leland Swanson, was a self-taught natural health enthusiast which is something I can relate to. Swanson’s first choice of supplementation for himself was vitamin E capsules and this started his business path. After a long journey all of these years, Leland’s son has now retired from the business and in 2016 the company was acquired by Swander Pace Capital. (It’s interesting how both companies start with swan.) Since the company has been acquired, it does worry me on the quality of their products staying the same.

Source Naturals

Life Extension

Designs for Health

Kirkman

OmniBiotics

Absorb Health

Solar

Jigsaw

Makers of MagMind

Omnivits

Seeking Health

NOW Foods

Terapeutics

Double Wood Supplements

Doctor’s Best

Nootropics

Pure Encapsulations

Life Seasons

 

For what it’s worth, here is the list from ConsumerLab.com for what real consumers have selected as their most reliable supplements, but this list does not attest to quality or purity, it’s only what consumers reported to be working well for them:

Top-rated Supplement Brands on Overall Consumer Satisfaction:

Catalog/Internet Brand: ProCaps (Andrew Lessman)
Direct Selling (MLM) Brand: USANA
Discount/Warehouse Brand: Kirkland (Costco)
Food/Drug/Mass — Broad Product Line: Nature Made
Food/Drug/Mass — Narrow Product Line: HPF Cholestene
Grocery Store Brand: Trader Darwin (Trader Joe’s)
Healthcare Practitioner Brand: Pure Encapsulations
Health Food Store Brand: Kyolic/Kyo-Dophilus
Pharmacy Brand: Walgreens
Vitamin Store Brand: Vitamin Shoppe
Canadian Brand: Natural Factors

Top-rated Supplement Brands on Consumer Satisfaction with Specific Types of Supplements:*

Calcium: Puritan’s Pride
CoQ10: Member’s Mark (Sam’s Club)
Joint Health: Puritan’s Pride
Melatonin: Natrol
Multivitamin: Life Extension
Omega-3s: Life Extension
Probiotic: Renew Life
Resveratrol: Life Extension
Vitamin D: Puritan’s Pride
* Excludes direct sales brands due to potential respondent bias

Top-rated Supplement Merchants on Overall Consumer Satisfaction:

Catalog/Internet: Life Extension
Direct Sales (MLM): USANA
Grocery Store: Natural Grocers
Mass Market: Target
Online Multi-Category Retailer: Amazon.com
Online Supplement Retailer: Vitacost
Pharmacy: Walgreens
Practitioner Line Merchant: Pure Encapsulations
Vitamin Store: The Vitamin Shoppe
Warehouse Store: Costco

The Important Role of Magnesium in Autism (With Instructions For Success!)

It’s fall and as we become more cozy at home, I’m ready to get our troupe of supplements in the cabinet ready for winter as well. Since spending more time inside is on our horizon, it’s time to get things in order and maximize our results. So today I am thinking about one of our best friends: magnesium. Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 325 enzymatic reactions in DNA and neurotransmitters, in the bones, heart and brain, in every cell of the body. Many people have a deficiency in magnesium – not just kids or adults with autism. Plus, magnesium is needed for calcium and vitamin c metabolism. It’s essential for nerve and muscle functioning, and to convert blood sugar into energy. It’s a good idea for anyone to take a magnesium supplement each day since it’s a big part of the puzzle to balance the entire body. For kids with autism, you can take magnesium threonate (or multiple different forms of magnesium throughout the day or week, some say it can be a better effect) twice a day. At the moment, I prefer magnesium threonate? MIT researchers discovered and patented magnesium L-threonate based on its unique ability to boost brain levels of magnesium. You can also take magnesium citrate or a liquid mag twice a day to help with any constipation.

But the biggest help for a child is to take magnesium threonate each day along with B6, calcium and Vitamin D3 to increase absorption of magnesium in the cells.

It is also a good idea to take these supplements together along with a meal which contains carbohydrates to improve intestinal absorption.

Magnesium is the mind mineral. Some of the highest levels of magnesium in the body are found in the central nervous system, with studies dating back to the 1920s showing how crucial magnesium is for a balanced brain.

Magnesium is available in capsules which you can empty into food, or liquids and powders ready to add into food as well. It’s also easy to get capsules or liquids for B6, calcium and D3.

There are over 20 studies of vitamin B6 with magnesium for autism, including 12 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, making it one of most studied treatments for autism. Almost all of these studies found that 45-50% of children and adults with autism benefited from high-dose supplementation of vitamin B6 with magnesium.

Magnesium in the diet
Foods high in saturated fat cause the body to get rid of magnesium. The cleaner your child’s diet, the more chance there is for minerals and nutrients to absorb and be a benefit to your child’s behavior. If you are taking supplements with a bad diet and poor digestion, you are wasting the power of the supplements.

Foods that are naturally rich in magnesium are:
Whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and dark leafy greens, as well as cocoa and molasses

Magnesium at bath time
For any child on the spectrum, bath time is a very important time of the day. It’s a time for the child to relax and get ready for bed. The water is a source of warmth and pressure around their body if they are sensory seeking. It’s also a place where they can feel relaxed and pay attention to playtime even better since they are in an enclosed space. While all of these good things are happening, you might as well make sure the water itself is playing a role in helping autistic symptoms. Here are recipes for bath soaks to help absorb magnesium into the body and to detox the body at the same time. Make sure the water is very warm when you add the ingredients to make a perfect bath.

1. Magnesium Bath: Bath soak with mag chloride flakes
1/2 cup magnesium chloride flakes
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup himalayan pink salt or dead sea salts

2. Epsom Salt Bath: Detoxing bath soak
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1/2 cup of epsom salt
3-5 drops of essential oils of your choice

During the bath, rub the skin with a washcloth all over to open the pores to allow more absorption.

It should go without saying, do not let your child drink the water.

You can alternate these baths during the week to help the body absorb magnesium more efficiently.

Topical magnesium on the body
Transdermal administration of magnesium bypasses processing by the liver. There are magnesium oil sprays and lotions. Many people say the best places to absorb lotions or sprays containing minerals are under the armpits and on the head.

Magnesium for sleep
There is a melatonin pathway in the body and magnesium helps its functionality to improve sleep naturally without having to ever take melatonin separately or other sleep aids. But the body also needs the right amounts of B6 and calcium to make melatonin production run more smoothly. It all starts to sound complex, but having the body in balance is the key. Once your child has the right balance, more processes in the body will start to come together better than ever, letting your child be more calm and learn better as they grow. Speaking of complexities, I should add finally that having tryptophan in the diet is also a good idea for helping any sleep issues, but you can add that after your magnesium/calcium/B6/D3 mission is on track and your child still struggles with staying asleep. B12 is also essential for so much in the body, including sleep patterns, which cannot fit into this post right now. Kids with autism usually always benefit from adding B12 in some way, at some point. But once magnesium is taken care of, B12 has a better chance of working as well, whether in a supplement, lozenge or injection. So with one step at a time, the balance can be found.

Different types of magnesium supplements explained:

The best forms:

Magnesium glycinate: This chelated form of magnesium tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability, typically considered for those who are trying to correct a deficiency. It’s easily absorbed which makes it good for leaky gut.

Magnesium chloride / lactate: Contains 12 percent magnesium, but better absorption than others containing more. It’s great for detoxing and kidney function.

Magnesium malate: This is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that provides the benefits of this mineral, along with the benefits of malic acid, a nutrient found to contribute to the process of transforming food into ATP, the body’s energy source. Malic acid is a key component for creating energy in the body. This is great for low energy, fatigue and muscle pain.

Magnesium aspartate: Aspartate is combined with minerals and is available as copper aspartate, iron aspartate, magnesium aspartate, manganese aspartate, potassium aspartate, and zinc aspartate. Aspartates are used to increase absorption of the minerals they are combined with and to enhance athletic performance.

Magnesium taurate: This is a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. Together, they tend to provide a calming effect on your body and mind.

Magnesium orotate: This is created through the use of mineral salts of orotic acid. Orotates can penetrate cell membrane, enabled the effected delivery of the magnesium into the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus.

Magnesium threonate: Newer type of magnesium supplement penetrates the mitochondrial membrane.

The least helpful forms:

Magnesium sulfate / hydroxide: Milk of magnesia – used typically as a laxative.

Magnesium carbonate: Antacid properties, 45 magnesium.

Magnesium citrate: Magnesium with citric acid, laxative properties. This should not be used long term.

Magnesium oxide: This non-chelated magnesium is bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid. Contains 60 percent magnesium and has stool softening properties. Not a good choice for helping the body long term.

Obtaining Magnesium Through the Diet

Foods high in magnesium are:

  • almond
  • spinach
  • cashews
  • shredded wheat cereal
  • soy milk
  • black beans
  • edamame
  • peanut butter
  • whole grain bread
  • avocado

“Nutritionists in Canada find sunflower, squash and pumpkin seeds, black-eyed peas, tempeh, and Brazil nuts to be the richest sources of magnesium per serving.

Eating legumes, seeds, and grains won’t help as much as you’d expect since they also contain naturally occurring compounds called phytates that inhibit the absorption of minerals including magnesium.

Drink Magnesium-Rich Mineral Water

Another way to get more magnesium is to drink mineral water from natural springs.

Minerals waters have a long history of promoting health.

People around the world have been soaking in hot springs and drinking these waters for thousands of years.

Popular bottled brands include San Pellegrino, Perrier, Fuji, and Evian.

Gerolsteiner sparkling water from Germany is particularly high in magnesium.”

Magnesium Topically

Some say that the best way to get magnesium is through your skin. Besides baths with mag chloride flakes, you can also rub magnesium oil or lotion on your feet at night before bed.

Cofactors for Magnesium

B6 helps the liver work optimally and allows cells to absorb magnesium. Food based vitamin B can be from liver, raw bee pollen, and yeast flakes.

Baking soda helps magnesium reach the cells. Drink a 1/2 tsp or less of baking soda at night before bed or take baths with baking soda added.

Boron is found in prunes most of all. You can also take it in a supplement to help absorb magnesium.

Selenium is found in brazil nuts. It supports immunity and heart health.

Vitamin D and K2 must be taken as well to increase the absorption of magnesium. D is found in cod liver oil which everyone should take daily. K2 is found in natty, some cheeses, and can be supplemented.

Lastly, you need potassium. White potatoes with skin, lima beans, avocados and sweet potatoes have the highest amounts of potassium.

Fire Cider Recipe for Fever and Cold

I don’t know how I would get my kids to drink this but I wanted to share it. It seems like something good to prepare now in November to have around!

From The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride

Fire cider is a traditional folk medicine for breaking a fever. The vinegar/honey combination helps soothe a sore throat and mask the flavor of the stronger herbs. Take 1 tablespoon three times a day at the onset of a cold.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons fresh grated horseradish
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon powdered cayenne
4 cups apple cider vinegar
Honey to sweeten (at least 1 pound)

Directions
Let ginger, horseradish, onion, garlic, and cayenne steep in the vinegar for at least one month. 
Add ½ part honey to sweeten.
 Store in a clean, capped bottle.

Autism, Vitamins, Supplements: The Basics for Healing Autism Symptoms

Fat Soluble Vitamins

There are four fat soluble vitamins, vitamin a, d, e and k. Fat soluble means they are easily stored in the body for long periods of time and generally pose a greater risk for toxicity when consumed in excess than water-soluble vitamins.

These are the amounts that a child 4 to 6 years old needs daily:

400mcg – Vitamin a
15 mcg – Vitamin d
7 mcg – Vitamin e
55 mcg – Vitamin k

Eating a normal, well-balanced diet will not lead to toxicity in otherwise healthy individuals. However, taking vitamin supplements that contain megadoses of vitamins A, D, E and K may lead to toxicity. The body only needs small amounts of any vitamin.

Water Soluble Vitamins

There are a total of nine water-soluble vitamins and these are the amounts a child 4 to 6 years old needs daily:

Thiamine B1: 0.6 mg
Riboflavin B2: 0.6 mg
Niacin B3: 8 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.6 mg
Vitamin B12: 1.2 mcg
Vitamin C: 25 mg
Biotin: 12 mcg
Pantothenic acid: 3 mg
Folate: 200 mcg

Water soluble means they travel freely through the body, and excess amounts are usually excreted by the kidneys.

B12

B12 is such a big deal it needs its own space here on the post. B12 supplements are not absorbed well in the stomach. b12 comes from animal sources naturally in dairy, meat and fish. the body does not produce any b12 on its own.

Vitamin B12 works well as adenosylcobalamin and 50% hydroxycobalamin, taken with the P-5-P version of B6 and methyl folate.

CoQ10

Fat soluble antioxidant present in the body, which can be additionally supplemented

CoQ10 is an antioxidant present naturally in the body, and it’s found most in the heart, kidney, liver and pancreas. CoQ10 is the only fat-soluble antioxidant your body produces on its own. CoQ10 has important functions in the body and because people with some diseases have reduced levels of this substance, supplements are a good idea. CoQ10 is vital vitamin-like nutrient that helps produce the energy that allows our bodies to function. Our cells need it for proper growth and maintenance. It is the vehicle that transports the electrons across the crucial energy production processes within our bodies.  CoQ10 is regarded as an essential nutrient for cell regeneration and supports a long, healthy and productive life. Even cardiologists now recommend CoQ10 supplements to all their patients more frequently than any other supplement, including Omega-3 / Fish Oil.

CoQ10 is endogenous to the human body – meaning that we produce it naturally and we all have it. From our vital organs, to every muscle in our bodies, we find CoQ10 in practically every cell. In fact, the names ubiquinone and ubiquinol (the two most common forms of CoQ10 found in our bodies) both derive from the Latin “ubiquitas” (modern day English: ubiquitous), which literally means “present everywhere”.

CoQ10 plays an important role in the production of 95% of the energy used by our bodies at the cellular level. This energy is generated by a complex series of chemical reactions that culminates in the production of Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP, which is the way in which our bodies store energy. Think of ATP as the equivalent of your car’s battery and CoQ10 as the cable that connects your car’s generator to that battery to keep it charged. Without CoQ10, your battery (ATP) will be quickly depleted and your body may cease to function properly.

Autism Life is Moving Along: Things We Did Today, Volume 3

It feels like my last post was not so long ago but a month has almost zapped by again. Life is basically going in the same direction and Gavin is doing great! The biggest change has been that we now give him a B12 injection every other night. This is definitely helping Gavin. We all think that because:

1) Although he is doing more therapy and school days now, which should make him tired, he didn’t fall asleep easily for naps or at night. He was probably going through a transition phase with all the new activity because it would take hours to fall asleep at times. But as of the past week, he is now falling asleep within 10 or 5 minutes no matter what kind of day he has had. I think this is because his body is more regulated because of the B12 saturation. (Wow, the B12 saturation? I’ll talk about that more later.)

2) He is smiling differently. His mouth is different. The way he uses his mouth is different. I read that B12 can cause the nerve signals in your mouth to have better pathways to the brain. He has been smiling extra big smiles where his top teeth show more than ever. He has let me put the toothbrush in his mouth during bath time for nearly two weeks now. He never let the toothbrush in before – he would always push it away. Now he will smile and even giggle when the brush touches his teeth or tongue. He doesn’t let me brush for very long or use toothpaste, but we are working on the sensory aspect of it. It’s coming along! Also he has been more mouthy, which is like a positive negative. His mouth is more awake which means he might almost bite us when he is excited, and he is putting more items in his mouth when he is playing, but it’s a sign of good things.

3) He has still been looking at my phone or watching some videos only occasionally. (Been using them as a reward to watch while I brush his teeth after breakfast and lunch.) I try to only let him use electronic devices after he is done eating, never during. Since beginning the shots, I think he is doing a better job of focusing on the books or activity while he eats. He also doesn’t get as upset when I take a device away. It’s like he has had enough and understands now that he will get it back again, at some point. All of this regulation must be from the B12. Gavin’s latest doctor told me that it’s not that we are treating him like he has a B12 deficiency but we are keeping his pathways saturated constantly by giving him shots every few days. He said eventually we can do daily. I’m still researching about all of it but so far it does seem safe. The B12 being injected subcutaneously allows the B12 to “leech” into the body 24/7. From this article: “The children who received the intervention treatment also saw increases in plasma methionine, decreases in S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine (SAH), and improvements in the ratio of improvements in the ratio of S-adenosylmethionine to SAH. This indicated that the children who received methyl B12 saw improvements in cellular methylation capacity.” There’s a lot more to it than this and I’d like to write a post about it soon. The hardest thing about the shots? Giving them. At this point I do it by myself because if my husband or MIL are in the room with me, I feel more anxious when I am doing it. I don’t know why! But so far Gavin only noticed the shot a few times and jerked. Most of the time he doesn’t notice at all. I do it at night after bath time before putting on pajamas. He is usually standing listening to music on the Amazon Echo (distracted by pushing the buttons) and I give him a quick poke and then we finish getting ready.

4) His obsessions are stronger at times though. This is mostly a negative thing but interesting to see and figure out. Lately in parking lots he wants to physically touch the numbers painted on the concrete, or he wants to rub the numbers on license plates. Before I would just read them but now he is pointing them out and touching them constantly. He is usually upset and doesn’t want me to put him into the car because he wants to continue going around the parking lot looking at numbers and letters. This is the most upset that he gets lately: when it’s time to go home from therapy or school and he won’t let me pick him up. I have to wrangle him and get him into his seat. He still will grab me and my hair. During those times I get sad because every other piece of the puzzle is getting easier each day.

I am staying positive and strong. I have to in order to make sure Gavin gets everything he needs and to figure out what is next. It’s a never ending quest. There won’t be a way to flip a switch and have everything be “normal” for us. There have been so many times over the past four years that I wish for it to be different. How I wish that Gavin and Liam can play together normally. How I wish Gavin could have all of his frustrations erased.

I keep thinking about a quote I read about butterflies. It’s keeping me grounded.

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
-Maya Angelou

Things about Gavin this month:

  • Has laughing fits and you can’t tell what was funny that made him laugh. But that laugh is the sound of pure joy, a laugh that is not held back or inhibited
  • Likes to watch the credits after a movie or a screensaver that is a clock or has words. It’s like things that are moving are addicting for the brain
  • Likes to watch videos of cars, trains, anything moving quickly without stopping – again with moving objects being addicting

Autism Life is Moving Along: Things We Did Today, Volume 2

It has been about a month since my last update and my goal is to keep these posts going. The past two weeks have been huge for Gavin. I think the theme of this period in our life is time. It has been time for a change and we have many. We are still not using the iPad and focusing on communicating better, especially while eating. Sometimes I have to give him my phone when he is just completely not happy or not eating at all (and I am running on empty), but it’s not often. It’s at the point now that if I accidentally leave my phone on a table and he sees it, he dashes for it, grabs it and runs full speed with it because he knows it’s his only chance to use it!

His eye contact is better than ever now and he listens so well. Is this because he is growing up or because he is just in our world consistently and not escaping to the iPad or phone often? Not sure but everything is good. You can always find Gavin sitting with books and exploring things in the real world, as it should be.

Gavin is now officially in preschool! All summer I didn’t know whether he was ready. I was nervous, scared, anxious. I didn’t want him to be uncomfortable, frightened, or mess up his sleeping schedule from being overwhelmed. Luckily our amazing teachers there welcomed us with open arms and told us there’s nothing to worry about. He goes twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 12 and it’s perfect for him so far. Two teachers from the public school system’s early intervention (EI) are there with him and two other students who receive the services. It really is a perfect situation and I am so happy about it. Now is definitely the right time for him to be exposed to all of this.

We also got into a speech therapy schedule – every Wednesday at 10:30 for one hour. Our new therapist will not only help Gavin and build a relationship with him, but she will keep me on my toes. I have to make picture cards for Gavin and be consistent with having him communicate with them. So now I am more accountable and ready to do this. It’s time to add something new to our routine at home.

Keeping with my time theme – there was a big first time moment today. Gavin went down a slide at the playground about four times. He’s never done this before. It was very surreal and I couldn’t believe it was really happening. For a little backstory: Gavin never stays at a playground for very long. He is afraid of swings, most structures that are moving or make loud noises, and doesn’t climb on anything. We also have to take a water bottle with us so he can hold it in his mouth for most of the time (as a comfort) or one of his toys that plays music. Anything to keep him interested to stay there longer, because most of the time he would rather wander around the grounds or find his way back to our car. Today was different though. He was patient enough to go up and down the “hills” and use his legs to balance. Then when we were at the top of the slide, he let me put him on my lap. In the past he would wriggle and run away, or even have a small meltdown and almost cry, from being afraid. But not today. I don’t know if it was because he went to school lately, and went to a new place today as well (the speech therapy office), but he was not afraid of the slide. First we went down a few times together. A man who was there with his grandson was letting me know that Gavin had his eyes closed the first few times. But then he started opening them. And then – I put Gavin at the top and asked if he was ready to go, and I let him slide down by himself. I couldn’t believe he did it! Then I was able to take a video of the second time. On days like this I feel free of most of my worries. Relieved. Hopeful. Bright.

My only worry now is with fall coming in, and our rainy days, and the fact we will probably be sick a lot, is if I can continue keeping Gavin like this. Not being afraid, sleeping well, and going to school and speech therapy happily. We have to keep progressing and we just cannot afford to stop.

So far he is not napping well (or at all) and that causes issues. We are trying to figure out if it’s because of the change in his routine – but he is also waking up at night for hours at a time too. But we have to keep going with school and therapy because despite the lack of sleep, it seems to be helping him so much already. I am sure we can find out what to do – or maybe it will just take a few months of the new routine. But I am definitely not ready to drop naps. When he doesn’t take a nap, the end of the evening, and especially dinner, is much harder to get through. Naps regulate him for the rest of the day so much.