Stem Cell Treatments for Autism

When I was having my first son, L, I was asked to sign some paper to donate my cord blood. It’s all a blur really. They may have mentioned that I could bank the cord blood in case we needed it later. I considered at the time that cord blood was for “diseases” and “serious reasons” that probably would never happen to us. But really, as I said, it’s a blur. No one ever told me about cord blood, or stem cells, or the reasons to bank it. I had other things on my mind at the time, like delivering a healthy baby. I didn’t think too much about what would happen right after, or even in the years ahead. As a first time mom, at least for me, it was all about that moment. I didn’t have a friend or a relative that ever used cord blood, I never heard much about it.

Fast forward to having my second son, G, I must have signed something again to donate the cord blood at birth. I remember having a pamphlet given to me at that time. It may have had info about personally banking it, but I remember the feeling everything gave me was more about donating it. And of course I wanted to donate – so signing everything was no big deal. I think even my placenta was donated that time.

We started becoming more and more interested in stem cells. Many kids with autism were having injections of stem cells via IV and having wonderful results. For some, nothing happened.

We did it for G and it really seems like nothing happened. He had cells from Utah Cord Bank injected into the vein in his arm. But we have no way of telling if something silently repaired itself a little, because it’s not like he started talking. And his sensitivities are still mostly off the charts at times.

Kindergarten, Autism Worries and Moving On

It’s almost summer. My oldest will have his last days of Kindergarten next week. There will be a picnic day, movie day, signing autographs, and I am scared! I am so sad about it but also excited for him to move on, learn and grow. But for my youngest, G, I am just afraid that G will not be ready for Kindergarten on time. We decided G will go to ABA therapy full time, Monday through Friday, 9 to 3, starting in two weeks. He’ll do this all summer, and into this fall, if he seems to be happy and responding well. It’s really a lot so we may end up shortening a few of the days but we’ll see.

I just sent a message to one of the preschool teachers to let her know that we aren’t going to be able to come back. That was a message I was dreading to send. I wanted him to go back there so badly. I wanted a bigger piece of that dream of preschool and all the special moments there. It’s with tears in my eyes that I am saying: it’s done. He won’t go there again, and that’s that. This fall he will be at therapy, and next fall in 2020 he is supposed to go to Kindergarten. This next year is all about preparing him and figuring out what’s next. Inside, I am shaking. I want him to experience everything. I want to talk to him. I just want to talk to him. Without pointing, an app, without pictures.

G and I will visit the preschool this Thursday to get the picture that was on his cubby, say goodbye and give hugs. It’s the last day of school for the class he once was in. I am sure we will visit them again later in the year when G has hopefully made some huge, unbelievable milestones. Then I can cry happy tears and reconnect with them. That’s all I hope for.

My PSA: Take Control of Mental Health

I’ve still been on the research break I mentioned in my last post. I have tried to relax and enjoy the spring time with my family. On many days, I still feel a little helpless as soon as I wake up. A little lost but pushing on. My son is gaining more understanding all of the time but he still doesn’t talk and his theory of mind skills are growing slowly still. He is very much in his own world, on his time. There are no conversations of course, and not a lot of meaningful interaction with his brother. That has been the main sadness for me but I have learned to deal with my feelings and look at the big picture. Some of the biggest progress lately is that we can all ask him for a kiss and he will put his mouth on ours or our cheek. He also has been giving us tiny hugs around our waists or legs while we are standing. And for two weeks straight he has slept all night. I almost don’t want to write about it, in fear of jinxing it. Sometimes he might wake at 5 or 6 instead of 7, but he hasn’t been waking at 1 or 3 wanting water and seeming confused. He also falls asleep faster and without less fuss. This all gives me a big hope for his future.

Since turning 35 my gray hairs have definitely increased. They were probably sprouting anyway but I feel like it makes sense to add this to my story today. The past year has been the most filled. I felt like I was floating along a little. But then my husband had failed eye muscle surgeries, my mom is struggling with metastasized breast cancer and I live so far away, Liam started kindergarten which has brought out good things but he also is often anxious and worried (an all thinking and feeling person, wonder where he gets that from…) and Gavin has autism, still. I kept thinking it was going to slowly disappear and go away. Just like his older brother overcame some of his issues with social skills, I thought it will all happen for Gavin too. After all, we were doing so many good things.

It turns out that most things don’t just disappear once you get them.

There are things you can work on. There are things you can’t. 
Life is beautiful, but unfair.

Overall, it is easy for a lot of people to ignore the mental health problems in the world right now, unless it affects them personally. Or unless you are actively noticing it, like me. Sometimes it feels like a burden that I am seeing it and not quite sure what to do with it all. But I find it’s also keeping me alert and thinking. Add it makes this post possible today.

I live in Portland, Oregon, and I drive a lot every day. I see a lot of people just from inside my car as I putter down Powell Boulevard and 82nd Avenue. There are people with mental health issues who talk to themselves, wave their hands around to another person unseen, and do tricks as if they have an audience they can see. Whether these issues were brought on by drugs, toxins, or genetics, it is one of the most sad things to witness on the daily. I see some of the same individuals a few times a week who are walking no where in particular, over and over. I saw police officers place a reflective yellow vest on a woman who crosses the street a lot, mostly in places that are definitely not crosswalks. They must not have much else to offer for her except a yellow vest. A cover up to a bigger problem with no solution. I also see a woman who travels everywhere on a mobility scooter, her head hanging low because she can’t move it. Often people stop their car and push the crosswalk button for her because sometimes it looks like she wasn’t able to do it for a while. I will take a turn being that person one day, pushing the button.

I see older people in the grocery store with mental decline. They are looking at something on the shelf, just smiling at the boxes with big grins. Are they having a good memory, thinking of something happy? Or is it something else? There is never a dull moment wherever I go. Whenever I get a boost of happiness myself or a feeling of “normality” I see something again and then my mind begins to race about what’s going on with these people, and why? Of course, I am so aware of mental health so perhaps I see the signs of “things” more often. But I definitely know there are issues and want to know how to stop them. There is no reason for anyone to suffer mentally or physically if there could have been any possible way to prevent it.

Sometimes there is a physical trait that can tell you if someone may suffer from a mental abnormality. Gavin has been walking on his toes since he was about two years old. Sometimes if we are walking down the sidewalk he will stop for a while and walk “flatly” but most of the time he pops up on those little feet. It’s to the point to where I think his toes hurt sometimes. He has a new appointment next week to be evaluated for orthotics. I have mixed feelings about this. I know he likes to toe walk or simply just has a need to. I also notice other people toe walking now and I didn’t before. Just this week I noticed two women toe walking. One was on a sidewalk headed to a bus stop wearing black Converse shoes that laced up to her knees. Another woman was walking toward the grocery store entrance as I was leaving. Not only was she walking on her toes but she had her head turned to her right as she walked but her eyes were looking straight. I looked curiously right into hers and gave her a smile. But then I realized that she really was looking past me or she didn’t want to smile. It’s possible that both of these woman have zero problems with their mental health and just happen to toe walk or have an issue from having a stroke. But sometimes the symptom of toe walking does mean other things and it’s very individual on how one deals with it.

What would have happened if these two individuals wore orthotics in their shoes when they were little? Would their life be improved? Or did toe walking happen when they were adults? Do they have problems with their toes or feet now, or are they okay? There is no guidebook for me on any of this. I just observe and research in a perpetual spiral until I find my own answers.

Then I ask myself, at some point, will Gavin stop walking on his toes? Maybe something will click and it will just stop. I feel like when he is walking “normally” with me along the sidewalk that is actually focusing better and not thinking about “feeling” something in his feet. So part of me wants to try out orthotics to force his feet to stay flat and observe the way he acts during these times.

So back to noticing the mental health problem on a nearly daily basis: My husband and I were on a weekend trip. I didn’t notice anyone with a mental health problem in Hood River, Oregon. But when we took a detour on the way back to Portland, we stopped in a little town which I’ll just keep nameless. The only thing we did there was eat at a Mexican restaurant. It looked like the main talk of the town and it was busy with every kind of person from the area. Almost immediately after we sat down, I noticed a young man walk by the table and the corner of my eye noticed that his khaki pants were a little too short. I looked up and saw his face and knew. He was on a lunch trip with a few other young people like him with a caretaker. And again I thought how sad it is that there are so many mental health issues. So many people are not living normal, happy lives. Maybe to themselves, they are happy and feel fine and that’s great, at least. But when I imagine everything they could be doing and experiencing, the sadness is deep. Were their issues present since birth? What are their stories? Where are their parents? I have a lot of questions. Did they try anything when their kids were little? Did they just let the symptoms run their course? I can’t imagine what they all went through.

It’s hard to let anything run its course when dealing with autism. Sometimes you get brave and you try something, or you stop something. And then you wait. We have been on a supplement break for about three months to just give his body a little break and the medicine cabinet. We were emptying many different capsules into Gavin’s food for years. Now he really just takes things at random if I think of it, we give him B12 injections twice a week, and he takes CoQ10/L-carnitine liquid along with a leucovorin liquid twice a day. Since being diligent with just these things, his great improvement with sleep happened. Now with things so calm, we can slowly add in other things again and see what happens.

On top of all this, I worry about myself and my family. While we are okay now, what can we do now to protect our own mental health? I worry about getting older. I read that right now, about 50 million people suffer from dementia. There are children’s books now that tell kids how to deal with grandpa’s failing memory. Everyone says eat the Mediterranean diet, don’t drink out of aluminum cans, take fish oil, and exercise because the key is prevention. There has to be a bigger key than that. This is just too many people with dementia, and developing Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia.

I’m at the end of my story for today. While it feels like there is a lot of despair and disrepair in my post today overall, I promise I am happy and excited, although with a careful and watchful eye on all of my family. Gavin is doing great at ABA therapy and his sleep is so good. What more can I ask for right now? We are still on board to give him a stem cell injection, it will be next month instead after I take a trip back home to be with my parents for a few days.

Why I Unsubscribed from Autism News and Alerts

Today was the day. I just couldn’t see this subject in my inbox anymore. For exactly one year now, I had Google alerts set up for autism and a few other search terms relating to it. I also signed up for some newsletters, one being from the Autism Research Institute. I unsubscribed from them all today. I just need a break. Every single day I was looking through all of the news and bits of info about autism that I could handle. Until maybe I just couldn’t handle it anymore lately. The sadness from reading about how many kids are affected now, and the talk of research, research, research and ideas, ideas, ideas – yet parents can’t find doctors easily who know how to help their kids. We go through so much searching and trial and error, almost as if we have permanent blindfolds on.

I read a quote yesterday that felt exceptionally real. It was in a post in a Facebook group about trying to find the right diet, therapies and other interventions for autism and how every child reacts to changes differently.

“Healing autism is like fiddling with three dials on a radio in the dark. You don’t know what the dials are for or even what you are trying to do. But when you hit the dials just right, suddenly you hear music.”

So for the next six months, I promise myself to relax. Gavin is doing well in therapy, he is showing us new behaviors and interesting things every week. And we will be doing our first stem cell injection in April. If we hit another roadblock after that, then I’ll jump back into research.

But for now, we will continue what we have been doing and push through. We’ll focus on making Gavin listen, look and laugh. And taking him and Liam on adventures in the spring and through the summer will be the best. And we’ll be okay.

Where We Are and Where We Will Be

I haven’t posted in weeks now. When G was in preschool I was pretty organized with this blog and keeping up with all changes, big and small. Since winter arrived, we all made it through both the gloomy, soul-searching days and the exciting, snowy days. Today I find the need to just push the words out through my fingertips and make sense of it all.

G has been in ABA therapy more consistently now. Today actually starts the first day of a more solid schedule. One of his therapists left the center in December so January became an unpredictable month. Now he is back to going to ABA Monday through Thursday beginning at 9 AM and sometimes ending at noon or 3 PM. This is creating issues with his “nap cycle” as I feel like calling it. So we are dealing with that as things feel right, or wrong. The important thing is that his therapy is becoming more consistent. I know it’s all working for him when I see him clapping in the car and listening to us better.

But in other ways, he is not used to it all yet. He is scratching us at times and getting very frustrated. He wakes up in the middle of the night, sometimes almost screaming, and there’s nothing more hurtful for me right now than feeling depressed in those hours. And not just because of knowing how confused and upset G feels and not knowing how to tell him it’s okay, and him resisting me holding him. It’s the overall feeling of the unknown future.

For each year that goes by, I could make a list of the different supplements we have tried, the results of blood tests we have ordered with a handful of different doctors, the notes I have of how long he slept, what he ate, and a picture of the still unsent boxes that contain urine tests and squishy gel packs that have never been frozen.

G is four. Four. I cringed when it was almost time for Valentine’s Day. I knew there weren’t any special plans at the ABA center for the holiday. But I did know that at his preschool, if we was still going there, that he would come home with a paper heart and a pouch of Valentine’s. The lack of these little things crushes me inside. But lately I have to ask myself – is this important for me and our family to experience, or is it important to him? The truth is, it is not important to him. It’s selfish of me to even get sad about these things. Of course I want to experience all of these beautiful, sweet childhood moments just like I did with our oldest son. Of course I want them with Gavin too. But what is most important is getting to the bottom of everything else he is actually feeling. He is often frustrated and seems helpless. He stims and taps and hums and groans. His brain is misfiring. His immune system is overfiring. G doesn’t need a pocket of Valentine’s cards, and I don’t either. We can get those Valentines when he is better and when he knows what they are. I need to help him be healthy, to be aware, and he needs more than ABA therapy. He needs a pocket of miracles.

Or an infusion of stem cells. G is four and this is our year for it. I can’t wait any longer. I kept hoping that if took calcium pills for six months that he would stop poking his eyes so hard with his fingers that his eyelids flip inside out. I kept hoping that if he took fish oil and digestive enzymes and broccoli extract and silica drops and zinc picolinate and only had gluten free bread and only drank Fiji water, and gave him B12 injections, that his body would be functioning and clear and his brain would follow. It just isn’t happening. There’s also a chance that he might have PANS/PANDAS, or metal toxicity that needs detoxing and chelation, or bartonella, or lyme, or strep, or a continuous infection of some other kind, that a multitude of more expensive and stressful blood tests could find. Or we could just jump into an IV infusion of stem cells here in the US and just find out if we see any changes. Step one. Then we could get more infusions. Then if that actually miraculously works, we could look into extracting his own healing stem cells from his own bone marrow, at facilities in another country. It really sounds like another rabbit hole, but of a different kind. And this rabbit hole has the same foggy and mysterious map as all of the other things we have tried.

You cannot always wait for the perfect time, sometimes you must dare to jump.

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

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 (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:

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.

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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
Tissue swelling
Inflammation of large intestine, which can cause abdominal pain and discomfort

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)


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 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

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.

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.


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



Absorb Health



Makers of MagMind


Seeking Health

NOW Foods


Double Wood Supplements

Doctor’s Best


Pure Encapsulations

Life Seasons


For what it’s worth, here is the list from 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:
Online Supplement Retailer: Vitacost
Pharmacy: Walgreens
Practitioner Line Merchant: Pure Encapsulations
Vitamin Store: The Vitamin Shoppe
Warehouse Store: Costco