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.

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