The major focus of this final phase of the program entails implementing a program of supplementation to support remyelination of the nerves and to foster left/right communication in the brain. This is essential because many of the symptoms seen in autism and other forms of neurological inflammation result from the demyelination of the nerves that is produced by the assault of virus, metals, and other factors. Most people are pleased to get to this phase, and I want to congratulate you. It’s been a lot of work and a long wait.
However, I also want to caution you that your journey is not quite over. This phase also takes time, dedication, and work. The process of remyelinating the nerves can take up to nine months, and that is only the first part of this step. Once the nerves are remyelinated, then they are ready to launch a “pruning” process, essential to normalizing nerve function. This process also takes time—except for children who are COMT +/+, also sometimes referred to as “over methylators,” for whom pruning will occur much more rapidly.
Methylation is directly involved in the ability to both myelinate nerves and to “prune” nerves. Myelin is a sheath that wraps around the neuronal wiring to insulate and facilitate faster transmission of electrical impulses. Without adequate methylation, the nerves can neither initially myelinate nor can they remyelinate after viral infection or heavy metal toxicity. Inadequate methylation therefore decreases both myelination and the subsequent “pruning” of the nerves. Why is pruning necessary? Pruning helps to prevent excessive wiring, or unused neural connections, and reduces the density of synapses to allow proper transmission. Without adequate pruning, the brain cell connections can become dense and tangled, causing poor or misdirected signals.
Even after detoxifying virus and metals, many underlying factors still remain and will persist over time, as I discussed in the earlier portions of this book. Your goal is to maintain sufficient long-term supplementation to prevent the likelihood of accruing a toxic and microbial burden that would instigate inflammation and dysfunction once again. No one wants that to happen! So, while you may be tempted to limit supplementation to the recommendations I’ll offer in this chapter for Step Three, Nerve Growth and Myelination, remember where you have been. It’s easier to keep taking needed supplements on a daily basis than it is to run the risk of glutamate, viral, and metal toxin buildups occurring again.
|Neurologic Health Formula (HHI general vitamin)||Nerve Calm Inflammatory RNA|
|Liquid trace minerals||General Inflammatory Path RNA|
|Ora-Liv||Stress Foundation RNA|
|Ora-Pancreas||Nerve Coat RNA|
|Ora-Triplex||Cytokine Inflammatory Path RNA|
|Immuno-Forte||Bowel Inflammatory Path RNA|
|Cod liver oil||Stomach pH Balancing RNA|
|Potassium chloride (depending on levels)|
Note: If supplements are listed in more than one category, please take only a single dose of the supplement per day. They are listed in applicable categories to give a sense of the multiple uses of the individual supplements.
The methylation pathway is also tied into the pathways for neurotransmitters. As a result, you may see changes in mood and behaviors as you go through this phase. Initially, many parents will comment that the child is “no longer autistic” but “acts more like a child with ADD.” This makes sense, as dopamine levels, which are in part regulated by methylation activity, have been implicated in ADD.
One or more of the Mood RNA (S, D, or Focus) can be very helpful at this stage, depending on the particular child (and his or her genetics.) To ascertain this, you can start with 1/3 dropper of one of the formulas for several days, then make a decision on that formula before switching to a different formula or adding a second formula for a combined effect. Also, some parents have had good results with small amounts of supplements containing natural dopamine.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, imbalances in the level of norepinephrine relative to dopamine can cause some of the hyperactivity and attention issues which are commonly seen. Balancing the support for the “long way” around the pathway relative to the “short cut” through the methylation cycle can help to improve the behaviors. The use of the Attention Support RNA along with shifting to “long route” support seems to make a positive difference for attention issues, especially for those who are BHMT 8+.
At this point, depending on the calcium levels seen on a urine essential element test, you may want to look at supplementing calcium to aid neurotransmission. Remember, however, that too much calcium can still be a problem. One approach is to use a calcium/ magnesium/vitamin D/vitamin K supplement, and substitute it for the individual magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K supplements. Again, this will vary depending on the child and on the level of calcium in the system.
Higher dosages of some of the supplements that support myelination will accelerate the myelination process somewhat. Some parents have used up to four SAMe per day with two B complex. In addition, they have used two curcumin and doubled up on some of the other methylating agents. While this may speed up the process, watch carefully for potential side effects such as mood swings or vision issues. If this occurs, back off on the dosages. Do NOT increase the levels of 5 methyl folate, intrinsic B12/Folate, folinic, or the nucleotides. Due to the MTHFR mutation in virtually all of the children, this could create problems. You are better off to just keep the door open on this MTHFR pathway, rather than flooding it with supplementation.
B12 deserves special mention in terms of dosage. So far, as mentioned earlier, according to published work by Dr. James Neubrander, no toxic doses of B12 have been found. The more the better seems to be what parents are finding. In some cases, going to highly elevated doses of B12 (50 milligrams and above) has helped to stimulate speech in children that were apraxic. However, it is always possible that your child will be the one child who will react adversely to high doses of B12. Again, progress slowly, use caution, and consult with your health care practitioner when utilizing this or any other program.
Knowing the Nutrigenomic profile is very useful in determining the right kind of B12 support, such as whether hydroxy or methyl B12 will be more suitable. Nutrigenomics will also help you to gauge the amount of B12 that may be needed to achieve balance. In terms of B12 use, one exception is children with COMT +/+ status who cannot tolerate high doses of any methylating agents. When supplementing these children with methylating agents like B12, use caution and proceed slowly.
In this phase of the program, it also makes sense to integrate other therapies that enhance nerve growth and maturation, for example, magnetic therapy. While I haven’t found that it enhances metal excretion, I have seen a significant effect on subtle cognitive function. Recent work by Dr. Dean Bonlie confirms that electromagnetic therapy is safe and effective for a wide range of neurological problems, including regenerating and repairing damaged nerves and enhancing the body’s natural stem cells. Magnetic energy may also increase the oxygencarrying capacity of the blood, improving the assimilation of nutrients and oxygenation of tissues. The use of Nariwa magnetized water and Penta oxygenated water may also be useful adjuncts to any program to enhance nerve growth and demyelination.
The March 2004 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience describes environmental influences on the levels of BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), which promotes neuronal growth and survival and regulates communication between neurons. An enriched environment (in which there is helpful communication, visual, auditory, and other stimuli) fostered significantly higher levels of this factor. Dr. Cheri Florence, a medical speech/language pathologist, has described tremendous personal success with her own son. She has made use of strategies that may help to create an enriched environment, such as enhancing visual thinking to help promote language.
Dr. David Steenblock, Dr. Barbara Brewitt, and Dr. Luis Aguilar have pioneered the direct use of certain brain growth factors for stroke as well as autism. Insulin like growth factor (IGF) has been found to stimulate enzymes in the methylation pathway in addition to its effects on neural development. Fibroblast growth factor (FgF) has also been found to have activities beyond its effects on nerve growth. FgF has been reported to increase dopamine levels, as well as to decrease seizure activity.
Dr. Edward Traub has developed CI (constraint induced) Movement therapy, which has proven to expedite recovery times after stroke. The basis of the therapy is helping the brain to overcome “learned non-use”. Some of these therapies may be applicable to autism in the future to help to accelerate recovery after the biochemical imbalances have been addressed.
Music therapy has been reported to be successful in helping to enhance speech in children. A number of scientific journals have found that music affects regions of the brain involved in cognitive, affective, and mnemonic processing. The entire July 2003 issue of Nature Neuroscience was devoted to music and neuroscience, as was the March 2004 issue of the New York Academy of Sciences magazine. Recent research from the University of London suggests that many children with autism have outstanding abilities in tone memory and discrimination. Music therapy may be an avenue worth exploring to help enhance language skills during this point of the program.
Obviously, understanding and implementing this program will not happen overnight. It’s a slow process. As you immerse yourself in all of the science and begin the initial steps, know that you will be supported, helped, and guided by other veteran members of the support community on my website chat room. This will make the learning process smoother and easier.
This program is more than a laundry list of supplements for you to take. It’s a process that you must take the time to read, then reread, understand, and embrace in order to really obtain the benefit. Knowledge empowers. The information contained in this book better positions you to use all of what I have offered as tools for health.
But make no mistake about it. This program requires you to take charge of your own, or your child’s health. I’ll offer the tools and the support you need to get there, but you are going to have to do the work. Beyond this book, there are other books and DVDs. If you can, come to conferences and search and read older posts. Basically you need to do your homework, but along with the chat room families, I will be right there to support you along the way. That’s why the motto that we all share is:
My goal is always to empower you. I am blessed to work with the many committed parents and adults and dedicated practitioners who have served children with autism, as well as other people on their pathways to recovery. Whether you are a veteran of this program, or a newcomer to it, you are healers, every single one of you, and I salute you and offer you my commitment to the goals of healing we all share.
I hope this book has given you a clear path to follow and, more importantly, a sense of hope about the potential for recovery. Please understand that reading this book is just one tool to help you on the pathway to recovery. I urge you to take advantage of the DVDs in which I share many fine points of the program. I also invite you to join the discussion group. In both places, you will find critical information to help you on your journey. The discussion group (chat room) is particularly important, as it offers both emotional and informational support.
I recommend that you start reading the “positives,” that is to say, positive experiences that are posted on the website and in Part III of this book. These are unsolicited posts by parents and adults about their progress on the program. I invite people to share their positive experiences because so many others have said how much support and hope they derive from reading them.
One principle of the site and of this work is to “pay it forward.” That way, each of us can ask for help when we need it and offer help when we are able to provide it. On that note, I would like to invite you to finish this book by reading a few of the many touching and powerful stories that parents and others have submitted. Please take the time to receive these shared words and thoughts on the pathway to recovery, and may they support you and your family on the journey to health.
With love and hope for recovery,