AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS. WHAT IS CAUSING THIS EPIDEMIC IN KIDS WORLDWIDE?
I recently attended and lectured at an International Forum on Nutritional Medicine in Beijing China. The theme of the conference was ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders in kids. Back when I was born in the early 1970s rates of autism were roughly 1 in 10,000. Today it is 1 in 59 kids and if these trends continue, by 2050 one out of every two kids born in the US will have or develop Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or some condition on the Autism spectrum. This will lead to a non-functioning society. This isn’t just a problem in the U.S. It is happening in China and all over the globe. I learned a great deal at the conference from many experts around the globe. Although it appears there may not be a single cause to this disorder, what became obvious to me is that pregnant mothers and developing babies are exposed to many chemical toxins that may account for the disruption in brain and hormone function and the subsequent development of ADHD, ADD and other neurological and hormonal issues in kids. What happens in the womb does not stay in the womb. In fact, many chemicals are concentrated in the placenta and umbilical cord blood of developing babies. These chemicals interfere with normal development. Some of the most studied chemicals presented by toxicologists at the conference were:
- Bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastics
- Herbicides such as Roundup and atrazine, pesticides
- Aluminum and mercury preservatives used in vaccines
- Exposure to cell phone microwave radiation and cell phone towers.
Exposure to pregnant mothers or young kids to any combination of these known toxins may load the proverbial gun and then what may seem like a trivial exposure, such as a vaccination or cold/flu may pull the trigger and precipitate the event.
To understand mechanistically how this can happen, we must first appreciate how the body works and how trends in childbirth and breastfeeding have changed to establish a fragile environment for the baby that may make some kids more sensitive or susceptible to certain triggers for ADHD. There is a growing number of cesarean delivery of babies which deprives the newborns of the inoculation of commensal bacteria along the vaginal canal. This early exposure to the microbiome of the birth canal sets up the baby’s immune system. Furthermore, more and more mothers are not breast feeding. Breast feeding provides immunological support for the baby and provides Nature’s most perfect food. To the contrary, commercial baby formulas contain many ingredients that negatively affect the microbiome such as Iron. Many babies are given antacids and proton pump inhibitors due to reflux. The body cannot break down protein without stomach acid and this is the basis for food-borne allergies. Early exposure to antibiotics disrupts the gut microbiome. Nearly every kid with ADHD, ADD or Autism spectrum disorders has gut and digestive problems. It is now recognized that most of our immune system resides in the gut and a healthy immune system is dependent upon a healthy microbiome. The practice of cesarean delivery and formula feeding compromises the immune system of the newborn and leads to susceptibility to neuro-inflammation and a number of conditions.
Now let’s review what is known about exposure to certain chemicals and how this may contribute to many diseases, not just ADHD or autism spectrum disorders. For simplicity, I will only focus on a few. The first is BPA, a component of plastics. BPA is known as an endocrine disruptor and has been shown to change hormone levels in humans. We need a healthy endocrine system to function. One lecture at the conference reminded me of a study published almost 10 years ago where male frogs exposed to 2.5 parts per billion (ppb) atrazine, a common herbicide used in agriculture. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows for 3 ppm in drinking water. A study in 40 frogs exposed to 2.5 ppm atrazine for 3 years found that 30 of the frogs were chemically castrated, incapable of reproducing, among other impacts. And four of the treated frogs actually turned female, going so far as to mate with other males and produce viable eggs despite being genetically male. We currently have an epidemic of the feminization of men and a growing homosexual population. This isn’t evidence of causation but certainly raises questions that should be addressed and provides a scientific mechanism of action for such events and trends. Additional evidence reveals that exposure to glyphosate (RoundUp) causes leaky gut and neuro inflammation, hallmarks of ADHD. There is evidence of RoundUp residues in most of our food that we eat and therefore this becomes a chronic exposure that most people may not even be aware.
Interestingly, I learned that exposure to cell phone microwave radiation has a profound impact on waveforms in the brain. Research shows that cell phone/WiFi radiation can damage the developing brains, sperm and sleep patterns. Research also shows increased cancer risk, headaches, hyperactivity and memory problems from cell phone radiation. Carrying cell phones in the front pocket can affect sperm production and motility and perhaps even causing erectile dysfunction in young men. We have young kids that play on cell phones, tablets in homes with WIFI internet. It is unknown how chronic exposure to this microwave radiation will affect any of us but it is clear that it is having an effect and is just an additional exposure that may put some folks over the edge.
This information was a real eye opener for me and made me aware of things that perhaps I never realized or contemplated. It is clear that we live in a toxic world and if we don’t take steps to mitigate exposure and don’t take steps to detoxify our body, these chemicals and exposures build up to where they eventually break down our defenses and cause chronic neurological, hormonal and vascular disease. Now that we partially understand what part of most of the problem is, we can take steps to hep the body. It first begins in the womb. If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you need great pre-natal care and making sure the body has what it needs and is not exposed to things toxic. Unless a medical emergency, you should have your baby through vaginal delivery and breast feed for at least 6 months. These are the earliest steps you can take to ensure the health of your baby. However, if you are like me and been on this Earth for many decades, we can’t go back in time so we must start now.
Here are my recommendations to avoid chronic health problems from exposure to toxic chemicals or radiation.
- Drink and bathe in good clean water. If you don’t have a water purification system in your home for drinking, cooking and bathing water, get one ASAP. Municipal water is not healthy and in fact dangerous.
- Turn off your WIFI at night or at least put your phone on airplane mode while you sleep. Don’t carry your cell phone on you and use speaker phone function to avoid putting phone to you head. There are also EMF blockers you can buy for your phone or for your home.
- Avoid the unnecessary vaccines, especially if your child is fragile to begin with.
- Detoxify your body. Our body detoxes by breathing, urination, defecation and sweating. Consider taking a fiber supplement to help the digestive system. Deep breathing exercises help detox. Perhaps most importantly, get out and sweat. I prefer an infrared sauna where you get the benefits of full spectrum infrared radiation and the heat to help you sweat and rid the body of toxins.
I want to emphasize that a single exposure to any single event above may not be sufficient to cause problems. It is the chronic exposure to a cocktail of toxins that build up in our body that causes problems. If you give the body what it needs and eliminate the things it does not need, the body heals itself. If you live by these simple rules, you can enjoy good health and a full life.