Zinc

Zinc

Zinc--a critical element for autism

Zinc is detrimental in the nutritional healing process of autism, ADHD or other behavioral condition.

It is known to play a vital role in neonatal development and is involved in countless metabolic and signaling pathways within the body.

One of the many critical roles of zinc is in gastrointestinal function and gut-brain interaction. There is indication in some research that zinc deficiency among mothers during pregnancy can play a role in the development of gastrointestinal functions of infants/children.

Zinc is critically important for neurotransmitter production, thyroid function and hormone balancing.

Zinc has been found to improve cognition in children with autism and ADHD as well as lessen hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Zinc has also been found to play an important role in sensory integration as well as taste and smells with food. Because of this, zinc supplementation can sometimes be very beneficial in getting extremely picky eaters to try new foods.

Having zinc and copper serum levels checked are proving to be very helpful in knowing the right amount of supplementation to acquire. Zinc and copper ratios have shown in research to be a major indicator of severity of autism.

Studies indicate that zinc and copper have a huge impact on GABA neurotransmitters as well as mercury accumulation in bodily tissues.

The highest amounts of zinc are found most abundantly in oysters, lentils, and green peas. Absorption from food is typically only about 33% in healthy adults, which makes supplementation necessary in many individuals.

Zinc supplementation is also typically necessary to pull someone out of a deficient state. The recommended daily dose is 12-15mg for healthy individuals but may need more depending on signs, symptoms and nutritional status.

Speak to your healthcare provider or Clinical Nutritionist to have a better understanding of yours or your child’s individual needs.

 

 

Shawna Kunselman, MSACN

Contact me for more information

 

 

 

References:

 

Bjourklund, G. , The role of zinc and copper in autism spectrum disorders,Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2013;73(2):225-36.,https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23823984

 Guillermo Vela, Zinc in Gut-Brain Interaction in Autism and Neurological Disorders, Neural Plasticity
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 972791, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/972791

Babaknejad N, The Relationship between Zinc Levels and Autism: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis., Iran J Child Neurol. 2016 Fall;10(4):1-9.

 

 

Nutrient Deficiencies are typically the Root Cause of Behaviors. Get the list of Most Needed Supplements for Behavioral Conditions!

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sun

Vitamin D and Behaviors

Vitamin D and Autism

New research is showing that up to 75% of children on the autism spectrum show significant improvement with high dose Vitamin D supplementation.

Vitamin D levels are very often significantly lower in children with autism and ADHD.

Vitamin D has many vital roles in our body, including enhancing intestinal absorption of other critical nutrients such as Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphate and Zinc. Vitamin D is also very involved with immune function and regulating the inflammatory response within the body.

Vitamin D deficiency has been proven to play a role in many conditions such as autoimmune and behavioral disorders.

Unfortunately, very few foods contain Vitamin D. It is pretty limited to Wild Caught fish (salmon), mushrooms and some shellfish as well as fortified milk. Most of our Vitamin D supply is meant to come from the sun.

Recommended intakes for infants and children vary from 400IU to 1000IU per day depending on specific needs of the child.

However, higher doses are many times warranted for certain conditions and when deficiency is known.

Serum (blood) Vitamin D levels are very important to know prior to supplementing and should be checked again after about 6 months of supplementing. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider for the 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. According to research, ideally levels should be at least 45ng/ml.

Reports and research shows that there appears to be better cognition, focus, and eye contact in autism spectrum disorders and ADHD as vitamin D levels are normalized.

 

 

 

Mohommad, R, et.al, The Relationship between Serum Vitamin D Level and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Iran J Child Neurol. 2015 Autumn; 9(4): 48–53.
Cannell, J, Vitamin D and Autism, What’s New? Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2017 Feb 20.

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MTHFR

MTHFR- What You Need To Know

Methylation deficiencies and a defect in MTHFR are linked to many conditions/symptoms, including:

ADHD

Frequent miscarriages

Autism

Hashimoto’s or Hypothyroidism

Delayed Speech

Headaches

Bipolar or manic depression

Heart disease

Diabetes

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

IBS

Autoimmune Conditions

 

MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrafolate-reductase) is a much needed enzyme in the body. It’s required for processing methylation and converting folic acid/folate in to an active form that the body can use. MTHFR is needed for many functions of the body including: repairing DNA, switching genes off and on, processing chemicals, hormones, building the immune system, producing energy and maintaining cells.

Not to be confused with the enzyme, the MTHFR gene provides the instructions for making that MTHFR enzyme—therefore, “triggering” the production of the enzyme. A mutation in the MTHFR gene may therefore affect enzyme function.
MTHFR gene mutations are thought to affect up to about 60% of the population.

Researchers suspect there may be at least 30 different types of this gene mutation with C677T and A1298C being the most studied and tested of these mutations. {This number and letter sequence refers to what is known as a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP (pronounced “snip”).}

Having a gene with a mutation does not mean that the gene is defective or nonfunctioning, only that it is working with an altered efficiency.

Although mutations can occur at any time during our lifetime, it is most likely that we are born with these mutations and will have them throughout our life.

This may provide an explanation as to why certain traits or diseases "run in the family".

Although we cannot change our genetic code, we can change how our genes are expressed.

Research has determined that our gene expression is not only distinguished by hereditary factors, but it is also influenced by our diet, nutritional status, toxic load and environmental influences or stressors. This phenomenon has been termed "epigenetics".

MTHFR dramatically affects Homocysteine- an amino acid linked to a wide range of health problems, and is an independent risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other forms of cardiovascular disease. It is naturally formed in the body, but gets broken down by L-methylfolate (active folate). Due to MTHFR restricting active folate, homocysteine is significantly affected by this gene mutation.

MTHFR mutations don’t directly make you unwell.

Rather, they may cause an exaggerated response to poor diet or environmental factors that others can “get away with”.

If you lack vitamins and minerals as result of a poor diet, digestion or absorption, it limits the body’s ability to have proper methylation.

Why?

Because these nutrients are needed to help make the most active form of folate in your body known as methylfolate. There are several of the B vitamins that require activation before they are useful to the body.

This is why dietary considerations are so important for certain MTHFR mutations.

For instance, when people with an MTHFR genetic mutation are exposed to certain environmental factors (chemicals, food, poor air quality, vaccines, medications, etc), they have a harder time getting rid of them, which can cause immune dysfunction leading to many chronic conditions.

One of the ways the MTHFR gene mutation can make you susceptible to certain conditions is by lowering the body’s ability to make glutathione. People with MTHFR irregularities typically have low glutathione, which makes them more susceptible to stress and less tolerant to toxic exposures.

As the saying goes, “Genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger.”

 

 

 

Shawna Kunselman, MSACN

 

References:

Bjelland I, Tell GS, Vollset SE, Refsum H, Ueland PM. Folate, vitamin
B12, homocysteine, and the MTHFR 677CT polymorphism in anxiety
and depression: the Hordaland Homocysteine Study, Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2003;60:618-626

Boris, M., MD, et.al, Association of MTHFR Gene Variants with Autism, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 4 Winter 2004

Rosenblatt D. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase., Clinic of Investigative Medicine 2001;24:56-59

Rooibos tea, nutrition, health

5 Reasons You Should Be Drinking Roobios Tea

As published on Zhou Nutrition

Rooibos tea is beginning to gain popularity and for good reason. It is a from a shrub native to South Africa and is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.

Additionally, rooibos is high in mineral content which can aid in metabolic processes and maintaining a healthy nervous and immune system. Rooibos has been shown over and over to provide healing benefits to many ailments.

We all know that green tea is amazing, but did you know that Rooibos actually contains 50% more antioxidants than green tea?

Here are some of the beneficial nutrients this tea has to offer:

Iron– needed for oxygen transport, muscle function and energy production

Calcium-needed for bone health, blood clotting and muscle contraction

Potassium– needed for energy metabolism and heart health

Copper– needed for hormone and neurotransmitter metabolism and antioxidant protection

Manganese-needed for carbohydrate and protein metabolism as well as bone production

Zinc-needed for more than 200 enzyme functions in the body including immune and cell protection

Magnesium– needed for heart, muscle bone and nervous system health

Quercetin-potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

 

Take a look at a few ailments Rooibos has been shown to improve:

1. Infant Health

Rooibos has been shown to be very soothing to the colicky baby. While the exact mechanism of why this is so soothing for a baby’s tummy troubles, the anti-inflammatory properties are thought to be the reason.

2. Cardiovascular Health

Due to the Quercetin (which is a powerful anti-inflammatory), Rooibos has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff) while raising HDL (the good stuff). It has also been shown to lower blood pressure and increase overall cardiovascular health.

3. Improvements and Possibly Aid in Prevention of Diabetes

Studies with Rooibos tea have shown promise in having “significant therapeutic potential” with diabetes.

4. Prevents Against Some Cancers

Due to the high antioxidant properties of Rooibos tea, studies have shown a link between the anti-mutagenic (anti-cancer) effects of this tea and growth of some types of cancer cells.

5. Restful Sleep

Rooibos is completely caffeine free! Because of this and it’s high mineral content, it can help create calm and relaxation, helping you to sleep better.

 

Remember to always speak with your healthcare provider prior to taking any herbal supplements if under treatment for any condition. Rooibos, though very safe in most individuals, has been shown to interfere with some chemotherapy/cancer treatments.

 

 

References:
• Son, MJ, et.al, Aspalathin improves hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance in obese diabetic ob/ob mice., Eur J Nutr. 2013 Sep;52(6):1607-19
• Waisundara VY, Hoon, LY., Free radical scavenging ability of Aspalathus linearis in two in vitro models of diabetes and cancer., J Tradit Complement Med. 2015 Jan 20;5(3):174-8
• Shaik, YB, et.al, Role of quercetin (a natural herbal compound) in allergy and inflammation, J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2006 Jul-Dec;20(3-4):47-52.
• Sissing, L, et.al, Modulating effects of rooibos and honeybush herbal teas on the development of esophageal papillomas in rats, Nutr Cancer. 2011;63(4):600-10

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autism, behavior, help, interventions

Helping My Child With Autism. Where Do I Start?

Prior to 1980, autism was only seen in approximately 1 in 10,000 kids. Now, according to the CDC, autism rates are 1 in 45.

There are many pieces to the autism puzzle.

 

The medical community agrees that there are multiple factors involved in autism and it is the general consensus that it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental triggers.

 

The GI tract is now referred to as the “Second Brain” and contains 100’s of millions of neurons—more than the peripheral nervous system. Genetic factors such as MTHFR, and environmental factors, such as nutrient deficiencies, toxins, antibiotics, gut dysbiosis and food intolerances all influence inflammation and the gut/brain barrier. Getting to these core concepts can result in better communication, more focus and concentration and improved behaviors.

 

An increasing number of parents are seeking biomedical interventions for their children on the autism spectrum as well as for ADHD.

Clinical nutrition for autism and other behavioral conditions addresses some of the biomedical theories related to autism. The four main areas addressed under this approach are gastrointestinal abnormalities, immune dysfunctions, detoxification abnormalities, and/or nutritional deficiencies/ imbalances.

Addressing these issues can help control specific behaviors associated with these conditions!

It is often wondered how the gut can cause certain “autistic behaviors”. The medical literature is revealing that an imbalanced microbiome combined with “leaky gut” can cause an inflammatory immune response in the brain.

What about Genetics?

There are many aspects to genetics in autism. There is continuous research in this area as well. However, as we are finding out, genetics just sets things up ….there is something environmentally that triggers the spiral. A lot of this genetic research is focused on methylation and detoxification.  According to University of California Davis, “nutritional genomics, or nutrigenomics, is the study of how foods affect our genes and how individual genetic differences can affect the way we respond to nutrients (and other naturally occurring compounds) in the foods we eat.” Genetics cannot be fixed…however, supporting the system can make a profound difference in prevention and treatment of certain conditions.

One of the most commonly discussed methylation and detoxification genetic mutations is MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase). It is estimated that up to 60% of the population has MTHFR. This specific mutation causes an interruption in the methylation pathway which assists the body in converting folic acid/folate to its useable form. Additionally, those with MTHFR have a reduced ability to eliminate toxins and heavy metals.

This mutation has been linked to many ailments, not just autism. It is important to note that having MTHFR does not mean autism or another condition is going to happen. It is just something to be aware of so the body can be supported appropriately.

 

What can be done?

  1. Heal the gut.

 This is done by removing problematic, inflammatory foods which are heightening the immune response in the body. Also, adding in reparative nutrients and supplements that will help the body to rebuild and repair tissue in gut lining. Many people see incredible positive changes in autistic behaviors just by taking addressing this core issue.

 

  1. Dietary Changes.

Up to 80% of parents report marked improvement by removing gluten and casein from their child’s diet. There is so much science behind this, but it leads back to inflammation and “leaky gut”.

 

  1. Supporting the immune system.

There are many natural ways to do this through dietary means and herbs. One of my favorite additions is elderberry syrup which has loads of benefits and anti-viral properties.

 

  1. Full Integrative Approach.

There are many modalities that can improve autism behaviors and symptoms. Speech therapy, ABA therapy, Music therapy, Martial Arts, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Chiropractic Care, Massage (specifically Craniosacral work), Equine Therapy, and Pet Therapy. These are some that we have engaged in over the years with much success from each one. I believe a wide variety of therapies is the best intervention.

 

For questions or further information, feel free to Contact Me directly.

 

Shaik Mohammad N, et. al, Clinical utility of folate pathway genetic polymorphisms in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders., Psychiatr Genet. 2016 Dec;26(6):281-286

 

 

 

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