The Brain-Gut Connection

Our miraculous body has some amazing connections. Think about it, when you stub your toe, your brain sends a message down to your toe that it hurts. When you have a toothache, sometimes the pain can be felt in another tooth because of how many nerves there are. One of the most fascinating connections, however is that of the brain and gut.

Some often call the gut a second brain, as it sends a number of messages throughout the body, just as the brain does. Remember the last time you had butterflies? Some may argue that this is your brain sending a nervous signal to your stomach. How about when you eat a lot of food in one sitting – it takes your stomach a little bit of time to tell your brain that you are in fact full. (This is why many doctors and health counselors suggest eating more slowly to give the stomach time to communicate with the brain. Before even eating, the brain can get the stomach’s juices flowing in anticipation.

In Autism cases,  and as a reverse to this brain-gut connection, a troubled intestine can also send messages to the brain. Because the gastrointestinal system is so closely related to the brain, they should be considered one.

A sick or disrupted gastrointestinal system can cause behavioral symptoms as well. Just as being hungry causes anyone to be a little grumpy, this is the same in many other instances. Because GI problems are common in Autism cases, one might be inclined to ask, “Could it be a gut issue that is causing my child’s behavioral issues?”

From being anti-social and extra anxious to overly sensitive and lacking focus, the malfunctioning stomach can be the cause of many neuro-symptoms.  Other symptoms that can be attributed to poor gut function are depression, lack of interest, short temper, loss of memory, trouble recalling things, headaches, and sleep problems.

It could be a diet change, or an allergic reaction, or gut flora that could be affecting your child. While every case of Autism is different, it’s very interesting to consider the connection between the brain and the gut and how seemingly brain-related symptoms could originate in the stomach and vice-versa.

 

Effective Tests That Accurately Detect Gluten Sensitivity

Last week, we talked about the good chance that your Gluten Sensitivity test may be inaccurate as it does not test for all potential sensitivities. Gluten is a very complicated substance, especially during digestion. Because it is broken down a number of times, into many different compounds, in order for all potential sensitivities to be detected, the test must be able to pick up on them. The typical Celiac Panel test that is done at a traditional laboratory is not able to do so.

The traditional Celiac Panel test requires the patient to be on a Gluten Diet in order to be re-tested. And even the second test provides a false-negative quite often.

So, how does one accurately detect Gluten sensitivity?

 

Gluten/Antigenic Food Sensitivity and Gene Panel Stool Test

There is a Stool Gluten Analysis that accurately detects specific excrement that the body is releasing and not absorbing. One of the tests that we offer here at New Autism is the DNA Stool Analysis test. This Stool Gluten Analysis test is included in this test.

Anyway, here is one test?

This panel is the best value for the money and really, the overall best panel to order. We are offering four stool tests and a gene test for the price many labs charge for the gene test alone. Gluten, cow’s milk, chicken eggs, and soy are the most immune-stimulating (antigenic) foods consumed in large quantities. Food sensitivity is now a very common entity because heightened activity of our immune systems [caused by a) immune-stimulating hormones and toxins in food, water, and, air, b) genetic modification of our main foodstuffs (extensive hybridization of wheat, laboratory genetic modification of soy beans, corn, and other foods), c) altered intestinal flora from extensive use of antibiotics by humans, in agriculture, and chlorine in water, d) overuse of drugs inhibiting secretion of digestive acid in the stomach, and e) for the past 50-100 years, overly sanitized conditions when infants and children are developing proper immune tolerances] has rendered most of our main protein-rich foodstuffs highly antigenic. Stool testing is the most sensitive measure of these types of reactions (much more accurate than blood, skin, or saliva testing).”

Why identify the genes controlling gluten/food sensitivity? Adding a gene test helps in the assessment of the genetic predisposition of these immune reactions, that not only can help gauge severity in the individual being tested (having two such genes rather than one, rather than none), but also the probability of these reactions being present in parents, siblings, and children. Also, the probability of having celiac disease vs. non-celiac gluten sensitivity in each of these three generations can also be determined, and the absence of a celiac gene all but rules out having celiac disease in the individual tested.

Doctor Wong offers this test for $759 / €759 and along with the test, Dr. Wong also includes courier, shipping and handling fees, complete interpretation and analysis, and a follow up consultation fee where Dr. Wong will give you the steps you need to begin repairing the body.

This test is available both in the USA as well as internationally.

Wheat/Gluten Proteome Reactivity & Autoimmunity test (Cyrex Array 3)

This test detects over 20 Proteomins that are indicators of Gluten sensitivity. This test package costs $715 and includes not only the test but Dr. Wong’s complete analysis, Shipping and Handling, and a followup consultation.  Last week, I discussed about the different components of gluten breakdown which this test can be useful for.

This test is only available in the USA 

ELISA IgG Test

Tests for immunologic reaction to the four primary individual food antigens and four additional antigenic food categories including and upto 184 allergens: Gluten, Milk, Egg, Soy, Other Grains (corn, rice, oats), Meats (beef, chicken, pork, tuna), Nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts), and Nightshades (eg. white potato).

Dr. Wong offers this test package for $590 / €590 and as with all of his test packages, it includes the test, courier, shipping and handling, personal analysis, and followup consultation with Dr. Wong.

 

If you are interested in any of these tests to accurately test your child for Gluten Sensitivity, please leave a comment below and we’ll get you all of the information you need.

Something to look forward to: We’re updating our store to make it even easier to get all of the tools you need! Stay tuned!

How Accurate Is Your Gluten Sensitivity Test?

We’ve all been there. We suspect something is wrong, we go for a test, and it comes back negative. While it’s a relief that the problem that we thought existed doesn’t, it still leaves the problem itself. But what is it?

Many children with Autism end up testing positive for Gluten sensitivity. Even more children have the symptoms of Gluten sensitivity. Sometimes, when they are given a standard Gluten Sensitivity test the test comes back negative. What could cause this?

This is not saying that your test is wrong so much as it is saying that it is not testing all potential molecules. In order to understand this more, let’s take a look at Gluten and how it is broken down in the body.

Traditionally when the body breaks down and digests food, the undigested particles are passed out of the body through fecal matter. However, if the digestive system is weakened, and the body doesn’t pass the undigested food, this food can make it into the blood stream. Foreign matter in the blood stream will cause an immune response. It’s how our bodies are wired in order to protect us.

Also, the lining in the intestine, which serves as a protection to our bodies too, gets attacked when there is a Gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Gluten can literally ‘tear’ the intestinal lining. When this lining breaks down, this is when Leaky Gut Syndrome occurs.

Gluten itself is a difficult protein for the body to digest because more often we lacked the enzymes to process it.

Here’s how Gluten is broken down:

Wheat is broken into Proteins and Lectins.
Lectins are broken down into Agglutinin.
Proteins of wheat are broken down into Gluten.
Gluten is broken down further into Gliadin (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Omega), Glutenin, and Gluteomorphin.
Giladin and Glutenin are broken into Transglutaminase.
Transglutaminase is broken down into deamidated Gliadin 15, 17, and 33 particles.

The majority of Gluten Sensitivity tests only for the Alpha Gliadin. Alpha is only one of over 60 potentially problematic indicators.  If the test isn’t testing for other proteins, then it isn’t an accurate reading of the body’s potential sensitivity. So, if your test comes back negative for Gluten Sensitivity, there still are other markers that should be tested for in order to get an accurate reading.

The most common test ordered by doctors is the Celiac Panel. In a recent article, Dr. Tom O’Brien, a Gluten Intolerance expert, says that this test reports a false negative 7 out of 10 times due to a combination of how the Doctor reads the test and the patient’s condition at the time of testing. For example, a physician may declare the test “negative” for intestinal tissue damage, even if the blood test indicates a positive immune reaction. The only time that the intestinal test will come back positive is if there is severe damage to the intestinal wall – as in the type of damage caused by Celiac Disease. If there is only partial to moderate damage, the accuracy of the test goes down about 28%.

Additionally, the Celiac Panel does not account for those with IgA deficiency. People with an IgA deficiency will lack IgA antibodies, so the test will come back negative.

Since Gluten intolerance can range from acute to severe, with a lot of in-between levels, not everyone’s sensitivity is being detected in the tests that are given. So even though your child’s Celiac Panel comes back negative, and you believe that they do not have  Gluten Sensitivity, this could be incorrect.

There are other ways to test for Gluten Sensitivity, and we’ll take a look at the benefits of those next week.

Body Detox Part II: Detoxification Methods

chelation2

82% of All Chronic Degenerative Diseases are Caused by Environmental Exposure to TOXIC METALS.” -World

Health Organization 1974

Sure, 1974 was nearly 40 years ago (can you believe it?), but the World Health Organization knew was was happening way back when. This was well before the huge Environmental or “Green” movement that is so common now. The environment

is still a very toxic place, which we clearly laid out last week. You might remember that we shared a lot of places where environmental toxins exist, some of which you might not even have been aware of.

When a child is diagnosed with Autism, it is typically considered to be a behavioral disorder, which in a sense, it absolutely is. Further testing on Autistic bodies have found that many have toxic levels of metals in them. Others have a lack of minerals and vitamins that are essential for proper immune system function. A lot of these deficiencies can be caused be the pollutants that are consumed.

The first step of clearing up a toxic body is knowing that the problem exists. (Remember, Dr. Chun Wong is offering an

amazing deal on his Hair Analysis Test which comes complete with a full written report as well as a Skype or Phone Consultation with Dr. Wong. Check out the special we’re having for our readers here).

After the problem is detected, and before the body is repaired and restored, the toxins must be removed from the body. Detoxifying is an essential part of the healing process. You can’t just simply put healthy vitamins and minerals into the body when it is still toxic. Imagine having a bathtub filled with water, dirt, bacteria, bugs, etc. Simply pouring bleach or cleaning agents into the water will not do the job. You first must clean out the bacteria, and then improve the way in which it is taken care of.

But how do you detoxify the body?

Chelation

Chelation was introduced into practice during World War I when so many people had ingested poison gas called lewsite. BAL or British Anti Lewsite (formally known as dimercaprol) was used to chelate the lewsite. BAL had very severe side effects, however.

After World War II, a number of people suffered from lead poisoning. The chelating agent EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic) was introduced in order to chelate the lead. Because EDTA is a synthetic amino acid and has no mercaptans (mercury capturers), the side effects were not nearly as severe as BAL.

Since then, there have been a number of modifications and researchers are always looking for better treatment methods that have minimal side effects. There is a low occurrence of side effects when chelation is used at the dose and infusion rates approved by the U.S. FDA as a treatment for heavy metal poisoning.

(We’ve spoken more in depth about Chelation on this blog before. Please do check that out!)

Juicing

As the name suggests, juicing refers to detoxing the body by consuming raw fruits and vegetable

s that are highly concentrated. Juices are digested by the body very quickly – in about 25 minutes. Because of this, the digestive system has very little to do with processing the juice. We aren’t talking about juices that are found in stores. These are treated with sugars and other ingredients that do not benefit the detoxification process.

Juicing is most effective and beneficial when it is made from the right fruits and vegetables at home, specifically organic fruits and veggies. Organic fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients and will saturate your body with the healthy enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.

Think about it: doesn’t a nice, long shower with soap and water feel much better than running a wet tissue over your skin for the purpose of cleaning?  It’s a similar situation with consuming organic fruits and vegetables.

detox3

DAN! Protocol

The Defeat Autism Now! Protocol is a series of alternative medicine solutions for Autism. There are several avenues that a DAN! Doctor may explore, but traditionally, the following plan may be enforced.

-Dietary intervention: Omission of Gluten (Wheat) and Casein (Dairy) products from your child’s diet. Additionally omitting junk foods that have refined sugar.
-Vitamin and Mineral Supplements - To balance out the dietary changes, replacement minerals and vitamins that the body may lack will be supplemented. Some of the vitamins and minerals commonly supplemented:  Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B5.
-Chelation - the removal of heavy metals which have proven to be very destructive to the Autistic body (as we mentioned).
-Treatment of intestinal bacteria

The most important thing to remember here is the order in which detoxification should be done. First, determine that the body really is toxic. Then, detoxify the body.  Thirdly, repair the body. Then, replace nutrients. It’s important that this order be taken as any other way would not be as effective. You must rid the body of toxins, start with a clean slate, and then proceed with repairing procedures or practices.

The Why, What, and How of Leaky Gut Syndrome

leakygut

In posts past, we’ve mentioned Leaky Gut syndrome. Just last week we spoke about the importance of keeping the mucosal immune system healthy and the effects of when it’s not.  When infections break through the musocal barrier, allergies and inflammation can occur. Furthermore, if levels of certain antibodies are increased when a test is ran, this is an indication of an an excess of yeast in the body, and also symptoms of leaky gut syndrom.

But what is Leaky Gut syndrome? What causes the gut to leak? Can it be fixed? Why are children with Autusm more at risk for this condition?

That’s a lot of questions, and we only have one blog post to answer them in. Let’s get started.

What is leaky gut syndrome?

First thing’s first: Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that is said to affect millions of people world wide. Again, I’ll reference last week’s post about Mucosal Immunity. Remember when we mentioned that the immune system has a mucous like protective coating to keep microorganisms out. If the mocosal barrier weakens, toxins and other microorganisms are leaked into the blood stream from the stomach area. Hence, Leaky Gut.

How does the gut leak? How does that happen?

In order to understand how the gut can leak, it’s important to understand how the body digests, at least when it is doing so correctly.

70% of the body’s immune system is located in the digestive system. [1] In this system, the small intestine works as a filter, only allowing the breakdown of products to enter into the bloodstream. In an ideal situation, only nutrients are allowed to pass through, and toxins are held in the small intestine away from the blood.

In the intestine, villi and microvilly (small, hair-like extensions of the intestine), carry nutrients, amino acids, and electrolytes into cells.

Leaky gut syndrome, causes the intestinal lining and villi to become damaged and unable to develop the enzymes that are necessary for the absorption of nutrients. More simply said, even though you may be feeding your child healthy foods that are packed with vitamins and nutrients, they’re useless if the body isn’t absorbing them.

Sometimes, toxins can leak from the intestine. In most cases, humans will have a strong enough immune system to control the leakage. Over time, however, the leakage will erode the stomach lining and weaken the immune system, thereby giving the body a zero defense against toxins.

As the intestinal lining becomes weaker and weaker, larger molecules of toxins can enter the immune system. Because of this, toxins are produced that cause allergies and inflammation.

Leaky Gut Syndrome’s Effect On The Liver

The liver is the largest gland in the body and takes on a lot of roles and has a lot of functions in the body including producing bile, storing bile that is essential for digestion, filtering out drugs, alcohol, and other toxins, storing glucose, and removing damaged blood cells.

Leaky Gut Syndrome really kicks the liver into an unhealthy overdrive as it subjects it to harmful toxins. When the liver cannot deal with the toxins that it is being given, it releases them back out into the bloodstream.

Can leaky gut syndrome be fixed? What are the treatments?

As for the leaky gut itself, there are a large amount of treatments, and depending on the doctor you consult, your answer may be different. We aren’t hear to attack other doctors, but just as a warning: some doctors do not believe that leaky gut syndrome even exists, while others believe in a series of medications are the trick. Be sure to investigate all possible avenues before choosing a method of treatment.

Some more examples of treatment are: increased activity (sweating rids the body of toxins), a detoxification diet, a parasites cleanse, dental cleanup (if your teeth are infected, you are constantly ingesting that infection into your body), and many others.

There are many treatments available for Leaky Gut syndrome. People that are experiencing leaky gut syndrome are severely lacking in amino acids and other nutrients because again, the body isn’t capable of absorbing them.  The lacking nutrients can absolutely be attempted to be replenished using methods like Amino Acid Therapy.

[1] Spaeth G, Berg RD, Specian RD, Deitch EA, August 1990, “Food Without Fiber promotes bacterial translocation from the gut” Surgery 108 (2) pp 204-47

The Importance of Mucosal Immunity: More Than Just Protection From Infection

Mucosal Immune System

When it comes to Autism, there are a lot of big words floating around. From Mercury to Mucosal Immunity and Hemoglobin levels to Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments (HBOT), things can get pretty overwhelming. We’ve covered the dangers of Mercury, and the vast improvements and advancements that the HBOT treatment has received. We haven’t yet discussed Mucosal Immunity and its importance, and in it’s own right, it serves a huge role in the prevention of infection.

Mucosal Immune System: The Need To Know Basics:

The Mucosal Immune System, much like it sounds (notice the closeness to “Mucous”), is one of the parts of the overall human immune system. The responsibility of the Mucosal Immune System, is to prevent  various infectious microbes from entering the mucous membranes. It basically protects the mucous membrane from infection. Additionally, it protects the body or balances it when microorganisms and other foreign materials enter the body.

Since a healthy mucosal immune system aids in the prevention of infection, it’s relatively obvious the reasons for its necessity, especially in the Autistic body that is typically more susceptible to infection.

How The Mucosal Immune System Works: In Easy-To-Understand Terms:

The beginning of the healthy, infection-free body starts in the immune system. The immune system itself is protected by its own barrier. In the mucosal immune system, this barrier is appropriately called the Mucosal Barrier. The Mucosal barrier is made up of mucous. A thick layer of mucous can prevent external infections from entering the body and infecting it.

Typically, when a suspected infection attempts to enter the Mucosal system, specific antibody production occurs. They’re on their mark, and ready for attack mode. As the infection fights back and if it penetrates the barrier, another backup immune system becomes involved, the humoral system.

As the infection continues to affect the mucosal barrier, antigens make their way into the body’s general circulation and inflammation and allergy can occur. Additionally if any of three particular antibodies are increased (IgA, IgM, or IgC), when a BHD test is ran, this can indicate an overload of yeast, dietary proteins, and aerobic bacteria. In most cases, this is a sure sign of a leaky gut syndrome.

If there is no intervention at this point and the bodies’ levels of antibodies aren’t adjusted, the mucosal immune system can actually begin to weaken, and eventually shut down. The mucosal immune system’s backup is the humoral immune system.

Imagine, if you will, a scenario where there is a boss and a secretary. The boss’ (the mucosal immune system) is built to handle tough situations (infections) and ward off trouble. Sometimes, there will be situations in which the secretary (humoral immune system) needs to hop in and help a bit. This is fine. In moderation. If the boss completely stops working, all of the work ends up on the secretary’s lap. This is a sure fire way to cause overload and burnout. Just as a secretary can burnout from too much work that isn’t being taken care of by the front end, so can the humoral immune system from a non-functioning mucosal immune system.

Mucosal Immune System and Vaccines

The mucosal immune system is also being researched due to its significant role in the human immune system. Because of its major function and “front-line status”, researchers are taking a close look at it’s role in vaccines, particularly AIDS and allergies.

The reason for this intense research, according to Nature.com, is that “using a mucosal route of vaccination is that most infections affect or start from a mucosal surface, and that in these infections, topical application of a vaccine is often required to induce a protective immune response.”

In simpler terms: many infections such as AIDS, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal infections begin in the mecosal region of the immune system, so a direct immunization to that specific area seems completely necessary to prevent the replication of these viruses.

Okay, so it’s a good idea, and seems like it should work, why aren’t there a variety of mucosal immunizations available?

As essential as these vaccines seem, and quite frankly are, it has proven difficult to stimulate positive responses from the mucosal immune system. According to Nature.com, as of 2005, only half dozen of the approved vaccines for humans are administered mucosally.