Autism is a medical condition which is extremely complicated and complex, or is it? It is almost undoubtedly caused by oxidative stress which impacts metabolism.
We readily understand that if we do not put oil in our cars that we will have issues. Our cars will not run as intended. Oil is integral to the function of the engine and without it the engine will break down.
If we look at the “most important” function our bodies perform, that function might be something called delta 6 desaturase. Certainly “breathing” is critical, but so is the enzyme that we use to cleave the only 2 fatty acids our bodies cannot make. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are called essential fatty acids due to the fact that we have to have them and that our bodies cannot make them. In order to “deal” with them, we have to have an enzyme called delta 6 desaturase. This enzyme is expressed by the FADS2 gene which is impacted in severe autism (1). A delta 6 desaturase deficiency is directly tied to autism (2). So what happens if the delta 6 desaturase enzyme is inefficient or is not expressed at all?
If your body cannot deal with omega 3 fatty acids, that means you will not be able to build ANY of your first line ANTI-inflammatory mediators. Your ability to deal with trauma, infections, parasites, and viruses will be impacted. About 80% of us will currently die of some inflammatory disease, so omega 3’s are super important to our function given today’s diet. If your body cannot deal with omega 6 fatty acids, that means you cannot build any inflammatory mediators. Further, your two main endocannabinoids, called anandamide and 2-ag, are built from omega 6 fatty acids.
So severely autistic folks cannot “inflame” or “deflame”, which means they cannot run a basic immune system. They have deficiencies in their endocannabinoid system with the two main molecules needed to run the endocannabinoid system. These deficiencies cause a “lack of control” in the master regulatory system.
What happens is, because of these very severe deficiencies, autistic folks EVOLVE. They build an “alternative ” immune system. The primary anti-inflammatory is something we all make, but they will make in abundance, called propionic acid. Propionic acid, because it is so highly anti-inflammatory, probably saves their lives. However, propionic acid is what is used to CAUSE autism in the rat model of autism (3). This is the very reason that some “microbiome” strategies for autism will show some progress and then rebound.
When we consider autism under the GnuPharma model, we want to get it at its “source” which is the metabolic issue of delta 6 desaturase. Re-righting this imbalance will cause functions to come into balance and the “need” to over produce propionic acid will abate.
Our strategy is an intervention, management, then maintenance model. Every autistic situation is different. This requires some discussion (and ideally testing) on the front end. An intervention plan, usually with a natural product, a management plan, and then maintenance. Management and maintenance could be as simple as diet changes or as complex as mold testing and other environmental considerations. Diet and environment is how we are both affected and influenced.
If you are a family impacted by autism, please consider signing up for our program. It starts with a consultation and we will work with you until we find the products which will cause the most progress quickest.