Star Wars – a sci-fi movie series with a cult fan following. Darth Vader, Jedi Knights, Yoda, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are the central characters.
Autism – the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world. 1 in 45 children are diagnosed with autism. A person with autism face challenges in speech and communication, behavioural issues and socialisation. Many people with autism also present many health challenges such as food sensitivities, digestive issues, impaired detoxification, nutritional deficiencies and more.
Glutathione – pronounced “glue-te-thai-on”. A powerful antioxidant.
So what does autism, glutathione and Star Wars have to do with each other you ask?
In her book Healing Our Autistic Children – A Medical Plan for Restoring your Child’s Health, Dr Julie Buckley calls most antioxidants the Jedi Knights in the metabolic sense. However, she calls glutathione Yoda. As many Star Wars fans know, Yoda is the legendary Grand Master of the Jedi Order and can do many wondrous things. My Star Wars fan hubby was duly impressed with the analogy. As he would put it, glutathione is Yoda whilst MB12 is Obi-Wan Kenobi. To date, we haven’t decided what Luke Skywalker is…….
By now, most of us have read and heard about the importance of glutathione. Glutathione levels is something that most biomedical doctors are concerned about. Glutathione (GSH) is a powerful antioxidant, it is the key detoxificator in our body. It plays a fundamental role in numerous biochemical and metabolic functions. Most chapters in biomedical books or topics in biomed conference stresses the importance of glutathione. Children with autism either have too little of it or the subset of kids who do have adequate levels of glutathione are not utilizing it into the proper detox pathway, instead it goes on to be utilized for other functions. Some children also have adequate levels of GSH, but their toxin load is so high that it’s just not enough. Most children on the autism spectrum need glutathione support, either by supplementing it directly or by enabling the body to produce more. Oxidative stress, damage from heavy metals, immunological and metabolic disorders are common culprits of lowered glutathione production and depletion. Glutathione is a topic close to our hearts namely due to the heavy metal and environmental toxin load that is commonly found in our kids and the high need for an efficient detox and methylation pathway.
According to her OATS (Organic Acid Test), my eldest daughter Mei had impaired detox markers and low levels of glutathione. Our second round of OATs done a year later showed marked improvement overall. This also commensurate with better cognitive function, enhanced skill sets, reduced behavioral challenges, improved fine and gross motor skill, age appropriate language skills and immense reduction in Autistic traits overall.
We raised Mei’s glutathione levels directly by transdermal lotions as well as supplementing with N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). NAC is the precursor to glutathione, it is commonly prescribed by biomed doctors. A small subset of children don’t do well on NAC as it does have a tendency to increase yeast. In some children, it tends to raise their sulfur levels. For us, we did not experience any obvious side effect from NAC. Even though it is known to cause yeast flare-ups, it wasn’t a big deal for us because we were constantly battling yeast anyway, so what’s a little bit more yeast right? Our biomed doctor put both my girls, Mei and Min Min on NAC almost immediately, we used it for 1.5 years. We no longer use it now as Mei’s glutathione levels are fine.
1. Oral glutathione supplement is used widely, however it may affect the gut and cause yeast overgrowth. It is also not as well absorbed compared to other types of supplementing GSH. All of my biomed doctors did not recommend oral GSH for both my daughters due to their own unique issues.
3. Suppository- this is a popular choice amongst some biomed doctors in Asia. It is more readily absorbed and comes in higher dosages. These need to be prescribed and specially ordered compounding pharmacies. These can be quite expensive, they have a short shelf life, dosage is according to body weight and frequency is usually once a week. Some children do well with glutathione suppositories and some do not. We were quite excited to try this out, unfortunately Mei had a negative reaction almost immediately after administering it. Within 1 hour, her temperature shot up to 40 degrees Celcius. I believe it was just too much for her. Lesson learnt. I don’t think it is possible to predict which child will react well to them, we can only try and observe. Some children who are doing chelation (heavy metal detox) also use specially compounded DMSA suppository combined with glutathione. It is interesting to note that glutathione suppositories are not popular in most countries.
4. Intravenous (IV) glutathione is a popular choice in certain countries such as the USA. At some clinics, patients can receive intraveneous glutathione infusions. This provides the best absorption, however the potency or effectiveness is for a shorter period I believe.
We only tried the glutathione suppository once, Mei did not react well to it, so I continued with the lotion. I used glutathione lotion on Mei and Min Min every night for 1.5 years, the girls love their nightly massages before bedtime. They were calmer due to the gentle, soothing strokes and we make it a special moment between mother and daughter.
Keep the glutathione levels up guys! We all need a little bit of Yoda in our lives. We’ll be eating asparagus, broccoli sprouts and turmeric for dinner with dark chocolates for dessert tonight followed by the Star Wars movie marathon:-) May the Force be with you……
About Spectrum Mum in Malaysia – Marissa is a mother of 2 children who are recovered from autism. She is the co-founder of Brightstars – Life Skills for Exceptional Kids, a holistic school for children with autism, ADHD and learning challenges in Kuala Lumpur. Marissa is the co-author of Autism Beyond The Spectrum and Vice-President of The Thinking Moms’ Revolution, an autism advocacy movement based in the USA. In 2009, she founded KL Biomed, a support network for parents with children affected by autism and related disorders in Malaysia and neighbouring countries in Asia. Marissa is a blogger, autism advocate, passionate about nutrition and natural health. Her blog Spectrum Mum In Malaysia is inspired by her children’s journey and experience in recovering from autism. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.