What to Expect
Epigenetics / Methylation Support
About Autism: Biomedical Autism Support
If you are doing research for a child with Autism, you are perhaps looking for something specific or this may all be very new to you and you may not know exactly what you are looking for.
There is new and mounting research that shows conditions on the Autism Spectrum (as well as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity disorder, asthma, allergies and other similar problems) may be due to environmental exposures that aggravate small inborn problems in several body systems including: digestion, the immune system, and the nervous system, including the brain which can show up as some of the patterns associate with the Autism Spectrum.
The DAN! or Biomedical Autism Support was born out of the Autism Research Institute (ARI), which is a fantastic resource for many families. ARI was founded by medical physicians and parents and do extensive research into the triggers and therapies for systemic symptoms associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
What to expect from your first few visits:
1ST VISIT (1HR)
The primary focus is to collect a very detailed and complete history. It is best if your child can come to part of all of this appointment. Our office is very kid friendly with toys and space for your family to play.
1. Remove dietary irritants -GFCF Diet trial, shift to clean
2. Replace micronutrient deficiencies – often Zinc, Calcium/Magnesium and Omega 3 Fats
3. Address most acute symptoms – often sleep, anxiety, constipation
4. Consider testing to evaluate the system most in need
2ND VISIT (1/2 TO 1 HR. GENERALLY IN 2-4 WEEKS)
The goal is to evaluate progress and adjust plan to suit and to review labwork and address results. For example: a Stool analysis may suggest yeast overgrowth and low digestive enzymes and so we will treat or remove yeast and replenish enzymes, repair the digestive system.
FUTURE VISITS (1/2 – 45 MINUTES. GENERALLY AT 1-3 MONTH INTERVALS)
The ongoing goal is to repair systems and replenish deficiencies. To do so, we work through lab testing and symptoms to pinpoint dysfunctions. When we are confident detoxification systems and the gut are healthy, we can move on to other areas of focus.
Please note that we only choose the tests that are applicable for your child.
We use these testing options as sometimes it takes detective work to discover the source of the concerns inherent to those on the Autism Spectrum. Some tests can be done through a family medical doctor, but to determine food allergies/sensitivities or levels of toxic metals, solvents or yeast, we recommend accredited labs in Canada and the US that specialize in these areas of testing and are considered leaders in their field. Some of the diagnostic tests may be covered by extended health plans or autism funding in BC. Check with your plan or with the Ministry of Children and Families in Victoria, BC for specifics about
Descriptions of some of common tests available can be found below:
Urinary Organic Acids. Comprehensive analysis of metabolic function, vitamin status and gut bacteria health.
Complete Stool Analysis (CSA). A complete analysis of gut microbes and yeast, digestive status and inflammation. May include parasite testing.
OR Microbiology testing. Analysis of gut microbes and yeast.
Yeast testing. Various methods for analyzing yeast overgrowth and the immune response to yeast. This is included in the Organic Acid testing as well as the CSA and Microbiology testing.
IgG and IgE food testing. Various tests available for measuring food sensitivities and allergies.
RBC elements. Analysis of mineral status.
WBC Micronutrient testing. General overview of nutritional status: B vitamins, some amino acids, some fatty acids, some minerals, carbohydrates, and antioxidants.
Fatty acids. Measure of essential Omega 3 status.
Urinary Amino Acids. Basic to Comprehensive amino acids testing for protein deficiencies.
Heavy metal analysis. Urinary test to evaluate heavy metal load. Can also be used to roughly identify nutritional element status.
Genomics is a new field of medicine and science that has developed since scientists first plotted out the human DNA genome. It revolves around identifying the common variations (called SNPs or single-nucleotide polymorphisms) in different genes that exist within the population and how they affect the individual’s health and overall functioning. Epigenetics is an off-shoot science/art about how those genes are expressed by the individual. We tend to forget that our genes get turned off or on at different times in our lives. For example: some are turned on in adolescence, some in pregnancy. Some genes need other environmental factors in place before they are unlocked by the body. Now that science has figured out how to decode the human genome, we can use lab tests to identify SNPs (those variant genes) for important biological functions.
The most commonly known SNPs are in the genes that code for methylation systems.
Methylation is a process that uses a series of enzymes to add a little carbon group, called a methyl group, to other biochemical items. Methylation is used as a locking mechanism for DNA, basically turning on and off genes, which helps appropriate division and formation of immune, gut and hormone producing cells. And because the body is very smart, this one process gets used for other things too like detox pathways, or even making neurotransmitters. MTHFR enzyme is the most important one in this cycle as it recycles the methyl group and funnels more in dietary sources. With enough starting products and vitamin and mineral cofactors, the methyl group can be recycled to be used again and again. In essence, the MTHFR enzyme acts as a central cog fueling several very key and diverse biological functions. The gene that codes for this enzyme is also called the MTHFR gene and it has well-known SNPs, variants that cause that critical enzyme to be a less efficient. We know that an injured or less efficient enzyme is slow and the materials it is supposed to act on build up, as it tries to keep up it burns through its cofactors depleting them.
SYMPTOMS THAT MIGHT POINT TO METHYLATION/
MTHFR SNPS INCLUDE:
Ringing in the ears
MS and other autoimmune disorders
Chronic Immune infections
Mood concerns (depression, anxiety)
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
Of course, your DNA is fixed but due to epigenetics we can take advantage of how the environment affects the gene expression. We can use nutrients, nutrition and herbs to help the system to function at its best and to compensate for the variations. The first is to test for MTHFR (Dr Kellie, our Naturopahtic Physician, usually recommends 23andme testing) and many many other SNPs. For more information, feel free to call or book in online and Dr Kellie is happy to chat with you about methylation and your testing options.