At 22-months Jackson was diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. Doctors told his parents there was no hope of recovery. Over 2 years Mark Hyman, MD addressed his gut inflammation, mercury toxicity, and nutritional imbalances. Today, Jackson’s is a normally functioning little boy who loves baseball and playing with friends.
The question is, can a better understanding of the gut and brain connection be a window into the cure for autism? Do the chemicals produced in the gut affect or cause autism?
Many people have been critical of Dr. Hyman’s video, but it doesn’t dissolve the real question and science at play.
In an article on Autism Speaks, researcher Dae-Wook Kang elaborates:
“Most gut bacteria are beneficial, aiding food digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting against harmful bacteria,” says Dae-Wook Kang of the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University, an author on the new study. “If left unchecked, however, harmful bacteria can excrete dangerous metabolites or disturb a balance in metabolites that can affect the gut and the rest of the body, including the brain.”
There has been other research suggesting similar gut and autism connections. Research has shown that autistic kids have a different gut bacteria makeup.
In 2014, Kang and his team compared the bacterial waste products in stool samples from 23 children with autism. They compared these to samples from 21 typically developing children.
Overall, they found that children with autism had significantly different concentrations of seven of the fifty chemical compounds they detected.
“Most of the seven metabolites could play a role in the brain as neurotransmitters or controlling neurotransmitter biosynthesis,” Kang says. “We suspect that gut microbes may alter levels of neurotransmitter-related metabolites, affecting gut-to-brain communication and/or altering brain function.”
Research has also shown that abnormal and less diverse communities of gut bacteria exist in children with autism.
Does this mean we will find a cure? It seems the biggest obstacle in finding a cure exists at the pharmaceutical level where cures aren’t profitable. But maybe at some point, private funding makes headway. Autism Speaks started an initiative here.
It has been proposed that both antibiotics and vaccines alter gut bacteria. Could this be a window into the reality of the cause? The greater question is, will we ever really know?
Our diet drives our mental health. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is ran by pharmaceutical company marketing teams that try to lead us astray. But the fact is, the Standard American Diet has reeked havoc on our bodies. Most of us who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s were attached to a processed food feeding tube. We really didn’t know any better at all.
When I got older, I was a moody teenager. That’s normal, of course, to an extent, but I had no idea that maybe my diet was contributing the most to my mood. But it was. I went to Doctors for anxiety in my 20’s, yet none mentioned that diet could be a cause.
As it stands, here are three main causes of mood changes (depression, anxiety) for me.
Blood Sugar: Blood Sugar ebbs and flows really aren’t given enough credit for how they can alter your mood. Did you know that blood sugar has been linked to schizophrenia? Blood sugar could be the most vital part to your every day mental health. When I skip meals that involve complex carbs, such as vegetables, beans, brown rice, yams, etc., my mood heads south pretty fast. Keeping your blood sugar at a stable pace will help you remain focused, energized and feeling a lot more content with the world around you. This doesn’t mean you need to eat food all day long, this just means that when you choose to eat, choose balanced meals that are infused with complex carbs. Allow the complex carbs to give you a fuller feeling and slowly break down into glucose. This means no big peaks in blood sugar as well as no valleys.
Sugar and your addiction to it: Sugar addiction isn’t healthy (that’s not ground breaking), but it can be incredibly stressful. Being addicted to anything is stressful. When you overload on sugar, your body begins firing off hormones to deal with it. Hormones can cause stress in your body and mind. Check out this study from 2014, whereas 3663 people were tested for depression and their volume of sugar intake was measured. The people who ate high sugar diets were the most likely depressed.
The secondary portion is addiction. Addiction is stressful. Often times, we feel guilty for our inability to stop eating sugary foods. We want to say no to the piece of cake at night, but we give in, and that causes us stress and anger and depression. Learning to stop the cycle of this addiction is the best means of control. How does one do that? Stop eating it. Make it a few days. Your cravings will drop.
Caffeine: the friend or the foe? I don’t even like bringing this one up. People find the subject of caffeine polarizing. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Recent studies have shown that people who drink caffeine are less depressed. I never feel like those studies are well done, however. I think if you enjoy caffeine and you feel great, go with it. BUT, and this is a big BUT, if you are feeling down, anxious, unable to sleep, you should really consider getting rid of it.
I have my affairs with caffeine. I get it. But I can tell you with 100 percent confidence that I feel a lot better overall when I am not drinking it. For me, caffeine is great, that first moment you drink it. But coming down from it is tough. I feel edgy and hungry, or like I need a drink. That’s a super personal experience, of course.
At the end of the day, everyone has to find their own way. But more often than not, when speaking to people about their mood or their anxiety, people still pass over the diet aspect. People automatically look at other factors such as genetics, work-life relationship, marriage, bills, etc. And there is no doubt that much of that has to do with it, but it is unlikely the end all. Diet is a huge factor. What you put in your body (or don’t) can make or break how you deal with stressful encounters.
Pharmaceutical companies wash this under the rug with the singular purpose of keeping people turning primarily to medicinal treatments. They sell you on weight loss pills, SSRI pills for your depression, sleeping pills for the stressed nights. They have trained us. They have conditioned us. It is time to break the cycle, though. And we can do that by sharing more information.
Milk. It does the body good, right? Not always. Dairy is constantly under health scrutiny anymore and this month’s study into a pesticide found to have been used in milk decades ago is reviving that scrutiny. The pesticide, heeptachlor epoxide, was used in the 1980’s. It’s first used on pineapples. It made its way into the milk supply when cows began eating remnants of pineapples in Hawaii.
The study showed that non-smokers who drank more than two cups of milk per day were significantly more likely to develop Parkinson’s. The study originally was supposed to monitor the effects of aging, hence the average age of each participant was 54.
For the study, 449 Japanese-American men with an average age of 54 who participated in the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study were followed for more than 30 years and until death, after which autopsies were performed. Tests looked at whether participants had lost brain cells in the substantia nigra area of the brain, which occurs in Parkinson’s disease and can start decades before any symptoms begin. Researchers also measured in 116 brains the amount of residue of a pesticide called heptachlor epoxide. The pesticide was found at very high levels in the milk supply in the early 1980s in Hawaii, where it was used in the pineapple industry. It was used to kill insects and was removed from use in the US around that time. The pesticide may also be found in well water.
The study found that nonsmokers who drank more than two cups of milk per day had 40 percent fewer brain cells in that area of the brain than people who drank less than two cups of milk per day. For those who were smokers at any point, there was no association between milk intake and loss of brain cells. Previous studies have shown that people who smoke have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
This isn’t dairy’s first run in with being linked to Parkinson’s. Here’s a study from 2007 that cited similar findings.
In this large observational study, we found that higher dairy consumption was associated with increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. The association was stronger in men and was mostly explained by milk consumption.
What’s further interesting is that the pesticide link isn’t full proof; in other words, the milk itself isn’t ruled out as the actual cause. The researchers were quick to point out that the study’s results could have been based on “chance.” And that the milk was never tested for the pesticide in question. In any case, heeptachlor epoxide isn’t used as a pesticide anymore.
Parkinson’s affects roughly 1 million people in the states and it has no cure.
Marconi Union’s song, Weightless, is garnering a lot of attention these days.
Researchers at Mindlab International in the U.K. have been trying to find activities, behaviors, and songs that reduce anxiety levels in people. Let’s face it, we all have our moments battling anxiety. Any easy, non-pharmaceutical solutions would be incredibly helpful.
The neuroscientist found that one particular song, Marconi Union’s “Weightless,” absurdly resulted in a 65 percent reduction in anxiety. The kicker? This was almost double what their best naturally anxiety reducers typically yield as far as results go. That’s a huge uptick and makes this song definitely worth a listen, particularly if you are feeling a little stressed. Researchers claim the song seems to lower the stress hormone, cortisol, which is what prompts the lowered anxiety.
I have to admit, it did make me feel better. But was the affect placebo? Decide for yourself.
Today’s children are the subject of labels. Every action or reaction is a symptom, rather than a unique personality trait. While this isn’t me saying that all medications are bad or that all labels aren’t correct, it is me saying that Pharmaceutical companies are out of bounds creating labels in the name of selling pills. Some kids are actually creative, intelligent, compassionate beings. I thought this video was worth a share.