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Dr Sharma Diagnostics

Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Children/Adults with special needs

There is so much information available on the net particularly from sites dedicated to the broader and more holistic approaches to ASD that it can become a bit head spinning even for professionals. The following I hope simplifies some of the more relevant information and gives a guide to the options for investigation and treatment programs.

Nutrition in ASD

There are clearly defined associations between deficiencies and ASD (1).

Essential fatty acids have been clearly linked (2) as have deficiencies in minerals particularly in Zinc, Iodine, Iron and Magnesium(1,3). How the body uses proteins (the metabolism of amino acids -AAs) has been linked with ADS and as AAs are the building blocks of the chemical messengers in the brain (neurotransmitters), we can see that protein intake may be as relevant as essential fatty acid intake. There is a suggestion that a specific diet known as the Ketogenic Diet may help some ASD cases (4).

The Gut in ASD

Inflammation in the gut can lead to increased intestinal permeability often referred to as The Leaky gut. (5, 6).This has been postulate to be relevant to ASD both as a cause and in reducing severity. Bowel bacteria and their balance of beneficial against bad flora are also theorised to be relevant (7,8) Gut Bacteria - new frontier


Everyone has the capability to detoxify, some more than others. Nutritional status influences the speed and activity of specific detoxification pathways and the working (known as ‘expression’) of genes that control the pathways.

Far Infrared Therapy is proving to be invaluable as part of any care program for many health conditions and none more so than ASDs. (References required here)

Metal Toxicity

Toxicity of any sort causes direct damage to our brains, usually through actions of free radicals that cause what is known as oxidative damage. These toxins also block the pathways of detoxification that stop us removing these poisons. The cause and severity of ASD is clearly considered to be associated with metal toxicity within the brain. Many published scientific papers attest to this (9,10, 11,12).

Other environmental toxins

Often overlooked are other toxins found in our environment including obvious ones such as organo-pesticides (13,14) but more worryingly house hold substances such as mother’s perfumes (15), lead based paints, plastics, industrial waste, fire retardant and many others (16). Even food additives, passed as safe to consume , are bearing scrutiny(17)

Genetic and nutritional based ability to detoxify

Some of us are good detoxifiers whilst other are not. Genetics plays a part but so do the nutrients we eat that activate our genes and pathways of detoxification. Glutathione, Vitamin B12 and Folic acid are vital in their role as detoxicants generally but deficiency appears to play a vital role in ASD (18). The use of Glutathione as an actual therapy is very hopeful(20,21)

Tests and Investigations

There are specific protocols adjusted around the age and symptoms of every patient aiming to assess nutritional status (22), enhance detoxification, remove possible heavy metals and restore or maintain bowel health. However it is best to use the available range of Functional Tests (investigations looking at the working of the body and it’s cells not just at pathology) to individualise therapeutic programs.

I list my recommendations in order here not because one test is likely to be more relevant than another but because tests cost money and if cherry-picking is required, for financial reasons, an idea of preference may be of help. (Prices below include doctor’s report and initial telephone/Skype follow up consultation)
  1. Combination Nutritional, Toxicity and detoxification ability – broad based but not overly detailed assessment of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Assessment of bowel flora and the presence of yeasts, urine metal analysis. Basic liver detoxification assessment.(£775)
  2. Leaky gut (intestinal permeability)Test. (Urinalysis £144)
  3. Toxic Metal load (Hair analysis - £105)
  4. White Blood Cell Metal sensitivity test. (Blood test £600)
  5. Other body toxicity. Contamination of DNA, cell membranes and their effect on cell function (Blood test £450)
  6. Individual current detoxification capability (£140)
  7. Detoxigenomics – genetic capability (helps determine long term diet and supplementation - £440)
  8. Detailed Essential Fatty Acid profile (£520)

Therapeutic Program

Treatment programs for those with ASD are ideally designed specifically for individuals. These include:
  • Design of diet and nutritional supplementation
  • Detoxification including Far Infrared Therapy (References to be added)
  • Assessment by Quantitative Electroencephalography (QEEG) and Neurofeedback programs (References to be added)

Nutritional Supplementation

Currently the base line supplements that are utilised are:

5 MTHF – the active from of Folic acid
Vit B12
L-Carnitine – neurologically active amino acid.
Body Bio - scientifically established balanced omega 3 &6 essential fatty acid (EFA)
PC Phosphtidyl Choline – preferred product providing EFA
Phosphotidyl Serine - EFA
Omega Smart – balanced omega 3, 6, 9 &12
Aloe Vera extract Amino Acid supplement
Specific Amino Acid supplementation

It may be necessary to specifically increase detoxification enhancing products to individual protocols.

Milk thistle
Vit C
Alpha Clear – Zeolite and antioxidnt combination
Klamath Blue/Green Algae Powder
DMSA (23)

The dosages are varied based on many factors such as age, underlying cause, severity and test results.


  3. Sci Rep. 2013;3:1199. doi: 10.1038/srep01199. Epub 2013 Feb 4. Estimation of autistic children by metallomics analysis. Yasuda H, Kobayashi M, Yasuda Y, Tsutsui T.
  4. The Ketogenic Diet: One Decade LaterPediatrics March 1, 2007 119: 535-543
  5. "Intestinal Pathophysiology in Autism," White JF, Exp Biol Med, 2003;228:639-649.
  6. Heberling CA, Dhurjati PS, Sasser M. Med Hypotheses. 2013 Mar;80(3):264-70. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.11.044. Epub 2012 Dec 27.
  7. Mulle JG, Sharp WG, Cubells JF.Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2013 Feb;15(2):337. doi: 10.1007/s11920-012-0337-0.
  8. Loius, P Dig Dis Sci. 2012 Aug;57(8):1987-9. doi: 10.1007/s10620-012-2286-1.
  9. Yasuda H, Kobayashi M, Yasuda Y, Tsutsui T. Sci Rep. 2013;3:1199. doi: 10.1038/srep01199. Epub 2013 Feb 4.
  10. Adams Jb et al Biol Trace Elem Res. 2013 Feb;151(2):171-80. doi: 10.1007/s12011-012-9551-1. Epub 2012 Nov 29.
  11. Geier DA et al Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012 Dec 6;9(12):4486-97. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9124486.
  13. Shelton JF, Hertz-Picciotto I, Pessah IN.Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Jul;120(7):944-51. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1104553. Epub 2012 Apr 11
  14. Default R et al Clin Epigenetics. 2012 Apr 10;4(1):6. doi: 10.1186/1868-7083-4-6.
  15. Bagasra O, et al . Med Hypotheses. 2013 Apr 8. pii: S0306-9877(13)00132-1. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2013.03.014. [Epub ahead of print]
  17.;jsessionid=rq9zXy44CipprYpVhgKX.6 Blaylock RL Belhaven College, Jackson, Mississippi, USA. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine [2009, 15(2):56-60]
  19. Adams JB, J Toxicol. 2009;2009:532640. doi: 10.1155/2009/532640. Epub 2009 Aug 26.
  21. Main et al. Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:35
  22. Detoxification
    Yusra Al-Yafee et al, BMC Neurology Volume 11
  24. Metals in autism use of DMSA

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