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Autism and Glutathione

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Recent research indicates that Autism is related to immune, neurologic, and inflammation issues that are triggered by a genetic disposition to be sensitive to certain pollutants, toxins, food additives and so on. Strong evidence relates the lack of cellular glutathione (the major anti-inflammatory agent) and Autism.

Keywords: Autism and glutathione,autism,treatment of autism,autism diet,diet for autism


Twenty years ago, approximately 1 in every 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism(ASD) Autism Spectrum Disorder. Today it is 1 in every 150 children have Autism.

One of the theory’s is that it is Genetic. But according to Dr Daria Davidson, a medical doctor with 30 years experience, board certified in holistic medicine, and a cancer survivor herself, in twenty years genetics could not have changed that much. The other possibility is Mercury, however, vaccines today most are free of having mercury in them,  Yet we are seeing a increased incidence of Autism. Contrary to what was thought a few years ago, vaccines are not the cause of ASD.

The whole theory about vaccinations being the culprit came from a study in 1998 that was released in the British Medical Journal with 12 kids with behavioral problems that developed intestinal problems from vaccines. They made a correlation that maybe it was something in the vaccine for Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

Originally it was thought that autism was mainly from the brain, we now find that there are three components of autism. They are the brain, immune system, the intestinal track. It's not uncommon that these children have intestinal disorders—maybe they are constipated or have certain food sensitivities that irritate their stomachs. Autism is now being related as a immune, neurological, and inflammatory disorder. Being that glutathione is the major anti inflammatory agent, inflammation very well can be the component associated with low glutathione in Autism.

It has been discovered that there are vulnerable genes that in combination with the right environmental triggers do not allow the child to stay healthy. Is this an outgrowth of increased pollution and toxins in our food and air? If the child has a genetic disposition, then under the right environmental factors (or shall we say unhealthy factors) autism appears. These genetic variants are called Polymorphisms. When theses genes are affected they disturb fundamental pathways in the body and the end result of autism is chronic inflammation through out the brain, digestive and the immune system. The good news is that inflammation is treatable. In the studies that have been done the correlation between low glutathione levels and autism is staggering. Dr. Daria suggests that you simply google “autism and low glutathione” and you'll find many references to attest to this fact.

Jill James PhD. at the  Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute where she is the director of the Metabolic Genomics Austin Lab and also she is the professor for pediatrics at the same institute.

In an article published in New Science of Health Sept of 09 page 75, she states that “children with Autism do not make as much of a compound called glutathione as nero-typical children do. Glutathione is the cells most abundant antioxidant and is critical for removing toxins. If cells lack sufficient antioxidants they experience oxidative stress which is often found with chronic inflammation.”

The mitochondria use oxygen to help make ATP, but if the cell is deficient in glutathione the cell senses this and diminishes the production of ATP which will diminish the functioning of that cell—whatever its purpose.

In American Journal of Medical Genetics in 2006 Jill James found that common genes variants that support glutathione pathways may be associated with Autism risks. Jill James says “We also plan to look at mitochondria dysfunctions. Since mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells, this is also the place where the most free radicals are that play a role in oxidative stress are produced. If the electron transport chain in a mitochondria is faulty and you are not effectively making ATP. You’ll produce more free radicals to deplete your glutathione.”

 If this hypothesis is correct we can do things to try to support the health of the mitochondria. She mentions Co-enzyme Q10 and mechanism to increase glutathione.

In December of 2006 Harvard researchers found that industrial chemicals maybe impairing the brain development of children around the world. In November 2006 in University of California conference they discussed the implications of a environmental toxicology in Autism. They discussed the enormous effect of chemicals in our environment and how little we know of the “chronic low dose multiple exposure and their effects on diseases like Autism.” Maybe the many autism cases we are seeing are a new illness of the current generation.

The researcher says, “We can address the disturbed pathways now before the gene hunters have definitive information” for only twenty or thirty thousand of the 85,000 chemicals made have been studied. “We can at the very least try to modulate Autism now by treating the tissue inflammation.”

This is something that can be done now rather than wait decades for all the studies to be completed and by then who knows—there may be another 50,000 chemicals to be studied.

There's a question about the Fragile X syndrome. Fragile X is a genetic predisposition to some neuro problems. Some are similar to Autism, but generally not the same, some are related to retardation. It has to do with the problem being carried on the male chromosome.

Boys get one x chromosome from their mom and the y from their dad. Female child get x from both. Fragile X is more common to be seen in a boy cause they have one x. Girls have 2 so if one is good they will never get Fragile X. Two to six percent of all children diagnosed with Autism also have a Fragile X gene mutation and approximately 1/3 of all children with Fragile X also have Autism meaning there's good reason to deal with inflammation.

For children with Autism we have to help them control their diet, the environmental toxins and do what we can to boost glutathione.

Diet generally means gluten and or casein free. It's based on the theory that children with autism are more likely to have allergies to gluten (the protein in wheat, oats, barley and rye) and casein (the protein in milk). Unfortunately most children with these allergies are drawn to foods with gluten—especially junk foods-- and foods with casein in them, making a change challenging for some families. If you google “King Diet,” you'll find a diet for parasite sufferers. Ironically it's an anti-inflammatory diet and will work wonders with inflammation. It's a three stage diet with Stage I being devoid of any milk or casein products. For the most part Stage II can be employed for Autism minus the casein products.  Later on, one can be advanced to Stage III (again minus the casein unless casein is not a problem.) The other advantage is that this diet is rich in foods that contribute to the cellular production of glutathione.

Environmental toxins are not so easy to always “nail down” and most likely will take some research and testing.

Whereas most children under age 20 have enough glutathione, those with Autism have a problem with the mitochondria that uses up too much glutathione and they simply don't have enough glutathione.  

In summary, inflammation plays an important role in Autism and glutathione is the major anti inflammatory agent and anti toxin agent in the cellular mechanism. Genetically there is a predisposition for certain children to be subject to certain environmental/food toxins which cause the mitochondria to produce more free radicals than normal which in turn uses up the cellular glutathione resulting in insufficient production of ATP.  There is a strong correlation between children with Autism and the lack of glutathione. It makes sense to do whatever can be done to boost cellular levels of glutathione.

Information taken from Dr. Daria's weekly calls at

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Richard Kuhns has been writing for the internet for over three years. He has shown thousands of individuals how to get healthy and stay healthy with his top selling cds at  Please go to to find out more about glutathione, receive a free bulletin re the health benefits of glutathione, and take advantage of a risk free two month trial offer.