By Dr. Michael Roth
While researchers and scientists are still working to discover the cause or causes of autism, there is a growing body of processes and methods to deal with the symptoms, conditions and challenges that autism presents.
Dr. Rosemary Waring, a researcher in human toxicology at the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, England, was the first researcher to find that many people with autistic conditions are very low in sulfur in their bodies’ chemical makeup.
People with low or no ability to convert compounds to sulfate have problems handling environmental chemicals, some medications, and even some chemicals produced within the body. They include people with other conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and chemical sensitivities.
Sulfur is necessary for the body to breakdown and remove certain toxins. This includes the processing of a type of chemical called a phenol.
Phenols are a regular and necessary part of life. All foods contain some phenolic compounds. However, some foods have a much higher content than others do. Artificial food colorings, artificial flavors, and some preservatives also contain phenolic compounds.
If the sulfation pathway is not functioning well, a person may not be able to process out the phenolic compounds as fast as they consume them. There is a cumulative effect. When the phenols start backing up in the system, it can cause a myriad of negative reactions. Symptoms of phenol intolerance include night waking, night sweats, irritability, eczema, and other skin conditions. The symptoms of phenol intolerance and yeast may be very similar because they both involve the body trying to deal with toxins.
There are a couple ways to turn this sulfur deficit around. One is by diet: If your child has a reaction to food additives such as artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives then phenols may be the culprit. In addition to reducing those additives, also reduce foods that are high in phenols: berries, citrus varieties, apples, peaches, apricots, plums, pears, grapes and cherries. When selecting fruits based on phenol content, keep this tip in mind: the darker the fruit, the greater the phenol content. Vegetables to avoid are yellow onions, artichokes, potatoes, rhubarb, red cabbage, curly kale, leeks, cherry tomatoes, celery and broccoli.
The second method of enhancing the detoxification process is to supply more sulfate. This increases the amount of toxins that are able to be processed out of the body. Sulfate ions may not be absorbed well from the gut, however, so simply giving more sulfur directly by swallowing supplements may not produce satisfactory results.
Most people do see improvement with Epsom salts because the form of sulfur in the Epsom salts is already sulfate and readily available to the body.
What are Epsom Salts and How Do They Work?
Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate. Salts are molecules that form because the parts have opposite electrical charges that bind together. Magnesium has a positive charge. Sulfate has a negative charge, and performs all sorts of unique biological functions. The two elements break apart and separate in liquid. Epsom salts are available at most local grocers or health food stores.
The magnesium and sulfate in the salts are absorbed into the body through the skin. Because the sulfur is already in the sulfate form, it does not need to be converted like other forms of sulfur do. Sulfate is thought to circulate in the body for up to about nine hours. Any Epsom salts left on the skin may continue to be absorbed as long as they are still on the skin, offering continuous ‘time-released’ input into the bloodstream – like medications given through skin patches.
Many people on a typical ‘modern’ processed diet are very deficient in magnesium as well, which Epsom salts also supply in a highly available form. The main effects of insufficient magnesium are hyperactivity, irritability, anxiety, and muscle twitching or spasms. So the salts may provide two-way assistance.
How To Give Epsom Salts
Here are several methods for giving Epsom salts. The ratios are not exact, just what seems to get the salts dissolved and on the skin.
Epsom salt baths – Most people use about one to two cups per tub. Dissolve the salts in hot water first and then fill the tub to about waist deep, as warm as possible. The amount of salts you may find works best will depend on the individual tolerance, the temperature of the water, and the size of the tub. The warmer the water and larger the tub, the more salts will dissolve. If you see negative reactions, such as irritability or hyperactivity, then decrease the amount of salts. You may need to start with as little as one tablespoon of salts, and work up gradually. Epsom salt baths are very calming for most people. This works well just before bedtime. Most guides say to soak for about 20 minutes or more. It is okay to let the salts dry on the skin. You may notice a dry, clear-white powder. If it is too itchy or irritating, just rinse it off. If the skin feels too dry, use lotion or oils to moisturize. Do take note, however, that diarrhea or loose stools may result if children drink the bath water.
- Spray – Mix one part salts and one part water (add more water if the salts are not dissolved) and put in a spray-squirt bottle. Mist the person’s chest and/or back and let it dry on the skin. This method works well in the summer.
- Homemade lotion –Cheap and easy. Put about one teaspoon of warm water in three tablespoons of salts. Add more water if necessary. Then mix this into approximately four ounces of any lotion or cream you like.
Footbath – Mix one part salts to two parts water (or more so the salts dissolve) and let the person soak their feet in it for about 30 minutes
- Sponge – A solution of one part salts to four parts water works well. Dampen a sponge in the mixture and apply to any part of the body.
- Poultice or skin patch – You can mix some Epsom salts and whatever kind of lotion the person can tolerate into a paste. Put this paste on a large band aid and apply to the skin. The salts will soak into the skin.
In my practice, I have seen a transformation in the lives of children with Autism as well as their families with the use of nutritional support such as this, energetic healing and diet.
There is hope! Call us today at (805) 644-0461 for an appointment!