Glutathione and Autism

Glutathione molecule

Since 2004, Dr. Jill James, a University of Arkansas medical researcher, has been reporting about the differences in the levels and quality of an important compound, Glutathione, in typical children versus autistic individuals. Her research has led to various discoveries that are used today by many biomedical practitioners to assist ASD patients in their recovery.

Any parent who has attended an Autism Research Institute lecture or searched knowledgeable Internet sites has been exposed to a complicated diagram that depicts the metabolic pathway leading to GSH production. This is the basic information upon which DAN! doctors have been inspired to give safe, inexpensive and useful therapies such as methylcobolamine (B12), folic acid, methionine, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), DMG, TMG and cysteine (which all lead to an increase in glutathione levels), in order to lessen the effects of oxidation (think RUST) and promote healthy growth of new tissue in the gut and brain.

This post is about oral glutathione for autism, and what I wish to say is… the stuff really works! When I started including glutathione therapy in my practice, I really began to understand that many of the symptoms of the disease that we call autism (’cause today’s epidemic ain’t your grandfather’s autism) can, indeed, respond to simple, cheap, safe interventions. In fact, when our first patients began to demonstrate an increase in verbal activity, I asked the staff to stop saying “That’s amazing!” and start saying “I told you!” (which instills greater confidence, don’t you think?)

T=typical

A=autistic type

The Good – it’s inexpensive, and only needs to be given orally. There are some practitioners who assert that the oral preparations are quickly broken down after ingestion. I’m not sure about that, but I have absolute proof that ‘good’ levels of GSH are increasing. I call it the AT autism test:  “A” – for autism and “T” – for typical. When a neurotypical patient is lifted by the elbows, they resist the pull and so appear as a “T” (as in an ‘iron cross’ position). Autistic patients who haven’t enough glutathione do not resist the pull and so they form the letter “A” when tested in this manner. Perhaps the oral preparation simply supplies the building blocks of GSH, but, within weeks of instituting this treatment, a change will take place in the child so that the ‘AT test’ goes to typical. That observation is 99% sure in my practice. I’m not certain whether the increase in core tone affects the vocal cords, or it is merely a marker of increased neuronal activity. Importantly, within weeks of an increase in this reflex, there will be some qualitative or quantitative change in speech and language.

The Bad – The side effect of energy is… energy! This is why my practice suggests a slowly increasing volume to help the patients adjust the dose as necessary. I usually initiate therapy with 100mg once a day and gradually increase volume and frequency. Additionally, there is a fair amount of web advice that the oral versions of the product promote yeast growth. It is for this reason that I test for yeast early and try to get any G-I problems under control before starting such intervention.

The Ugly – The oral liquid form of the product really STINKS. That is because of a sulfur molecule that is a attached to this unusual anti-oxidant. One of our parents even brought the bottle back because they thought it was “spoiled”.  Fortunately, it doesn’t taste as rank as it smells, however. While there are other forms of this substance, I do not find them to be practical (intravenous), equally as effective (creams) or easily tolerated (nebulized and inhaled, or rectal suppositories). The staff at The Child Development Center has been able to devise various methods to mix, hide, and otherwise sneak the potion into our unsuspecting (but very clever) patients.

Don’t try this at home. Just because a supplement is available without a prescription does not mean that it is non-toxic or appropriate for your affected child. Many times, I will address other symptoms (gut or behavior) before giving this valuable intervention. I am aware of its strengths, weaknesses, pitfalls and side effects. As in all things autistic, I advise getting professional diagnosis and treatment in order to obtain optimal results for your child.

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19 Responses to “Glutathione and Autism”

  1. Heather Locke says:

    Love it! Great article.

  2. Cristine says:

    Every single time we slow down on glutathione we see the difference…it is just as important for these kids as a good probitic!

  3. joseph gautier says:

    “methylcobolamine (B12), folic acid, methionine, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), DMG, TMG and cysteine”

    Well, as you know Doc, our son is on several of these including oral glutathione, M-B12, and Methylaid. What contributing factors enter into your decision to add the others like SAMe, DMG or cysteine? Also, what are your thoughts on NAC, and its possible beneficial effect(s)?

    Thanks, Joe

  4. Heather L says:

    in my opinion, the taste is even more rank then the smell. indigestion burps that could almost see in a fog, horrible.. so hard for my little one to get down as he protests. he knows whatever it is in. May I ask others what apporach you use to “get it down”?

  5. Janice says:

    What are your thoughts on supplements that increase glutathione production in the body, such as MaxGXL?

    • admin says:

      I have not had as much success from GSH supplements, as from the GSH itself. That is, I am looking for actual changes in the physical examination, speech&language, eye contact, and core tone improvements that aren’t that easily seen. So, although other supplements probably help (TMG, DMG, NAC) I just haven’t been able to measure the change so clearly.

  6. Ken says:

    Considering gluatathione cannot bypass the blood brain barrier, have you found that giving the components that increase glutathione would be more effective than administering glutathione directly? You mentioned several (DMG, TMG etc) above, but your recommendation is not clear. Thanks!

    • Dr. Udell says:

      I’m not sure that the gsh HAS to cross. Maybe if the peripheral inflammation is addressed that is enough to help in the CNS. Also, I’m not sure why the preparations that I utilize work so well, they just do. Within weeks, there is a difference in the core tone, and usually improvements in speech/cognition follow. I don’t see the extra help that glutathione precursors address, although a recent study which was presented at the SFARI conference did, indeed show improvement with NAC (cysteine). Bottom line – the liposomal gsh works on my patients so I stick with that.

  7. Arnold says:

    Hi, we have been getting great response from our liposomal glutathione here at MaxHealthLabs.

    • Dr. Udell says:

      I will continue to be as neutral as possible about specific products. Well, as neutral as I can be about anything.
      Anyway, sometimes comments contain information that might be of value. Let the reader decide, and work with a trusted professional.

  8. Rizza says:

    will vitamin spray with glutathione works as good as other forms of gluta?

  9. Joe Thomas says:

    If you’re trying to regenerate glutathione wouldn’t N acetyl cysteine or alpha lipoic acid be a better supplement?

    • Dr. Udell says:

      1. Mainly, stopping the oxidation is the best strategy – find the source(s) of the inflammation and avoid or treat.
      2. The immediate goal is to supply reduced gsh, which the product that I use seems to do (muscle tone improves within weeks).
      3. It’s possible that the product is broken down by digestion, and the individual aa’s become available substrate.
      4. By increasing the dose slowly, it is possible to control side effects (increased activity, any gut problems)

  10. Craig says:

    Is there a best way to engage you to know the product you use as well as weigh other supplement options? We have a very finky eater but he’ll drink things down OK, maybe put in his flavored Kefir. Of course we’re also concerned about casein.

  11. Lu says:

    Hi, what form of GSH do you use? Can you recommend any brands in particular that you have found to be helpful in your treatment?

    • Dr. Udell says:

      I have found liposomal glutathione from Wellness pharmacy to be the most effective in a protocol that includes gastrointestinal evaluation and proper treatment with high potency, multi-strain probiotics. Fungus or other underlying problems (that must be evaluated and properly treated) may often become exacerbated with this supplement. So, negative signs may actually provide a clue that something needs to be investigated.

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