This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Oxalates and Fungal Infection

I've been revisiting the issue of oxalates lately as I am thinking this is something I need to focus on more with Roo.  I first learned about oxalates several years ago, and Roo did seem to do better not eating very high oxalate foods such as almonds, soy, and chocolate.  While I did remove the highest oxalate foods I didn't really do the Low Oxalate Diet. 

Recently, I was reading an article about oxalates that mentioned that the mold aspergillus produces oxalate.  I don't know if aspergillus is something that has been a problem for Roo, but it did pique my interest that there could be a connection with mold and fungus since our healing lately has focused so much on the microflora in the gut. I was looking at a wonderful resource for oxalate information, a site called Low Oxalate Diet, which has a section about oxalates and yeast, where I found this quote:

"It is likely the tie to yeast infections involves a problem in the immune system and its ability to recognize yeast overgrowth and respond. Oxalate is known to impair carboxylase enzymes producing symptoms equivalent to biotin or biotinidase deficiency. The literature on those conditions is clear that when carbxylases are impaired, it is easy to get runaway problems with yeast. Perhaps this explains why some people on the low oxalate diet would lose this inhibition, resulting in a loss of their tendency towards chronic candidiasis."

I came across a similar quote while reading through some files in the Trying_Low_Oxalates yahoo group about oxalate dumping (oxalate detoxing):

"Dumping may stir up yeast, because oxalate impairs biotin dependent enzymes that
help protect us against yeast, and it also impairs the ability of the immune
system to recognize markers on yeast that might provoke the immune system to
act. Some people find that after some time reducing oxalate that their chronic
problems with yeast go away, and that it happens without needing the barrage of
anti-fungal medications."

There is also a document in the files section that shows a strong correlation between arabinose levels (indicator of yeast) and oxalate levels.  Susan Owens, moderator of the oxalate list linked to above and a researcher specializing in studying oxalates, discusses a study in which it was shown that oxalates inhibit the ability of an enzyme in humans to kill candida, because the candida are killed by the intracellular release of calcium and the oxalate binds to the calcium preventing it from harming the candida.

Susan Owens refers to another study, called Effect of Calcium Ion Uptake on Candida Morphology, that provides further evidence to support the idea that available calcium is important for the regulation of candida growth in the body.  As a side note, the study also showed that zinc (as well as cobalt) is highly toxic to candida- could this be a link with Pyrroluria?  Could people with Pyrroluria be more susceptible to yeast because they are deficient in zinc?  I also wonder if this is one reason that mB12 shots help so many- it is my understanding that they provide cobalt, which apparently also kills yeast.

I just came across another connection, which is that people on the Trying_Low_Oxalate yahoo list are talking about using high doses of arginine to  reduce the symptoms of oxalate dumping.  Yeast reduces the levels of arginine in the body because it produces a metabolite that binds with both arginine and lysine, making them unavailable for use elsewhere in the body (this forms a very damaging molecule called a pentosidine).  What is also interesting is that in discussing the possibility of a maximum dose of arginine, Susan Owens mentioned that people treating mito issues are using VERY high doses of arginine.  This, as well as the fact that poor digestion of fats can be a contributing factor (or at least a correlating factor) in oxalate problems, leads me to wonder if oxalate problems and mito issues are related?  I also noticed, when looking through the photo files in the oxalate yahoo group, that oxalates can cause a rash that looks (at least in pictures) just like Keratosis Pilaris, which is usually associated with poor fatty acid digestion and is considered a sign of mito issues.

UPDATE:  Since writing this post, I have found out that oxalates and mito issues are deeply interconnected- in fact, it seems that one of the primary ways that oxalate injuries the body is by damaging and even killing mitochondria.  For more information about this connection, see this post.