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, August 14, 2010

Oxalates Impair Mitochondrial Function

One of the "big 4" interventions that made a tremendous difference for Roo was mitochondrial support (the other three were diet intervention, treating yeast, and treating the virus).  When I became very sick, and was extremely exhausted, I decided to try mitochondrial support to see if it would give me more energy.  It did!  I also realized that Roo had the two traits that tend to be associated with mito issues on the autism lists, excessive ear wax and bumps on the upper arm (Keritosis Pilaris).  He was already taking some of the supplements in the "mito cocktail" so I added in the rest, which I think at the time were acetyl-l-carnitine and CoQ10.  We saw definite improvement and he has taken these supplements ever since.

I hadn't put much thought into what may have caused the mito issues for him.  I know that mitochondria are easily injured by environmental toxins, partly because they lack a nucleus to protect their DNA, so they are more susceptible to genetic damage then are the cells of our body.  Mercury in particular is known to damage mitochondria.  Because Roo is unvaxed, I have not suspected that mercury is the main source of this for him.  I have leaned towards suspecting that my lack of a gallbladder during the pregnancy with him inhibited my absorption of CoQ10 and therefor set him up to be susceptible to mito injury.

I just came across a post on the oxalate yahoo group from the moderator, Susan Owens, saying that it has been found that oxalates impair mito function.  Apparently, when oxalates are absorbed into cells, they cause damage to the membranes of the mitochondria and can impair and even induce the process of cell death in them.  I am wondering if this may be a connection with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, which is what my chronic illness probably is) because the characteristic trait of ME/CFS is severe exhaustion and difficulty recovering from physical and mental exertion.  Under normal circumstances, physical exertion induces the mitochondria to multiply but perhaps the oxalate in some people is preventing that from happening?

UPDATE 5/7/11- Since I originally wrote this post, I have discovered that oxalate sensitivity is one of my primary issues.  It does seem to be central to my ME/CFS and staying on a LOD (low oxalate diet) helps me SO much.  I have also come to realize that the damage that oxalates do to mitochondria is one of the primary ways that oxalate injures our bodies.  Oxalates are also more important for Roo than I had imagined, and I think are one reason why he has responded so well to the SPEAK supplement from NourishLife.  This supplement contains high levels of vitamin K2, which actually stops the overproduction of oxalate in the liver and thereby greatly reduces the amount of oxalate in the body.