The Big Picture

The ultimate goal of the biomedical treatment of autism is to remove environmental toxins and repair damage that has been done. 

Suggested therapies to investigate include: 

1. Individualized Laboratory Testing: In many cases, a physician will need to order these tests for you. Labratories that perform a variety of testing include: Doctors Data and The Great Plains Labratory.  

The Complete Blood Count (CBC) and Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) check for anemia, platelet count (a high count is consistent with inflammation), and liver and kidney function.

Thyroid. We find a significant number of children with autism who have hypothyroidism, which can mimic some of the symptoms of autism and impair development. A simple blood test called TSH can check for this problem.

Iron deficiency can cause inattention and concentration problems12. Low iron is also linked to lowered IQ13. Iron supplementation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who have low iron levels has been shown to improve attention compared to a placebo 14, and iron supplementation in children with autism has been shown to improve sleep15.

Ammonia and lactic acid are initial tests that can help determine if mitochondrial dysfunction exists, which can lead to low energy production and hypotonia (low muscle tone)11 and is potentially treatable with supplements like coenzyme Q10 and L-carnitine.

Cholesterol. A cholesterol count less than 145 mg/dl in typical children has been shown to increase defiance and irritability and increase the chances of school suspension by three-fold16. Supplementation with cholesterol in some children with autism may be beneficial 17.

Cysteine is the precursor to glutathione and is the rate-limiting step for glutathione production. Low levels of cysteine reflect impaired glutathione production or increased glutathione utilization due to oxidative stress18.

Lead has been shown in some studies to contribute to autistic behaviors in some children19,20. An elevated blood lead level reflects ongoing exposure and should prompt an investigation to find possible sources of lead in the house or environment.

Magnesium has a calming effect, and lower levels have been found in children with ADHD21 and autism22. Magnesium supplementation can decrease hyperactivity23 and improve certain autistic behaviors22.

Testosterone. A small percentage of children with autism have elevated testosterone24, which can lead to aggression.

The organic acid panel (OAT) is a specialized test that can measure markers of yeast, Clostridia, and other markers such as vitamin levels and mitochondrial function.

Urinary porphyrin concentrations can reflect increased heavy metal or pesticide levels in the kidney and are markers of the metal burden in the body5.

Urinary neopterin is a marker of inflammation and tends to reflect autoimmunity in some children with autism25. Elevated neopterin often predicts positive responses to anti-inflammatory treatments.

Urinary oxidized DNA and RNA are markers of oxidative stress inside the cell26, and children with elevated levels often have improvements with antioxidants.

Urinary isoprostane is a marker of oxidative stress outside the cell26. Again, antioxidants can be helpful when this is elevated.

Stool testing can check for the presence of inflammation, dysbiosis (increased levels of yeast and abnormal bacteria), digestion, and absorption.

*Source: Diagnosis Autism: Now What? A Simplified Biomedical Approach, The Autism File - Issue 32 200


    1. Reducing the toxic load:  Achieving a non-toxic life and today's world is almost impossible. Understanding what is toxic, how they are harmful and how to avoid toxins will help reduce intake. “Autism—The Biomedical Basics,” by Polly Hattemer is an excellent resource.

    2. Healing the gut: A properly functioning gut is important for overall health. Imbalances in the gut can lead to further issues and comorbid conditions. Help heal the gut with protocols including antifungals, antivirals, digestive enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics.

    3. Increasing nutrients for the body: quality multi-vitamins and minerals, high dose B6, magnesium, fish oils, amino acids, melatonin and glutathione.

    4. Removing metals and other toxins from the body: chelation, anti-yeast protocols, methylation, MB12, valtrex and homeopathy.

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