You know heavy metals are toxic, even if you’re not quite sure why. Heavy metals like mercury, aluminum, and lead can have a big effect on autistic children – on all of us really.
To achieve optimal health for our autistic children we need to first understand why heavy metals are so bad, then identify and eliminate sources of heavy metals in our children’s lives, and then detoxify their systems.
What’s So Bad About Heavy Metals?
- Heavy metals block other minerals from doing their jobs.
Heavy metals take up receptor spots where other minerals should be binding. When these receptor sites are occupied, important minerals like zinc, copper, and iron can’t dock there which can lead to mineral deficiencies.
Zinc and iron deficiencies can cause things like mood swings, fatigue, digestive problems, and anemia.
- Heavy metals affect brain and bone health.
Generally, our body is pretty good at protecting itself from toxicity. When you’re exposed to a heavy metal like lead, the body has a tendency to tuck that toxin away. In the case of heavy metals, the body redirects them to our brain and bones.
While storing dangerous heavy metals in this way prevents them from circulating throughout our bodies and causing widespread inflammation, it opens us – and our children – up to different issues.
When heavy metals are tucked away into our bones, this prevents calcium from binding there. The result is weaker bones.
When heavy metals are tucked away into our brains a host of neurological symptoms can occur. And as parents of autistic children we know that neurological issues are one of the most prevalent problems for our kids.
How Are Our Children Exposed to Heavy Metals?
- Food and water can contain heavy metals.
Lead pipes are more common than you think. Many pipes carrying water into our homes still contain lead. If this is a concern in your area you can have your water tested.
Large fish, like tuna, have high levels of mercury. To avoid this you’re better off eating smaller fish like salmon and choosing wild caught, not farm raised, fish.
- Supplements can contain heavy metals.
Supplements made from traditional Chinese or Ayurvedic formulations are notoriously contaminated with lead. We need to be careful and intentional with what we’re giving our children.
It’s important to investigate the medications and supplements we’re giving to our children to understand if there’s a risk for heavy metal contamination.
How Can We Remove Heavy Metals From Our Child’s Body?
- Find and eliminate the source of the heavy metals.
Determine if your child is being exposed through food, water, supplements, medications, or injections and then eliminate the culprit.
- Focus on regular bowel movements.
Our kids get rid of heavy metals like they get rid of everything else. So make sure they have a healthy and functioning GI system and that they’re pooping 1-3 times per day.
- Use supplements to support detoxification.
There are supplements like zeolites, chlorella, cilantro, different clays, and charcoal that can decrease the total body burden of heavy metals. These supplements are helpful, but not the best place to start.
My course, available soon, will discuss in detail how to get started using functional medicine to treat your child’s autism symptoms.
- Consider IV chelation therapy.
IV chelation therapy is an option only if you know your child has a toxic level of heavy metals. IV chelation therapy should only be done under the supervision and guidance of an experienced health care provider.
- Investigate the Andy Cutler Chelation Protocol.
This program focuses on low-dose oral supplementation to pull the heavy metals out. It may be effective but it takes a long time and involves giving low doses of supplements on a very strict schedule.
Before beginning this protocol, talk to someone with expertise in this area. Chelating your child shouldn’t be done independently.
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Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing a great job.
I hope this information has been helpful to you as part of creating Your Autism Game Plan.