Monday, June 29, 2009

Optimizing Zinc Supplementation

Zinc is an essential mineral that is required by many enzymes in the body. Some functions of zinc are as follows - helps release insulin from the pancreas, necessary for proper hydrochloric (HCL) acid production in the stomach, helps with bicarbonate production to maintain normal intestinal pH, assists various enzymes in the methylation cycle and more. There are a variety of different forms of zinc supplementation – aspartate, alpha-ketoglutarate, amino acid chelates, as well as picolinate, citrate and gluconate. The absorption and metabolic utilization of zinc is controlled by many factors such as digestive enzyme function, competing minerals (such as copper), metallothionein levels (chemical in the body which controls the levels of zinc and copper inside the cells), and the presence of heavy metals. In many cases when the zinc levels do not normalize the answer is not always to give more zinc. Because digestive function, the health of sulfur levels in the body, and the proper ratio of zinc to copper all control zinc utilization and metabolism correcting zinc can take time – even many, many months. Usually, zinc that remains abnormally low means more time is need to work on diet and improving gastrointestinal health.

These are some general rules for giving zinc. Because zinc supplementation can be an ongoing process to get levels up to normal values, here are some strategies that can be implemented:

Give individual zinc supplements (not zinc included in a multi-mineral) between meals twice daily or at bedtime. In some individuals zinc can cause some nausea so taking with a small amount of food can prevent this.

Avoid giving zinc at the same time as phosphatidylcholine or phosphatidylserine supplements. Also, do not take supplements with calcium, iron or folate products (folic acid, folinic acid, etc).

Periodically, a child will have a negative reaction to zinc which can manifest as agitation, irritability, sleeping problems, etc. This is uncommon, but can happen. In most cases the reaction is not from the zinc itself, but something in the zinc supplement. Worsening of behavior could be related to low copper levels as zinc and copper oppose one another. Giving additional zinc could lower copper even more. This phenomenon is usually rare as most individuals with autism have high normal or elevated copper levels. If needed, trying a different type of zinc supplement will help sometimes in resolving adverse reactions.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Probiotics - Growth Promoting Factors

Probiotics (growth promoting factors) are the beneficial bacteria that reside in our digestive system, aka. normal flora. There are approximately 10 times more normal bacteria in our digestive system than all cells in the human body combined. There are literally hundreds of various strains with trillions of natural bacteria living in our guts.

Various Types of Bacteria and Yeast:
Lactic acid producing bacteria
Non-lactic acid producing bacteria
Non-pathogenic yeast

What Do They Do
Assist vitamin utilization – B vitamins, A, K.

Help to breakdown sugars, oxalates, and proteins.

Produce natural antibiotics and antifungal compounds to keep the digestive system healthy.

Some adhere to the lining of the digestive system which stimulates secretory IgA (sIgA) – the major antibody in the gut.

Can be taken up Peyer’s Patches to stimulate sIgA, cytokines and other systemic immune modulators.

Improves intestinal ph – acid/alkaline balance.

Protects against pathogenic yeast and bacteria both in the small and large intestine.

Help to reduce food allergy and sensitivity.


Culturelle (lactobacillus GG – acts against clostridia) – **trace amount of casein – less than 0.01% - 1 to 3 daily for general purposes
Mindlinx - multi-spectrum probiotic with various acidophilus and bifido bacteria – 1 to 2 daily
ProBiotic Support Formula (New Beginnings) - multi-spectrum probiotic with various acidophilus and bifido bacteria – 1 to 2 daily
Sacchromyces boulardii – yeast that inhibits other yeast and bacteria such as clostridia. Does not colonize the bowel permanently. Not affected by antibiotics. Is sensitive to anti-fungals such as Diflucan and Nystatin – 2 to 3 daily.
Ther-biotic Complete – multi-spectrum probiotic with various acidophilus and bifido bacteria – 1 to 2 daily.
Three-Lac – has enterococcus strains specific for attacking candida – 1 to 2 packets daily.
VSL #3 – high potency (450 billion per dose) – oxalate defense. **trace amount of casein – 1 to 2 daily.

Should You Rotate – Sure Why Not:
Some people find benefit with rotating probiotics – one every 1 to 3 days, multiple stains, etc. is fine. However, consistency overtime is what is most effective.