The Probable Cause of Autism
In 2014 I came down with a mild case of thyroid cancer. I was actually elated when we discovered the tumors on my thyroid because for the last five years my health had been spiraling downward, and no medical professional had yet been able to tell me why, though my tests always came back as showing elevated white blood cell count. A much longer version of this story ends with my life being upended and having to fight this disease on my own, a journey that took me down paths of discovery I never thought possible, and over the last few years I have not only been able to get rid of my cancer symptoms but have also been able to regrow my lost hair (not lost from treatment, but from aging) restore my thyroid function, and eliminate conditions of depression, insomnia, erectile dysfunction, and even my alcoholism and addiction which I discovered to be a neurological disorder.
Recently, while investigating a therapy to leverage the neurotransmitter GABA and its promotion of sleep, relaxation, and more importantly cellular regeneration I inadvertently stumbled on a possible cause and thence treatment for conditions of autism. The most important regulating factor in GABA production, I found, is the B vitamin biotin. You will not see this directly cited in medical studies because biotin’s role comes further up the chain of pathways which eventually lead to GABA production, as biotin is required to break down macronutrients for the body to make use of them, most pertinently and consequentially the branched chain amino acids (usually abbreviated BCAA). The material of which branched chain amino acids are made is used to supply other amino acids, proteins, and enzymes which directly influence our overall health and metabolic function, and this is especially relevant to the storage and elimination of ammonia sequestered in the protein glutamate, as though ammonia is an important mediator of metabolic processes in excess it causes a wide range of deleterious health effects, and without biotin this process is inhibited.
Those with autism present with low biotin, and a few recorded cases of biotin supplementation have shown to reverse symptoms of autism — but which returned on cessation of biotin supplementation, which seems to suggest that biotin is related to autistic symptoms, but also that some other factor is the true root cause of the condition, and does so by interfering with biotin activity. There are pathogenic species of bacteria which produce a protein called streptavidin which has an extraordinary affinity for biotin. Researchers do not know what biological function streptavidin performs for the microbes which produce it, because it does not sequester biotin for their own purposes (as I understand it), but it is clear to me that streptavidin’s purpose is to alter host metabolism through blocking biotin, as streptavidin’s binding to biotin is one of the strongest bonds in nature and can’t be broken by our normal digestive enzymes, and in so doing cause the branched chain amino acids to remain intact which in turn stimulates conditions which better favor the survival of those pathogens. The resultant drop in glutamine and GABA from biotin deficiency predictably raises ammonia, and those with autism also often present with high ammonia, and ammonia impairs brain function as well as interrupts sleep, and those with autism often also suffer from insomnia. Streptavidin is also shown in studies to block T cell function and Interleukin-2 and those with autism also have deficient interleukin 2 and T cell function. All humans eventually harbor the bacterial species which produce streptavidin, but due to healthy immune systems and gut microbiomes the majority of us are resistant to them until after we are already grown and fully developed and it is not until our immune systems decline through aging that they take up residence where they more commonly result in symptoms such as fatigue, malaise, metabolic disease, thyroid disease, weight gain, brain fog, and insomnia. But their ingress in young people who have yet to finish growing halts and impairs mental and physical development through the effective and direct inhibition of biotin. This premature ingress of streptavidin producing bacteria probably originates during a stress event which compromises the immune system or the gut microbiome sufficiently, which is also reflected in the fact that all those with autism suffer from one or more gastrointestinal disorders, including an increase in odorous bacteria. This probable cause of autism also accounts for the wide range and seemingly nebulous timing, speed, condition, and severity — it can even be justified by vaccine courses which are occasionally a burden to young immune systems if those young people are also already stressed by other nutritional or environmental factors which lower the immune function at the time of vaccination, such as the presence of glyphosate in food which can impair synthesis of the active form of vitamin D, which would explain some of the perceived association with vaccination events but not all, as clearly vaccination does not cause autism conditions as evidenced by the millions of vaccinations which take place that do not result in autism.
Even more tellingly, biotin is also needed in order to promote the cholesterols and fats which eventually contribute to the production of vitamin D during exposure to sunlight — and those with autism are also deficient in vitamin D, and a vitamin D deficiency actively alters the gut microbiome, so it may be that a total depletion of vitamin D stores (from glyphosate exposure or lack of sun exposure) alone or combined with another stress event then allows these bacteria to access the gut of a young person and take up permanent residence through the total inhibition of biotin.
Streptavidin is synthesized from protein, and I inadvertently discovered this potential therapy while developing ideas for dealing with excess ammonia levels in the body using short, strategic protein fasts since most conditions of excess ammonia also originate from protein fermentation by bacteria in the intestinal tract. Similar to the process I developed to address gut dysfunction in adults to help cure conditions like thyroid and metabolic disease, a strategic protein fast will halt streptavidin synthesis by invasive microbes since protein is necessary for streptavidin synthesis, and studies have shown that substrates that include amino acids like proline and arginine promote an increased affinity for biotin binding by streptavidin. The nature of streptavidin and its interference with biotin absorption is the primary reason why people see a temporary improvement in health when they first practice vegetarianism or veganism, as the substrates for this molecule are eliminated (meaning those who don’t supplement protein), but a long-term protein deficit is harmful and is also why those on such diets eventually begin suffering different health consequences. Making matters more complicated, for decades the research industry has used these very microbes which produce streptavidin to mass produce streptavidin for the research industry, as it is used in many aspects of scientific and medical research, and some have even developed mutant strains which produce molecules that are far more powerful than natural streptavidin at binding biotin, and I think it likely that the activity of these bacteria has increased in the general populace, which accounts for the general and inexplicably increased rates of autism, where those bacteria which naturally produce streptavidin have been given an advantage by human activity or which increased the potency of their biotin binding molecule in a species which is making its way through the general population, and if my hypothesis proves correct it will eventually only be necessary to screen children for autism by identifying these offending pathogens in simple fecal sample.
Most families who deal with autism have already confirmed the bacterial component of autism through the recognition that certain dietary changes help with symptoms, and many families with autistic members practice some form of dietary alteration or another, the effect of which is to remove or reduce some sources of proteins which are more difficult to digest. But a protein deficiency can have its own serious metabolic consequences, so this should not be taken as advice to avoid or reduce protein generally as doing so will prevent healing and accelerate and worsen emotional, mental, and metabolic health in the long run. But in order to bypass streptavidin synthesis and replenish biotin and thus biotin dependent metabolic products and pathways it is necessary to go on a very low protein diet for a time. It is important that all major protein sources like meat, milk, beans, cheese, nuts, and grains be abstained during these protein fasts (yes, even bread and cereal), as even a small amount will enable these microbes to produce streptavidin and block biotin absorption, and you must educate yourself to the protein content contained in the food you prepare for your autistic charge. It is impossible to avoid all protein, as there is protein every food, but abstaining from as much of it as possible will be highly effective, and there is no need to be overzealous about it, as abstinence from high-protein foods will be sufficient. Protein fasts are especially stressful for children and the elderly, so it may be necessary to shorten the duration of protein abstinence and instead perform intermittent days of protein repletion, such as two to four days off protein, one or two with protein, then another two to four off and so on until symptoms resolve, though not indefinitely nor for a long period of time and only abstaining from protein so long as everyone is comfortable. More important than protein fasting is the requirement for exposure to natural sunlight during the protein fast to thus achieve an increase in endogenous vitamin D (endogenous means made within our body rather than supplemented), as I believe it is the absence of vitamin D due to biotin deficiency which accounts for the consequential derangement of gut microflora which in turn promotes those bacteria which synthesize streptavidin and thus facilitate the onset of autism symptoms. Doing a protein fast without also getting sunshine to make vitamin D will not alter the gut microbiome in any meaningful way and thus not permanently eradicate these bacteria, so it is worthwhile to wait until weather conditions permit sunbathing. Supplementing vitamin D is also not sufficient, as certain hormones like melatonin, which are elevated during light deficiency, actively inhibit vitamin D, so getting sunshine is crucial to the success of this therapy rather than supplemental intervention, and avoidance of foods potentially contaminated with glyphosate will be necessary for the body to complete the full vitamin D pathway and avoid any effects it might have on the gut microbiome to begin with. Non-organic grain is the biggest offender for glyphosate, so that includes any and all breads, pasta, cookies, and cereal that is not organic, but any conventionally grown food like potatoes, fruit, and even nuts, can have large amounts of glyphosate as well. 24 hours of protein fasting is sufficient to clear out any streptavidin, so sun exposure can start to be effective after one day of avoiding protein, and please take care to avoid times of day and conditions which promote sunburn — because both sunblock and glass inhibit vitamin D synthesis, so sun exposure to bare skin during safe hours and climates is ideal. Removing streptavidin through a protein fast makes even normal amounts of dietary biotin effective, so there is no need to supplement biotin during the protein fast, and in fact too much biotin can have side effects which, when no longer inhibited by streptavidin, can cause problems, and there is enough biotin in normal food to be sufficient. Milk actually has a protein in it which directly blocks streptavidin, but this protein is destroyed during the homogenization process, where milk is sprayed through high pressure nozzles to break up the fat particles to allow them to mix with the milk. You can and should use non-homogenized milk during this protein fast as it will be a source of valuable, safe protein due to the factors which block streptavidin, not only providing needed protein but also promoting the effectiveness of this therapy without the side effects. Milk powder is not homogenized, so the addition of a good, organic milk powder to milk can further increase both the protein, nutrients, and streptavidin blocking proteins, and in fact most scientists simply use milk powder when they want to block streptavidin. It is not enough to block streptavidin entirely in the gut if major sources of other protein are still present, but as the sole source of protein, non-homogenized milk and milk powder can make this practice so much easier and safer to perform and thus its likely outcome more successful. Practicing this therapy a few times might be sufficient to totally restore a healthy gut microbiome and permanently banish these pathogenic species from the gut, so long as the subject no longer runs catastrophically low on vitamin D, and improvements should be noticeable within just a few days of beginning and would indicate the effectiveness of this strategy.
It is extremely important during a protein fast that you prepare adequately to provide a substantial increase in calories, meals, and snacks from carbohydrates and fat during this time, as the reduction in protein will stimulate a significant increase in hunger stimulus and requirement for nutrients. The only way to avoid discomfort and distraught children (or adults if you are practicing this) is to stay ahead of your hunger, make satisfying meals, and keep a shit-ton of fruit and other quick access foods handy in order to prevent lapses in hunger. A few recipes in the food section of my blog are both low in protein and really satisfying. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, carrots, and cassava are especially helpful. Cream, butter, and coconut oil can help boost caloric intake in healthy and delicious ways, and lots of good fruit both whole, frozen, or dried are also necessary in order to achieve good nutrition and caloric intake. Healthy candies which are made of good sugars and simple ingredients are also a great way to provide some fun and entertainment while also assisting the metabolic rate and the production of vitamin D precursors. Of course, the use of non-homogenized milk and milk powder can increase both nutrition and calories for this purpose as well.
I have not been able to develop this approach significantly, and there may be variables that I am not aware of, but I think that this is an extremely promising and simple course of investigation for those families whose loved ones present with autistic symptoms. This also has implications for adults and other metabolic conditions — many of which I discuss in my book including my journey through recovery, how to regrow lost hair, cure thyroid disease, heal cancer through nutrition, and address such problems as candida, white-tongue, depression, insomnia, erectile and libido dysfunction, and how to maintain healthy weight through easy and accessible therapies. In the future, a more direct and effective treatment would be a pharmaceutical which directly antagonizes streptavidin itself. Avoiding foods with glyphosate, again, is also of paramount importance .
This is just a beginning, and this idea warrants further investigation and discovery by those who are more competent than I. If you’d like to know more about how to improve your own health you can explore more articles on this blog or get a copy of my book at Fuck Portion Control.