Here is Part 1 of my understanding of the impact of metabolism and nutrition for special needs children based on my conversations with Elinor Silverstein.
In preparation for publishing this article I spoke with Elinor again today. She is so excited to have this information being sent out to more parents and professionals.
“I worked with a young man who had severe torticollis, dystonia, apraxia and autism. We completely got him on the road to feeling better using this nutrition!” — Elinor Silverstein
A little about how Metabolism works
The process of absorbing, converting and using nutrients is metabolism. When someone has a metabolic condition some part of the process is not working properly. It could be the wrong food coming in, absorption being blocked by inflammation, missing components for conversion, or inability to use the nutrients at the cellular level.
Elinor explains, ideally we would eat what we need and all food would be utilized for the keeping us at peak health and ability to do what we wish to. Reality can be somewhat different. Some nutrients are utilized in the form we take them in. As long as they are actually in our food in adequate amounts and our ability to absorb them is functioning well they are simply put to use.
What goes in
There are many articles available about the changing quality of our foods. The nutritional value of our food has been altered in order to produce greater yields. I’ll talk more about that later when I tell you what Elinor knows about the changes in gluten in wheat. Just know that you can’t take for granted that the food you buy has all the nutrients you expect it to.
What gets used
Elinor explained what can happen when the intestinal tract is not healthy. Absorption happens through the intestinal wall so it’s very important that it be in good shape. Inflammation has a huge impact on the lining of our intestinal tract. Inflammation is not being sick or injured. It happens when our body believes the immune system needs to kick into action because something is there that should not be there. An immune response brings white blood cells, and extra circulation. When this happens in response to something we chronically eat the intestinal walls can begin to swell, villi that normally absorb nutrients become inactive or damaged, and over time, there can even be perforations in the intestinal wall leading to leaky gut syndrome. Guess what? MORE stuff for the body to react to. Nutrients are NOT supposed to be in the body cavity. Food allergies begin to appear for whatever is leaking into the abdomen.
More complex processes
The second way that nutrients are utilized is when they are absorbed and then converted through an enzyme action to become something useful, said Elinor. If there is no enzyme then the conversion is not possible. Sometimes nutrients are working together synergistically in these cycles to produced the required outcome. The products of these cycles are not optional parts of our systems – these are necessities for further processes and for good health and functioning of all the cells and systems in our bodies.
What goes out
Then there is the clean-up crew. When these processes of conversion or the actual use of nutrients happen it generates some byproducts. Byproducts plus toxins we consume or come into contact with through our lungs or skin all need to be eliminated from our bodies. We have the liver, kidneys and skin for this. The liver uses methylation in the transsulfuration pathway to process out toxins. (I promised Elinor I would use that sentence. Google it for many links to more information.) If toxins are not processed out of the liver they immediately exit the liver in to the blood stream, which in turns transports them to the brain and other tissues through the body, explained Elinor. Toxins such as heavy metals deposited in the brain, heart and muscle tissues create the conditions that doctors have names for like high blood pressure, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, and heart disease.
The magic of methyl
What it means to you and I is that there is a good chance that the methyl form of supplements like B12 is useable while the other forms just make your blood tests look good and don’t go in to the cells. More about that when Elinor discusses supplement recommendations.
Disruption in the ability to produce the methyl piece are caused by a genetic anomaly. It used to be considered rare. Then it was considered more common place. Elinor has tested hundreds of people for this gene anomaly and ONE did not have it. The rest did. We will go into more detail about the impact of this genetic change.
Next I’ll cover gluten, supplement recommendations, genetic testing, and their relationship to children with special needs with disabilities such as autism, Torticollis, dystonia, ataxia, and cerebral palsy.