Tag Archives: iodine

Iodine deficiency and PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is an inaccurately named chronic condition that used to be rare but now may afflict 1 in 15 women. [1] It is inaccurately named because it can also affect men — who don’t have ovaries. I’m having trouble finding the link that I’m thinking of but hypogonadism can occur in men and women. [see below, 3, 4, 5, 6]  Gonadotropin dysfunction and insulin resistance seem to be consistently involved in the problem for women. It is a common cause of infertility and may affect 6% of women. [7] PCOS in women is actually a syndrome that is cause by an imbalance in the pituitary gland of the brain which causes increased androgen production in women.

The current mainstream medical consensus is that the cause of the syndrome is unknown. However the condition is closely associated with iodine deficiency. While iodine is best known as a mineral necessary for the thyroid gland but it is an essential nutrient for the ovaries, mammary glands, prostate and the endocrine glands.

Iodine lack is known to be a factor in the development of breast and prostate cancer. Sixty patients with a variety of cancers were studied. All sixty patients were found to have serious iodine deficiency.[2]

Continuing to claim that the cause of conditions is unknown perpetuates inaccurate treatment by the mainstream medical community while denying patients a simple cost effective treatment of the actual underlying cause of their symptoms. And cancer risk may be increased if the underlying nutrient deficiency is left untreated or is only treated with thyroid hormone if hypothyroidism. Providing an external source of thyroid hormone helps some symptoms of hypothyroidism but would leave the rest of the glands in the body undernourished if the condition is due to low iodine and/or elevated levels of bromide, chloride or fluorine.

The pancreas is also a gland [8] and insulin resistance in PCOS could be due to iodine deficiency in the pancreas causing insulin resistance that leads to gonadatropin dysfunction. One of the hormones produced by the pancreas is insulin. Glucagon is the other hormone produced by the pancreas. Both are involved in control of blood sugar levels. Insulin helps cells take glucose in and glucagon signals the liver to make more glucose out of glycogen, a longer chain form of carbohydrate that contains the individual molecules of glucose.[8] Levels of glucagon like peptide 1 (GLP-1) were reduced in patients with PCOS. Decreased incretin production may be involved in the insulin resistance seen in patients with PCOS. [9] Incretin refers to a group of hormones that include GLP-1. They help lower blood glucose levels by signalling the pancreas to make more insulin. [10] So maybe dysfunction of the pancreas or dysfunction of the insulin being produced is an underlying problem.

Iodine is chemically very similar to bromide, chloride and fluoride except that the iodine makes functional thyroid hormone. Bromide, chloride and fluoride can be taken up by the gland and incorporated into hormone production but would produce a hormone that might show up on a lab test as present but is dysfunctional within the patient who continues to experience negative symptoms of hypothyroidism — how do I know — first hand experience.

My symptoms of hypothyroidism went away after using a high dose iodine supplement. It is considered a risk by the mainstream medical system because it can cause hyperthyroidism in some patients — which I also learned the hard way but I stayed on the high dose supplement too long and wasn’t aware of the need to take selenium at the same time. Selenium is used in the enzyme that helps break down excess thyroid hormone. I’m doing better now with stable thyroid hormone levels and an overactive thyroid that remains stable when I avoid certain foods and iodine sources. The undiagnosed hypothyroidism and fibrocystic breast pain went away with the iodine supplements and decreasing levels of bromide, chloride and fluorine may also have helped reduce risk for breast cancer or other cancers.

So learning things the hard way isn’t the easy way to learn but as Francis Bacon (1561-1626) famously said, “Knowledge is power,”  and I would rather have healthy thyroid function then unhealthy function or no thyroid gland at all. (The standard treatment for hyperthyroidism is to treat it with radioactive iodine to decrease function or to surgically remove it. But autoimmune hyperthyroidism is actually a bone marrow problem that attacks the thyroid and other areas of the body and the radioactive iodine treatment can increase risk to the other areas of the body.) Having learned things the hard way makes me more motivated to try to share information so that other patients can get help that helps rather than harms or who get the message that I kept getting – your lab tests are normal so you must be healthy and your symptoms must be psychosomatic (all in your head) so go see a therapist and talk about your troubles there — no help, dismissive, and disabling — that type of message encourages the patient to ignore the symptoms that they are sensing and to simply consider themselves as crazy.

Radioactive iodine causes thyroid cancer and the best protection against it is being sufficient in iodine before being exposed to radioactive iodine and the next best protection is taking high dose iodine during a radioactive iodine leak. This was learned by the suffering of people living around the area of Hanford, Washington State, U.S. where radioactive materials were being produced for the bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during WWII. The people of Hanford weren’t told about the protective benefits of iodine however. They eventually received some money from the government in settlement payments but it took many years and lawyers may have received more money from the government .

There are still 1900 corroding barrels of toxic waste in the Hanford, WA area slowly leaking into the ground soil and placing a nearby river at risk and as it empties into the Pacific Ocean, also placing the ocean at risk of radioactive contamination. Leaks occasionally expose workers there to increased danger. The level of radiation overall is no longer a direct risk to citizens living in the area but the barrels need to be stored in better containers for long term safety.

Radioactive iodine is used in X-ray machines and being iodine sufficient makes the radioactive iodine X-ray work less well — but I would rather have citizens bodies work better and prevent thyroid cancer in the first place rather than promote iodine deficiency because it makes X-ray machines more effective. [“First do no harm,” – unrelated to PCOS, a benign type of thyroid nodule that has been routinely treated as cancer has a medical team trying to get it renamed and treated as the benign nodule that it is: It’s Not Cancer: Doctors Reclassify a Thyroid Tumor.]

This wasn’t the topic I meant to write about when I sat down this morning but my search engine turned up link [1] by accident and I wanted to save it — and I wrote a few additional notes on the topic. Consider it a Mother’s Day gift for the 1 in 15 or 6% of women who may be infertile due to iodine deficiency but who are unlikely to be informed of the potential benefits of iodine by the current medical system. Adequate iodine levels during pregnancy may also help protect the infant from autism developing later in life and from congenital hypothyroidism. See previous posts for more information on Preventing autism perinatally – before conception, (Dec. 22, 2015) [11], and the benefits of iodine for preventing congenital hypothyroidism. [12]

Making an educational website for perinatal health education has been on my to-do list since December and I finally bought a domain for the purpose. That is wrapped into the other topic I meant to write about this morning — slow but steady may not always win races but progress is progress.

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

  1. “Iodine and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): What You Need to Know,” Dr. Edward Group, [http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/iodine-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/]
  2. Cancer and Iodine *Still under construction,”[http://www.theiodineproject.webs.com/cancerandiodine.htm]
  3. Pituitary and testicular function in sons of women with polycystic ovary syndrome from infancy to adulthood. Recabarren SE, et, al., J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Sep;93(9):3318-24. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18544620]
  4. Male hypogonadism: an extended classification based on a developmental, endocrine physiology-based approach. Rey, RA, et al.,  Andrology. 2013 Jan;1(1):3-16.  [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23258624]
  5. Polycystic ovaries in patients with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism: similarity of ovarian response to gonadotropin stimulation in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome., Shoham, Z, et al., Fertil Steril. 1992 Jul;58(1):37-45. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1624021]
  6. Androgen deficiency, Wikipedia.org, [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Androgen_deficiency]
  7. Polycystic Ovary Syndrom: It’s Not Just Infertility, Hunter, MH and Sterrett, JJ.,

    Am Fam Physician. 2000 Sep 1;62(5):1079-1088, [http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0901/p1079.html]

  8. Medical Terminology for Cancer, 12: The Endocrine System (Hormones),[http://www.cancerindex.org/medterm/medtm12.htm]
  9. Fasting and post-prandial glucagon like peptide 1 and oral contraception in polycystic ovary syndrome. Aydin K., et al., Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2014 Oct;81(4):588-92. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24730585]
  10. Incretin, Wikipedia.org, [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incretin]
  11. Preventing Autism Peri-natally – Before Conception, December 22, 2015, [http://transcendingsquare.com/2015/12/22/preventing-autism-perinatally-before-conception/]
  12. One billion IQ points and Iodine, March 9, 2015, [http://transcendingsquare.com/2015/03/09/one-billion-iq-points-and-iodine/]

“You Can’t Care about Everything, so You Shouldn’t Even Try”

You can’t care about everything, so you shouldn’t even try,” is paraphrased from a comment I read recently. While I can certainly agree that you can’t care about everything at the same time – because the human short term memory maxes out at around five to nine items – I don’t agree that it is right for someone else to set parameters for another person’s interests.

As a government employee teaching about gun control safety was actually part of my job. I even had a pile of trigger locks available to give out for free to clients who needed one. I was responsible for writing lesson plans and handouts for roughly 100 to 150 topics and all of the materials had to be available for state auditors to review every other year. I was also responsible for any special need education topics for high risk clients so along the way I learned about a variety of unusual but life threatening diagnoses.

Religion however was not part of my job – our nation is based on separation of church and state – but it seems that religion has become part of our daily lives anyway as more and more laws have been passed that blend religious views into public life.

Our city’s and town’s infrastructures are at risk [4, 5] in part because businesses are not being taxed at the same levels as they were in the past — but also because there are more people and businesses using the infrastructure and natural resources (water, clean air).

The city officials in Flint that have been charged for the criminal negligence that led to the deaths of many people due to Legionnaire’s Disease and to the poisoning of drinking water and corrosion of water pipes throughout the city do not include the state appointed Emergency Management official that was appointed by a Governor who ignored a vote by the people of the state to disband the Emergency Management law nor does it include the Governor. The city officials that were charged likely were trying to cope with the Emergency Management takeover of their city and were likely trying to make do with a limited budget — yes they are likely culpable of criminal negligence and possibly trying to cover up evidence but the Governor who ignored a vote by the people of the state and who appointed an Emergency Management official also seems culpable as well as the Emergency Manager — in my opinion. [Emergency Management law: 1, 2, 3 ] [Flint officials charged: 7]

Government officials are supposed to try to care about all of the details and all of the people, equally without discrimination due to age, race, nation of origin, sexual identity, disability, or educational level, and they are supposed to care about it each work day – and many are also responsible for being available at any time during emergency situations.

So  I’ve been trained and expected to care about a wide variety of details, every day, and to be aware of any emergency situations that may be likely to occur and to be prepared to cope with those as well — and sadly those seem to have been getting more prevalent and of a wider variety over the last few decades. [8, 9 , 10, 11] Government agencies at the federal, state and local levels do very important things involving many, many details every day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Government is not just about writing legislation it is about maintaining safe infrastructure and safe standards for protecting public health — every day.

I was asked to resign from my job or be fired because of medical marijuana and so I resigned because it is not an approved medication for use within a government agency or as a health professional — I was wrong and I knew it and so I resigned. It is a medication that can affect decision making skills but it is also a medication that affects functions in every cell and in every organ system of the body so it does have medical value for people who have a genetic defect or other malfunction in their ability to produce cannabinoids internally. If elected President of the United States I will work towards reclassifying medical marijuana from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 3 controlled substance, [6], and I will work towards developing and providing safety information regarding safe usage and risks of medical marijuana – because like most medications it does have risks.

I’m not currently using the medication because the negative side effects became too severe for my health — the negative symptoms it was causing were worse than the negative symptoms that it was helping prevent; and a genetic screening that I received recently provided me with individualized guidance regarding my body’s increased needs for a few specific nutrients involved with the ability to produce cannabinoids internally. With the intake of the specific nutrients my health has improved without the use of medical marijuana as an external source of cannabinoids.

If elected President of the United States, I would care about everything and everyone without discrimination  — but not all at the exact same time, the memory can only work with about five to nine items at one time — that is why I take notes. Everything is connected in some way because we all live on the same planet and breath the same air and drink from the same water — our water supply is connected via the oceans and the air and the plants respiration cycles and with all the pollution that our regulations and lack of maintenance is allowing to enter the air and water supplies.

  1. 7 Things to know about Michigan’s emergency manager law,” by Michigan Radio Newsroom, (Dec. 6, 2011) [http://michiganradio.org/post/7-things-know-about-michigans-emergency-manager-law#stream/0 ]
  2. Emergency Manager,” Fact Sheet, Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan.gov[http://www.michigan.gov/documents/snyder/EMF_Fact_Sheet2_347889_7.pdf]
  3. Michigan’s Hostile Takeover,” by Paul Abowd, (Feb. 15, 2012) Excerpt: “When the city of Pontiac, Michigan, shut down its fire department last Christmas Eve, city councilman K. Williams learned about it in the morning paper. “Nobody reports to me anymore,” Williams says. “It just gets reported in the press.” This was just the latest in a series of radical changes in the city, where elected officials such as Williams have been replaced by a single person with unprecedented control over the city’s operation and budget.” [http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/michigan-emergency-manager-pontiac-detroit]
  4. Mayors: Flint Could Happen to Us, A third of mayors fear that they have jeopardized lives to cut infrastructure costs.,” By Ben Wofford, (
    Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebookhttp://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/04/what-works-mayors-survey-flint-infrastructure-213854]
  5. As Water Infrastructure Crumbles, Many Cities Seek Private Help,” by Mindy Fettermen, (March 30, 2016)[ http://www.govtech.com/fs/As-Water-Infrastructure-Crumbles-Many-Cities-Seek-Private-Help.html]
  6. “Removal of cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act,” Wikipedia,[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Removal_of_cannabis_from_Schedule_I_of_the_Controlled_Substances_Act ]
  7. Charges against 3 in Flint water crisis ‘only the beginning,’” by Elliot C. McLaughlin and Catherine E. Schoichet, (April 20, 2016) [ http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/20/health/flint-water-crisis-charges/index.html]
  8. Hanford, Not Fukushima, Is Big Radiological Threat To West Coast,” by Robert Jacobs, (April 30, 2016) [https://www.popularresistance.org/hanford-not-fukushima-is-big-radiological-threat-to-west-coast/]
  9. As Americans bicker about gender-neutral toilets, three nuclear disasters are unfolding,” by Matt Agorist, (April 30, 2016) [https://www.sott.net/article/317417-As-Americans-bicker-about-gender-neutral-toilets-three-nuclear-disasters-are-unfolding]
  10. “How iodine may help protect you from radiation damage,” by Anne Dunev, (May 25, 2011)[ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-dunev/how-iodine-may-help-protect-you_b_792735.html ]
    1. Lemon balm, which prevents the formation of damaging chemicals triggered by ionizing radiation,18,19
    2. Ginkgo biloba, which protects fragile DNA from the resulting cancer-causing damage,7,8
    3. Spirulina, which stimulates the immune system, particularly bone marrow, to make and maintain levels of white blood cells, whose production is impaired by ionizing radiation.20
  11. Excerpt from “Cancer Risks of CT Scans,” by Andrea Levy, (December 2015)[http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2015/12/cancer-risks-of-ct-scans/page-01]

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Persuasion, instincts, and the color red

Persuasive tactics can be used by individuals or by groups. Our natural instincts include some behavioral patterns that may be used individually or within groups. Instincts are deeply rooted behavioral tendencies that may have developed over time because they helped promote the survival of the individual or group.

Before continuing on that topic though, in yesterday’s post I mentioned that white Americans from Minneapolis and Somalian-Minneapolis refugees might have hypothyroidism in common compared to Black Americans from Minneapolis and Hispanics from Minneapolis but I didn’t explain why — Somalian refugees may be more likely to have simple iodine deficiency than the average American of any ethnic background — and White Americans from Minneapolis may be more likely to have been eating the standard American diet (which contains fluoride, bromide, and perchlorates) for more generations than Black Americans or Hispanic Americans. The grandmother/mother/child body burden of toxins probably adds up to a greater toxic burden over the generations. A child is created from an egg that was created in their mother while she, herself, was a fetus growing within her own mother, so grandma’s prenatal diet and stress level can have direct impact on her grandchildren — if grandma was iodine deficient or bromide excess than her grandchildren may also be iodine deficient or bromide excessive from their very first day of creation (when momma’s egg meets poppa’s sperm and joins to create a one celled baby zygote).

The standard American diet would be more likely to contain the minimal recommended quantity of iodine than an African refugee diet might contain but the African refugee diet would probably not contain as much fluoride, bromide, and perchlorates, (halides that are chemically similar to iodine and which can take the place of iodine within the body and may increase the risk for thyroid cancer and fibrocystic breast disease). I don’t know if Mexico’s standard diet contains as much of the halides, but bromide is used in most breads and bakery items in the U.S. and fluoride is added to most of the U.S. city’s water supplies and is an ingredient in many commonly used medications.

Perchlorates (ClO4) are more typically found in the environment as contaminants from industrial sources and rocket propellant:

“…the detection limit was reduced from 400 µg/L to approximately 1 µg/L in the late 1990s due to improved analytical methodology.

“Sites that have been identified with high concentrations of perchlorate contamination (in the thousands of ppb or more) involve manufacturing, testing, or disposal of solid rocket propellant; manufacturing of perchlorate compounds; and industrial manufacturing operations where perchlorate compounds were used as reagents.”  — by Trumpolt CW, et. al., “Perchlorate: Sources, Uses, and Occurrences in the Environment,” Remediation, Winter 2005 [http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/CLEANUP.NSF/PH/Arkema+Technical+Documents/$FILE/Perchlorate-Sources-Occurance-In-The-Environment.pdf]

Iodine and halides have nothing to do directly with persuasion or the color red however I have learned the hard way that writing about iodine deficiency and halides can have colorful repercussions. In nature groups of animals of the same species sometimes will start harassing a member of the group until it leaves the group or dies from the harassment or lack of nourishment. Mothers have been known to neglect an infant that is ill or blemished in some way. She would know that the survival of an infant might put the survival of herself and any older children at risk. Fathers in some species may sometimes eat all of the infants of a litter so a mother of that species may have natural instincts to hide herself and her brood from the father.

A mother with older children who has limited income may be more likely to seek an abortion than a first time mother or a woman with adequate support for herself and her older children. A mother knows that growing a baby is far more than a one day event, (conception), or a nine month event (pregnancy), or a two and half year event, (breastfeeding), or even an eighteen year event (childhood), because she would know that motherhood is a lifetime event that might eventually even include grandchildren (to worry and care about).

A mother’s instincts can be very strong and risk to her children may illicit instincts to fight to protect her children and herself. I have never been in a fistfight type situation but the day I gave birth to my first child I felt my first surge of a huge protective instinct something like – “Don’t you touch my baby, or I will bite and scratch, and do whatever I have to in order to protect my baby.” — and that feeling has never left — “Don’t you touch my baby,” — that is a warning to heed — don’t get between a mother bear and her cubs – it’s a dangerous place to be.

Mothers have instincts to protect the whole family though too, so a newborn that is sickly or a pregnancy at a time when resources are scarce, might be viewed as too much of a threat to the survival of the whole group. This may seem sad but starvation is also sad.

The color red enters the story as a blemish on a baby chick:


The element of strangeness is also symbolically related to blemishes, not only as that word applies to physical and behavioral blemishes but also as to what one might call ideological blemishes such as differences in religious or political views. Since there does not seem to be a comparative ethological study dealing with the role of blemishes in social behavior, I will describe an incident that I observed that will serve as an illustration. On our farm we had a white Muscovy duck that was unusually capable in rearing a large brood. She would lay so many eggs in her nest in the horse’s stall that they would extend beyond her body surface. Nevertheless, most eggs would hatch, and she would be followed by as many as 21 ducklings. After one of the little ducklings developed a blood spot on the right side of its head from a slight injury, it began to suffer harassment by the mother, which, during the next few days, persistently drove it from the brood. One evening, at the fall of darkness, she drove it away, and this time the duckling swam to the opposite side of the pond and into the woods where surely it would have been snatched up by a predator. Consequently I rescued it, and we reared it separately. I was curious to learn whether some other factor that I did not recognize, had contributed to this “child abuse.” Perhaps the blood spot on the head that I regarded as a blemish, had resulted from the mother’s own pecking for some other reason. Consequently, I took another duckling and made a like spot on its head with a red marking pen. Two days went by, and it was treated no differently from the rest of the brood. Then on the third day, the mother began a relentless harassment, and we found ourselves with a second duckling to rear with the first.”

“It is a familiar observation among those who are pigeon fanciers or who raise poultry that a fowl with an open injury may be relentlessly pecked to death by members of the flock, an observation illustrating that blemishes also precipitate group harassment. Hence, the occurrence of harassment of strangers and of individuals with blemishes by reptiles and birds indicates that this form of behavior is phylogenetically deeply ingrained and, in the light of the neurobehavioral studies, might be inferred to have its neural basis in structures of the forebrain belonging to the R-complex.” [Dr Maclean’s term for the brainstem area of the brain].

“The inferred built-in propensity to nativism and intolerance of blemishes invites special attention because the increasing world population will be conducive to an increasing number of human contacts. Such a situation is calculated to aggravate the needs of each individual for a certain amount of territorial “surround” (See Chapters 6, 9, and 16). Moreover, the population pressure conducive to both intranational and international migration will multiply the opportunities for nativistic reactions and the intolerance of what are physically, behaviorally, or ideologically regarded as blemishes, such as, for example, differences in color, race, ethnic forms of behavior, religion, and political beliefs. An innate propensity to an abhorrence of blemishes would perhaps help to explain why, even in the absence of severe crowding, there are now so many ethnic and racial groups locked in prolonged and bloody struggle because of physical, religious, or ideological differences.”

— Paul D. Maclean, “The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions,” page 568, (Plenum Press, 1990, New York) National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland, “written by the author in his capacity as an employee of the United States Government and is thus considered a work of the United States Government.”

[For more information about the book and his theory regarding instinctual behaviors, see my earlier post: Books about thinking and non-verbal behavior patterns, June 24, 2015.]

So persuasive tactics can become life threatening in some situations and the color red can be a signal to some of our deeper instincts which may have developed to help promote our survival as individuals or groups.

There may be a part two to this but I’m going to pause here for now.

/Disclosure: This information is presented for educational purposes within fair use and includes material provided within a publication of the U.S. government which can be reproduced for educational purposes when the author and source is appropriately cited./

Autism may be able to be prevented prenatally with individualized perinatal education and nutrition therapy

This got long and complicated and I need to buy a couple of the articles and work on this more but in the meantime, I’m sorry for suggesting the food supply might have something to do with the increased rate of autism or that the health insurance companies don’t want a clear diagnostic procedure etc. but without a lab test that says someone is sick they can save money on paying claims — however costs in the long run may end up being a lot more than they might have been with an earlier diagnosis and preventative treatment. I’m sure the health insurance companies and government and FDA love us all and that autism must be a complete mystery – but leaving something a complete mystery still leaves it a worry for expectant parents and grandparents throughout the pregnancy and even into the early childhood years. The symptoms aren’t usually diagnosed until age two or older. But earlier diagnosis might help prevent more severe loss of function. The condition can cause a sudden or more gradual loss of social skills and development progress.  

Autism can leave a child unable to take care of themselves independently for the rest of their lives. At a rate of 1 child in 45, [Nov. 2015, CDC, http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/11/13/cdc-child-autism-rate-now-1-in-45-after-survey-method-changes], there were 3,932,181 births in the USA in 2013, so roughly that would suggest that 87,381 of those children will go on to develop some symptoms of autism or pre-primary developmental delay — and that possibly 87,381 parents will no longer be able to work at their normal jobs because they will be needed as full time caregivers for their child with autism, possibly for the rest of their lives. So if that rate held steady for the decade then in ten years there could be 1,747,620 children with autism and parents who may not be able to work at a normal job. When will it be enough children and parents to do something about?

I closed with the following paragraph but I’m going to paste it here at the beginning too, as the best of the good news: a lab test has been developed that consistently predicted which infants would later go on to develop autism. This helps clear up the mystery of whether autism is a condition that a toddler can suddenly “get” like an infection or have suddenly develop as an acute reaction to something or whether it develops prentally — it develops prenatally and can get worse — which suggests that it might not also have to get worse if appropriate interventions can be provided. Autoimmune disease frequently can flair up, go into remission, flair up again, and go back into remission. Autism appears to be related to autoimmune conditions of the brain so dietary and lifestyle changes might be able to help keep the overactive white blood cells more in ‘remission’ and less busy doing brain damaging things — that would be my hope at least.

A method has been developed using samples of umbilical cord blood to identify which infants are likely to develop autism later in childhood. The method checks fifteen “biomarkers,’ — (various lab values or other physical signs, I haven’t read the full article yet, need to buy it) — infants whose values were more elevated or reduced compared to normal in a certain pattern were found to be predictive of which infants went on to develop autism. [6 ] This is early research but it would help identify which infants were at risk for autistic changes in a year or two, but at birth instead of having to wait — and worry — for a year or two.

I have some good news and some bad news. It looks plausible that autism could be caused prenatally by a combination of low vitamin D (or possibly a vitamin D system that is blocked by pathogens), and low folate availability (possibly due to a genetic methylation defect, [4], defects that may make the supplemental form, folic acid, not as helpful prenatally and possibly even harmful because the folic acid may inhibit the activity of whatever folate is available, [29] ), and increased formaldehyde either from dietary sources like Nutrasweet or from smoking or living in small enclosed rooms with poor ventilation. Other toxins might also be involved that add to an increased risk for there to be production of autoimmune antibodies in the vitamin D deficient mother and fetus. Malfunction in the vitamin D receptor immune functions could lead to malfunctions in the dendritic cell’s ability to inhibit autoimmune overactivity in the immune system. Autoimmune antibodies might cause problems during fetal brain development or later in the child’s life.

Low vitamin D in infants has been associated with autism – but not for all siblings with low vitamin D — so other factors must be involved. And not taking a prenatal vitamin during the three months prior to pregnancy and the first month of pregnancy has been associated with more risk for having a child with autism and certain genetic defects in the methylation cycle that helps make the B vitamin folate more bioactive have been associated with autism risk [4] – but not every mother who doesn’t take prenatal vitamins during the months prior to becoming pregnant has a child with autism — so other factors must be involved.

Not much information is available about Nutrasweet but during digestion the methanol portion of the larger molecule is released which then is broken down into formaldehyde – which is a known cause of birth defects and a known neurotoxin.

Formaldehyde is produced when something is burned so it could be a concern for any people who are around cigarette smoke or inhale other types of smoke regularly. Formaldehyde can also collect in the air in small enclosed spaces, and increased warmth may also increase volatility of the gas so warmer areas or overheated apartments may allow for more accumulation of the gas in poorly ventilated rooms.

Formaldehyde is also found in prepackaged juice products, particularly in older packages, as formaldehyde is produced as the fruit or vegetable juice ages. Formaldehyde is also produced during digestion from the methanol portion of the alternative sweetener Nutrasweet. Studies on the potential risk of the formaldehyde content that might be available to adults from dietary Nutrasweet found that it was a less significant risk than the amount an adult might receive as a cigarette smoker or from environmental exposures. However an adult has a fully mature liver while a fetus does not. Babies and children also have less mature livers and may be more at risk of having chemicals accumulate to toxic levels because they are not being broken down and excreted quickly enough. (Folate, a B vitamin, is necessary to break down formaldehyde, more on that later.)

Formaldehyde can cross the placenta to the fetus where it accumulates to a larger concentration than within the mother’s bloodstream. The fetal liver tissue is less able to detoxify formaldehyde than the mother’s.

Industrial exposure to formaldehyde is associated with an increased risk of the presence of cancer causing human alpha fetoprotein antigens. Occupational exposure to formaldehyde has also been associated with increased levels of alpha fetoprotein in adult male and female subjects. The study subjects with occupational exposure to formaldehyde were also found to have significantly reduced levels of Total Protein, Albumin, and White blood cell count. Subjects with workplace exposure to formaldehyde reported allergic type symptoms including: “sneezing/airways-related symptoms, itching and watery eyes.” [3] Formaldehyde exposure may also be a cause of systemic allergic contact dermatitis, [15, 16] possibly even on the eyelids. [13] A diet designed to avoid formaldehyde intake may be helpful for alleviating the eczema like rash. [14]

Levels of alpha fetoprotein are normally only elevated in pregnant women and the expected infant.

Levels of maternal serum alpha fetoprotein are already being checked regularly as a prenatal screening test because low levels are associated with having a baby with the genetic condition Down’s Syndrome. Levels of maternal serum alpha fetoprotein have been found to be more elevated for the mothers of children with autism than in mothers whose child did not have autism. [1] Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) has immunomodulatory effects and a recombinant human alpha fetoprotein (rhAFP) version has been found to help alleviate autoimmune symptoms in clinical trials that used mice with “experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the animal model used for the study of MS.” [2] Alpha fetoprotein is normally produced by the fetus and it does cross into the fetal brain where it seems to be involved with controlling estrogen and helping baby girls to be more feminine and less masculine.

/Speculation: So if alpha fetoprotein antigens are involved in causing autism maybe boys are more at risk for the condition because the estrogen connection somehow is protecting baby girls from developing the antigens. However if the basic problem is a malfunctioning dendritic cell system which is making it more difficult for the mother’s body and fetus’ body to accept the presence of each other’s foreign DNA then other proteins might also have antigen/autoimmune antibodies develop. Male infants may simply be more susceptible to autism because their Y chromosome is more foreign to the mother’s body than a female infant’s X chromosomes. / — Someone already figured this part out and explains it better than me, in a Medical Hypotheses journal – if you have the money for the journal article ($31.50, now added to my shopping list). An excerpt from the Abstract: “Prenatal/maternal factors linked to increased autism risk include valproic acid, thalidomide, alcohol, rubella, cytomegalovirus, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autoimmune disease, stress, allergic reaction, and hypothyroidism. It will be shown how each of these risk factors may initiate expression of genes which are sensitive to retinoic acid and/or estradiol – whether by direct promotion or by reducing production of alpha-fetoprotein. It is thus hypothesized here that autism is not a genetic disorder, but is rather an epigenetic disruption in brain development caused by gestational exposure to chemicals and/or conditions which either inhibit alpha-fetoprotein production or directly promote retinoic acid-sensitive or estradiol-sensitive gene expression. This causation model leads to potential chemical explanations for autistic brain morphology, the distinct symptomology of Asperger’s syndrome, and the differences between high-functioning and low-functioning autism with regard to mental retardation, physical malformation, and sex ratio.” – CR King [29]

So speculatively,

  • if formaldehyde can make it more likely for someone to make alpha fetoprotein antigens,
  • and maternal serum alpha fetoprotein levels are more elevated in the mother’s of children with autism,
  • and low vitamin D is more common in babies who have autism,
  • and vitamin D helps the dendritic cells of the mother and infant accept each other’s foreign DNA instead of making autoimmune antibodies against each other’s foreign proteins,
  • then low vitamin D might leave the dendritic cells unable to prevent autoimmune antibodies from developing
  • which then may cause changes in the developing fetal brain and may leave the child with autoimmune antibodies that may continue to cause changes in the child’s developing brain later in life.
  • The formaldehyde could be from Nutrasweet and bottled juice products and/or from cigarette smoke or other environmental sources or the combined total of all of the sources. The timing of the introduction of aspartame/Nutrasweet to the U.S. food supply in 1981 and the increase in rate of children with autism is very closely correlated. [5] Nutrasweet and Neotame were both inventions of the Monsanto Company and limited research about them is available. Neotame was invented as the patent for Nutrasweet was expiring and Monsanto was able to get FDA approval for it by 2002. The patent for Neotame was sold to a private equity firm, the J.W. Childs Equity Partners II. L.P.. [https://theredpillguide.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/the-red-pill-guide-neotame/]

So in summary the good news is autism may be preventable – but the bad news is that it will be difficult to prove and preventative education and treatment will likely need to be individualized as so many factors are involved.

A summary of the factors that may interact during the prenatal and/or perinatal  (three months prior to conception) time period in a way that may lead to the development of autism within the fetal brain.

Possible Vitamin D Issues – it might not just be a lack of vitamin D or sunshine:

  • Simple vitamin D deficiency
  • An underlying genetic defect in the Vitamin D Binding Protein causes a tendency to become vitamin D deficient more easily than normal. [10, 11, 12] (Might a simple protein deficiency then also add a risk to a simple deficiency of all important proteins?)
  • An underlying infection is present with a pathogen that is suppressing the vitamin D receptor system.

Possible Folate Issues:

  • Simple folate/folic acid deficiency/lack of prenatal vitamin during the perinatal time period. [4]
  • Genetic defect in mother affecting the methylation cycle makes her more susceptible for folate deficiency. [4]
  • Genetic defect in the fetus affecting the methylation cycle makes it more at risk for autism. [4]
  • A methylated form of the vitamin may be more effective for reducing risk of developing autism. The natural food form, folate, is more bioactive than the supplemental form, folic acid, that is used in prenatal vitamins. [29]

Formaldehyde might be accumulating from several sources [3, 5]:

  • Aseptically packaged juices
  • Nutrasweet
  • Neotame
  • Smoking
  • Badly ventilated air.
  • Workplace exposure

Other, other factors that may be involved in development of autism may include a variety of chemicals known to be toxic for brain development and which may be common in our modern environment.  From the Abstract of a review article by Dr. Philippe Grandjean, MD and Philip J. Landrigan, MD, Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity., (The Lancet Neurology, 2014):  “In 2006, we did a systematic review and identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene. Since 2006, epidemiological studies have documented six additional developmental neurotoxicants—manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers. We postulate that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered. To control the pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity, we propose a global prevention strategy.” [30]

And other factors associated with autism that were mentioned in the other hypothesis about autism and folic acid included: “valproic acid, thalidomide, alcohol, rubella, cytomegalovirus, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autoimmune disease, stress, allergic reaction, and hypothyroidism.”  – CR King [29]

  1. valproic acid, a medication commonly used to prevent seizures in epilepsy, may also be prescribed for bipolar disorder or to prevent migraine headaches. (Valporate (VPA), sodium valproate, and divalproex sodium, Depakote). It has been known to cause serious abnormalities in babies when used by pregnant women and is no longer typically prescribed to women of childbearing years. [Wikipedia]
  2. thalidomide,a medication that was prescribed to pregnant women for preventing nausea in the 1960s but it was discovered to cause serious birth defects. It is still used for the treatment of leprosy and still has been known to cause birth defects in the babies of women with leprosy who become pregnant. [http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/122/1/1.full]
  3. alcohol, – alcohol use by the mother during pregnancy or by the father during the days prior to conception can be a cause of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in the infant. A zinc deficiency in the pregnant woman may increase the risk of the expected infant developing FAS. [search term alcohol FAS zinc deficiency]
  4. rubella, – also known as German measles, it is the R part of the MMR vaccine. It is rare in the U.S. now with less than ten cases per year but can cause defects in an expected infant if a pregnant woman gets sick with the infection prior to 20 weeks gestation. [http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/complications/rubella.aspx]
  5. cytomegalovirus, a viral disease that may affect vitamin D levels: “However, when outliers were removed, the association was not apparent. The effect of outliers could not be assessed when vitamin D was dichotomized because no patients with CMV antibodies had sufficient vitamin D levels after outliers were dropped.” [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134182/]
  6. depression, – can be a symptom of hypothyroidism and has been associated with vitamin D deficiency [webmd.com/depression/news/20120627/vitamin-d-deficiency-linked-to-depression] and with folate deficiency. And the methylated form was given as a supplemental treatment, L-Methylfolate, rather than the unmethylated form, folic acid, which is the form used in prenatal vitamins.   [psychologytoday.com/blog/the-integrationist/201310/depression-wont-go-away-folate-could-be-the-answer] Depressive disorders have been associated with impaired methylation: [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16194269] And with zinc deficiency: [https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201309/zinc-antidepressant]
  7. schizophrenia, vitamin D deficiency is more common in people diagnosed with schizophrenia. [http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/07/23/vitamin-d-deficiency-common-in-schizophrenia/72813.html] And folate and B12 have both been found to help treat schizophrenia symptoms (or help treat those patient’s whose symptoms are actually due to an underlying deficiency of folate or B12 which may cause symptoms that resemble schizophrenia and providing the nutrients simply is helping the brain to function normally again.) [http://www.naturalnews.com/039453_vitamin_B12_folate_schizophrenia.html] And a zinc deficiency/copper excess is more common in schizophrenia: [http://www.academia.edu/1096257/The_Role_of_Zinc_Supplementation_in_the_Treatment_of_Schizophrenia] And a zinc deficiency prenatally may be involved in the causing schizophrenia later in life: [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1491625] [http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/30/does-zinc-deficiency-early-foetal-life-cause-schizophrenia]
  8. obsessive-compulsive disorder, – can be early symptoms of a B12 deficiency. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3271502/] Has been associated with folate deficiency, elevated homocysteine levels and impaired methylation function: [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16194269]
  9. autoimmune disease, – associated with vitamin D deficiency and malfunction of the dendritic cells ability to promote self tolerance of the immune system. The dry cleaning chemical and degreaser tetrachloroethylene has been shown to cause autoimmune disease in lab animal studies on toxicity: [http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/tce_pce.html]
  10. stress, – increases cortisol and inflammatory stress chemicals, a lack of antioxidant nutrients may make it more difficult for the body to recover from the stress response. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1876613/] And may use up stores of folate and cause elevated levels of homocysteine. [http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc066569] Elevated levels of cortisol during pregnancy has been shown to cause reduced growth rate in the babies in animal studies. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortisol]
  11. allergic reaction, and the vitamin D receptor and the Dendritic cells are what control the immune system’s allergic reaction. Excerpt: “1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (calcitriol), the biologically active form of vitamin D, is an immunomodulatory hormone, e.g. it inhibits IgE synthesis in B cells. As its clinical application is limited by hypercalcemia, synthetic vitamin D receptor (VDR) agonists that mediate immunomodulatory activities without adverse hypercalcemic effects are of great interest.“- [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21121929]
  12. hypothyroidism. – may be associated with iodine deficiency which prenatally can cause mental retardation and thyroid defects in the expected infant. Hypothyroidism in female workers has been associated with the flame retardant, polybrominated diphenyl ethers,  [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26606679], and the insecticide chlorpyrifos,  [http://www.iss.it/binary/inte/cont/CPF_ENG.pdf], and the pesticide known as DDT dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane also  [https://preventdisease.com/news/10/022510_pesticide_exposure_underactive_thyroid.shtml], [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24064777], and polychlorinated biphenyls [https://www.researchgate.net/publication/26873383_Hypothyroidism_Induced_by_Polychlorinated_Biphenyls_and_Up-Regulation_of_Transthyretinand fluoride are also associated with risk of hypothyroidism.

To help prevent autism from occurring prenatally we may need to work together to show that a combination of nutritional deficiencies or metabolic defects and environmental toxins may be causing autism to develop in infants prenatally. And we may need to work together as a group of concerned individuals rather than waiting for the government or a medical corporation to look further into a problem that might leave them at some risk of legal repercussions. Historically there have been several examples of government and corporate interests blocking the lawsuits of factory workers or townspeople whose health was damaged by industrial chemicals. The lawyers were able to show expert testimony demonstrating that the supposedly ‘harmful’ toxin really had some beneficial use and was really a safe and helpful ‘treatment.’ If we could make this about helping the babies stay healthier and more on track developmentally then insurance companies and governments would probably save a lot of money in the long run actually.

Pretending things are a mystery makes it harder to work on solving the underlying problems and preventing more cases from developing into future years or future decades. Thalidomide was a mystery that got solved. Only a few pregnant women with leprosy have to worry about whether their baby might be born with thalidomide birth defects. Before the cause was known every pregnant woman of that generation probably was scared. Now we do have a variety of information about autism and putting together the puzzle is a little complicated but the good news is that it is not a complete mystery and may be preventable with individualized health guidance that begins at least one to three months prior to conception – the prenatal vitamin research suggests that the pre-conception diet is important.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome has been shown to be related to the father’s alcohol intake around the time of conception as well as the mother’s alcohol intake during the pregnancy so the father’s diet on the days before conception may also be involved in autism development — zinc is very important for male fertility. A longevity type study could include information about both the mother and the father’s health prior to conception and then follow the pregnancy and infancy and hopefully the preventative diet and lifestyle changes would have prevented autism from occurring. 

Part of the bad news that didn’t make it into the earlier discussion of the digestion of menthol and formaldehyde is that humans have a genetic defect that makes menthol extremely more toxic to us than to all other animals — so lab research would demonstrate that menthol isn’t really that bad after all –(to lab animals, that is, but let’s keep that part a secret between corporate research scientist’s and their consciences). So in a global corporate NAFTA/TPP type world where a corporation can sue nations over lost profits, feasibly corporate research scientists and lawyers could force nations to either accept the products made with aspartame and Neotame whether it is a risk to their citizen’s health or not, or else pay the corporation for their estimated lost profits.

Aspartame and Neotame are so much sweeter than sugar that they are simply cheaper to use in food products than sugar, and since its introduction in 2002 Neotame has never even had to be listed with the ingredients, so sweet, delicious, calorie free and guilt free, no alternative sweetener was used in that product according to the label. Aspartame is the number one food additive for consumer complaints to the FDA about adverse side effects. With Neotame not ever being listed on the food label consumers have no idea if they consumed it or not even if they do have an adverse effect and we have no idea if the FDA would have received consumer complaints about the food additive because it was never required to be added to the ingredient label. People who avoid aspartame due to it causing migraines can’t look for Neotame on the ingredient list.

Avoiding all processed foods and all restaurant meals seems like a lot to ask of pregnant women but that might be necessary in order to avoid Neotame. And with Neotame as a possible source of formaldehyde for the developing fetus then as a prenatal nutrition counselor that would be the most cautious advice given the research that is already known about menthol and formaldehyde’s risks to fetal development. Avoiding all toxins and reducing stress and risk of infection would be the ideal goal for all pregnant women.

Working towards removing aspartame/Nutrasweet and Neotame from the food supply may be an impossible goal given the deep pockets of corporations but trying to get Neotame added to the ingredient list seems like a necessary compromise or first step if we are really going to be able to help prenatal and perinatal women avoid all sources of formaldehyde in the hopes of helping prevent autism from developing in the child later in life.

*This got long and complicated and there’s more: The other, other factors would include undiagnosed cases of hypothyroidism and undiagnosed iodine deficiency and BPA/pthalate exposure. Each individual mother/child with autism probably have a slightly different combination of genetic and nutritional susceptibilities and negative load of various environmental toxins and maybe even a sensitivity to the supplemental folic acid (supposedly helping prevent spina bifida but may be adding to autism risk for the babies of moms who have certain genetic defects in the methylation cycle).

So this is a preliminary draft of a preventative health education strategy for trying to prevent autism. A longevity study that started with women at least three months prior to conception and followed them and their children for years would be able to try a multi-factored prevention plan and wait and see if fewer of the children developed autism than compared to the rate of children developing autism in the average population. [rate at 1 in 45 births, Nov. 2015, CDC, http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/11/13/cdc-child-autism-rate-now-1-in-45-after-survey-method-changes] Imprecise diagnostic criteria makes it easier for insurance companies to deny coverage.

A method has been developed using samples of umbilical cord blood to identify which infants are likely to develop autism later in childhood. The method checks fifteen “biomarkers,’ — various lab values — infants whose values were more elevated or reduced compared to normal in a certain pattern were found to be predictive of which infants went on to develop autism. [6 ] This is early research but it would help identify which infants were at risk for autistic changes in a year or two, but at birth instead of having to wait — and worry — for a year or two.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./


  1. Abdallah, Morsi W.; Grove, Jakob; Hougaard, David M.; Nørgaard-Pedersen, Bent; Ibrahimov, Fuad; Mortensen, Erik L. Autism Spectrum Disorders and Maternal Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein Levels during Pregnancy, Can J Psychiatry. 2011;56(12):727-734.[https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-2562877671/autism-spectrum-disorders-and-maternal-serum-alpha-fetoprotein]
  2. Irony-Tur-Sinai M1, Grigoriadis N, Lourbopoulos A, Pinto-Maaravi F, Abramsky O, Brenner T. Amelioration of autoimmune neuroinflammation by recombinant human alpha-fetoprotein., Exp Neurol. 2006 Mar;198(1):136-44.[http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16423348]
  3. Euphoria C. Akwiwu, Chinyere A.O. Usoro, Josephine O. Akpotuzor, Maisie H. Etukudo, Occupational Health and the Impact of Long-Term Formaldehyde Exposure on Health Professionals in Calabar, Nigeria., Journal of Natural Sciences Research,  Vol 5, No 22 (2015), [http://iiste.org/Journals/index.php/JNSR/article/view/27141]
  4. Schmidt RJ1, Hansen RL, Hartiala J, Allayee H, Schmidt LC, Tancredi DJ, Tassone F, Hertz-Picciotto I., Prenatal vitamins, one-carbon metabolism gene variants, and risk for autism., Epidemiology. 2011 Jul;22(4):476-85, [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21610500]
  5. Ralph G. Walton, Woodrow C. Monte, Dietary methanol and autism., Medical Hypotheses, Vol 85, Issue 4, Oct 2015, pp 441–446, [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306987715002443]
  6. Newborn screening for autism: in search of candidate biomarkers. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23547820 ]
  7. Direct and indirect cellular effects of aspartame on the brain. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17684524 ]
  8. In utero exposure to toxic air pollutants and risk of childhood autism. /formaldehyde, lead, others/ [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25051312 ]
  9. Aspartame: a safety evaluation based on current use levels, regulations, & toxicological & epidemiological studies. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17828671 ]
  10. Intracellular Vitamin D Binding Proteins: Novel Facilitators of Vitamin D-Directed Transactivation: MolEnd: 14, 9 [ https://shar.es/1GqZkH ]
  11. Vit DBP Influ Total Circ Levels of 1,25-D3 but Does Not Directly Modulate Bioactive Levels of the Hormone in Vivo [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2453093/ … ]
  12. Gene for Vitamin D Binding Protein (DBP) is similar to those for human albumin (hALB) and alpha feto protein (hAFP) [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC424397/ …]
  13. Systemic contact dermatitis of the eyelids caused by formaldehyde derived from aspartame?  [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14996049 ]
  14. Systemic contact dermatitis in children: how an avoidance diet can make a difference.  [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20807367 ]
  15. Systemic allergic dermatitis presumably caused by formaldehyde derived from aspartame. /no abstract avail./ [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23039008]
  16. Systemic Allergic Contact Dermatitis After Formaldehyde-Containing Influenza Vaccination.  [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25876644 ]
  17. Formaldehyde adduct to human serum albumin with reference to aspartame intake. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21783841 ]
  18. Methanol: a chemical Trojan horse as the root of the inscrutable U.[http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19896282 ]
  19. A receptor for formaldehyde-treated serum albumin on human placental brush-border membrane. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2847791 ]
  20. Distribution of radioactivity from 14C-formaldehyde in pregnant mice and their fetuses. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8435351 ]
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  29. King CR, A novel embryological theory of autism causation involving endogenous biochemicals capable of initiating cellular gene transcription: a possible link between twelve autism risk factors and the autism ‘epidemic’.,  Med Hypotheses. 2011 May;76(5):653-60 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21388746]
  30. Dr. Philippe Grandjean, MD and Philip J. Landrigan, MD, Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity., The Lancet Neurology, Volume 13, No. 3, p330–338, March 2014,   [http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(13)70278-3/abstract]
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  32. Maternal serum transformed alpha-fetoprotein levels in women with intrauterine growth retardation. [ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17361083 ]
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A one-a-day vitamin and mineral supplement – could it really be that simple?

Yes, if there is an underlying trace nutrient deficiency there is likely to be several underlying trace nutrient deficiencies and vitamins and minerals work together as complicated teams so intelligence might be helped by the use of a supplement that provides the recommended daily allowance of trace nutrients.

In the last post I highlighted the iodine and selenium content of the supplements that were given to 8th and 10th grade students, [1], because iodine is the trace nutrient that has been associated with IQ in a large number of previous research studies and selenium is important in the enzyme that breaks down elevated levels of thyroid hormone. Not all students were helped. But the general intelligence was improved for forty five percent of students who were from both more well-to-do and less well-to-do communities. this suggests that trace nutrient deficiencies may be a more widespread problem than is recognized.

The B vitamins and other nutrients may also have helped in addition to the iodine and selenium. But testing all the nutrients as individual supplements might have not helped the 45% of students as much or at all because trace nutrients work together in complex metabolic pathways.

What is encouraging about the research study is that the fluid intelligence of older children was helped by the simple solution of a once a day vitamin and mineral supplement. This suggests that throughout the lifespan daily decision making skills could be aided by preventing trace nutrient deficiencies. We think and learn throughout the lifespan not just during our school years. [2]

But, no, a one-a-day nutrient supplement might not help some people if they have a metabolic difference that makes them unable to use the form of the trace nutrient commonly used in basic one-a-day supplements. And a high dose form might even hurt them.

Some individuals may have a defect in their ability to change an inactive form of folic acid into the metabolically active form that is found in foods. Individuals with a methylation problem who take a high dose supplement of folic acid may become more at risk for trace nutrient deficiencies because the supply of folate that they are getting from foods may become more difficult for the body to access because of the oversupply of folic acid. Identifying which individuals need the methylated folate form instead of the more commonly available unmethylated form of folic acid would be important to reduce the risk of a one-a-day supplement potentially being harmful instead of helpful. [3, 4] Some people may do better taking a trace mineral supplement and eating split pea soup and other foods that are naturally good sources of folate rather than taking a mixed vitamin supplement.

We need iodine throughout life for health as well as intelligence. Iodine deficiency may be involved in breast, prostate and lung cancer.

One billion IQ points and iodine

Preventing iodine deficiency can help improve the quality of life for women and their families by increasing intelligence in addition to helping general health and possibly helping to reduce risk of some types of cancer. [Cancer and iodine] Iodized salt and use of iodine supplements for young women of child bearing age are two solutions discussed in the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (2009). Severe iodine deficiency prenatally can cause mental retardation in the infant but moderate iodine deficiency has been found to reduce intelligence by an ten to fifteen IQ points. Improving access to iodized salt and iodine supplements for women around the world could add to the intelligence of the next generation of our world’s supply of inventors and business builders.

“Worldwide, iodine deficiency alone reduces humanity’s collective IQ by more than 1 billion points. According to one estimate, just $19 million would pay for salt iodization in poor countries that need it.”

– Half the Sky, (2009), p 172.

The volunteer organizations Kiwani’s International and UNICEF have helped provide iodine fortification around the world. [1] Salt iodization has met with community resistance in some areas possibly due to negative rumors that became associated with the programs. [2, 3]

Iodine deficiency can be common problem for people in developed nations too. Prenatal nutrition is important for everyone.

A study on the iodine levels of prenatal women in Australia found mild deficiency to be a problem for many of the women, “48.4% of the Caucasian women, 38.4% of the Vietnamese women and 40.8% of the Indian/Sri Lankan (ISL) women.” Follow-up research examining possible dietary differences between the groups was recommended in the article abstract. [4] Seafood and seaweed can be naturally good sources of iodine.

Talking about IQ as group averages may bother some people. A different way to consider it as individual infants. Mild iodine deficiency prenatally might leave the infant who had a potential of 115 IQ with 100-105; the infant with a potential of 100 with 85-90; the infant with a potential of 80 with 65-70; and the infant with a potential of 140 with 125-130.

Improving prenatal nutrition is good for each individual’s potential and their potential intelligence boost might not just be in IQ but also might include an improvement in social skills and emotional skills, maybe even physical skills. We don’t have national and international testing in place for assessing social and emotional skills, so we don’t know what we don’t know, do we? Good thing we can find out —-> more research is needed about the possible other benefits but there is no question about the benefits of preventing mild or severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy with increased cognitive skills on average.

Research comparing the iodine levels of women between their own pregnancies and then following the differences in IQ between siblings might be another way to show a connection between iodine deficiency prenatally and cognitive skills.* A difference has been found between sibling’s IQ in a large study (n=241,310), first born children scored about 3% higher than second born and 4% higher than third born. The difference was an average and was not observed in every family. [5] Iodine levels were not mentioned. Congenital hypothyroidism is more common for infants of multiple pregnancies, such as twins and triplets and for infants born to older women than younger:

In addition, New York found the incidence nearly double in twin births (1:876) as compared to singletons (1:1765), and even higher with multiple births (1:575). Older mothers (> 39 years) had a higher incidence (1:1,328) compared to younger mothers (< 20 years, 1:1,703). [6]

*A research study that provided extra iodine supplementation for mothers expecting twins or multiples and older mothers and then tracked iodine levels for the mothers and IQ levels for the children might be more ethical based on the known risks of congenital hypothyroidism and the benefits of improved IQ on average then the idea to track a woman’s iodine levels over progressive pregnancies and then measure the IQs of the siblings. It would be more ethical to provide iodine supplementation if levels were found deficient and later see if the siblings IQ levels were statistically similar.

Women all over the world in all economic brackets may not be getting as much iodine as their bodies need. The thyroid is well known as needing iodine and it has priority within the body for uptake of the mineral but the ovaries [7] and the mammary glands [8] need iodine too. Iodine is important in endocrine glands throughout the body in men as well as women.

Getting everyone off to a good start prenatally is just a good start to the rest of the life. Iodine intake is important at all stages of the lifespan.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes  within the guidelines of fair use and is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Apathy at the population level may be a symptom of hypothyroidism

An increase in the number of people at the population level who have symptoms of apathy [1] and low sex drive [2] could be due to an increase the number of people who have a thyroid problem whether the problem is due to iodine deficiency or from other causes. There is more research available about iodine deficiency as a cause of hypothyroidism but there has also been research suggesting that an excess of goitrogens may also cause epidemic levels of thyroid problems. Cassava is an example of a goitrogenic food that has affected large numbers of people in areas where it is frequently consumed. Iodine supplementation can help against the effects of many goitrogens which can “include sulfur-bearing organic compounds, industrial pollutants, and artificial and bacterial contaminants of water.” And protein-energy malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency may affect iodine status. [1]

Radioactive iodine may also affect thyroid health. And exposure to radioactive iodine may be affecting more people than is recognized. The mind is connected to the body after all, so looking for physical reasons for mental health symptoms makes more sense to me than assuming that apathy and sexless relationships have simply become the new normal for a significant percentage of people. Fatalism is a term being used to describe the attitude being exhibited by many Japanese young adults. [3] But the term fatalism might also just be a new way to describe apathy.

In a report released in 2013, the Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey found that more than 40 percent of the Japanese children living in the area showed evidence
of thyroid nodules or cysts. None of the children were found to have thyroid cancer. Thyroid hormone status was not mentioned. [4] The presence of nodules or cysts is not uncommon according to other studies, and have been found at a frequency of 67% in some research; the importance of assessing for iodine deficiency was mentioned in the abstract. [6]

Before Fukushima there was Hiroshima and Nagasaki. [5] It’s sad to consider the possibility of large numbers of people being affected by a chronic health condition but I also find the idea sad that fatalism might be affecting large numbers of people. Having a fatalistic mood seems far less treatable than having an actual physical condition. Thyroid hormone replacement might be possible if hypothyroidism is diagnosed. Infants who are born with congenital hypothyroidism can develop normally if the condition is diagnosed early and the infant receives adequate thyroid hormone or iodine depending on the reason for the hypothyroidism. If infants with congenital hypothyroidism are left undiagnosed and untreated then they are more at risk to grow to a shorter height and have a lower IQ than typical.

Iodine supplements can help protect against radioactive iodine if taken before damage to the thyroid has occurred but too much iodine may be harmful if hyperthyroidism is a risk. See a health professional if concerned about iodine or thyroid status. Lab tests are available to assess iodine and thyroid hormone levels and whether there are thyroid autoimmune antibodies present.

Being able to see a medical doctor about a physical condition might get more effective results than seeing a psychiatrist about fatalism if the apathetic mood is actually a mental health symptom that is being caused by a physical condition.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended to provide individual health care. Please see a health professional for individualized health care./