Step 2 part two, Self care for Prenatal Health

A leaf can be formed of many blades; each blade is equal in importance to the complete whole, yet each is slightly unique, specialized for its own position within the whole.
Step 2 part two: Adding more parts to our nutritional whole.

2H: Hypothyroidism that hasn’t been diagnosed, or was treated only with a synthetic thyroid hormone substitute such as Synthroid, may increase risk of a woman’s children having autism. Synthroid only provides the T3 form of the thyroid hormone so the increased risk might be due to a lack of T4 but it might also be due to an underlying deficiency in iodine.

2I: Iodine deficiency affects the thyroid hormone as it contains molecules of iodine. The 3 and 4 in T3 and T4 are referring to the number of molecules of iodine within that form of the hormone. The thyroid is a gland that can preferentially absorb more iodine than the rest of the body tissues. All of the glands in the body need iodine however and they can also absorb more iodine than other types of tissue. In males and females specialized glands require iodine for sexual health and the mammary glands require it for general health and purposes of lactation. Iodine deficiency may be part of the underlying causes of breast and prostate cancer.

The placenta is also an organ that preferentially absorbs iodine. There is early research suggesting that both the T3 and T4 forms of the thyroid hormone play active roles in successful implantation of the fertilized egg within the womb.

  • Read more: “Molecular basis of thyrotropin and thyroid hormone action during implantation and early development,” M. Colicchia, et. al., Human Reproduction Update, Vol.20, No.6 pp. 884–904, 2014, [pdf].
  • Excerpt: “during pregnancy thyroid function increases by about 50%”

Other research has suggested that changes that increase the infant’s later risk of autism developing as a child may be occurring within the infant during the very early stages of fetal development. Hypothyroidism in the mother is associated with increased risk for autism developing in the child so possibly iodine deficiency and/or the T4 form of the thyroid hormone plays a role in risk for autism as extra iodine and the T4 form of the thyroid hormone are not commonly provided to patients even when hypothyroidism is diagnosed and treated.

In the modern diet there is less use of iodized salt than expected when the fortification levels were developed and there is a prevalence of chemicals that can interfere with iodine or thyroid function. Chemically an atom of iodine has similarity to bromide, chloride, and fluoride. Theoretically, as this is not taken into account in the current mainstream treatment of hypothyroidism, but some research does support the theory that when there is plenty of atoms of bromide, chloride or fluoride present in the body while iodine is deficient then the body may incorporate them into the supply of thyroid hormone in place of iodine.

However the improperly formed hormone wouldn’t function correctly within the body and the person might be having symptoms of hypothyroidism while their lab tests show the presence of an adequate supply of thyroid hormone -> but what if it doesn’t work? The patient still has symptoms and worsening health but wouldn’t receive a diagnosis of hypothyroidism or treatment for it if the lab tests seem to be within normal levels. The patient might instead be referred to see a psychiatrist to see if their symptoms are due to mental health reasons and might be placed on psychiatric medications unnecessarily (depression and apathy can be mental health symptoms of hypothyroidism that can improve when treated with iodine or hormone replacement).

2J: Selenium is also important when adding supplements of iodine or seaweed (sea weed can be a natural source of iodine and selenium). Selenium is needed for the enzyme that breaks down excess supplies of thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism, too active production of thyroid hormone, can become a problem occasionally when higher doses of iodine are used. Higher doses of iodine taken for short periods of time can allow the body to preferentially absorb that and replace atoms of bromide, chloride, or fluoride that may have been incorporated into thyroid hormone or elsewhere in the body (Fibrocystic breast disease frequently is improved when higher dose iodine treatment protocol is followed). Hyperthyroidism due to iodine supplementation is not a common occurrence while autoimmune disease can be an increased risk with iodine deficiency.

  • Comment, “Iodine deficiency, not excess, is the cause of autoimmune thyroid disease,” for “Should we treat subclinical hypothyroidism in obese children?”(Published 16 March 2016)Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i941
  • Dr. Brownstein has performed research into iodine and treatment with higher doses. Read more in his book, Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Selenium is discussed in chapter seven. Dr. Brownstein is a medical doctor and sees patient at his clinic, which specializes in the treatment of thyroid disorders.

Selenium can be toxic in larger amounts taken chronically. A prenatal or one-a-day supplement would be likely to contain the recommended 200 micrograms per day or approximately two Brazil nuts provide that amount. Brazil nuts contain more than typical plants because the tree can preferentially absorb selenium from the air. Selenium is rich in sea weed because it is more prevalent in ocean water. Some types of microbes in coastal waters absorb selenium and can modify it to a form that can be carried in water vapor in the atmosphere and eventually fall on a Brazil nut tree (roughly).

2K: Adequate vitamin K is important for fetal brain development. A genetic difference affecting the vitamin K cycle may underlie some cases of autism, hypothetically: .

Green leafy vegetables and spices such as basil, cilantro, and oregano are good sources of vitamin K. Supplements of the K1 type may be less bioactive than the K2 form.

It was suggested in those articles that an infant may have lower levels of vitamin K at birth for some reason that is currently unknown. The following link is to a review of research on the topic of vitamin K and newborns and it suggests the reason might be that newborns have less ability to making clotting factors and therefore would have less need for something with anti-clotting abilities.

Adequate vitamin K may be involved in brain health through its role in controlling flow of calcium. Calcium is an electrically active mineral which can promote activity within a cell and even over-activate them to the point of cell death if excess amounts of calcium are allowed to enter the cell.

An excerpt,

includes a discussion of vitamin K’s role in helping clear the body of oxalic acid. The benefit of baths or footsoaks, that include Epsom salt, baking soda, and sea salt for helping the body excrete oxalic acid, are also discussed:

Baths or footbaths of Epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt may accelerate the process of draining oxalic acid from the body. Oxalic acid shares the same cellular transporters as sulfur, bicarbonate, and chloride; when the circulatory levels of these three latter substances are increased, they are more available for transportation into cells to replace the oxalic acid. This will bring more oxalic acid into circulation. As the kidneys absorb the sulfate, bicarbonate, and chloride, they should be able to increase their rate of oxalic acid secretion into the urine.

That link provided a reference suggesting that there is a role for vitamin K within the developing fetal brain but that it isn’t well understood yet. It may involve its influence on the amount of sulfatide and sphingolipids that is present or produced:

Excerpt: “In animals and bacteria, vitamin K was observed to influence the brain sulfatide concentration and the activity and synthesis of an important enzyme involved in brain sphingolipids biosynthesis.” Read more:

Sulfatides are specialized glycolipids which contain a sulfate group [link] and are considered a type of sphingolipid. Sphingolipids are a type of phospholipid that contain a molecule of sphingosine as a base. Sphingolipids are particularly abundant within the myelin sheath that coats nerve cells. [link] The myelin sheath is the material that is damaged in the disease Multiple sclerosis which is thought to be due to autoimmune causes or to be ‘immune-mediated.’ [link]

2L: That seems like a long way to go to get to point “2L” however it also highlights the point that all nutrients, and even some other substances not typically thought of as essential nutrients, are all necessary to help grow a healthy baby or to support a healthy child or adult. Let’s make “2L” stand for lipids which is another name for fats or oils (the group may also be called fatty acids). Some types of lipids might be liquid at room temperature and which are then typically called oils and some might be solid like butter and which might then be more typically called fats.

2L1: Glycolipids, phospholipids and sphingolipids are all combinations of lipids/fatty acids and another type of molecule (glyco = sugar based molecule or sphingosine = molecule of sphingosine, whatever that looks like) or atom (phosphorus). These specialized lipids are essential within membranes throughout the body. Their specialized functions can help make membranes more flexible yet strong and can help control the flow of other atoms and molecules across the cell membrane. Keeping out excess chemicals can help protect a cell from being overactivated to the point of cell death as was discussed earlier on this page regarding the electrical signalling power of calcium.

Mice bred to be genetically defective in their ability to produce L-serine, a component of sphingolipids, all died as embryos – they never made it to birth. And: “As expected, all brain L-serine-derived lipids such as phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylethanolamine, sphingomyelin, and GD3 ganglioside are greatly reduced in Phgdh knockout mice.”

“While that is clearly complicated. . .” “You’re kidding. . .right?”

What food would I eat?

Phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and sphingomyelin are a few components of the cannabinoid receptor system. People of average genetics would be able to assemble the complex molecules from other simpler molecules found in the diet. Otherwise for those people with less than average genetics, like the poor mice in the excerpt,

or for older or chronically ill people whose metabolism might not function as well as average, there are a few foods containing phospholipids.

Phospholipids are used to form membranes so they tend to be found in greater amounts in foods that contain a lot of membranous coating such as seeds of pomegranite fruit, cucumbers, hemp or pumpkin kernels; or the grains millet and buckwheat; or spices made from seed pods such as cardamom and nutmeg; and cacao beans from which chocolate is made. Phospholipids may also be found in dark green leafy vegetables and herbs such as rosemary and basil. And remember point 2k, vitamin K which also can be found in green leafy vegetables may be important in signaling for production of some of the phospholipids including sphingolipids such as sphingomyelin.

Coconut oil is a source of sphingomyelin.

2L2a: Omega 3 fatty acids are also essential lipids that are found in some ocean fish, walnuts, and ground flax seed and hemp oil. The average U.S. diet may contain too little omega 3 fatty acids in ratio to omega 6 fatty acids which are more prevalent in other liquid vegetable oils such as corn, canola, or soy oil. Children with autism may have less omega 3 fatty acids than average but research studies have been inconclusive as to whether increasing it in the diet helped improve symptoms.

2L2b: GLA and CLA are two omega 6 fatty acids with beneficial roles in the body. They can be difficult to find in standard foods. Hemp oil is unusual in that it contains omega 3 and some of the beneficial omega 6 fatty acids. It would also be a source of phospholipids. Walnut oil is a source of omega 3 fatty acids.

2M: The cannabinoid receptor system refers to the phospholipids and cannabinoids which can be stored as flexible building blocks within the cell membranes or released as messenger chemicals that can affect brain neurotransmitters and other functions of the body such as implantation of a newly fertilized egg within the uterus.

Another major source of phospholipids and cannabinoids is the cannabis species, also known as marijuana. Cannabis can contain a wide variety of cannabinoids and only the THC has euphoric effects. Prenatally it is not recommended. However depending on the genetics of the person a more concentrated supply from an external source might be needed to makeup for a genetic inability to make the phospholipids or cannabinoids. Implantation of the fertilized egg requires just the right amount of cannabinoids acting in their active messenger role. Too little or too much can interfere and cause implantation to not take place.

During the first few days after conception the level of anandamide, an internally produced cannabinoid, has to be at just the right level for the fertilized egg to successfully implant somewhere along the uterine lining. Too much of the natural cannabinoid, anandamide, or too much of a synthetic or plant derived source of a similar cannabinoid can cause the fertilized egg to fail to implant properly. [1]

Rosemary is an herb commonly used in soups and savory dishes. It also was mentioned earlier as containing phopholipids. In traditional folk lore uses it has a variety of medical benefits that have been supported in part by research. A precaution is given that large amounts may cause miscarriage. /Speculation – that might be due to the cannabinoid/phospholipid content. It contains noneuphoric cannabinoids that can activate the type 2 cannabinoid receptors which are more common throughout the body than the type 1 cannabinoid receptors which are found in greater amounts within the brain.

“Endocannabinoids are present in peripheral as well as in brain tissues and have recently been demonstrated to be in breast milk. In addition, the recent demonstration of the expression of functional CB1R in the preimplantation embryo and synthesis of anandamide in the pregnant uterus of mice suggested that cannabinoid ligand-receptor signaling is operative in the regulation of preimplantation embryo development and implantation (Paria and Dey, 2000).” [2, p62]

Cannabinoids are found in breast milk and help promote adequate suckling and appetite in the infant. More malnourished women were found to have less cannabinoid content in their breast milk. Poor weight gain and failure to thrive is more associated with less cannabinoid content. [add ref.]

This is an area where more research is needed. Smoking during pregnancy or breast feeding is not recommended and use of marijuana is also not recommended. Some findings do suggest adverse risk for the developing infant’s later ability to plan activities and control their behavior as a child (“executive functioning difficulties“). And it is not legal most places.

The identification of cannabinoid receptors (CBRs) in the uterus and placenta, and the high densities of CB1Rs, functionally coupled to G protein in prenatal developmental stages throughout the human brain, suggest the involvement of the cannabinoid system in neural development (Mato et al., 2003). It has also been suggested that the high expression of CB1 mRNA in the human fetal limbic structures may render such brain structures more vulnerable to prenatal cannabis exposure (Wang et al., 2003).” [2, Ch. 3, page 91]

Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the uterus and placenta and throughout the fetal brain during prenatal development which makes marijuana use something to avoid for women during times of conception, or to be even more clear, to help prevent autism and or promote fertility it may be helpful to avoid natural or synthetic cannabinoids during times when conception might occur (which might be up to four or five days after having unprotected sex as sperm may survive a few days).

Whether some women with a genetic defect in her ability to make cannabinoids internally, might only be able to become pregnant successfully when using an external source of cannabinoids, is a question for more research in an area where use of stronger sources are legal or the synthetic is more available. The synthetic is based on THC, other types of cannabinoids may have more important roles to play in prenatal implantation. The cannabinoid present in the herb rosemary affects the type 2 cannabinoid receptors while THC activates the type 1 cannabinoid receptors.

Nevertheless, more research is needed in the area of cannabinoid receptors and implantation and the possible role for women with problems with infertility.

2N: Neurotoxins and other medications to avoid prenatally or if there is a chance of getting pregnant or during pregnancy include:  polybrominated diphenyl ethers, a fire retardant used on clothing; thalidomide, sometimes used in the treatment of leprosy; valproic acid sometimes used in the treatment of bipolar disorder; and some treatments for autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, or depression have been associated with increased risk for autism developing in the child when used during the prenatal stage. – CR King {3 [29]}

Risk of having a child with autism has been associated with pesticide exposure, estimated by how close a woman was living in proximity to fields sprayed with agricultural chemicals. A sixty percent increased risk of autism was found for the children of women who lived within one mile of fields sprayed with pesticides in a study by a UC Davis team. Being near fields sprayed with pyrethroids shortly before conception or during a woman’s third trimester of pregnancy was associated with greatest risk for the infant’s later risk of developing autism as a child. Being exposed to cloripyrifos during the second trimester was associated with greatest risk of autism. See excerpts:

“The chlorpyrifos applied over the course of pregnancy had the greatest association with an elevated risk of autism spectrum disorder in the second trimester,” Shelton said.

In the study, pyrethroids were most strongly linked to autism disorders during two periods among women in the study – immediately prior to conception and in the third trimester of pregnancy. Shelton said it is not yet understood why the third trimester shows the greatest exposure risk during a pregnancy.
Read more here:

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.” {4 [30]}

Another neurotoxin, formaldehyde, can be found in our daily environment or can be formed from some common food additives that are used as artificial sweeteners. Formaldehyde is formed during the digestion of the artificial sweeteners Aspartame or neotame. Aspartame/Nutrasweet has to be listed on the food label while a newer more concentrated form called neotame does not have to be listed on the food label and might be in processed foods such as crackers, cookies, and other baked goods.

Avoiding processed foods was already something we started working on in step 2E so that shouldn’t be a problem, should it?

Yes – it is a problem, it’s not easy to avoid common foods and it can make social situations more difficult. However when illness is making life even more difficult then making changes in daily habits may seem worth the effort and then, ideally, the symptom relief will be obvious and make it worth continuing the effort.

And eventually effort becomes habit and is more effortless because you are used to the steps and tools involved and no longer have to think about how or what to do to perform the new routine – because it’s now just routine and you’re feeling better. then the trick is to continue the new routine because it was new and likely did help you to feel better, so try to take some pictures of your symptoms or write a dairy as symptoms are occurring so you’ll have a reminder of just how bad, bad used to be, so that when you’re feeling better you’ll remember that the new routine is worth the effort involved.

Changing dietary habits are not the only changes that may be needed to help prevent autism or autoimmune disease or other chronic conditions from occurring, or from worsening or staying the same, instead of going into remission. There are several other common sources of formaldehyde in the environment and even in the diet – fruit juice contains a breakdown product resulting in formaldehyde which increases over time so shelf stable boxed or bottled fruit juice may be less healthy over time.

Formaldehyde is found in secondhand smoke, so smoking indoors or burning a woodstove or fireplace, or many decorative candles may be increasing the level of formaldehyde in the air you breath. Vinyl shower curtains and other new plastic things or new flooring may be off-gassing a variety of toxins including formaldehyde.

See this series of posts for more details regarding 2N, and some of the other points included within Step 2:

2O: Fluoxetine/Olanzapine is a medication that may be prescribed for bipolar disorder, mania, schizophrenia and a few other conditions. It was not listed in the reference {3 [29]} included in 2N but olanzapine may need to be considered a potential risk prenatally based on what I have learned about its mechanism of action. It prevents the breakdown of cannabinoids and as a side effect may cause cannabinoid receptors to become over activated.

The information discussed in step 2M about the role cannabinoids have in early pregnancy promoting successful implantation of the newly fertilized egg within the uterus, would suggest that a medication that prevents breakdown of cannabinoids and which might cause over activation of cannabinoid receptors might be a risk to someone possibly preventing them from being able to become pregnant or a possible risk to fetal development once a pregnancy has begun. Cannabinoids seem to have important roles to play in fetal development as well.

The medication is rated by the FDA as “Pregnancy Category C – Risk cannot be ruled out.”

2P: Personally, no, I’m not kidding, research findings aren’t kidding, and yes, physiology is clearly complicated. I have made or continue to work on making most of the changes that have been discussed in steps 2A to 2O, but it took me many years and quite a lot of trial and error. However it has been worth it. While chronic illness and age adds creaks and groans to the morning routine, overall I’m feeling much better in many ways than I did over the decades of not knowing what was wrong with me.

Autoimmune disease can be difficult for the medical community to diagnose. Symptoms can vary quite a bit within a “disease” or “syndrome” and from patient to patient and even within the same patient from day to day, or over the years. It is not uncommon for patients to see many different doctors and take years before they receive a diagnosis. It is not uncommon for patients to be referred to psychiatric care to consider whether their symptoms are caused by mental health or stress issues. That can add a risk of being prescribed psychiatric medications unnecessarily which is delaying the use of other potential treatments and which may be causing other side effects or causing lasting damages as was mentioned in step 2O.

This continuing education course written for mental health professionals discusses the importance of assessing for physical reasons for mental health symptoms. It lists many possible diagnoses or lifestyle events that might be associated with the sudden onset of mental health symptoms – and that ‘sudden onset’ itself is somewhat suggestive that some underlying problem is the cause of the symptoms.

2Q: Quality of life can be something to track in addition to logging changes in symptoms as you try to make changes in your daily habits. It can be helpful to only try one or two changes at a time to make it easier to assess whether the change seems to be helping your symptoms and general quality of life, or doing nothing, or causing symptoms to feel worse or to negatively affect your energy level or mood.

Quality of life is a term used within medical and social services to refer to a patient’s general well being – do they seem to be happy and to be taking part in daily activities within their home and community? Is the patient getting up and getting dressed in the morning and taking an interest in meals? Is there laughter and spontaneity or gloom and doom in their conversation?

The term quality of life is also used in the comparison of nations and the services their citizens enjoy. More on that topic is available here:

2QR1: A 75 year long research study is described in the following video, Robert Waldinger; What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness TEDx:

The video is useful as a discussion of quality of life and what seems to be most related to happiness and a longer life, but the video is also useful for its description of a longevity study that is now going into the second generation, the children of the study participants. Difficulties with longevity studies are discussed – lack of funding, loss of interest by staff or loss of key staff without a plan for transition, etc. The happiness study discussion was given by the study’s fourth director – that is phenomenol!

Related – friends and neighbors may be good for happiness and also in an emergency according to feedback from a vet who helped rescue pets after the Katrina storm devastation and spoke with survivors:

2QR2: A second video was playing and the surprise ending is worth waiting for – Benjamin Wallace on the price of happiness (priceless or does/can a high price tag increase happiness?):

2QR3: And a third video played – a more informal researcher shares his techniques into the question of how to have fun on the internet and survive losing your job – or something like that, Ze Frank: Nerdcore Comedy:

2R: More research is needed on the prevention of autism or autoimmune disease prenatally and on the management of autism or autoimmune disease through individualized nutrition and lifestyle guidance based on the results of a genetic screening. There seems to be a combination of genetic susceptibility, nutrient deficiency and excess toxins which result in a person’s or toddler’s body being unable to detoxify adequately and protect against over production of the white blood cells involved in autoimmune attack on one’s own body.

The underlying mechanisms seem similar between autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer’s dementia and autoimmune disease. Strategies that help one condition may be worth studying for their value in benefiting other groups of patients.

2R1: The quality of research studies is also important. How statistics are calculated and how participants are chosen for experimental and control groups in a study can greatly impact the reliability of the conclusions. Bias towards reaching a positive or negative conclusion can affect study design accidentally or on purpose. Readers of research studies and designers of research studies would benefit from learning more about common fallacies that may occur when calculating research statistics:

2S: Seizures and epilepsy are more common in individuals with an autism spectrum disorder then for the general population. It is estimated that 15% or more of people with autism also have epilepsy. The reason is unknown but it is an area of current investigation. My immediate speculation would be that some of that group may also fall into the group of people in step 2M with genetic defects that affect their cannabinoid receptor system. The noneuphoric CBD cannabinoid that primarily activates the type 2 cannabinoid receptors has been found helpful for patients with hard to treat types of epilepsy:

Some patients, genetically, may not be able to make cannabinoids internally and therefore would need an external source throughout their entire life in order to have optimal health. The amount of cannabinoids found in most foods is limited compared to the amount found in the more concentrated amounts produced by the cannabis/marijuana plants. See step 2M for other food sources that provide cannabinoids such as the herb rosemary which contains a type of cannabinoid that also activates the type 2 cannabinoid receptors.

The effective dose of rosemary is much greater than would be used in an entree for flavoring. The nation of Germany lists rosemary as a herb with medical benefits and the amount mentioned would be roughly 1 to 2 Tablespoons. I might add 1 teaspoon of rosemary to a pot of soup or stew. Medicinally rosemary has also been used as a strong tea but a few cups of it can cause a diuretic affect. Drinking extra water and consuming extra electrolytes would then be recommended to prevent dehydration. Foods providing electrolytes would include some salt for sodium; and some fruit or vegetables for potassium; and a grain, nut or seed snack for magnesium and calcium.

Might rosemary be able to help people with difficult to treat epilepsy?

I don’t know and we’re unlikely to find out because an herb is not able to be patent protected. What is known is that use of a concentrated oil extract of rosemary may induce seizures in people who are epileptic or otherwise prone to seizures. Herbs can contain many different chemicals with different medical effects some of which may benefit each other or complement each other’s effects in some way. A patented medication would tend to isolate one plant chemical and then modify it slightly to make it unique from nature and therefore able to be patent protected for increased profit potential.

Avoiding the neurotoxins in step 2N prenatally (and throughout life) may help prevent autism and other neurological disorders such as epilepsy or ADHD from occurring or from being made worse. Protecting our brains is a lifelong task.

2T: The Th, T helper type of white blood cells that are involved in the over activity of autoimmune disease deserve mentioning. The Th1 and Th17 types may be more involved than other types. While autoimmune disease can be hard to diagnose and hard to treat, for a positive note, the over activity of the immune system may also make it less likely for the person to develop cancer or get sick whenever the latest thing is going around. With more white blood cells on the job fewer old, damaged, infected, or cancerous cells are likely to be overlooked.

However for a patient with more advanced stages of autoimmune disease with worse overall health, cancer and other illnesses may become more likely. Or more typically, additional types of autoimmune disease may develop.

2T1: One theory to explain the attack of white blood cells on the person’s own tissue is molecular mimicry. Antibodies may develop against chemicals normal to the human body but that are similar in shape to a chemical from the food supply or other source of exposure. The white blood cells with those antibodies would then seek out the chemical in whatever areas of the body where that type of chemical was more prevalent and cause inflammation, leading to swelling and pain in the body part.

2T2: Poor digestive health and a gastrointestinal tract with leaky ‘tight junctions’ (the area where one intestinal cell touches another, like bricks on a house, the tight junction would be the area where the morter goes between the bricks to hold them together. Increased concentrations of calcium in the fluid around the exterior of the cell seems to be involved in signalling the tight junctions to open.

The concern with the tight junctions being open too often is that larger size protein particles from the diet may slip through to the blood stream where they might trigger allergy reactions – or possibly – lead to molecular mimicry with antibodies being made to some similar chemical found in the human body.

2T3a: What to do? that is less clear. However getting vitamin D levels in balance along with calcium and magnesium intakes might help. When vitamin D levels are too low or too high the body’s ability to absorb calcium within the GI tract may be increased and magnesium may be less well absorbed. And in the kidneys calcium may be preserved more carefully and magnesium may be excreted more. The Epsom salt bath technique mentioned in Step 2E2e and 2K can help the body absorb magnesium through an alternate route – the skin. The skin is the largest organ in the body and can absorb some nutrients -(and toxins, reading labels on makeup and skincare products for neurotoxins in Step 2N to avoid exposure is also a good idea).

2T3b: Getting the levels of the different forms of vitamin D in balance also would help prevent molecular mimicry, as the active hormone form of D helps control the allergic versus tolerant activity of the Th type of white blood cells which were mentioned earlier in this section. The right amount of hormone D would promote more tolerant, less over active Th cells.

Vitamin D is discussed in more detail in steps 2D and 2E. Glyphosate, also discussed in step 2E, may be involved in autoimmune disease due to molecular mimicry.

2T3c: Chemically glyphosate is very similar to the amino acid glycine which is used in many ways throughout the body and brain as a building block and as a signaling chemical. Increased exposure to glyphosate in the food supply may be increasing allergic autoimmune reactions to it. Identifying a sensitivity can allow a person to then avoid the chemical so the sensitized white blood cells have less to attack.

Carefully avoiding all exposure to gluten for six months has helped people with Celiac sprue, genetic sensitivity to gluten, to have their antibody levels against gluten drop back down closer to normal levels.

Links in 2E include more information on glyphosate and molecular mimicry, sadly the dietary recommendation is also included – the summary: avoid processed food and switch to organically produced food.

2T3d: There are also known genetic differences that may make some people more sensitive to the gluten protein and similar proteins found in corn and oats which may also be involved in signalling the tight junctions between intestinal cell walls to open.

2T3e: Eating live culture ‘fermented’ foods regularly, which provide healthy bacteria, and fibrous vegetables and starches to provide food for the bacteria, can also help promote an intestinal environment that is less prone to allergic proteins leaking through the tight junctions between cells. Garlic and onions provide fiber that support healthy strains of bacteria and are good sources of sulfur which was discussed in steps 2E and 2K.

2U: The “Uncertainty” principle was an issue of discussion raised by environmental toxin specialists during work with vaccination specialists. It is difficult to be certain how much of a toxin or combination of toxins might cause negative reactions in individuals. Estimates of safety have a level of uncertainty that may be more or less certain depending on how much research is available for the toxin in question.

  “As  an  aside,  we  found  a  cultural  difference  between  vaccinologists  and environmental health people in that many of us in the vaccine arena have never thought about uncertainty factors before. We tend to be relatively concrete in our thinking. Probably one of the big cultural events in that meeting, at least for me, was when Dr. Clarkson repetitively pointed out to us that we just didn’t get it about uncertainty, and he was actually quite right. It took us a couple of days to  understand  the  factor  of  uncertainty  in  assessing  environmental  exposure, particularly to metals.”

2U1: Mercury and aluminum are the main toxins in question with vaccinations but other adjuvants or ingredients may also have caused negative reactions in some people. Methylmercury is mentioned in step 2N as a neurotoxin. Aluminum has also been linked to neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s Disease, which may have autoimmune aspects, and aluminum adjuvants in vaccinations has been linked to autoimmune reactions.

2U2: Uncertainty is also an issue regarding use of multiple medications and what affects they might have in combination.

2U3: Toxins from the environment also have had limited research regarding their effects in combination. Possible negative effects of glyphosate seem to be made worse with the addition of the other chemicals used in the herbicide Roundup.

2U4: Uncertainty is also present regarding future climate changes and whether a hotter environment may increase risks of environmental toxins for the health of humans and other species. Being overly warm isn’t pleasant with autoimmune hyperthyroidism and research suggests it might not just be due to the thyroid. Th cells can be more active at higher temperatures producing more cytokines which can add to inflammatory problems.

Also T helper cells secrete more of some cytokines at higher temperatures [12].”

Use of hot tubs and saunas isn’t recommended during pregnancy anyway. Limiting to ten minutes or skipping them, especially during the early weeks of pregnancy, is recommended by an ob-gyn. Raising the body temperature above 101’F for very long may be dangerous for the developing fetus. Neural tube defects may be a risk and an increased risk of miscarriage has been suspected but not proven.

I have found taking very hot baths can cause my heart rate to increase uncomfortably. Warm baths seem better with my autoimmune hyperthyroid condition.

2V: Vaccinations became a controversial topic in regards to their possible link to the increased rate of autism over the last couple decades. Vaccinations have been found to be a potential risk for developing autism after encephalitis occurs as a vaccine side effect.

  • Individuals and parents share their stories in this video to a CDC official about vaccinations and autism as a side effect.
  • The “CDC whistleblower’ story is analyzed here – and suggests it is being taken out of context. -I am not against vaccinations but I am for admitting that a few children have had adverse reactions that have resulted in autism – that does not mean that vaccines are a “cause” of all cases of autism or a risk of causing autism for all children. However children who do have health issues should be able to reduce the number or frequency of vaccinations they receive. The herd will still be protected if most are vaccinated.
  • Additional research comparing vaccinated and un-vaccinated children found that while the vaccinated children did experience fewer cases of the diseases that they were inoculated against their overall sickness rate from other illnesses and overall rate of death was worse than for the un-vaccinated group of children.

2V1: A larger causal link showing that a significant percentage of people receiving vaccines developed autism was not found or was not reported. A whistleblower has since shared that some data was suppressed for a major study which had showed an increased rate of autism for black boys receiving a certain type of vaccine. The large review of literature did not find a causal link between vaccines and autism but also did not claim that vaccines were safe. Proving safety of vaccines was not a goal of the review. The review board did recommend a need for expanding and/or improving the vaccine adverse reaction reporting system.

Having read this far, the astute reader may realize that the question of whether vaccinations “cause” autism is insufficient. A better question might be: “Do vaccinations have something to do with promoting autism . . . when there are also deficiencies of vitamin D, K, B’s, iodine, zinc, selenium, and/or sulfate present, and an excess of neurotoxins present, in the body of someone who has a genetic difficulty in detoxifying heavy metals and other toxins?” Well do they? What do you think?

2V1a: A solution exists for removing the aluminum and mercury from vaccines. Calcium can be a safer and inexpensive advjuvant within vaccines. Vaccine science and its history is reviewed in the following article, which mentions calcium phosphate but without much detail about it:

An animal based research study compared aluminum phosphate and calcium phosphate as vaccine adjuvants and found the aluminum phosphate led to a greater antibody response in the animals, similarly across the young and old groups of animals.

So the aluminum phosphate may be used because it is more effective but if the calcium phosphate is safer and somewhat effective then it seems a reasonable alternative to pursue for widespread use or at least to offer to people at higher risk for having an adverse reaction – allergic, very young or old, or otherwise immune compromised.

2V1b: some adjuvants and the pertussis vaccine can be used to induce autoimmune disease like symptoms in lab animals for use in the purpose of research of the diseases. This would suggest to me that those adjuvants and the pertussis vaccine might have something to do with inducing autoimmune disease in some susceptible humans – speculatively. Excerpt:

“TLR expression on antigen-presenting cells is up-regulated (surface or intracellular) in response to infection with bacteria, viruses, or inoculation with adjuvants such as complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) and/or pertussis toxin, which are used with self-antigens to induce autoimmune disease in animal models.24,27 Although agents such as CVB3 and pertussis toxin lead to a predominant Th1 response because of TLR4 activation, autoimmune disease models using CFA generate a predominant Th17 response because of the Mycobacterium component of the adjuvant.17 CFA is used to induce autoimmunity in several autoimmune disease models including EAE, collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) [a model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)], and experimental autoimmune myocarditis (a model of acute myocarditis that progresses to dilated cardiomyopathy).”

-D. Fairweather, et. al., “Sex Differences in Autoimmune Disease from a Pathological Perspective,” Am J Pathol. 2008 Sep; 173(3): 600–609.

2V2: More specifically in relation to pregnancy and vaccines – any large increase in antibodies during pregnancy can increase adverse effects in the developing fetus and may increase the child’s risk of autoimmune disease or autism developing later in life. Getting sick isn’t recommended for pregnant women and getting artificially sick in reaction to a vaccine isn’t advisable either, at least during the first trimester.

Autism developing in the child was significantly linked to women receiving a flu vaccine during the first trimester, however the data was modified and wasn’t the association wasn’t reported as significant.

2V3: Reducing stress during pregnancy and limiting exposure to sick people and to large groups of people that may include sick people may be a better approach to staying healthy and protecting one’s baby while pregnant. Otherwise it might be safer for the baby if pregnant women wait until the second or third trimester before getting a flu vaccine or other type of vaccine.

2W: Water is essential for life and for detoxification and for growing healthy baby. Dehydration due to lack of water of lack of electrolytes can increase a variety of health risks.

2W1: Preeclampsia is a severe form of hypertension that may have included severe nausea and vomiting and dehydration during early pregnancy or throughout the pregnancy. Excess fluid retention and difficulty clearing toxins can be symptoms.

The condition has been found to be associated with twice the risk of autism in the children of mothers who had developed preeclampsia during their pregnancies. And the association was strong, the more severe the woman’s symptoms of preeclampsia had been, the more likely her child was to have gone on to develop autism.

There may be a genetic issue involved in risk of preeclampsia because while it is not very common, occurring for 3-5% of pregnant women, for women who had the condition there is much greater likelihood that their daughters or sisters will also experience preeclampsia when they are pregnant. It is possible that eating and lifestyle habits are simply similar between close family members but the increased rate is interesting and suggests a potential area for more research:

“In the US, preeclampsia affects 3-5% of pregnant women, but among women who have had it, around 20-40% of their daughters and 11-37% of their sisters will also get the disorder, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).”

2W1a: Vitamin D deficiency and/or a genetic susceptibility for vitamin D deficiency might be involved because it is associated with an increased risk for preeclampsia. Vitamin D receptors help promote secretion of prenatal hormones and  prevent excess inflammatory cytokines from being produced which can stimulate preeclampsia and premature labor. Read more:

The need for vitamin D prenatally was discussed in step 2D and 2E. It has been associated with an increased risk for autism developing in the infant later in life:

2W1b: Increased amounts of the protein found in Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid beta, is present in the urine of women with preeclampsia so the disease process may be similar. Read more:

2W1c: I ask the question of what the underlying cause for the accumulation of amyloid beta protein and how to stop it in that article and research more recently may have discovered the answer – cannabinoids help break it down and therefore that suggests to me that the endogenous* cannabinoids may have been deficient or defective in the patient. THC and other chemicals from the marijuana plant were found to help cause the break down of the amyloid beta protein plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease.  Read more: (*Endogenous: a chemical that can be made naturally within the body during normal health.)

Cannabinoids and phospholipids are discussed in steps 2K, 2L, 2M, 2S, and 2O. Phospholipids chemically can be used to form part of the larger cannabinoid molecules when combined with molecules of arachidonic acid or other fatty acids.

2W2: Lack of any of the main electrolytes, magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium, can interfere with fluid balance and lead to muscle cramps and fluid retention (edema). Read more:

The DASH diet or Mediterranean diet plan may provide more magnesium than other diet plans. The DASH diet was designed to help with hypertension, high blood pressure, but it has been found helpful for general health and with other chronic illness as well. It can be helpful to have some meal examples to look at when trying to making changes in your diet.

2X: Avoid high doses of X-rays while pregnant, especially during the first month as it can affect implantation and may cause miscarriage – however it would be an unusual occurrence. The dose of a dental X-ray or body X-ray is much lower than the amount that might affect a pregnancy.

2X1: Avoiding unnecessary use of electronic devices that use wifi and turning off the wifi in your house at night and when not using it may be safer for a developing fetus and it’s later risk for ADHD or other behavior problems. This includes cellphones, laptops, tablets, wearable electronics, and personal computers.

2X3: Ultrasound scans during pregnancy are not generally medically necessary and may be placing the infant’s brain at risk. Some correlation between autism and prenatal ultrasounds have been found.

First trimester ultrasounds have been associated with increasing the severity of symptom outcome in children who already have genetic predisposition for autism. All types of pregnancies were not represented in the study. It does reinforce the idea that autism is made up from a variety of different issues all happening to the same child at just the wrong time.

2Y: Should you have a natural birth or a C-section delivery if you hope to prevent autism? Surprisingly or unsurprisingly the answer is try to prepare for and have a natural birth. C-section delivery is associated with increased risk for autism.

2Z: Be sure to get at least 2 Zees or several more. A good night’s sleep with black out curtains on windows with street lights can help promote health by supporting production of melatonin. Keep few electronic devices in the room or shield any lights during the night. It can help the brain and body prepare for sleep to turn off bright light devices such as TVs and computers at least a half hour before attempting to go to sleep.

2Z1: A good night’s sleep might help reduce negative effects of stress. Increased stress during pregnancy has been associated with more risk of autism for the child.

2Z2: Melatonin plays roles in the brain and immune system and can help the body overcome negative effects of stress.

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” – John Steinbeck

I’ll probably work on this some more – in the morning.

Additional notes to look at later:

on congenital heart defects in newborns and later risk autism, -a methylation defect could cause low folate & B12 which can cause hyperhomocysteinemia and congenital heart defects, lack of iodine and too much fluoride can cause pineal gland to not produce melatonin and serotonin as well and cause poor sleep in kids with autism

And one on vitamin D status found to be different between younger and older community members (could it be a difference in glyphosate body burden?)

/Disclaimer: 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./

Part of a series, continued from:


  1. B. C. Paria, et al., Dysregulated Cannabinoid Signaling Disrupts Uterine Receptivity for Embryo Implantation, June 8, 2001 The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 276, 20523-20528.[]
  2. p62, 91-92, Editors, Emmanuel S. Onaivi, Takayuki Sugiura, Vincenzo Di Marzo, Endocannabinoids: The Brain and Body’s Marijuana and Beyond, (Taylor & Francis Group, 2006, Florida), pages 62 and 91-92 are from Chapter 3, Chapter 3, Endocannabinoid Receptor Genetics and Marijuana Use, by: E.S. Onaivi, H. Ishiguro, P. W. Zhang, Z. Lin, B. E. Akinshola, C. M. Leanoard, S. S. Chirwa, J. Gong, and G. R. Uhl.
  3. [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 []
  4. [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,   []