The Sulfation pathway is often disrupted in children with autism. It is a major pathway in detoxification. It is also involved in a variety of biological processes including hormone regulation, molecular recognition, cell signaling, and the ability of viruses to enter cells. Molecular recognition is crucial in the body’s ability to bond to assist the ability of the immune system to recognize foreign agents to signal the immune system to respond accordingly, such as antigen-antibody, and strengthening protein interactions. People with autism tend to have difficulty with protein synthesis.
Damage to tissues in the body from oxygen is called oxidation. Mitochondria, the cells energy, and DNA, the genetic expression can be altered if too much oxidation exists without enough ANTI-oxidants. This disruption is known to alter the neuron pathways of the brain.
Glutathione is the body’s major anti-oxidant. Children with autism have low levels of glutathione which is compounded in the liver. The liver is the organ of detoxification and it is often congested in children with autism. A cell’s ability to absorb, or “uptake” glutathione relies on multiple amino acids inside of cells. Reduced glutathione production inhibits the body’s ability to detoxify environmental toxins such as heavy metals, and contributes to the weakening of the lining of the digestive tract, also known as leaky gut. Leaky gut allows undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream causing the immune system to become over-responsive and create an allergic response to foods that may otherwise be harmless. Leaky gut also reduces the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat.
Excerpt on Sulfation from my book, Naturally Recovering Autism: The Complete Step By Step Resource Handbook for Parents:
Proteins contain sulfites which turn to sulfates in the body. We need sulfates to assist detoxification, reduce inflammation, and help make stomach acid and digestive enzymes. A lack of ability to properly digest proteins causes the body to become low in sulfates. This combined with a weakened liver make it difficult for the body to properly digest and eliminate many chemicals, including those in foods. Genetically modified foods are known to effect sulfur metabolism.
The enzyme sulfite oxidase converts sulfites to sulfates in our body. Too many sulfites can be dangerous to your health. Too little sulfates also lead to damage to the nervous system, vision, and chronic illness. Due to genetic abnormalities in this enzyme or an improperly working digestive system it is very common to be low in sulfates. The sulfite oxidase enzyme needs molybdenum and vitamin B2, (riboflavin). Both are commonly deficient in children with autism. They can be taken in supplemental form, but foods which build molybdenum are red cabbage and buckwheat.
An additional way to increase sulfates in the body is through Epsom salts baths. Epsom salts are chemically magnesium sulfate. The sulfates pass through the pours of the skin and get into the bloodstream. Very warm water opens the pours and allows this to be most efficient. One cup of epsom salts dissolved in bath water, one to three times per day, can be helpful. You may wish to begin with a very small amount as a test if you notice sulfation sensitivities in your child.
Sulfation and methylation directly affect each other. See my podcast interview below with methylation specialist, Dr. Richard Deth.
Interview with water expert, Robert Slovak, How To Create Healthy Water Resources
Interview with Dr. Zach Bush, How To Protect Yourself from Glyphosate Damage
Interview with probiotic expert Kiran Krishnan, The Link Between the Gut Microbiome and Autism