Please see full transcript of this podcast #24, The Sulfation Pathway In Autism” below on this page.

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.

Buy the book here

Sulfation and methylation directly affect each other. See my podcast interview below with methylation specialist, Dr. Richard Deth.

Additional Resources:

Interview with water expert, Robert Slovak, How To Create Healthy Water Resources

Interview with Dr. Zach Bush, How To Protect Yourself from Glyphosate Damage

Podcast episode #17, How to Safely Enhance Detoxification, blog post with links

Interview with probiotic expert Kiran Krishnan, The Link Between the Gut Microbiome and Autism

Methylation and B12 Issues in Autism with Dr. Richard Deth [Podcast]

Dangerous Household Toxins

Moms Across America

Transcript of “The Sulfation Pathway In Autism” with Karen Thomas and Dr. Stephanie Seneff

Karen Thomas:

Today we have another special guest with us, Dr. Stephanie Seneff. And I’m going to give you a brief bio on her. Our topic today is the sulfation pathway in autism. And sulfation is something that parents of children with autism need to know about. And it’s one of those sorts of scientific aspects, but it’s really, really important to know, we’re gonna break it down in layman’s terms, basically letting you know that it is a major pathway of detoxification in the body among many other things that it does. And so it’s really important to know if your child has these sensitivities and how you can bring them back to balance. And also what kinds of triggers might be there for your child as well if they have this.

So, Dr. Stephanie Seneff is a senior research scientist at MIT’s computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA. She has a bachelor’s degree from MIT in biology and a Ph.D. from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science. Her recent interests have focused on the role of toxic chemicals and micronutrient deficiencies in health and disease with the special emphasis on the pervasive herbicide Roundup and the mineral sulfur. She has authored over 30 peer-reviewed journal papers over the past few years on these topics. And I wanna let you know right away that as usual, I have created a page for you where I’ll link to anything that we talk about in this interview today at naturallyrecoveringautism.com/24, just the numbers two, four. So everything that you can find will be there in case you’re driving, or you’re out on your morning run or running around you’ll be able to gather that information and look back at this as well. So Dr. Seneff, thank you so much for being here today. And I wanna tell everybody, talk about a trooper, she is in Hawaii on her vacation and she got here for us today so that she could share this information with you. So welcome.

Dr. Seneff:

Thank you. Thank you for having me. I’m delighted to be here. You’ve got my two favorite topics there, sulfur and glyphosate. So I should be good to go.

Karen Thomas:

And I will link also for, If you haven’t listened in the past or missed a past episode I did with Dr. Seneff on glyphosate, which we’re gonna talk about in this episode, obviously, to let you know even further details about it. So Dr. Seneff, you believe that the sulfate deficiency is a key factor in autism. So can you explain the evidence that you have to support the idea around that?

Dr. Seneff:

Yeah. I wanna start with saying that Rosemary Wearing, she worked with a lot of autistic patients, and way back in 1990, she published what I consider to be a remarkable paper where she looked at sulfate and sulfite levels in the urine of autistic kids and she found extremely high because sulfate was twice as high as it should be and the sulfite was like 30 times as high as it would be normally. It was incredibly high levels of sulfite in the urine, and that’s like a huge hint that there’s something fishy going on with sulfur management, you know because sulfur is complicated. Sulfur is super, super essential in the body. It’s interesting that we don’t have a minimum daily requirement. You know, it’s not people sort of think there’s enough around and you don’t need to worry about it, but that’s not true if many of our foods are being depleted of their sulfur content. And so we’re getting sulfur deficiency, but we’re also getting disrupted sulfur metabolism in the body, which depends a lot on the gut microbes as well. So the gut microbes get messed up and the sulfur just is not managed correctly. Sulfite is very toxic and sulfate is essential. So you really get into trouble if you can’t convert sulfite to sulfate. And I think that’s a critical, critical piece of the puzzle with the autistic kids that in their gut, they can’t convert sulfate to sulfate because of glyphosate disrupting that enzyme, this is what I think.

I learned about sulfate early on when I started studying autism many years ago, well, about 10 or 12 years ago, I got really serious about trying to figure out autism, cuz I was worried about the rising rate and I was frustrated that most of the research dollars were going into genetics. I figured it had to be an environmental problem. So I started looking for environmental toxins that might be contributing and it took me a long time, maybe four or five years before I figured out glyphosate. But I really believe it was an epiphany for me when I heard a presentation given by Professor Don Huber, who’s a retired professor from Purdue and he gave a two-hour presentation on glyphosate. I did not know the word when I walked into that room. And when I came out, I was converted. It was like a religious experience. And I have spent ever since then, this is about five or six years ago, practically every second of my life studying glyphosate, cuz it’s such a fascinating molecule and it has incredibly interesting biological mechanisms by which it causes toxicity. This is what I believe. So I’m really deep into this subject at this point. And I’m convinced that basically, glyphosate is a train wreck for sulfate and sulfate is super important, as you mentioned, one of the things that it’s important for is detoxification.

But there’s really tremendous evidence beyond Rosemary. So Rosemary Waring gave this idea that there’s something going on with the sulfate. She also found low levels of sulfate in the blood. So high levels in the urine, low levels in the blood. This means these kids are flushing sulfate, and then you have to ask, well, why are they doing that? What is wrong that’s making them get rid of their sulfate when they need it so important. So that becomes interesting too, to think about in terms of the biological mechanisms. But there’s also evidence looking at the brain and this is for both humans and experiments with mice, really fascinating studies. They have now many different papers about different species, there are different versions of mice that have autism and it’s really interesting. They’ve managed to create these designer mice that show all the mouse evidence, you know, they can look at the way those mice behave and say, oh, these mice have autism, a mouse version of autism. And there was one amazing experiment that I found where they actually were able to manipulate the enzymes that were involved in making something called heparin sulfate in the brain, in the ventricles, in the brain. So this was a very specific dysfunction that they gave these mice shortly after birth and of course, they did this because they suspected it might be a problem. They basically disrupted the mice’s ability to make heparin sulfate in the brain ventricles. And sure enough, those mice exhibited all the mouse features of autism. So this is like a very specific thing that they did to cause the autism in the mice, which gives you a huge hint that that may be a critical piece of the puzzle for autism. And then on top of that, there’s another set of mice called BTBR mice. These mice are super interesting. They created them, they made them be autistic by basically growing lab mice in multiple generations and every generation selecting for the ones that were most clearly exhibited autistic features. 

So they basically did a genetic pruning to inbreeding of these mice to produce autism. They now have a species of mouse that breeds true. So you can buy these mice, you know, on the web, if you’re a researcher. And these mics have lots of problems with their guts. So they’ve done a lot of studying of these mice and understand many of the unusual features of their gut that are reflected in imbalances in the gut microbes and different deficiencies in certain nutrients and all this kind of stuff. But those mice also have, they’ve seen that they have reduced sulfate in the brain ventricle. And then they’ve also shown that in human studies with autistic brains, postpartum they’ve shown, reduced separate sulfate in the brain ventricle. So a very specific thing that I think is a core feature of autism.

Karen Thomas:

Wow. There’s so much important information to share and to make sure that we also tell our listeners like, you know, as a parent of a child with our autism, how this is happening and why sulfate is so important. We need to take a short break, but when we come back, we’re gonna dive right back into those subjects and follow through on this piece with sulfate and autism. And we talked a little bit before our first commercial break a little bit about the extreme sensitivities that children with autism have to sulfate and this leaky gut and how glyphosate is basically part of that environmental trigger. But let’s look at maybe a little bit about why sulfate’s important to the body. And I’d also like to kind of dive into how some of these triggers are happening so easily. So can you share that with us, Dr. Seneff?

Dr. Seneff:

Definitely. So sulfate is really crucial in the body for many roles. And you mentioned detoxification, which is really important. Many of these toxic chemicals, the liver adds sulfate to them, which makes them water-soluble. And then shifts them back to the gut and they become accessible for degradation. So if they get water-soluble and that allows them to be taken out otherwise they become very toxic. So it’s a way of detoxifying a lot of non sort of fat-soluble toxins that are in your environment. Other things besides glyphosate are going to be cleared more quickly if sulfation is working in the liver. So if that pathway is disrupted, you’re gonna have a much greater sensitivity to other toxic chemicals in the environment. Another thing is that heparin sulfate, I mentioned before in the brain ventricles, but heparin sulfate is all over the body. It’s in what’s called the extracellular matrix proteins that surround most of the cells, every cell in the tissues has this coating around it that has these complicated sugar change with sulfates attached to them in an irregular, but not random pattern. And it’s really interesting because there’s a lot of signaling that goes on there. The heparin sulfate that lines the blood vessels is really important for picking up signals that are coming through in the blood. And even for picking up nutrients like LDL to get the LDL particles, which is cholesterol to actually take up that cholesterol, you need to have the heparin sulfate. And it’s involved also with processing sugar. I mean, all of these different receptors in the cells, heparin sulfate is crucial for them to be able to receive those signals. And so insufficient sulfation in the blood, for example, is gonna cause problems it’s even gonna cause problems with circulation because the heparin sulfate, actually the sulfate creates gels of water. So it creates a kind of gel layer surrounding the blood vessel which you can imagine jello, slick surface, the red blood cells can just slide through the capillaries almost effortlessly if there is this jello surrounding the vessel wall. 

But if there’s not enough sulfate that jello will not exist and you’ll have all these molecules kind of protruding out and getting the red blood cells stuck. So you can actually have no flow situations with the blood. So it’s very, very important to have adequate sulfate lining the blood vessels in order for the circulation to move, the blood to move smoothly through the vessels. Sulfate is also crucial. The cells actually take up the heparin sulfate and they incorporate it into what’s called lysosomes, where they break down cellular debris. So when you have (Inaudible 12:14) in living the cells end up damaging their molecules and they have to break those things down and then recycle them, you know, build new, healthy molecules out of the ones that got busted. And they do that in the life system, like the cells digestive system. And that’s also where they will take up viruses and bacteria and kill them. And even perhaps use them as resources. You know, the raw materials that you get from breaking down a virus can be used as repurposed as fresh materials for the cell to use. And that whole process of clearing the virus is, so for example, a macrophage is clearing an infection depends upon sulfate and the cell clearing the cellular debris that they get from oxidation and glycation damage depends on sulfate. So when you don’t have enough sulfate, all those things break down and you get assess susceptibility transfection, the sort of broken immune system, and you get all the cellular debris can accumulate for example, and something like Alzheimer’s, you get a lot of amyloid-beta plaque accumulating in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s disease. So these things are all critically dependent on having enough sulfate

Karen Thomas:

And how do we get enough sulfate? And I also know that some people are very sulfate sensitive, especially children with autism in the beginning. So you have to move very slowly into putting sulfate foods or even Epsom salts baths and things like that into their system because if they have that sensitivity, in the beginning, they can have reaction. So can you talk about that a little bit?

Dr. Seneff:

Yeah. That’s a crucial problem because it becomes a situation where sulfur is both essential and toxic at the same time. And this is actually true of many of the minerals as well, like manganese and iron and zinc and copper, they can all become both toxic and deficient at the same time if, in fact, you’ve got your system disrupted the system that the body has to manage them, and that’s what’s going on with the sulfur. And it’s interesting to look at sort of some of the effects of glyphosate that have been studied. For example, they studied E Coli bacteria. There was a wonderful study that looked at, which enzymes were upper regulated and down-?regulated in response to glyphosate. They found a huge change in the way the E Coli behaved when they were exposed to glyphosate. So one of the things they noticed was that there was a deficiency, you know, the enzymes that are involved in making methionine out of sulfur, out of inorganic sulfur sources was disrupted. So this means that the gut microbe, we actually, our cells don’t know how to make methionine out of inorganic sulfur. They can’t do it. Our microbes are really smart. And one of the things they can do is to convert inorganic sulfur, which is like sulfate sulfite into methionine using these enzymes that are busted by glyphosate. 

And so what happens with that is both methionine deficiency and sulfur toxicity at the same time, because the gut microbes are sleeping on the job. And E Coli is just representative, but probably most of the gut microbes are affected in the same way that you end up with deficiencies in methionine, of course, methionine is the methylation pathway. And there’s a lot of chatter about methylation defects in autism, which is directly connected to deficiencies in methionine. So that’s where you can source that. But at the same time, then you have the sulfur sensitivity because of the blocked enzymes. And so the answer is to get rid of the glyphosate and that means eating organic. I mean, one of the most important things you can do is switch to an organic diet, and you can also learn which foods are likely to be highly contaminated with glyphosate and avoid those foods, or at least eat them organically if you’re going to eat them. And that includes, for example, wheat, you know, all the wheat-based products. There is a lot of spraying of wheat with glyphosate right before harvest that goes on. It turns out to be a big boon in terms of improving the harvest yield and maybe chasing a frost, you’re trying to avoid the crop freezing. You know, people are sometimes very strongly motivated to want to do this, but what’s happening is when you spray it short it be for harvest, it goes into the seed and gets into the food. So we have an epidemic in gluten intolerance, and I know a lot of the autistic kids have sensitivity to gluten. So I think the reason is because of the glyphosate contamination in the wheat. And so that’s a reason to avoid wheat or to eat it organically.

Karen Thomas:

Right. I know that one of the ways that they try to dry the crops up for wheat crops, especially right before harvest, they’ll spray glyphosate on it. And glyphosate, many people are using a product called Roundup in their yard to kill the weeds, and they don’t realize that that is glyphosate. So it’s very important to know for yourself in your own home and to notify your neighbors, that you don’t wanna be spraying glyphosate Roundup in your yard because even by inhaling it through just your nostrils you can disrupt the gut and the membranes, because even just inhaling it can be as damaging as eating it, but they’re trying to dry these crops up so quickly so they can also get them into harvesting, get them into the mill, turn ’em up faster and get ’em out to process faster. So, yeah, that’s why we see gluten sensitivities as one of the biggest triggers in gut issues and symptoms of autism. And before this last break, we were talking a little bit about glyphosate, which again is in the weed killer Roundup that many people still have in their garage and don’t realize the dangers around it and spring it on the weeds around your home and how dangerous that can even be even when you inhale it. And so Dr. Seneff is a specialist in glyphosate, and I have interviewed her in the past, and I will link in the show notes again. They’ll be @naturallyrecoveringautism.com/24, just the numbers 2, 4. And I’ll link to that episode, so you can get the deeper details, but Dr. Seneff for people who are listening now, would you share a little bit more about some of these issues with glyphosate before we go into more about sulfation?

Dr. Seneff:

Yeah. I wanted to just mention with this idea of breathing the glyphosate, one thing that I was shocked to find, I found a paper that talked about specifically exposing, I don’t know if it was rats or mice, to glyphosate through breathing and they observed that the cells in the nose actually actively took up the glyphosate along amino acid transport channels, because glyphosate is an amino acid. That’s really a critical thing that makes it so toxic is because it’s an amino acid and it’s something that our cells think of as something natural. And they end up taking up the glyphosate in the nose and delivering it straight to the brain. So it’s very scary to be breathing glyphosate, I think absolutely should throw away any Roundup that you have and never use it again on your weeds. Absolutely. Should do that.

Karen Thomas:

Thank you. I think that, and also I’ll link to moms across America, they’re a group that helps to educate people throughout the world on the issues of glyphosate. So you can also help educate your community as well. So let’s get back a little bit to the sulfation issues at hand, too. You had mentioned high serum oxalate and low vitamin D status and leading to some of these deficiencies. And I do eventually wanna get back into that piece where we talked about how a child can have these sensitivities and you have to slowly and very gradually increase things back into their system to give them what they need when they’re deficient, but not too quickly because they can then have reactions. And I know a lot of this is about healing the gut, and I work with that as well on my program. So can you discuss some of these, you know, I know you have some more scientific background for us on these serum oxalates and especially low D, a lot of people don’t realize the low vitamin D level issue,

Dr. Seneff:

Right. And low D is an epidemic in our society. It was like once the doctors realized they started testing for vitamin D and it was like, holy cow, everybody’s deficient in vitamin D almost nobody seems to have enough, you know, and I think that’s a direct consequence of glyphosate. It’s been shown in mouse studies that glyphosate specifically messes up a class of enzymes called (Inaudible 20:45) enzymes in the liver. And those enzymes are actually essential for producing the bio acids. And they’re also essential for many of the detoxification pathways. So along with the sulfate problem, there’s also this side piece called site enzyme problem that will cause again, increased toxicity of other toxic chemicals. But an important thing is that vitamin D is activated in the liver by a (Inaudible 21:08) enzyme. So if that gets disrupted by glyphosate then you’re gonna have low vitamin D, but if you’re taking vitamin D it’s not gonna get activated properly in the liver. So your body won’t be able to use it. And I think that’s a crucial piece of the puzzle as to why we have a vitamin D deficiency epidemic. So again, as a way to improve the vitamin D is to rid of the glyphosate, of course, also sunlight exposure. I totally believe in sunlight exposure to the skin. And I think we’re way too obsessed with sunscreen in today’s society. It’s just ridiculous. And it’s interesting to see that we use much more sunscreen now than we did when I was a child and the levels are much, much higher. The protection factor like 60, you know, these ridiculously high, when I was a child, you couldn’t buy anything higher than nine and now you can get these 64 plus and whatnot, really high protection really toxic sunscreens that you’re putting on your skin that I think actually disrupts your skin’s ability to make sulfate. 

So I’ve written papers about this theory that sulfate is synthesized in the skin in response to sunlight. And that sulfate is actually used to sulfate vitamin D. So the vitamin D is synthesized in response to sunlight. The sulfate is synthesized. The two of them are put together to make vitamin D sulfate, which is water-soluble. So again, when you add sulfate, you make it water-soluble. You don’t have to put it inside an LDL particle to ship it around. So the skin can just throw that vitamin D sulfate right out into the blood and carry it over to the liver where it gets activated by these enzymes that are disrupted by glyphosate. So you can see that there’s just major problems with vitamin D deficiency and also sulfate deficiency as a consequence of insufficient sunlight exposure and aggressive protection, sun protection. Same thing with, by the way, sunglasses, I don’t think people should wear sunglasses. I don’t even own a pair, I’m always outside without sunglasses. And the eyes can pick up the sun and behind the eyes, there’s a pineal gland and the pineal gland makes sulfate in response to sunlight. And then in the evening, it makes the melatonin and it attaches the melatonin to sulfate and ships it out into the cerebral spinal fluid. So this is a source of sulfate for the hemorrhage sulfate in the ventricles that’s so critically deficient in autism. So absolutely no sunglasses outside in the sunlight, allow the pineal gland to make the sulfate, which can then supply sulfate to the brain, which critically needs it to help ease the autism symptoms. I think that’s absolutely crucial. And so the other one that… Go ahead.

Karen Thomas:

Well, yeah, it’s a lot of information and it’s great to know because if you’re supplementing with vitamin D, even if it’s a very bioabsorbable one, maybe a sublingual one would be better cuz you gotta bypass the liver, especially if the liver is disrupted or if glyphosate is disrupting that process in the liver. So for people who maybe live in very cold areas in the winter, do you have other ways that you suggest that people can get some more vitamin D in those low sunlight months?

Dr. Seneff:

Right. I mean, one thing is to eat foods that contain vitamin D. I think up north, the Eskimos would rely on this seal blubber right, seal blubber contains a lot of vitamin D. But eating, so for example dairy like butter, you know, there’s vitamin D in butter. And also I think if I lived in Canada, I would probably use a full spectrum sun exposure tanning kind of thing to actually expose myself to a full-spectrum light in order to get extra vitamin D in the winter, but you can store it up in the summer. So getting a really good tan in the summertime will help you to pull you through the winter. Now I of course come to Hawaii and get a lot of sun here in the winter. So I really believe in getting adequate sunlight exposure. I think it’s crucial for your immune system in particular because again, you get that sulfate, it helps you to help the immune cells to be able to clear the viruses and the bacteria, really, really important to get adequate sunlight exposure. I can’t emphasize that enough. Walking outdoors, if you live near the ocean, walk in the ocean water, outdoors you know, barefoot and so you can get grounding. Grounding is important too because that’s the way to get negative charge and negative charge will help the blood circulating. 

And of course, sulfate carries negative charge. So that’s one of the important things about the sulfate. The sulfate actually is in the membranes of the red blood cells, the red blood cells make the sulfate in response to sunlight, and then they put it into their membrane as cholesterol sulfate. So cholesterol’s another critical piece of the puzzle, insufficient cholesterol as a problem in autism and in particular insufficient cholesterol sulfate. And what I believe happens is that in the skin in response to sunlight, both cholesterol sulfate and vitamin D sulfate are produced and the cholesterol sulfate is perhaps the more important molecule because it’s providing both cholesterol and sulfate to all the tissues. Vitamin D is more of a signaling molecule. It’s sort of telling the system, Hey, look, we’ve got cholesterol sulfate covered. So by virtue of the vitamin D sulfate being there, it’s a signaling molecule that’s thinking that there must be cholesterol sulfate as well because they would’ve come together. But when you take a vitamin D supplement, you miss the cholesterol sulfates, you only get the vitamin D so it’s a false signal. So I actually don’t like getting your vitamin D through supplements. I think you should get it either through natural foods, foods that naturally contain it, which will also have the cholesterol sulfate, or by getting exposure to the sun, which I think is the best way to get it.

Karen Thomas:

Right, because vitamin D you know, they taunt the flu season, and people you know, caution on flu shots. And vitamin D is one of the best flu fighters available. It’s antibacterial and antiviral. So these are really, really good things for people to know right now to make sure that you’re eating some of these right foods. It’s nice to know that your suntan from the summertime does help to build up and can last a little bit into the winter. But the full spectrum type of lights in the winter might be a really good idea as well, to help supplement. And I love the ocean as well. So it’s always nice too if you can get to Hawaii in the middle of the wintertime or the Caribbean so not everybody can do that. That’s a big plus there too. So why don’t we talk about the oxalates and the serum high oxalate issue?

Dr. Seneff:

That’s also interesting. And autistic kids, again, there have been studies that have shown that autistic kids tend to have high levels of oxalate in their blood. Oxalate can precipitate out as calcium oxalate crystals and cause, for example, kidney stones, and also can precipitate out as crystals in the brain to cause damage there. So oxalate is really tricky to manage. I actually believe that the high oxalate is a consequence of the low sulfate that the liver actually is producing oxalate. Because there’s insufficient sulfate because sulfate and oxide have a lot of similar biophysical properties. Oxalate can do some of the things that sulfate should be doing, so when sulfate’s deficient, you need to boost up the oxalate to compensate for it. And that’s what I think is going on with the kids. And now it turns out that when you have high oxalate in the kidneys, there’s you know, transport mechanisms that will try to preserve the sulfate and bring it back into circulation. But if there’s high oxalate, those kidneys will actually throw away the sulfate. So that’s how you get the high sulfate in the urine because of the high oxalate, which is out-competing sulfate on those channels that come back in. It’s really, really interesting. So the high oxalate is going to force the sulfate out of the body. Its kind of like the liver made a commitment to oxalate instead of sulfates, because of a recognition that there are problems in the sulfate synthesis pathways. I think sulfate oxidate is really hit hard by glyphosate. And I know multiple mechanisms by which it would be.

One is that it depends on heme, sulfite oxidates depend on heme, like hemoglobin. And heme synthesis is disrupted by glyphosate, that’s been shown in studies so that it’s hard to make the heme and therefore hard to make the sulfite oxidase. It also depends on molybdenum, which is one of these plus two minerals, and glyphosate chelates these minerals making them unavailable. So there could be a potential. molybdenum deficiency, a heme deficiency. And then on top of that, sulfite oxidase contains highly essential glycine residues that are essential for it to work. And I have a theory that glyphosate is messing up proteins by substituting for glycine. Glyphosate is a glycine molecule. Glycine is an amino acid and glycolate is an amino acid also. Glyphosate is a complete glycine molecule, but it has extra materials stuck onto its nitrogen atom, which is what makes it so toxic. And I think it’s getting into proteins by mistake in place of glycine. And when it does that in certain proteins, it absolutely destroys their ability to do their job. And that’s what I think is happening with sulfite oxidase. So in the gut, the sulfite oxidase is just totally butchered by the glyphosate. And that’s how you get the sulfite toxicity and the sulfate deficiency at the same time. This is what makes the sulfur sensitivity problem because sulfite is so toxic. It’s very, very reactive and it’ll cause all kinds of collateral damage to the tissues. And so what happens then, of course, is that you can get a lot of overgrowth of bacteria that reduce sulfate to hydrogen sulfide gas, and you see that with the autistic kids. They have these microbes that are growing in their gut that are turning the sulfide into hydrogen sulfide gas, which it can also be toxic in high amounts, but it’s not as reactive as sulfite. But one of the things hydrogen sulfide does is it strips off the wall of the gut lining, it erodes the gut lining and produces the leaky gut situation, which then can cause all kinds of autoimmune diseases because undigested proteins, glyphosate disrupts the digestive enzymes (Inaudible 31:14) and lipase. The proteins don’t get properly digested. And of course, the proteins themselves could be contaminated with glyphosate in which makes it hard to break them down. So it’s a real mess as far as undigested proteins, getting out through that leaky gut barrier and the leaky gut barrier sets up a leaky brain barrier as well. This allows even the undigested proteins to get into the brain and this causes the brain’s immune system to get very upset. And so you get a lot of autoimmune diseases. I think autism is in some sense, an autoimmune disease, where the immune system in the brain is actually attacking the myelin sheet that’s blinding the nerve fibers and really causing a lot of trouble there. So it’s a real nasty cascade effect that is a consequence of glyphosate messing up so many different proteins in the gut.

Karen Thomas:

It would be nice when hopefully glyphosate will be banned from being used. There’s so much science and education, you know, you’ve studied it to length and continue to do so. It would be nice if the public were, as we are doing now, informing the public as well as we can help to do so. And that would be nice if, in the future, they would ban glyphosate that’s causing so many of these problems. So since they’re out there, we want to eat organically as best as possible. Non-Genetically modified foods, not eating genetically and modified foods, local sources that you know of, and all of those things. So if everybody’s doing as much as they can, of course working to heal the gut, very, very important, getting those microbes back in balance, healing up the leaky gut aspects. But are there other things too, that can build, you know, you mentioned these oxalates, so anything else between foods or supplements or anything that people can do?

Dr. Seneff:

Try to eat a low oxalate diet is one thing you can do, but that may not work because your liver may be going ahead and making the oxalate from other things, but certainly don’t wanna encourage the oxalate situation. They wanna try to avoid high oxalate foods. Another thing that I find really interesting is that there’s a microbe quality. There aren’t many microbes that can break glyphosate down. Glyphosate has a difficult, what’s called a CP bond, and most of the microbes don’t know what to do with that. So the glyphosate is mostly in nerve, most things don’t know how to break it down, but there are a few microbes that do know how to break down glyphosate. And one of them is acetobacter, and that is gotten fantastic news because acetobacter is present in apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, kimchi, cabochon, all those fermented food contains acetobacter. And I suspect that that’s a key reason why those fermented foods are so healthy, cuz it’s not just that they’re replenishing your gut microbes, but they’re providing microbes that can break down the glyphosate to help remove it. If there is glyphosate in your food these bacteria can help to remove it. So I think that those are very healthy foods to be eating. And of course, you wanna be eating high sulfur foods, but you could have an issue with sulfur and you’ll certainly be aware. And I think many of the autistic kids have a sulfur sensitivity issue, which causes them to avoid sulfur-containing foods. And that’s what gets them into this vicious cycle. So this is where you have to first heal the gut and get rid of the glyphosate, get those enzymes working again and the bacteria may not be there. So you need to take the probiotics to get them back because glyphosate kills off its patented antimicrobial agents and it preferentially kills off (Inaudible 34:36) bacteria and (Inaudible 34:37), both of which are super important for so many roles. One of the things that is significant in autism and related to glyphosate is that glyphosate recks a pathway, a biological pathway in the microbes that produces the aromatic amino acids and those aromatic amino acids. First of all, they’re essential in the building blocks of proteins, but they’re also precursors for the neurotransmitters, serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine, dopamine, and melanin, all of those come from this pathway the glyphosate disrupts in the gut. And one of the reasons why Monsanto claims glyphosate is safe is because our cells don’t have that pathway, but we depend upon our microbes to use that pathway to produce these absolutely essential molecules that our cells don’t know how to make. So there’s a really, we don’t realize how much we depend upon our gut microbes to provide critical nutrients that our cells are not able to make for themselves. And when we start killing off those microbes and disrupting those pathways, it causes all kinds of trouble in the gut, which eventually becomes systemic trouble.

Karen Thomas:

So yeah, that was great. That was a lot of really good information healing up the gut, getting rid of, of course, the bad foods and glyphosate, and then increasing probiotics. And I’ll also link to some great interviews that I have that can give you the listener a little bit more information on each of those more specifically going more in-depth on that so that you have those resources as well. And before the break, we were talking about some of the things that you can do to help build up and balance out the glyphosate issue and how it affects the sulfation pathway. And I know that Dr. Seneff, you had mentioned, you have a very interesting story about taurine and how it affects or it plays a role in that sulfate supply. So can you share that with us?

Dr. Seneff:

Yes, it’s really, really fascinating. And actually, I learned about taurine long before I learned about glyphosate, but now I understand how glyphosate is disrupting taurine. Taurine is a very interesting amino acid you know, like glycine and it’s a very interesting one. It actually is not a coding amino acid, so it doesn’t go into the proteins. But it’s the highest concentration of amino acid, a free amino acid in the body. Taurine is the one you have the most of. And it’s interesting where it’s stored. It actually is stored in high levels in the brain, in the heart, and in the liver, all three of those organs store taurine, they squirrel it away and it’s not quite understood why they do that. Although I believe I have the answer. The other interesting thing about taurine is that when the liver makes bio acids, it hooks the taurine molecules onto the bio acids before it sends them back to the gut. The bio acids are also very fascinating and I could do a whole episode on bio acids, but bio acids are disrupted by glyphosate. I mentioned the (Inaudible 37:50) enzyme problem, and also the sulfation problem. Both those are critical for the bio acids and even the taurine conjugation problem may be an issue with glyphosate as well, I’m still researching that. And also the gallbladder can be disrupted in its ability to contract, to send the bio acids out to the gut. So you get a bio acid deficiency problem, which for example, shows up in those PTBR mice that I mentioned earlier that have autism. They have a deficiency in bio assets, and I think the autism, the kids do too. And of course, that’s gonna also disrupt the digestion of that. But the bio acids are sent back with these taurine molecules hooked onto them, which is so fascinating. And then the microbes in the gut take the touring molecule off the bio acids. And then I suspect they convert it into sulfate after they do that. Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid, and it has actually a sulfite attached to it. Sulfite is almost sulfate. You just need one more oxygen to make sulfate. So taurine is sort of like, well, I consider it to be a storage form of sulfate, and I believe that the brain and the heart store the taurine as a reserve sulfate supply. And so when you have a critical situation of sulfate deficiency, severe sulfate deficiency, either the brain or the heart under that circumstance may decide to do a sort of really radical step to release that taurine into the blood, ship it over to the liver. The liver takes it up, attaches it to the bio acids, ship it to the gut and the gut and microbes convert it to sulfate. And that’s how you can beef up your sulfate supply when it’s super deficient. 

And I think that is what is the critical cause of encephalopathy in the brain and seizures, you know, there’s all these things that are associated with autism. I think autism can be described as a sort of low-grade chronic encephalopathy sort of swollen brain. That whole process, when the brain is sort of even like an anaphylactic shock reaction. These things are all related to this intense reaction in the brain to respond to a severe sulfate deficiency by releasing taurine and then hoping that those gut microbes will come through and turn it into sulfate. And so I think that process is disrupted by glyphosate. One of the things interesting with the E Coli study, I mentioned earlier in the E Coli study, where they were looking at, which enzymes were most affected by glyphosate, which proteins were most affected by glyphosate. The protein that was the most severely reduced in expression by glyphosate was a taurine transporter, which means that the E Coli would not be able to take up the taurine, even if it was given to them, they wouldn’t be able to take it up. And which means they absolutely can’t convert it to sulfate. So basically I think that path is blocked by glyphosate. And so taurine is no longer a workable resource to supply sulfate, which is a real panic situation for the body when that’s the last resort effort and it fails. And so I think that I actually believe a heart attack is analogous to seizures in the brain that it is associated with releasing taurine. This has been shown that in the heart attack, taurine is released from the heart into the circulation and the same thing can happen where the heart is sending the taurine off to the liver to go to the gut, to get the microbes, to make the sulfate out of the taurine. Really, really fascinating stuff that I’ve learned about from reading literature.

Karen Thomas:

Yeah, I would love to see a study on that. That is fascinating. And so supplementing with taurine is suggested.

Dr. Seneff:

Yes, I think so. One thing you have to worry about a little bit is that taurine supplementation can cause seizures interestingly enough, and that’s not surprising because if you’re supplying enough taurine then the brain is gonna get this good idea that maybe we can convert it into sulfate. So again, with the glyphosate situation, it may not work. It may be dangerous. This is the problem with all of these things. You know, it’s very tricky to get the sulfate supply up there. Part of the problem is sulfate itself cannot just be thrown into the blood and ship as free sulfate because it will gel the blood. I mentioned that it gels water turns water into jello. And so the blood has to keep the free sulfate levels very low. If they get too high, you’re gonna have a no-flow situation. And this is why there are all these sulfate transporters. There’s cholesterol sulfate, I mentioned vitamin D sulfate. There’s also serotonin. So serotonin is produced in large quantities in the gut, it’s sulfate, and then it shipped to the brain. So that’s how you’re supplying the brain with sulfate attached to serotonin. When you attach it to these molecules like serotonin and cholesterol and vitamin D you protect it from gelling the blood. So you need to have those sulfate carriers in order to be able to ship the sulfate around. And that’s another thing that glyphosate disrupts. It disrupts all of those. Of course, the serotonin comes right out of the (Inaudible 42:34) pathway, which glyphosate blocks. So you have a serotonin efficiency problem. That’s also linked to depression, for example, and we have a problem with depression in our society, I think, and also violent behavior is connected to low serotonin. So I think these are things that are happening as a consequence of the chronic glyphosate exposure that we’re experiencing.

Karen Thomas:

I noticed as soon as I started really learning about healing the gut with my own son, and he had been really irritable and had these, you know, as we hear with children with autism a lot, there are a lot of tantrums and anger episodes. And then once his gut began healing that all started to dissipate. Today, he is the calmest mellowest guy. I tell parents that, yeah, that is not your child’s personality. That’s not that they’re just this angry person. It’s because their gut is imbalanced, their brain isn’t getting what it needs, they’re toxic. And serotonin for listeners, I wanna be sure if you’re not familiar with it, I kind of call it the king of neurotransmitters, but it’s important for things like mood stability and sleep and appetite control. So very, very important and 95% of those are made in the gut. And so the gut then sends it to the brain cuz it’s a brain messenger. So it all comes back to starting with the gut. So very, very important.

Dr. Seneff:

(Inaudible 43:56) come out of the (Inaudible 43:57) pathway, which glyphosate disrupts. So <laugh>

Karen Thomas:

Right, in the gut. Exactly. And I wanna be sure that you know that I will be linking to anything that we discussed in this interview on a page I created for you @naturallyrecoveringautism.com/24, just the numbers two, four. And Dr. Seneff, I wanted to ask you really quickly, we talked about the bio acid piece and I would love to do a whole interview on just that in the future because I know the gallbladder which helps with fat digestion, of course, and the bio acids are a big issue in children with autism because you just can’t break them down and they need things like omega-three fatty acids for their brain, but they’re having trouble with those fats. So do you have, we don’t have a lot of time here, is there’s something that you can touch on that would be helpful for our listeners right now?

Dr. Seneff:

Certainly to show how glyphosate causes those problems. One thing really interesting that I have learned is that myosin, which is a muscle contracting protein, is severely disrupted by, there’s a particular glycine residue that can get messed up to cause it to not function at all. It can only contract at 1% capacity. And I think what’s happening is that glyphosate is getting into the myosin both in the gut, which is essential for the gut for peristalsis, for the gut to contract. So you get constipation problems cuz the gut is basically paralyzed and the gallbladder can become paralyzed as well because it needs myosin in order to release the bioactive. So basically the bio doesn’t get released, you get gallstones, you get your gall bladder removed because you’ve got issues, all of that. But also you’re not getting enough bio acids to digest the fat cuz they’re critical for digesting fats. And so then the fats become something you can’t deal with at (Inaudible 46:06). And the enzymes that break down the fat that the lipases are contaminated with glyphosate. 

Actually, Anthony Samso measured lipase. He ordered it from a lab, a pig source of lipase, and found that it was highly contaminated with glyphosate, and so were trypsin and pepsin. So these digestive enzymes that people are taking, they could be taking glyphosate with those enzymes if they’re not careful, but we probably have glyphosate in our own versions of those enzymes that are making them unable to do their jobs. So you can’t break down the proteins, you can’t break down the fat. Maybe that’s why these children tend to like sugar. They like to eat a lot of sugar because they can digest it much better than they can the proteins in the fat. So it’s just a big mess with respect to the digestive system, with respect to glyphosate poisoning. And how to fix that is really just to get rid of the glyphosate. I did wanna add one more thing, which is the only way you can move glyphosate from water is through reverse osmosis, and reverse osmosis takes out all of the sulfur. So water can be a very good source of sulfur. And (Inaudible 47:10) water is the highest sulfur content of any bottled waters is in Pologrenr water. So I recommend drinking Palogrener water for the sulfur. It’s from Europe and it’s mineralized.

Karen Thomas:

Okay. That’s good to know. And I will link to a water episode that I did as well with a water expert to give you a little bit more information as well. So thank you so much, Dr. Seneff for being here with us today, especially from Hawaii on your vacation, taking your time out to share all of your knowledge and experience with us. You’re such a wealth of knowledge. I love having you on the show and being here with us. So thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Dr. Seneff:

Thank you

Karen Thomas:

And enjoy the rest of your trip and your holiday. And thank you everyone for being here. I look forward to seeing you soon and this is naturally recovering autism. I’m your host, Karen Thomas. And we will see you next week.

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