The Phenol issue and Sara’s Diet

In 1995 I attended a biomedical conference at Duke University which featured Dr. Rosemary Waring. I spoke to Dr. Waring and Dr. S. Kahler who hosted the conference and told them about Sara and her response to the lutein free diet. At this time there was no internet service in my little hometown of Glen Alpine North Carolina but the State funded Western Carolina Center for developmentally delayed children had a connection to bit.listserv.stjohns and they allowed me to use this connection to share Sara’s story and network with people who were looking at autism.
    I had heard about the biomedical conference at an Allergy Induced Autism (AIA) lecture featuring Brenda O’Reilly 2 months earlier in Cary North Carolina. I had also called several organizations including Autism Society of America to tell them about Sara’s near instantaneous recovery and they said ‘Autism is untreatable but you might want to call the premier diet guru Dr. Bernard Rimland’. I did call Dr. Rimland and thanks to him and some parents I met through AIA I was allowed to speak at the North Carolina Autism Society conference in June of 1995. When I posted to the St. Johns list I was careful to credit Dr. Waring for her work on the PST-P enzyme (phenolsulfotransferase-P).
    Some people began to refer to Sara’s Diet as the white diet, the Buddhist diet and a phenol restricted diet. The researchers and parents tried to understand from their point of view and justified the results that were being obtained as a result of reduced phenols thus identifying with the Feingold diet. Later at a Developmental delay Registry Conference I met some of the Feingold people and explained the lutein difference but this did not result in changes to their recommendations for clients with autism. I respect the work of Dr. Feingold but unfortunately he is no longer with us to continue working and expanding on his research. I posted in response to the phenol issue but the internet is a busy place and originally I only had access to the St. Johns list. I could not compete with the people using AOL spreading the phenol myth as the reason for the positive response to the lutein free diet. Some people seemed genuinely interested in what I was trying to accomplish. I continued with my work one family at a time and ultimately this work has taken me around the globe.
    There is a complex relationship to phenols in that the enzymes which are inhibited by the immune reaction include the phosphotransferases, as well as casein kinase and the manufacture of the enzymes needed to break down milk protein and the substance needed to remove gluten from the body. The interference comes from the immune system’s selection of lutein pigment as non-self during fetal development which results in a cascade of reactions. Firstly this reaction can virtually halt the transport of pigment granules in the developing brain. Fortunately by the time this immune response occurs the brain is quite well formed. Some cargo however never gets to it’s destination which is why the autistic brain is wired a little differently. The feedback loops in the brain where the immune cells are abundant include the purkinje cells and immune responses here would result in free radical damage through the oxygen burst as pigment was identified by the immune system. A reduction in purkinje cells is a natural protective response by an immune system which has made the lutein selection. At about twenty weeks gestation the Retinal Pigment epithelial cells are developing and this would result in immunogenetic conflict in the developing fetus. The eye is normally very well protected from immune responses, however in the developing autist immune and genetic factors result in variable outcomes including blindness. The developing fetus is susceptible to changes at the genetic level as a direct result of the immune system’s reaction to the environment (what crosses the placental barrier and the level of toxins such as respiratory pigment waste that builds up in the amniotic fluid). The enzymes which normally use lutein are called the Cytochrome P450 system and in the autist this system is impaired resulting in variable ability to utilize tryptophan in the normal ways, for example conversion to NADPH. The immune system engulfment and removal of the pigment(s) interferes with the ways in which pigments are normally removed via tryptophan (odor and color of stool). This immune response also alters the ability of the autist to utilize substances which are vitamin A precursors (beta-carotene). Unfortunately in 1967 the World Health Organization determined that we humans could get our vitamin A from beta-carotene. They were wrong, whole populations cannot convert precursor beta-carotene to vitamin A. This same recommendation resulted in changes to prenatal vitamins, baby formula and baby vitamins. This coincides with a steady incline in the diagnosis of autism.
    The same immune response to the pigment lutein results in decreased capacity to produce some essential long chain fatty acids. Poor feeding often results in the infant later diagnosed with autism having foods added earlier then the recommended infant feeding schedule suggests. This can result in an elevated level of immune macrophages which are the cells that can mount an immune response to vaccination and early childhood illness. An infant later diagnosed with autism might have one, two or even three vaccinations without incident and then when the pigmented foods have entered the diet there is a substantial risk for a serious immune response. Testing which could identify infants who are at risk for a vaccine response have not been forthcoming. Testing to identify infants at risk for developing autism have also not been forthcoming.
    Areas of the hypervariable region which have been strongly altered as a result of vaccination over the past two centuries involve anywhere from 9 percent to 20 percent of the human population. The most common diseases associated to this region are diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosis, arthritis and also spontaneous abortion. The recommendations for findings of concern in this area from amniocentesis thus far have been to ignore the result. More recently congenital adrenal hyperplasia and autism have come into view. How long before the powers that be recommend abortion for people whose infant show changes in the hypervariable region? Is it possible that in the near future 10 percent to 20 percent of those obtaining amniocentesis will be recommended for abortion? Think about the cost of lifetime care for an individual with autism estimated in the USA at $2,000,000.00 before you conclude this could not happen. It would likely cut the instance of susceptibility to vaccine reactions also.
    Pigments exit the body through many pathways: respiratory pigments, nasal mucous, ear wax, stool, urine and skin. Immune reactions to pigments and ATPase in the ears result in ear inflammation in the autist. Damage in the Island of Corti where this immune response would occur could contribute to deafness and this can be increased as a response to gluten, egg and dairy (Nsouli). Autists are more susceptible to ear inflammation and therefore more likely to receive antibiotics. This can result in increased likelihood of developing yeast overgrowth. Other factors also contribute to yeast overgrowth. The heavy burden of the immune response to pigments on the liver and spleen can interfere with the body’s natural ability to control yeast. The yeast also can perform some functions such as breaking down casein and other proteins, binding to and removal of heavy metal toxins. Other bacteria which may flourish in the gut of the autist can produce pigments such as lycopene. Autists become susceptible to abnormal gut flora for many reasons.
    The autistic individual may be as likely to phenol sensitivity as the general population or possibly more so secondary to the PST-P deficiency. However this is not the cause of autism. To get to the cause you have to identify what is responsible for the phosphotransferase deficiencies, why there is elevated neopterin and biopterin in the urine, what could cause granule cell disturbance, serotonin disturbance, tryptophan disturbance, vitamin A disturbance, inability to remove gluten, break down casein and all of these things would be a natural biochemical cascade reaction to an immune system which had selected lutein as non-self. This would also result in the potential release of plant by-products (oil residues) back into the body and other substances from the lutein containing foods. These substances removed via the urine, skin, stool, ear wax and mucous create itching and burning resulting in the need for natural pain killers. Enter the opioids which include, but are not exclusive to, the opioids from gluten and dairy. Unfortunately at a time when we need research from the big pharmaceutical companies there are many law suits in progress. It is no wonder most of these companies want to distance themselves from autism research.
    Fruits, vegetables and grains are not called protein foods because the amino acids they contain are the reversed polarity form of the amino acid not normally used in the human body. Research has identified and suggested findings of reversed polarity opioids such as Dermorphin and deltorphin in the autist. The immune system also manufactures opioids such as hemorphin (engulfment of heme and release of hemorphins). It is possible and even probable that this potential is increased in the autist where the plant pigment is treated very differently then in the normal metabolism.
    Those attempting to describe Sara’s Diet as a phenol free diet are incorrect. There is no relationship to any particular phenol and the lutein free diet. If we look a little deeper into some treatments which have resulted in ‘recovery’ or ‘symptom free’ often we can find an unmentioned dietary component - the autistic child’s natural aversion to green foods. Karen Seroussi states that the GFCF diet works best when the children already has a self-selective diet. After working with thousands of children worldwide, we have found that these self-selective diets are usually a child’s attempt to avoid lutein – the food that makes them feel bad, and replace them with opioid producing foods – the foods that block their pain. Desperate parents already aware of their child’s limited diet supplementing with vitamins, DMG, folic acid, cod-liver oil who stumble on the right combination not knowing why it works, only that it worked for their child. They often fail to see the whole picture not knowing the scientific names of the foods their child avoids or readily accepts and then referring to them as phenols, flavinoids or salicylates.