Influence of Diet and Toxins in Autism Epidemic
Autism is a disorder of the neural development that is characterized by the disturbed social communication and interaction. There is a repetitive and restricted behavior. Diet plays a role in autism and care should be taken to make food choices.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of every 88 children has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is a serious concern.
Renee Dufault et al conducted a study to find out the influence of diet on autism. The study revealed that typical American diet, owing to mineral deficiencies and high fructose content, may trigger autism.
Dufault devised a new scientific approach, "macroepigenetic" to determine the influence of dietary factors like fructose on the body and chronic disease development.
Macroepigenetics studies the role of various environmental, nutritional and genetic factors in contributing to any specific ailment.
The researchers used the macroepigenetic approach to analyze the differences between exposure to toxic substances and diet and their impact on development of autism between American and Italian population.
Dufault and his fellow workers said that the occurrence of autism in USA and Italy was not affected by mercury exposure to fish, vaccines or dental amalgams. The study highlighted the presence of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the commonly consumed American food (cookies, cereals, breads, crackers, etc.). HFCS creates a deficiency of zinc which in turn interferes with the elimination of cadmium, arsenic and mercury, thereby causing a negative impact on the neurodevelopment.
The mineral imbalances can lead to oxidative stress in the brain. The exposure of organophosphates and pesticides used in crop production are probably concerned with nerve damage and dystrophy.
The blood homocysteine level increases with exposure to inorganic mercury and intake of high fructose corn syrup. This adversely affects the neurodevelopment and the occurrence of autism.
Dr. Richard Deth, the co-author of the study and professor of pharmacology at Northern University mentioned, "Factors like nutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals are cumulative and synergistic in their potential to disrupt normal development."
Reference: A macroepigenetic approach to identify factors responsible for the autism epidemic in the United States; Renee Dufault et al; Clinical Epigenetics 2012