Detoxification and Glutathione




Detoxification is the process by which chemicals and harmful substances are removed safely from the body.   Your child’s body has 4 different routes to remove toxins.

Your child’s body removes toxins via the:
  1. Digestive tract
  2. Kidneys
  3. Lungs
  4. Skin

The first three routes of detoxification are the most effective.  When the digestive tract, kidneys and lungs are impaired or overwhelmed with toxic substances, the skin becomes the last resort in the body’s attempt to remove harmful substances.  This is why so many children with autism have skin disorders.  Inflammation from the digestive tract and an inability to remove toxins effectively make the skin more susceptible to rashes, eczema and infection.

The liver is in charge of “managing” harmful substance removal. There are 7 different pathways for detoxification and each one needs adequate support from nutrients such as antioxidants.  If the digestive tract is impaired, nutrient status is unable to support effective detoxification.  If there is an enzyme in any one of the 7 detox pathways that is not functioning optimally, harmful substances like heavy metals store in the tissues and negatively impact development.

What is glutathione?

Short answer: 
The body’s cheif detoxifier.

Long answer: 
Glutathione is created through methylation.  Dr. S. Jill James has shown that 90% of children on the  autism spectrum as well as their parents have impaired methylation.  Read more in the B12 and Methylation section.

“Glutathione is the major antioxidant present in cells and is responsible for detoxification and elimination of environmental toxins.  It’s active form is reduced 80% in kids with autism”.

~ Dr. S. Jill James, PhD
Arkansas Childrens Research Institute

Dr. Jill James has received an NIH (National Institute of Health) grant for her research on autism spectrum disorder.  Impaired methylation and reduced levels of glutathione put children with ASD at greater risk from environmental toxicity from substances like heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs and other harmful chemicals.

“This pattern is consisten with an inability to detoxify poisons, especially heavy metals such as mercury or lead.  That is because glutathione normally binds to heavy metals and allows the body to detoxify them”.

~ Dr. S. Jill James, PhD

Research shows that children with ASD and ADHD have impaired detoxification pathways.  Children who are developing neurotypically are able to remove toxins like heavy metals, pesticides and chemicals more effectively from the body.  A developing child, for example, will use up two molecules of glutathione to get rid of one molecule of mercury.  Children with autism have less glutathione so it gets depleted more quickly, especially when there is a higher degree of environmental insult.  Proximity to toxic landfills has consistently been associated with eleveated rates of autism and developmental delay.