Polly: Mary Megson, MD, has had some amazing successes treating autism with cod liver oil (for its vitamin A content) and occasionally a drug to stimulate the release of acetylcholine. After administering the fish liver oil for two months, Dr. Megson will sometimes add one dose of the drug Urocholine to increase acetylcholine. Within 30 minutes of this dose, some of the kids appear to reconnect and to be able to focus. Yet, the children are still sickly.
She came to use the cod liver oil and the Urocholine after noticing that many of the autistic children have a family history that indicates a possible G I alpha protein defect. She hypothesized that in these cases, autism may be caused by further interference with these G proteins. One possibility is that additional interference with the G proteins could have been caused by administering vaccines when there was a deficiency of vitamin A. The cod liver oil she uses replaces the vitamin A. The drug to increase acetylcholine was tried because G protein defects could also knock out acetylcholine production.
Vitamin A is extremely important for the maintenance of healthy intestinal flora. Generally, the autistic children are deficient in not just vitamin A, but all of the fat-soluble vitamins¾A, D, E, and K. In fact, some of secretin’s benefit might be due to its stimulation of bile, which is needed for the assimilation of the fat-soluble vitamins. However, not just any vitamin A will do. Dr. Megson feels that the retinol form of vitamin A is absorbed best. This form of vitamin A is found in butter, fish, and liver. (It is not found in most vitamin supplements or infant formulas.) Of these sources of retinol vitamin A, Dr. Megson chose fish liver oil. She did this for a very specific reason. Fish oil is the only source of 14 hydroxy-retro-retinol (14-HRR). G protein defects could block the conversion of vitamin A into this 14-HRR. So she starts her patients on small amounts of cod liver oil¾similar to the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A. (Fish liver oil is rich in vitamins A, D, and K, and it has a reasonable amount of vitamin E. Still, giving extra vitamin E with fish oil to prevent oxidation is recommended in many books.)
Urocholine is a prescription drug that stimulates the release of acetylcholine at nerve endings, and acts like an artificial acetylcholine. (Bethanechol is the generic name for Urocholine.) It stimulates gastric motility, increases gastric tone and often restores impaired rhythmic peristalsis of the intestines. It also increases bile and pancreatic secretions and indirectly stimulates the vitamin A receptors in the brain’s hippocampus.
For more information on Dr. Megson’s work, go to these websites, http://bhare.org/newtx.html and http://www.megson.com.
Polly: Dr. Mary Megson suggests letting autistics have salt. If there is a G protein defect, three of the channels that remove calcium from the cells are blocked. The only other major means of removing calcium is with salt. If there isn’t enough salt in the diet, there is the danger that an autistic will calcify his or her brain cells.