Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Success with Sustained Release Alpha-lipoic acid

Summer is fading away.  Next week, the kids go back to school.  This summer has been a whirlwind of adventures, both good and sad but I did use this summer to try out something that I have long wanted to do.

In June, I started Marley (my child with autism) on Sustained Release Alpha-lipoic acid with biotin.  As I suspect mitochondrial problems in my girl, I thought this would be a good fit because it is both a mitochondrial cocktail supplement and it naturally chelates mercury.  

Before starting SR ALA, Marley took the swim test at our local pool.  If she passed, she got to swim in the deep end without an adult present. Marley failed. She swam to the edge long before she was supposed to stop. However, my middle daughter passed.  It was a heart-breaking, bittersweet moment.  I was so proud of my younger daughter yet so sad for my oldest. 

Then I started Marley on SR ALA twice per day and she tried the swim test again the next week.  This time she passed.  No problems. 

Then the improved self-awareness started to set in….

A month later, I heard this from my daughter:
Marley: "I have autism."
Me: "Yes, you do."
Marley: "Sometimes I can't get my words right."
Me: "That's okay. You are trying hard and I know what you mean."
Marley: "Can you get rid of my Autism?"

Not much that will choke up a parent like a statement like that from your child.  Much less, your child who used to be non-verbal, disconnected and self-absorbed.  

Her increased self-awareness was becoming extremely noticeable.

Then Marley started her summer “camp” which was actually therapy disguised as camp.  One day after becoming frustrated because someone got something she didn’t, yet wanted, she said to her therapist, “I’m sorry.  Sometimes it just takes me longer to get it.”  Marley won their hearts instantly.  Her therapist made sure to corner me to tell me that seeing this kind of self-awareness in a child with autism is rare, even high-functioning autism…..and an extremely good sign.  “We can build on her feelings and emotions to make her more successful in social situations” she told me.

However, I began to notice that Marley became more edgy and cranky around mid-day (likely when the ALA was beginning to wear off) since I was dosing at 7am and 7pm.  So I experimented and added a third dose mid-day.  

After that third dose was added, her dread of the impending school year began to wear off.  She began to tell me that she believed everything was indeed going to be okay when school started.  I couldn’t believe it.  One additional dose mid-day and she was a new kid.  Positive and connected.  

She was doing daily work now to prepare for school and suddenly understood math word problems much better.  Division with remainders (which we had left a few months prior due to a lack of understanding) was now coming to her easily. 

She no longer begged for alone time to use her hand-held devices.  She played with her sister and brother more often and throughout the day.

And one more thing….her chronic fatigue has improved significantly.  I don’t see her yawning and stretching all day.  She no longer complains of how very tired she is and how she just wants to go home.  I can see how it has increased her ATP function.  

It has been a while since I hit a home run in the supplement department…and this is definitely a home run.  The SR ALA with biotin has also allowed my daughter to tolerate a B Complex supplement which she has never been able to do…ever.  

Before starting SR ALA, my daughter’s CBC came back with very elevated RBC, HGB and HCT.  Enough to cause me concern.  We ran her CBC three months later…after starting ALA and it came back perfect.  I have no idea if these two things are connected or if the first test run was an anomaly but I felt it was worth mentioning.

I have great hope for the new school year.  New teacher, new friends along with the old and a mainstream classroom full time.  Recovery….here we come!

*I want to say a few things about this supplement in case you are considering it for yourself or your child. 
1.  Please know that some people believe that it is safer to reduce the child’s toxic load before starting them on SR ALA.  We have done lots of detoxification over the years with a mix of therapies, so I felt my daughter was ready.
2.  Do not use ALA for at least 3 months if you have been exposed to mercury of any form (even a broken CFL bulb) and do not use at all if you have mercury amalgams in your mouth. 
3.  Please use the Sustained Release formula and use it with biotin for best absorption.
4.  ALA is first and foremost a mitochondrial supplement, however, it will chelate mercury so you need to drink lots of water and be sure the child is not constipated.  Keeping the GI system moving is absolutely imperative so the toxins are not reabsorbed into the body.  We use magnesium citrate on a daily basis to ensure things are moving along.
5.  Vitamin C can help the ALA recirculate so using a Vitamin C supplement is important, as are Vitamins E, Zinc and magnesium.