Autism & Sulfur Sensitivity – Part 2

A Biomedical Autism Intervention Doctor Explains:


A sulfite sensitivity does not constitute an automatic allergy to sulfa drugs and vice versa. Many people with asthma who have obvious reactions to sulfites can many times have some in small amounts and suffer no adverse reactions. A sensitivity reaction to sulfites is not a true allergy like a sulfa drug allergy, and so allergy testing for sulfites in unreliable.


Sulfates are chemical compounds with sulfur surrounded by oxygen atoms. It is a derivative of sulfuric acid and can complex with various minerals in the body to form stable compounds such as magnesium sulfate found in Epsom Salt (which is used as a laxative or a muscle soothing aid in bathwater). Some people can have sulfate sensitivity, but it is questionable whether this is truly an immune reaction to the sulfate or an immune reaction to chemical compounds attached to sulfate. More commonly, a sulfate sensitivity is a biochemical reaction from other sources, and have nothing to do with an allergy. This leads us in the next discussion – sulfur supplement sensitivity.


Sulfur sensitivity can occur when too much homocysteine is pushed through the trans-sulfuration pathway creating an abundance of sulfur compounds. This is particularly a problem if an enzyme called CBS is up-regulated creating an increased production of sulfur byproducts. These byproducts can contribute to the overproduction of ammonia. Ammonia can lead to irritability, hand-flapping, stimming behavior, language problems and other chemical imbalances in individuals on the autism-spectrum. Other chemical systems in the body become stressed leading to a further difficulty in eradicating ammonia. Genetic mutations in the CBS and MTHFR complexes make this problem worst.


Finally, an enzyme called SUOX (sulfite oxidase) in a deficiency state will effect sulfate regulation which effects glutathione production, as well as sulfates for other proteins in the body that support protein structure. Glutathione is our bodies’ most potent antioxidant and supports cellular detoxification. There is a genetic disorder that leads to severe brain damage and death with the SUOX enzyme deficiency, but it is likely possible that sub-clinical stressors in this enzyme could adversely affect some children on the autism-spectrum, while not causing a disease process.


The likely scenario is if children are having difficulty with sulfur containing supplements (i.e. taurine, Epsom salt, MSM, methionine) that a genetic mutation pattern has occurred in the CBS and MTHFR genes, and has nothing to do with a sulfur allergy – which we know is a misnomer.