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Monday, March 16, 2015

Why do women who take iron supplements during pregnancy lower their risk for having a baby with autism?

"Women who take iron supplements during pregnancy lower their risk for having a baby with autism, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. 

Maternal iron intake during pregnancy was compared to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) risk in 520 pairs of mothers and children with autism and 346 pairs of mothers and their normal-development children. The researchers assessed maternal iron intake, including multi supplements, fortified breakfast cereals, and other supplements during the three months prior to conception to the end of each mother’s pregnancy and during breast-feeding. 

Results showed that iron intake and use of iron-containing supplements reported by mothers of autistic children was lower than that reported by mothers of normal-development children, especially for the months before and during early pregnancy, as well as during breast-feeding. Those children whose mothers had consumed optimal amounts of iron throughout pregnancy had up to a 51% lower risk for having ASD."

Schmidt R, Tancredi D, Krakowiak P, et al: Maternal intake of supplemental iron and risk of autism spectrum disorder. American Journal of Epidemiology 2014;180:890-900.



Iron is essential for many functions including oxygen transport and storage and neurotransmitter formation.  If a child is low in iron and cofactors there is a likelihood of neurotransmitter disturbances.  Iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc are four essential elements in the body that are most affected by the toxic elements mercury and lead (lead and mercury interfere with just about everything, by the way, so best avoided entirely!).  

Low zinc and iron have been linked with autism and selenium has critical properties that protect the body, including the brain, from damaging inflammation (substances such as aluminium are added to vaccines to produce an inflammatory reaction).  These may explain the vaccine-autism link (deficiencies combined with toxic substances and inflammation at the time of greatest vulnerability - the neonatal brain).  This theory is consistent with my findings when conducting Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA):

Example of an unwell child with extremely elevated lead (Pb), possibly absorbed by "placental concentration" from the mother while in utero.  You will note this child is extremely low in magnesium (Mg) and Iron (Fe).  The extreme levels of sodium (Na) and potassium (K) indicate this child is highly stressed and unsettled.  Because of lead's interference with selenium, zinc, iron and magnesium in the cells, this child would be very vulnerable to further harm if the child was exposed to even the tiniest amounts of toxic elements such as aluminium. lead and mercury.
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis of the child's mother showing significant amounts of lead in her body.  The most likely source of this lead was from doing house renovations during the previous year, including sanding and scraping of old house paint (presumably some was lead-based).  Her pattern of extremely elevated copper which may be the root cause of her low iron (Cu is indicative of liver dysfunction and copper is a cellular antagonist of iron).

If a child or foetus is low in iron and then exposed to lead and/or mercury, iron availability for brain development may plummet below critical levels (many pregnant women have low iron stores, often as a result of a previous infection of Glandular Fever, and this will affect the developing baby).  A potential source of mercury contamination is a series of vaccines - all which may have only trace amounts of mercury; but it quickly adds up - the most obvious being the vaccines given to the pregnant mother such as the flu and whooping cough vaccines.  If the mother is already low in iron, due to copper excess, and already carrying lead or mercury, even a tiny extra amount of one of these toxic elements over what may already be in the mother may be all that is needed to push the baby over the threshold and into autistic disaster! (mercury can be accumulating in the mother over the years from earlier vaccines, eating fish such as tuna or mercury leaking from amalgam fillings).  This scenario is not mere speculation and is consistent with the stories and health histories of many mothers who have inexplicitly had a child with autism, behavioural problems, or other health issues including autoimmune related disorders such as food allergies, digestive disorders, asthma and eczema.

As the study quoted above suggests, optimising iron during pregnancy is a damn good idea; however, taking an iron supplement may not be the best solution because excess iron can be extremely toxic and low iron may not be the real problem.  Causes of low iron are several, including a chronic infection such as gum disease, or the lasting consequences of a severe viral infection, such as Glandular Fever, sometimes from decades ago.  Please do not take Ferrograd or similar iron supplements even if prescribed by a doctor.  There is simply far too much iron in a single dose.  The laboratory I do my testing through recommends no more than 5-10 mg of supplemental iron per day, whereas your Dr may prescribes iron in the hundreds of mg!  That's not healthy!

Start Low - Go Slow!

As with most things in life, please take your time and go cautiously with supplementing, especially with iron.  Some iron supplementation may be necessary but not without ensuring there is plenty of dietary iron from sources such as eggs, red meat and liver - and not before identifying the root causes of low iron which may be something like infected gums or liver dysfunction with subsequent copper retention (copper interferes with iron and, in the case of women, shoves the iron out through the menses - hence the association with heavy painful periods, PMS, PCOS and endometriosis.  In such cases, giving iron supplementation without dealing with the root causes will make matters much worse - not better!)

If what I have written here strikes a chord with you or a loved one, my recommendation is that you invest in a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) and consultation with me to explain the results, so that you can get to the root causes of things.  For example, if the HTMA shows high iron, while a blood test shows low iron, then we can conclude that you may have a chronic, subclinical infection, most often gum disease, and the last thing you should take is supplemental iron (iron feeds bacteria and other harmful bugs!)Without the right testing, the chances are that you will end up wasting a lifetime chasing and treating symptoms and not the root causes.

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The advice in these articles is given freely without promise or obligation. Its all about giving you and your family the tools and information to take control of your health and fitness.
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