The case for autism being biochemically similar to schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease

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Aconitase activity was significantly decreased in cerebellums of individuals who had autism. Glutathione levels were decreased in individuals with autism. Glutathione peroxidase activity is decreased in individuals with autism. Homocysteine levels are increased in children with autism. Vitamin D levels are decreased in individuals with autism. Individuals with autism have reduced bone mineral density. Taurine levels are low in a subset of individuals with autism. There are low levels of biotin in patients with autism. Iron deficiency is very common in autism.

See my papers Treatment-resistant schizophrenia: focus on the transsulfuration pathway. and A disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease: focus on the trans-sulfuration pathway as to how similar biochemical abnormalities are also present in schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. Other posts on this blog are also relevant to biochemical abnormalities found in schizophrenia.

Autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease are epigenetic illnesses. Despite various biochemical commonalities between autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease there are epigenenetic differences with these epigenetic differences channeling the illnesses in divergent directions. However, with autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease being fundamentally similar treatments for autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease could be very similar. As there are now no biological treatments for autism treatments currently used in autism and which are partially effective can not now be clearly hooked up to a treatment for schizophrenia.

Social skills interventions is individuals with autism aged 6-21 have shown limited and equivocal effectiveness. Biological treatments for autism are needed.

Taking supplemental taurine lowers blood pressure in humans

Taurine lowers blood pressure in humans by increasing synthesis of hydrogen sulfide, which is a vasodilator, through increasing activities of cystathionine beta-synthase and cystathionine gamma-lyase, the two enzymes in the transsulfuration pathway. Cystathionine beta-synthase and cystathionine gamma-lyase synthesize hydrogen sulfide. A meta-analysis indicates that taurine lowers blood pressure in clinically relevant amounts. Taurine also decreases homocysteine levels in humans. There is also lots of evidence from animals than taurine lowers total cholesterol. Research points to taurine as being the factor for Japanese longevity which could be due to taurine lowering various cardiovascular risk factors. The actions of taurine are more pronounced when taurine is taken on an empty stomach.

Homocysteine and epigenetics

High levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risks for a number of illnesses. Hyperhomocysteinemia is a risk factor far osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, cancer, aortic aneurysm, hypothyroidism and end renal stage disease among other illnesses. I would add schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

I have been arguing that high homocysteine levels point to the transsulfuration pathway being dysregulated. That there are so many illnesses associated with high homocysteine combined with the ineffectiveness of folic acid in reducing risk ratios for various illnesses point to high homocysteine levels being a proxy for other dysregulated biological processes. I have been arguing than high homocysteine levels are associated with increased risks for epigenetic dysregulations.

Folic acid supplementation, which reduces homocysteine levels, does not decrease risk ratios for the various illnesses that high homocysteine levels are associated with, for example, cardiovascular illnesses. Folic acid is ineffective as homocysteine must be metabolized through the transsulfuration pathway. Increasing remethylation of homocysteine to L-methionine does not fix the transsulfuration pathway leaving folic acid ineffective in decreasing risk ratios for various illnesses. Very unfortunately increasing levels of L-cysteine through supplementation with N-acetyl-L-cysteine, cysteine, cystine or lipoic acid also does not work where such supplementation can be very dangerous.

Polyphenols, homocysteine, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease

High homocysteine levels indicate the transsulfuration pathway (homocysteine to L-cysteine) is dysregulated. Taurine is synthesized from L-cysteine. Taurine is needed to form various bile acids. Bile acids are needed for fat absorption.

Polyphenols can increase beta-oxidation which can lead to serious difficulties if there are difficulties in fat absorption which are likely if there are high homocysteine levels.

Many illnesses for which polyphenols have been postulated to be treatments are associated with high levels of homocysteine, however, where there are high homocysteine levels there could be difficulties in fatty acid absorption. Increasing levels of polyphenols, which increase beta-oxidation, would be contradicted where there are difficulties in fatty acid absorption and metabolism.

Polyphenol supplements are frequently suggested as treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, however, both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are associated with high homocyteine levels whereby there could be difficulties in fatty acid absoption. Polyphenol supplements could worsen Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease polyphenols have been full of promise but have failed to deliver effective treatments.

Caffeine pills have nowhere near the same effect as coffee. There must be more to the effects of coffee than caffeine and that something more is the polyphenol contents of coffee and the effect of those polyphenols on beta-oxidation.

DHA and Alzheimer’s disease

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels are low in Alzheimer’s disease. DHA is synthesized from alpha-linoelic acid which is an essential fatty acid which must be obtained from the diet. For DHA to be synthesized from alpha-linoelic acid, alpha linoleic acid must first be absorbed.

A meta-analysis indicates that homocysteine levels are significantly high in Alzheimer’s disease. High homocysteine levels in Alzheimer’s disease indicate the transsulfuration pathway is dysregulated in Alzheimer’s disease as homocysteine is not being metabolized to L-cysteine which is what the transsulfuration pathway does.

With low levels of L-cysteine there will be low levels of taurine. Taurine is synthesized from L-cysteine. Taurine is needed for the formation of bile acids which are needed for fat absorption. With alpha-linoelic acid not absorbed in Alzheimer’s disease due to low levels of taurine synthesis of DHA will be impaired in Alzheimer’s disease which is what is seen is Alzheimer’s disease. Effectiveness of supplementation with DHA in Alzheimer’s disease could be limited due to a failure to absorb DHA due to low levels of taurine in Alzheimer’s disease.

Taurine only poorly crosses the blood-brain barrier. However, to assist with essential fatty acid absorption taurine does not have to cross the blood-barrier. Taurine by enhancing fat absorption can enhance brain function.

Homotaurine has has been shown to be a promising therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. In Alzheimer’s disease taurine could be taken with with fatty acid supplements high in alpha linoelic acid, such as lignan free flax seed oil. Lignans are polyphenols so flax seed oil with lignans is avoided.