OT visits – What is that for?

Occupational Therapy

What is the purpose of Occupational Therapy, especially for children?

“Occupational therapy (OT) treatment focuses on helping people with a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives. OT can help kids with various needs improve their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.”

Kids Who Might Need Occupational Therapy

According to the AOTA, kids with these medical problems might benefit from OT:

  • birth injuries or birth defects
  • sensory processing disorders
  • traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
  • learning problems
  • autism/pervasive developmental disorders
  • juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • mental health or behavioral problems
  • broken bones or other orthopedic injuries
  • developmental delays
  • post-surgical conditions
  • burns
  • spina bifida
  • traumatic amputations
  • cancer
  • severe hand injuries
  • multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other chronic illnesses

Occupational therapists might:

  • help kids work on fine motor skills so they can grasp and release toys and develop good handwriting skills
  • address hand–eye coordination to improve kids’ play and school skills (hitting a target, batting a ball, copying from a blackboard, etc.)
  • help kids with severe developmental delays learn basic tasks (such as bathing, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and feeding themselves)
  • help kids with behavioral disorders maintain positive behaviors in all environments (e.g., instead of hitting others or acting out, using positive ways to deal with anger, such as writing about feelings or participating in a physical activity)
  • teach kids with physical disabilities the coordination skills needed to feed themselves, use a computer, or increase the speed and legibility of their handwriting
  • evaluate a child’s need for specialized equipment, such as wheelchairs, splints, bathing equipment, dressing devices, or communication aids
  • work with kids who have sensory and attention issues to improve focus and social skills

We took our son to Sensory Kidszone to find out what his sensory needs are and to help with some behavioural issues.

You can watch the video here.

For the report, click here.

MTHFR part 5: Folate Cycle continue…

Please note: The content of this post is my own, unless the technical terms is too hard to explain, then the content is copy and pasted. I am not a medical professional and thus the post is my point of view. But the content is science-based and credible. Just because it is a new science, does not necessarily make it quackery. 

Production of Folinic Acid, Serine and Glycine:

As the folic acid comes into the body through food, it is converted into DHF/R (dihydrofolic acid).  It interacts with bacteria during cell division. From there it converts to tetrahydrofolic acid (THF) through Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). During the process of converting from THF to 5,10-CH2THF (5-formyl-THF/ Folinic acid), serine and glycine is created. It is further converted to 5CH3THF.

This cycle is called the Folate or Folic acid cycle (THF – 5,10-CH2THF – 5ch3THF), breaking down folic acid to create folate and folinic acid which is better absorbed by the body and less harmful than the folic acid. Yes, folic acid is recommended to most pregnant women to help with the development of the baby, but if the person taking the supplement has a methylation problem, the folic acid does more harm than good. If possible and readily available folate or folinic acid should be taken. Alternatively, more dark green leafy vegetables should be consumed.

Remember this picture?

The process of forming folic acid into the Folinic Acid is the “Organic farming” cycle of the picture. Also in that process is the Thymidylate Synthase, which goes from dUMP to dTMP to create DNA. For this cycle to happen DHF/R has to be present – which is at the beginning of the Folic acid cycle. The Thymidylate Synthase tries to keep the dUMP and dTMP low to prevent damage to DNA.

Then to get to the COMT results you have to move on the BH4 Cycle…

BH4: Better Health 4 Life cycle

This cycle is responsible for creating the 5 neurotransmitters which scientist say is, not missing, but very low in production in Autistic people: Serotonin, Dopamine, Epinephrine, Nor-epinephrine and Melatonin.

BH4 is MTHFR A1298C. 

And basically BH4 is where your emotions and sleep are influenced.

The BH4 (Tetrahydrobiopterin) cycle is used by the Urea cycle to clean up toxic ammonia and generates nitric oxide, an element that keeps blood vessels open and free of plaque.

BH4 has 2 “janitors” – MAO A (cleans up serotonin) and COMT (cleans up Dopamine and Nor-epinephrine). Because this cycle works with serotonin, dopamin and epinephrine, they would also be more involve with mood disorders.

Lets look at Alex’s COMT results:

Though there was no impact on his MTHFR A1298C, …

… his COMT was heavily impacted

This whole cycle needs Vit B6 to function. Currently Alex is taken p5p for his low B6.

MTHFR – Pyrrole Disorder

Please note: The content of this post is my own, unless the technical terms is too hard to explain, then the content is copy and pasted. I am not a medical professional and thus the post is my point of view. But the content is science-based and credible. Just because it is a new science, does not necessarily make it quackery. 

What is Pyrrole Disorder?

An inborn error of pyrrole chemistry which results in a dramatic deficiency of zinc and Vitamin B-6. Also known as Mauve Factor (due to the mauve color visible on testing paper during urinalysis) or pyrrole disorder, pyroluria occurs when the pyrroles bind to pyroxidine (vitamin B6) and zinc, causing these vital nutrients to be excreted from the body in large amounts.

Individuals with pyroluria exhibit a wide range of physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms; some common characteristics of pyrolurics are described here:

  • Schizophrenia;
  • ADHD
  • Autism;
  • Bipolar disorder;
  • Anxiety (including panic attacks);
  • Depression;
  • Alcoholism;
  • Poor dream recall;
  • Low tolerance for stress;
  • Antisocial behavior;
  • Behavioral problems (especially in children and teenagers) such as oppositional/defiant disorder;
  • Emotional instability, explosive temper;
  • Frequent joint pain;
  • Frequent infections;
  • Poor appetite, especially in the morning;
  • Low tolerance for protein – tend to favor vegetarian diets;
  • Pale complexion, inability to tan;
  • White flecks on the fingernails;
  • Nausea, motion sickness;
  • Hypoglycemia;
  • Allergies;
  • Fatigue
  • Crowded teeth and poor quality of the tooth enamel;
  • Retracted gums;
  • Sweet or fruity-smelling breath and sweat
  • sensitivity to light and sound

Treatment centers on normalizing blood levels of B-6 and zinc. Pyroluria supplements also contain several other nutrients in order to provide the most effective treatment:

  • Manganese: This vital nutrient is depleted when zinc is taken at the high levels necessary for treating pyroluria. Manganese is necessary for the metabolism of certain proteins; it is also important to joint development and neurotransmitter production.
  • Magnesium: Taking B6 in large amounts can deplete magnesium levels; adding magnesium can reduce irritability and hypersensitivity to light and sound.
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): This nutrient is necessary for the production of tryptophan, which in turn is necessary for the production of serotonin. Taking niacinamide helps to speed the pyroluria recovery process.
  • Vitamin C and Pantothenic Acid: These nutrients help to rebuild adrenal glands that have been exhausted from coping with the ongoing tension caused by pyroluria; adding them to pyroluria supplements allows patients to overcome the weakness and fatigue they often feel.

You can learn a bit more about Pyrrole disorder here.

MTHFR – Copper Overload, Glucose, Malabsorption and Heavy Metals

Please note: The content of this post is my own, unless the technical terms is too hard to explain, then the content is copy and pasted. I am not a medical professional and thus the post is my point of view. But the content is science-based and credible. Just because it is a new science, does not necessarily make it quackery. 

Copper (CU)

Copper is an essential trace element that is vital to the health of all living things (humans, plants, animals, and microorganisms). In humans, copper is essential to the proper functioning of organs and metabolic processes. The human body has complex homeostatic mechanisms which attempt to ensure a constant supply of available copper, while eliminating excess copper whenever this occurs.

Various national and international organizations concerned with nutrition and health have standards for copper intake at levels judged to be adequate for maintaining good health. These standards are periodically changed and updated as new scientific data become available. The standards sometimes differ among countries and organizations.

  • Adults – The World Health Organization recommends a minimal acceptable intake of approximately 1.3 mg/day. In North America the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for copper for healthy adult men and women at 0.9 mg/day. The European Food Safety Authority set its UL at 5 mg/day.
  • Adolescents, children, and infants – The World Health Organization has not developed minimum daily intakes for these age groups. In North America the RDAs are as follows: 0.34 mg/day for children of 1–3 years; 0.44 mg/day for 4–8 years; 0.7 mg/day for 9–13 years; and 0.89 mg/day for 14–18 years. The ULs are: 1 mg/day for children of 1–3 years; 3 mg/day for 4–8 years; 5 mg/day for 9–13 years; and 8 mg/day for 14–18 years.

Full-term and premature infants are more sensitive to copper deficiency than adults. Since the fetus accumulates copper during the last 3 months of pregnancy, infants that are born prematurely have not had sufficient time to store adequate reserves of copper in their livers and therefore require more copper at birth than full-term infants.

  • Pregnant and lactating women – In North America, the IOM has set the RDA for pregnancy at 1.0 mg/day and for lactation at 1.3 mg/day. The European Food Safety Authority set the PRI for pregnancy is 1.6 mg/day, for lactation 1.6 mg/day – higher than the U.S. RDAs.

[taken from Wikipeadia]

A common problem in ADHD, behavior disorders, and hormonal depression is a genetic inability to control copper, zinc, manganese, and other trace-metal levels due to improper functioning of metallothionein proteins.  Elevated copper can cause striking changes in the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain and are also associated with hormonal imbalances and intolerance to estrogen.

Children with ADHD is recommended that they steer clear of foods and products containing copper/ copper sulfate. However, because most people with Autism also have a methylation problem, it is recommended that they too limit their copper intake. In addition, it is recommend drinking bottled water and limit use of swimming pools and jacuzzis treated with copper sulfate anti-algae agents.  Foods to be limited due to high copper content include shellfish, chocolate, and carob.  Biochemical treatment focuses on zinc, B-6, and other nutrients that stimulate metallothionein synthesis and functioning.

When the body cannot effectively get rid of copper in the body and it builds up, you get conditions like Wilson Disease and Menkes Disease.

Glucose Dyscontrol

The inability to control your glucose levels does not really have such a big influence in behaviour and other conditions or symptoms associated with Autism, ADHD, etc., but instead is an aggravating factor which can trigger striking symptoms.  Typical symptoms include drowsiness after meals, irritability, craving for sweets, trembling, anxiety, and intermittent poor concentration and focus.  Treatment includes chromium, CoQ-10, and other glucose-stabilizing nutrients, but the primary focus of treatment is on diet.  People with the dyscontrol of glucose benefit from six or more small meals daily with emphasis on complex carbohydrates and protein.  In essence, they cannot tolerate large meals or quick sugars.  Complex carbohydrates provide the necessary glucose in a slow, gradual manner and may be thought of as “time-release” sugar.

But not being able to control your glucose does not mean you have Diabetes. Having Hypo/ Hyperglycemia is when the body cannot stabilize your blood sugar levels.


The statistics from around the world on malabsorption is staggering. More and more people are suffering from conditions like:

  • Celiac Disease
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Short bowel syndrome (short gut syndrome)
  • Whipple disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

According to a study done by Walsh Research Institute in Illinois, about 90% of autistic patients studied suffered from some form of malabsorption. There are three primary classes of absorption problems:

  1. Stomach problems, including excessive or insufficient HCl levels
  2. Incomplete digestion in the small intestine
  3. Problems at the brush-border of the intestine where most nutrients are absorbed into the portal blood stream.

The consequences can include nutrient deficiencies, inflammation of the intestinal tract, candida, and mental health problems.  Incomplete breakdown of protein and fats can adversely affect brain neurotransmission, and has been associated with impulsivity and academic underachievement.  Treatment depends on the type of malabsorption present and may involve probiotics, adjustment of stomach HCl levels, digestive enzymes, and special diets.

Heavy Metals

No, heavy metal detoxification has got nothing to do with getting rid of Iron Maiden and Metallica, it is getting rid of chemicals like mercury, arsenic, lead, Cadmium, Copper, Tin and aluminium that have been building up in your body over a long period of time.

Persons with a metallothionein disorder are especially sensitive to toxic metals, and that overmethylation is often associated with severe chemical sensitivities.  Effective treatment requires a three-part approach:

  • avoidance of additional exposures,
  • biochemical treatment to hasten the exit of the toxic from the body,
  • correction of underlying chemical imbalances to minimize future vulnerability to the toxic.

Some of the most common warning signs that you are struggling with heavy metal toxicity include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Neurological disorders
  • Brain Fog
  • Depression, Bi-polar and Anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Insomnia
The following natural detoxification agents are commonly used:
  • Foods rich in vitamin C – Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C can reduce the damage caused by heavy metal toxicity by acting as an antioxidant.
  • Cilantro and other green vegetables – Cilantro and green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and parsley are detoxifying and can help reduce the buildup of heavy metals like mercury in the body.
  • Garlic and onions – These vegetables contain sulfur which helps your liver detoxify itself of heavy metals like lead and arsenic.
  • Water – Drink 8 ounces of water or vegetable juice every two hours to help flush out toxins.
  • Flax and chia seeds – Omega-3 fats and fiber can help with detoxification of the colon and reduce inflammation.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
  • Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP)
  • Alginates
  • Glutathione
  • N-Acytl Cysteine (NAC)
  • Dandelion leaf and root
  • Milk thistle seed extract
Toxic Foods to Avoid

Farmed fish – Can contain heavy metals, dioxins and PCB’s which are highly toxic.
Food allergens – If your body is fighting against common allergens, it will not be able to detoxify from heavy metal poisoning.
Non-organic foods – These foods increase exposure to chemicals which make symptoms worse.  Some of the worst offenders include conventional apple juice and brown rice products.
Foods with additives – Additives are chemicals that can aggravate toxicity symptoms and decrease your body’s ability to detoxify.
Alcohol – Is toxic to the body and can make it more difficult for your liver to process other toxins and contributes to toxic load.

Top 5 Heavy Metal Detox Supplements

#1 Chlorella (4-8 caps daily)
Acts as a natural chelator to remove heavy metals.

#2 Vitamin C (3000 mg daily- during detoxification)
Helps reduce free radicals.

#3 Cilantro (tincture 2x per day)
Helps with detoxification.

#4 Milk Thistle (150 mg 2x daily)
Milk Thistle aids in detoxification of the liver.

#5 Probiotics (50 billion units daily)
Improves detoxification of gut and boosts immunity.

BIG NOTE, PLEASE TAKE NOTE: Though the most effective form of getting rid of heavy metals is CHELATION. Chelation is the injection of synthetic EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) directly into your blood stream. This should always been the last resort. Always consult you doctor first.

There are many other chelating medications of which DMSA (oral), DMPS (transdermal and intravenous and TTFD (transdermal) are some. DMSA is very commonly used. (amendment suggested by Dr Louise Lindenberg)