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Glyphosate- What You Need To Know

Glyphosate- What You Need To Know

Glyphosate- What You Need To Know

Children with autism often have dysfunctional detox systems due to genetic mutations.  Adding additional burdens like glyphosate to their bodies can further complicate the detox process and can slow other critical functions.

What is glyphosate?

Glyphosate is a synthetic herbicide patented by the Monsanto Company in 1974 and now manufactured and sold by many companies in hundreds of products used extensively as an herbicide by both commercial applicators and consumers. Glyphosate is best known as the active ingredient in Roundup-branded products. It is considered to be a non-selective herbicide, meaning it will kill almost all plants. Glyphosate inhibits a specific enzyme called EPSP synthase which plants need in order to grow. Without that enzyme, plants are unable to produce other proteins essential to growth, and within several days or weeks they’ll die. 

In 1996, Monsanto created engineered soybeans that were resistant to Roundup and coined this new crop “Roundup Ready.”  The advantage of Roundup Ready crops is that they greatly improved a farmer’s ability to control weeds since glyphosate could be sprayed in the fields without harming their crops, while only taking out the pesky weeds. This reduced the need to till, saving on equipment costs and allowed for easier harvests with fewer weeds.   Other types of Roundup Ready crops are now available and include cotton, canola and corn.

 

Why should we be concerned?

In 2015, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”    Recent studies have shown that glyphosate is linked to liver disease, cancer, birth defects and reproductive issues.

If that wasn’t concern enough, additional research shows that glyphosate can impact beneficial gut bacteria.  As we’re learning more about the gut/brain connection, this is especially disturbing.  

Perhaps you’ve seen recent news stories about a California jury awarding a couple more than $2 billion in a verdict against Monsanto, a subsidiary of Bayer. This is the third recent court decision involving claims that Roundup weed killer caused cancer.

Click here to listen to Part 1 of our podcast episode with Jessica, Momcologist On A Mission. 

She shares her story about their exposure to glyphosate and how she believes it lead to her daughter’s cancer diagnosis. We also discuss how it causes harm and why it’s so important for parents with kids on the spectrum to be educated about it.

How are we exposed?

If you’re using the product directly, you may accidentally get it on your skin, in your eyes or inadvertently breathe it in. If it’s breathed in, you might experience burning in your nose or throat. Swallowing the product may result in nausea, upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea. Once ingested, it’s believed to pass through the body quickly and excreted in urine or stool.  

Over 1.6 billion kilograms of glyphosate has been used on crops since it was invented in 1974. 

In addition to crops like corn and soy, the active ingredient glyphosate has also found in popular processed food products such as Cheerios, Corn Flakes, Ritz Crackers, Goldfish Crackers and even Doritos chips.

Additionally, a recent study showed waterways in 38 states were sampled and glyphosate was found in the majority of rivers, streams, ditches, and wastewater treatment plant outfalls tested. This goes to show that glyphosate isn’t simply absorbed into the earth and broken down; it can be mobilized and end up in places that it wasn’t intended.

How to reduce exposure

Use Natural Alternatives

One of the ways to reduce exposure directly is to avoid using Roundup or other products containing glyphosate near your home.  There are other weed killing herbicides available in home improvement stores that use more natural ingredients such as vinegars or citric acids, or phytotoxic oils like clove, peppermint, pine or citronella.  

Go Organic

Buying certified organic fresh fruits and vegetables is an easy first step.  Additionally, look for organic substitutions for other items like pasta, crackers and cereal.  Organic products tend to be more expensive in general, so many families find that they need to adjust their food budgets to account for this added expense.  If you’re unable to go completely organic, consider purchasing only organic for the “dirty dozen” or forego buying those products all together. 

Keep in mind that even though products are labeled as organic, it’s possible that trace amounts of pesticides or glyphosate may be present through environmental or unintentional contamination.  Also, organic farmers still may use natural pesticides, not synthetic chemicals.

Buy local

Consider purchasing your produce from local farmer’s markets.  Fruits and veggies that haven’t traveled across the country (or further!) are less likely to be preserved or contaminated.  Plus, wouldn’t it be nice to ask the farmer face-to-face about their farming practices and if they use glyphosate products?   🙂 

 

Eat at home

Instead of going to a restaurant where you are unlikely to know where the food comes from, a safer option is to prepare meals at home.  This way you know you’ve chosen the ingredients yourself. Maybe you even grew them in your own garden! Yes, we understand that cooking 100% of your family’s meals at home can be a massive undertaking.  Even if you cut down on your dining out a few times a week, that’s an impressive start.

Want to know more? Check out our podcast just for parents like you!

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Anesthesia and Sedation Options for Kids with Autism

Anesthesia and Sedation Options for Kids with Autism

Anesthesia and Sedation Options for Kids with Autism

Does your child with ASD need sedation for a dental or surgical procedure? Wondering what your options are? Anesthesia and sedation choices need to be carefully considered for a child with complex medical needs.

Why Is This So Important?

Many of our kids have genetic mutations which affect their ability to detoxify. Kids with a high toxic load can struggle with the extra burden of anesthetics. Many kids also have reduced mitochondrial and/or autonomic nervous system functions which are further hindered by anesthetics. These underlying issues are often misunderstood by mainstream doctors and dentists. So, our job as educated advocates becomes even more critical.
 
When Bear needed sedation for some extensive dental procedures Lily immediately started researching. She connected with another mom who is a pediatric anesthetist nurse and has a kiddo on the spectrum. This sweet mom agreed that we could share the safety guidelines and information she recommended for Lily’s situation.
 
This is not medical advice. But, it can help you understand some of the most common medicines used, pros and cons, and some other safety and comfort considerations. Keep these in mind to discuss with your provider and your anesthesiologist.
 
This blog is a companion to our YouTube video, Anesthesia and Sedation Options for Kids with Autism. Lily covers some additional tips and shares the story of Bear’s regression after sedation. She also covers how she was able to get him back on track. Be sure to check it out!
 
These are six things often used during sedation or anesthesia for children. It’s helpful to have an understanding of these if you are facing a medical or dental procedure for your child.

Nitrous Oxide

If you have been to the dentist, you have likely had nitrous oxide. It’s the “laughing gas” that makes you feel strange and reduces your anxiety about the procedure. Lily always hated it as a child and didn’t feel good for a day or two afterward.
 
Nitrous Oxide is one of the oldest drugs used for sedation. It’s cheap for providers to use which is part of why it’s so popular. For most people, the only side effects are occasional nausea or constipation. However, many children with ASD have methylation cycle defects including MTHFR. Nitrous Oxide depletes the b12/folate cycle and methionine synthase. This depletion causes a chain reaction in the body that can increase inflammation and oxidative stress. Children with methylation cycle defects are more susceptible to these negative effects. Repeated Nitrous Oxide exposure can even be fatal for a small subset of kids who go into a procedure with a severe methionine depletion.

 

Sevoflurane

Sevoflurane is a gas often used as an alternative to Nitrous Oxide. Only about 2-5% of it is metabolized. This means that instead of being processed by the liver, the majority of it is exhaled back out through the lungs. This happens within minutes of the gas flow stopping.  The speedy reversal minimizes the effects on mitochondrial function.
 
Lily’s guidance was to make sure the anesthesiologist knew she didn’t want any Nitrous Oxide mixed in with the Sevoflurane. It is a common practice because they are more effective together for non-sensitive patients.
 
The gas does have a pretty yucky smell. However, they often can put a gel that smells good inside the edge of the mask to make it more tolerable.

 

Versed

This drug is often given orally or intranasally right before surgery. It’s generally considered safe because it’s easily metabolized and has a short-acting time. Versed also has an amnesia effect. That means the child doesn’t remember or feel traumatized by the anesthesia or the procedure.
 
Lily allowed this with Bear before his sedation for his dental work. He became very relaxed and groggy which made it much easier to put him under with the sevoflurane. She allowed it again in the ER a couple of years later so he could get some stitches after a fall. It worked beautifully. They were able to get his stitches done without trauma or tears.

Propofol

The delivery for propofol is intravenous. Its function is to induce and maintain general anesthesia and a safe airway. Please note that it contains soy and egg phospholipids. If your child has an allergy or sensitivity to either of those be sure to let your provider know. It may exacerbate mitochondrial issues when used for longer periods. However, our nurse stated that a small bolus is okay for children over 65-70 pounds.

Definitely discuss any concerns with your provider and anesthesiologist. For more detailed information please see our link below for “When Propofol is Problematic”.

 

Ketamine

Ketamine is given orally, intravenously, or intramuscularly via injection. Some providers prefer it because it doesn’t affect breathing like some other drugs. Unfortunately, it’s hallucinogenic and dissociative properties can make its use for children questionable. These effects are particularly troubling for non-verbal children or those with a cognitive delay. They can’t express how they feel, understand what’s happening, or have help to process the experience afterward.
 
Ketamine has a higher incidence of postoperative delirium. This is a serious complication. The patient experiences confusion, agitation, and may not recognize family members. We don’t feel comfortable using it for our small kiddos, but we know parents who have had to use it with aggressive teens. Be sure to research it fully and ask a lot of questions if it’s suggested by your provider.
 
Some feel Ketamine is the most reliable preoperative sedative for kids with ASD. It is used if a child’s symptoms are more severe, if they are teens, or if they become physically aggressive and resistant to other methods. There are some studies using Ketamine as a behavioral treatment for adults with ASD, but there needs to be more research.

Precedex

Precedex, also called Dexmedetomidine, is an intravenous drug for sedation. It is not approved for use in children in any country according to the article linked in the resources below. It is often used off-label anyway. Studies of its potential negative effects in children are limited and sometimes conflicting. Precedex is sometimes associated with low heart rates and unsafe blood pressure changes. In recovery, patients may experience and pain, shivering, and agitation. Lily decided to avoid this one with Bear for the reasons listed above. We encourage you to do your research before you speak with your anesthesiologist. Understand the risks so you can ask good questions.

Lactated Ringers

Sometimes called ringers lactate. This is a mixture of sodium chloride, sodium lactate, potassium chloride, and calcium chloride in water. It’s given through the IV during surgical procedures to help replace electrolytes. Kids with mitochondrial issues are at risk for lactic acidosis. Lactated ringers in the IV make this condition worse or more likely.

Want to know more? Check out our podcast just for parents like you!

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Courses that teach you about the biomedical approach, a community where you can ask questions and get support, a provider directory, members only perks and more…

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