Ah, the Autism/Vaccines debate. Thousands of parents insist that their child’s road to ASD began with a vaccine. Meanwhile, thousands more are eager to dismiss the correlation or the rise of incidence of ASD all together. But what if there is a middle ground? Autism is a complex disorder that involves dysfunction of the person’s nervous system, gastrointestinal system, immune system, and just about every other cell you can think of; it involves the entire body. And, as with most other complex disorders, I believe that there is no one cause and no one treatment.
If you read this book by Robert Melillo, you begin to truly understand that there are numerous things that can predispose an individual to developing ASD. Many of these risk factors involve the health of the parents before conception or during pregnancy, others involve the child’s health in the first few years of life.
- Diabetes (parents, especially mom)
- Obesity (parents, especially mom)
- Autoimmune disease (mother)
- Hypothyroidism (mother)
- Left-brain dominance of either parent
- Infection during pregnancy such as the Flu or Measles (mother)
- Advanced age of the parents (especially dad)
- MTHFR gene polymorphisms (parents or child)
- Acetaminophen exposure (child)
- Antibiotic exposure (child)
- Vitamin D deficiency (parents of child)
- Early exposure to food allergens such as gluten (child)
- Genetics (true genetic ASD only compromises about 10% of cases)
- Vaccinations such as MMR (child)
Vaccines don’t cause ASD, per say, but I believe they are commonly the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I know children who developed severe ASD despite never receiving a single vaccine. The sheer existence of the non-vaccinated autistic child automatically makes this debate much more complicated. However, I don’t think anyone can deny that we are the fattest, sickest, and most inflamed people who have ever roamed the planet. It is so, SO common for parents and children to have numerous risk factors from the above (incomplete) list. How are we surprised that children’s brains can’t develop properly and flourish under such conditions?
A lot of children developed ASD after a vaccination, but it’s not a simple cause and effect. However, if we take a child who can’t metabolize folate (MTHFR), has no vitamin D or glutathione, has a leaky gut, and has a mother who is hypothyroid and proceed to vaccinate them I think we’re just asking for trouble. How much more inflammation can one little body possibly take?
A Call for Action:
First and foremost, we need to take responsibility for our health and realize that the way we live our lives has a profound impact on the health of our children. We can go around and around on the internet all we want debating the vaccine link but it’s all a moot point until we give our children a solid foundation to grow upon.
I would also like to argue that current conventional vaccine culture needs to change. Most people in the vaccine debate argue an all or nothing approach; one side of the fence thinks vaccines are poison and the other side thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread. But must it be so black and white? Both sides are adamant that the other is endangering our children, but what if there was a middle ground that could offer the ability to vaccinate (if you choose to do so) and decrease the risk of those vaccines negatively impacting your child?
We as doctors and consumers must first understand that vaccines are made to be inflammatory. They wouldn’t work otherwise. If we only injected a dead bug into your body your body would have little to no reason to fight it off- it’s dead. It’s not going to do anything to you and your body knows that. However, if we load the vaccine up with an inflammatory chemical cocktail of formaldehyde, mercury, aluminum, and MSG we have a much better chance of getting your body to mount an attack. It is this immune/inflammatory response that makes the vaccine work in the first place. People who say that vaccines are not inflammatory or dangerous clearly don’t understand the basic mechanism of how they (claim to) work in the first place. An non-inflammatory, effective vaccine is an oxymoron.
Rather than blindly enforcing a vaccine schedule for the sake of staying on schedule, I believe that doctors should take the time to evaluate weather or not their patients are in a good position to receive a vaccine. When was the last time your doctor took the time to check your child’s vitamin status, blood work, diet, developmental milestones, neurological health, and parental risk factors prior to recommending a vaccination? My guess is never.
My Advice for Parents:
I urge you, please take a moment and think about your child’s health and risk factors for ASD prior to vaccinating. Find a functional medicine doctor who can run proper blood work or at least insist that your doctor measure Vitamin D, glutathione, omega-3/6 ratio, and vitamins and minerals, and checks for neurological antibodies, food intolerances and MTHFR status prior to vaccinating. If the blood work comes back with areas for improvement, take the time to give your child the appropriate supplements and modify their diet and lifestyle before you return for that vaccination.