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Supplement frustrations

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

In my research, I learned there were M.D.s trained in a biomedical approach to treating autism. There was one such doctor close by us, so I called to make an appointment immediately. Of course he was booked for months, but we happened to get in on a cancellation. By this time I had received Tula’s test results from Great Plains Laboratory, and they were shocking. Not only did she carry no beneficial bacteria in her gut, but her yeast levels and fungal growth were off the charts on the organic Organic Acid Test (OAT). Her vitamin and mineral absorption levels were dismally low. Sixty-five total compounds and markers were tested, yielding results considered “out of range” in twenty-seven of them. Of those “out of range,” nineteen were extremely irregular, with metrics nearing the maximum measurable result.

On her stool analysis there were no abnormal yeast levels, but I learned about something sneaky called "biofilm." This protective coating actually hides the candida yeast in lab analyses. Tests may show everything is fine when in actuality there is an overgrowth. I was told that if the yeast infection is systemic in the blood, it won’t show up in the stool either. Tula's beneficial flora, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, was zero on the OAT test. Her results showed below the expected range of SIgA, meaning a decreased level of immunity. In short, Tula’s front line defense against infections was at best low and ineffective. She also showed signs of improper digestion, as fiber levels in the stool were elevated. I noticed something called oxalates that were also off the charts, but I didn’t know what these were. In fact, I didn’t understand most of the report, so I was looking forward to having it all explained by the new doctor. When we finally saw him, he wanted more blood tests for further details on all of Tula’s vitamin deficiencies, and other urine tests as well. Knowing that she needed more blood tests was enough to give me insomnia.

Both arms were jabbed, with no luck finding a vein, sending Tula and Mike back the next day for another blood draw. The test results showed more mineral deficiencies, with zinc being particularly scarce. Tula also showed a high level of pyrroles in her urine. Pyrroles bind to vitamin B6 and zinc, speeding their excretion from the body. Deficiencies of zinc and B6 have been shown to trigger emotional and mental health problems, including ADHD, autism, anxiety, frequent infections, and allergies, among others. The doctor ordered more probiotic capsules, fish oil, digestive enzymes with meals, and a zinc/magnesium drink. We were instructed to give Tula these nutrients for one month and be re-checked. He was confident these supplements would correct her level ranges.

Unfortunately, Tula would throw up the zinc drink. To avoid this, I would have to distract her with a video and make sure she had food in her stomach. Although the buffering food didn't always help, we always managed to get the zinc into her body every day—even if we had to administer a portion of it at one time and give more to her later in the day. One month passed and I was anxious to see the lab improvements in her levels, even though there was no improvement in her behavior. When the doctor reviewed the results, he asked, “Are you not giving her the supplements?” I wanted to wring his neck considering how hard we'd been working at it. “Of course we are, why?” He stated that the levels had actually gone down instead of improving.

His nurse mentioned that when a child is extremely mineral deficient, the body sucks all of the supplemented zinc in and needs more. This made no sense to me but we agreed to the doctor’s orders and doubled the amounts. We added even more supplements, including a high- dose multivitamin and calcium, and started her on a prescription antifungal to kill the overgrowth of yeast.

By this point I needed a spreadsheet mounted on our fridge to track Tula's supplements, showing time of day for each supplement to be administered. Some supplements were to be taken throughout the day and others were not to be mixed with any other pill. We had resorted to chasing her around with a syringe to get the pills down since there were so many. It was a ton of work and I couldn’t help but wonder if this was all worth it.

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