Here is why prozac should not be used for children diagnosed with autism
Scientific observations, just out of the lab, are implying that prozac curbs some symptoms of autism in mice, and are speculating that the drug should be tried in infants in the future. But, other studies on the pathology of autism, leads to the conclusion that prozac should not be used for children diagnosed with autism. Here is what we know so far about autism.
The LA times reported about a study conducted by Hiroshima University and the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Saitama, Japan, administered Prozac (also known by its generic name, fluoxetine) to the mice during the first three weeks of their lives. In a human child, the treatment period was roughly the equivalent of the span from 6 months of age to about 2½ years.
First of all, the idea that this selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor called Prozac (also known by its generic name, fluoxetine) could be used for people with autism, comes from the well known fact that autism has been genetically linked to low serotonin in cerebrospinal fluid, a proposition put forward through the observations of a small scale study.
So, based on the speculation that people with autism have a genetic disorder that causes low serotonin, the Japanese scientific team tested prozac on autistic mice, because SSRIs block the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin in the brain, making more serotonin available.
But there are way to many un-anwered questions that need to be addressed first before everyone jumps on the bandwagon that prozac could be used for people diagnosed with autism.
There are at least 4 reasons as to why prozac should not be used for people diagnosed with autism : 1) SSRIs during pregnancy may be what is causing the surge in autism 2) SSRIs may cause thyroid dysfunction 3) Serotonin deregulation in people diagnosed with autism may be linked with the depletion of tryptophan 4) thyroid dysfunction, serotonin regulation and tryptophan deficiency can all be treated naturally.
1) SSRIs during pregnancy may be what is causing the surge in autism
Scientists say that plasma membrane monoamine transporter (PMAT) dysfunction is speculated to raise serotonin prenatally, exerting a negative feedback inhibition through serotonin receptors on development of serotonin networks and local serotonin synthesis. Interestingly an animal model study has suggested that, the primary metabolites of antidepressants, crosses the placenta during pregnancy, and fetal exposure to the primary metabolites of antidepressants, exceeds that of the mother during gestation 2 h after maternal administration. Furthermore, there is recent evidence pointing to increased risks of autism spectrum disorders and postnatal language learning deficits linked to the use of SSRIs during pregnancy.
So, could this be the link? Could the plasma membrane monoamine transporter (PMAT) dysfunction speculated to raise serotonin prenatally, be caused by the use of selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy?
We know now that serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter, biochemically derived from tryptophan, and it is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), blood platelets, and the central nervous system (CNS). As mentioned above, maternally administered SSRIs rapidly reaches the fetal blood and brain, while passing from the mother to the foetus, and the primary binding target for SSRIs in the placenta is the serotonin transporter. So, it is it reasonable to propose the use of antidepressants during pregnancy may cause the child to exert autistic traits
Given all the information above, the scientific community still has a lot of questions to answer in regards to the pathology of autism, and how to holistically tackle this neurological disorder. Because if the use the SSRIs during pregnancy may in fact be the causer of the ever growing numbers of children diagnosed with autism, then what good long term outcome would be reached by an infant exposed to prozac in the first few months of life?
2) SSRIs may cause thyroid dysfunction
Yes, it is well known that SSRI treatments have an impact on thyroid indices, causing hypothyroidism. Prozac for example has been shown to interfere with local T3 metabolism. Interestingly, thyroid dysfunction is frequently found in children with autism.
A Danish cohort study, of 30 295 singletons born to mothers with thyroid dysfunction, found that children born to mothers diagnosed and treated for the first time for thyroid dysfunction after their birth may have been exposed to abnormal levels of maternal thyroid hormone, already present during the pregnancy, and this untreated condition could increase the risk of specific neurodevelopmental disorders in the child.
Interestingly, It has been established by the scientific community that there is a link between depression and thyroid function, and according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, “The diagnosis of subclinical or clinical hypothyroidism must be considered in every patient with depression."
So, if mood and behavior in people diagnosed with autism can be explained by a thyroid dysfunction, either acquired from the mother’s usage of SSRIs during pregnancy or prenatal or postnatal nutritional deficiencies. How can administering prozac to an infant resolve the ongoing thyroid issue?
3) Serotonin deregulation in children diagnosed with autism may be linked with the depletion of tryptophan
People diagnosed with autism have been foundto have decreased tryptophan metabolism, which may alter brain development, neuroimmune activity and mitochondrial function.
Tryptophan, which is an essential α-amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of protein that must be acquired through diet, needs to gain access to the central nervous system (CNS) via the blood-brain barrier in order for serotonin production to occur.
Low levels of tryptophan in the body may lead to the worsening of autistic symptoms such as mild depression and increased irritability. Since the production of serotonin is dependant on optimal levels of tryptophan, it is safe to say that tryptophan depletion will cause an irregular production of serotonin, which has been linked with various neurological disorders.
So, again how can prozac tackle a much complex deficiency found in children diagnosed with autism?
4) Depression, Thyroid dysfunction, serotonin regulation and tryptophan deficiency can all be treated naturally
A common issue that children diagnosed with autism suffer with are sleep disturbances. This is because, as its been established above, there is a dependency of serotonin and melatonin production on tryptophan. So, people diagnosed with autism or who are suffering from sleeping related disorders, should boost nutritional consumption of foods that are rich in melatonin, tryptophan and serotonin regulators. Click here to find our how this can be achieved through nutrition.
Perhaps, to reduce the incidence of depression in children diagnosed with autism, treating depression naturally could be the answer. There are many ways this can be done: via herbal supplements, and other vitamins known to ameliorate mood, as well as certain foods.
For more recently reported natural approaches, that have been proven to help children diagnosed with autism, you may want to read how controlling yeast infection can be a treatment for autism, and also how camel’s milk and sage's health benefits may help autistic patients. It is important to note that there may be other environmental reasons as to why there is a sharp rise in children diagnosed with autism.
As it can be seen, autism is a complex neurological condition that may be caused by a variety of metabolic issues which may be triggered by genetics, environmental pollutants or both. So, children diagnosed with autism should be viewed holistically, as treating one issue while ignoring the other will certainly not help the individual overall, and this is prozac should not be used for children diagnosed with autism.