Autism with Greer McGuinness: Rational Wellness Podcast 260

Greer McGuinness discusses Autism Spectrum Disorder with Dr. Ben Weitz.

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Podcast Highlights

3:09  Greer said that when she was studying nursing, she had decided that she did not want to work with kids. But then she became a mom and realized that she really did care more about kids and her first son developed autism. He was developing normally and spoke and called her mom and her husband dad and he seemed to be developing normally cognitively and behaviorally. And then one weekend around 19 months he stopped speaking and he just sat and screamed and banged his head for the next two years.  He completely lost every word he ever had.  At age 2 he was diagnosed with Level II Autism with a severe verbal delay.

6:44  While this is controversial because some claim that autism is merely being diagnosed more frequently, clearly rates of autism are increasing in the United States.  The latest data from the CDC shows that 1 in 44 children has autism, which is a 23% increase from 2 years ago. Back in the 1980s the rate of autism was 1 in 100,000 and it has been consistently dropping every year.  The increase in environmental toxins is one factor that may be a factor in this increase in the rate of autism. 

12:39  Food sensitivities.  Some foods like gluten, soy, dairy, and rice tend to trigger opioid receptors and it is helpful for kids to remove these foods. On the other hand, it might be helpful to do food sensitivity testing, such as the Vibrant Zoomer tests on kids with autism.

13:47  Antibodies against dairy can block the absorption of folate leading to a cerebral folate deficiency.  There is a test called the FRAT test that looks at the antibodies for either accepting or blocking the folate into the cell.  If they have that, then they can be prescribed leucovorin, which is a very high dosage prescription form of folate.

18:45  Gut Health.  Typically kids on the spectrum their guts are quite different than the average person. These kids often have higher rates of candida, yeast, clostridia, leaky gut, inflammation, and parasites.  Then she will see what can be added diet wise to help their microbiome. She will use antimicrobials, like Biocidin, which is a liquid that tastes ok. She also uses CellCore products and she will either use a tincture or open a capsule, such as Mimosa Pudica seed and add it into some yogurt or pudding or apple sauce.  Researched Nutritionals also has some good products that she likes to use.

25:55  Nutritional Deficiencies/Insufficiencies.  We need to understand that serum levels of some nutrients are not very helpful, esp. for nutrients like B12, where measuring methylmalonic acid is a better measure of functional B12 status.  It is common for kids on the spectrum to have high levels of serum B12, but this does not mean that they have too much B12 and may still lack optimal levels.  Doing the Vibrant Micronutrient test can be very useful, since it tests both intracellular and extracellular levels of nutrients.  We may need to experiment with different forms for B12, since for some kids, methyl B12 may make some kids more hyperactive and anxious. So those kids may do better with adeno or hydroxy B12.  Choline, inositol, and carnitine are commonly seen nutritional deficiencies.  These can lead to problems with brain and mitochondrial function.  She often sees deficiencies of vitamins B, C, and E, and omega 3 fatty acids.

28:26  The Nutripro Test.  Greer said that now she really likes to run the NutriPro test from Vibrant that couples the micronutrient test with genetics that helps to understand why some deficiencies exist.  [NutriPro test.]  If a kid on the spectrum is positive for the MTHFR variants and/or the COMT variants, then they may not do well with methyl B12 and may have more behavior problems and will often do better on adeno or hydroxy B12.

31:05  Glutamate.  The other thing you need to restrict in the diet for kids on the spectrum is Glutamate or glutamine, which can raise glutamate levels, which can  make them very hyper, since it is an excitatory neurotransmitter. You should test glutamate levels in such kids and if those are high, you need to be careful about giving leaky gut supplements that contain L-glutamine. There is also a specific diet called the REID diet that is low in glutamate.

38:37  NAC.  N-Acetyl Cysteine is a precursor to glutathione, which can be beneficial if they have poor detoxification pathways.  [Lee TM, Lee KM, Lee CY, Lee HC, Tam KW, Loh EW. Effectiveness of N-acetylcysteine in autism spectrum disorders: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2021 Feb;55(2):196-206.]  A lot of kids on the spectrum cannot tolerate NAC or glutathione because they may have an issue with their sulfation pathway and this could be due to a molybdenum deficiency so supplementing with molybdenum can be helpful. 

40:20  Melatonin.  Melatonin can be helpful, though “Greer will usually try CBD oil or lemon balm or valerian root first, though some kids who got COVID, Greer found that the melatonin made them more anxious or aggressive.

42:28  Fish Oil. Most kids with autism are not eating any fish, so taking fish oil can be very helpful for their brains.


Greer McGuinness is a registered dietician and autism and ADHD specialist. She is also a certified detox specialist and certified master herbalist and she uses both food and herbs to rebalance children. Greer also works for Vibrant America Labs as a lab educator.  Her website is Biomedical Healing for Kids.    

Dr. Ben Weitz is available for Functional Nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss and also athletic performance, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111. Dr. Weitz is also available for video or phone consultations.


Podcast Transcript

Dr. Weitz:            Hey, this is Dr. Ben Weitz, host of the Rational Wellness podcast. I talk to the leading health and nutrition experts and researchers in the field to bring you the latest in cutting-edge health information. Subscribe to the Rational Wellness podcast for weekly updates and to learn more, check out my website, drweitz.com. Thanks for joining me. And let’s jump into the podcast.

Hello, Rational Wellness podcasters. Today, we are going to have a discussion about autism or autism spectrum disorder with Greer McGuinness. Autism spectrum disorder or simply autism is a term that describes neural developmental disorders characterized by impaired social communication and a rigid repetitive behavior. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, as of 2018, autism now affects one in 23 children. While in the year 2000, the rate was one in 150 children in the US today.

Clearly, its incidence has been increasing, in my opinion, though, it appears to be the consensus in the conventional medical mental health and medical community that autism is not more prevalent. And that it’s simply being diagnosed more, especially with patients who might have been previously diagnosed with other mental disorders, which it also corresponds with the societal trend to stop institutionalizing people with mental disorders. And then there’s another factor, which is that if a child gets diagnosed with autism then insurance coverage might kick in, that will pay for behavioral and other therapies that can be quite costly. So, we’re going to delve into that and some other questions.  And while there are genetic factors to autism, there appeared to be a number of environmental factors that may be triggers for autism, that may play some role in the way the child acts and feels, especially when looking at this from a functional medicine perspective. Among these potential factors are food sensitivities like gluten and dairy, heavy metals and other environmental toxins, gut disorders like parasites, candida, dysbiosis, and nutritional deficiencies.

Greer McGinness is a registered dietician and autism and ADHD specialist. She is also a certified detox specialist, certified master herbalist and she uses both food and herbs to rebalance children. Greer also works for Vibrant America Labs as a lab educator. Greer, thank you so much for joining us today.

Greer:                   Thank you for having me.

Dr. Weitz:             So, how did you become so interested in helping children with autism?

Greer:                   So, it’s very funny because when I was doing clinicals and things like that and doing my pediatric rotation, I said I never wanted to work in peds. I always said, I never wanted to own my own practice.  I never wanted to work in peds because it just, it scared me.  And then I became a mom and I realized I really did care a lot more about kids and pediatrics.  And my son, my first son was developing normal.  He met all of his milestones.  We really didn’t have any concerns about him, cognitively, behaviorally, developmentally. The only thing was, he was always small. He was small, and my husband and I are not big people, so we just assumed I just didn’t give birth to a very big 10-pound baby.  But when he was around 19 months within about a few days, I was a first time mom, my husband was working long hours, so it was mostly me in the evening time.  When we had a nanny and I came home one day and she said, “Greer, your son isn’t talking anymore.” And I just attributed it to he was tired, maybe he was talking with her all day.  So, I spent the weekend really focusing on his behaviors and realized he would look like he’s looking straight through me.  He completely lost every word he ever had.

And he could talk. He called me mom. He called dad. He could say phrases. But it was that weekend, I really noticed he just sat. He found a bucket and literally sat in a bucket and then that was the next few years of our life. He didn’t speak. He didn’t play. He head banged against the wall. He screamed all day. It was a very crazy, like at 19 months, what just happened here?  So, I called a friend who is a speech therapist and I asked him, “What do I do?” He said, “You need to call early intervention to come in and assess your son and see what’s going on.” And I did and they asked me to come in for a more formal ADOS test. And around at age two, he was diagnosed with Level II autism with a severe verbal delay.

Dr. Weitz:             Right. And the ADOS test, that was a definitive test for it?

Greer:                   Yeah. So, I’m in New York, so every state might use a different test, but in New York we use an ADOS test to diagnose kids. Usually, they ask you to wait till about age of two to assess how the child is in that age group because around anywhere between 19 months to 24 months, many things can change. And I even saw that with my youngest. I was hyper vigilant with my youngest and at 20 months, I was like, “Oh, my gosh, she’s still not really talking.” And then all of a sudden at 23 months it was like di-dit-dit-dit. So, there is that little bit more of some age gap for kids and especially boys. So, at two, when we brought him in, they did the ADOS test and he was on. They classified him as on the autism spectrum disorder.

Dr. Weitz:             So, are rates of autism increasing?

Greer:                   Yeah. So, the latest CDC has one in 44, which was a 23% jump from two years ago. So, the one in 23 that a lot of people read, that’s only in specific states and I believe that’s Jersey. And then, but the CDC and it just came out with it’s one in 44 now for ages of kids with eight. So, they go by age of eight because a lot of kids can lose their diagnosis later in life. So, by age eight, they really look at the diagnosis rate. But that’s still a 23% jump from two years ago, so we are definitely on the rise with diagnosing of autism.

Dr. Weitz:             And I mean, not too many years ago, it was in the one in thousands, right?

Greer:                   Yeah. So, I think back in the ’80s, it was one in 100,000 and it’s just been consistently dropping every single year now.

Dr. Weitz:             And is there any way this is just due to diagnosis?

Greer:                   So, that is a very controversial topic where people think that we’re just diagnosing it earlier. And yes and no, we are probably catching those few that have probably slipped through the cracks, especially females because females do not present autism like boys. So, they are typically lost until they’re older and they usually get misdiagnosed with ADHD. But there is no way that we’re going on a 23% jump from two years ago and stating that that’s from, “We’re just catching it earlier.”  Now, the CDC has pushed milestones recently back, which is even going to create a further gap in getting kids assistance and help that might actually need it. But also we have a lot of discrepancies with pediatricians, what we call gas lighting parents’ concerns if their kid might be on the spectrum, too and the pediatricians typically say, “Oh, well, let’s just wait to see what happens. I’m sure it’s just a speech delay.” So, there’s all these little trickle down issues that can occur, but I don’t believe that the science is there to just say, “We’re just catching it earlier.” I could see 5% maybe, but 23% is just too much.

Dr. Weitz:             So then, the next obvious question is if these rates are increasing, why?

Greer:                   So, there’s a really great expression that are genetics. Our genes are the gun and environmental factors pull the trigger. And it-

Dr. Weitz:             But obviously, our genes don’t change very much.

Greer:                   No, but what’s happening is our environment is changing.

Dr. Weitz:             Right.

Greer:                   From my parents to myself and then now, myself to my child, we can pass down environmental toxins. And I’ve seen, especially working with Vibrant, it’s gotten worse. I’ve tested kids in environmental toxins that are still, and these are kids under the age of eight, still testing high for metabolites of DDT from the ’70s. It’s passed on from grandma to mom, to baby and so on and so forth. And we just continuously are adding layer after layer of toxins and heavy metal. It’s just, they’re bombarded with so much early on that we’re not giving them the chance to actually be normal clean, human little beings. They are already coming full into the world with toxins.

Dr. Weitz:            Why is autism so much more common in boys than girls?

Greer:                   So, they still don’t know 100% why that is. We have some speculations and some of my research in one, so I have a published research paper on sulforaphane treatment for autism spectrum disorder.

Dr. Weitz:             I saw that.

Greer:                   And when I was really diving into research that was one of the things I was trying to really figure out what the biomedical aspect of that could be. There was no definitive conclusion to that. But what I did find was they suspect that boys have typically lower glutathione levels than females, especially early on in age. So, if boys have very low glutathione levels to begin with, which is our master antioxidant and our liver is not fully formed until 18 to 21, then it’s like we’re setting-

Dr. Weitz:             Interesting.

Greer:                   Yeah. So, well, that’s why our drinking age-

Dr. Weitz:             I don’t think most people know that. The liver is not fully formed until age 18 to 21.

Greer:                   That’s why our drinking age is 21. Yeah, I know, yeah. So, it was one of those things that I didn’t realize, because we always assumed that our organs grow with us, that they’re fully formed to what we need, but no, the liver actually isn’t a fully formed organ until age of 18 to 21. So, if we have these boys that are at such a disadvantage early on at life with low glutathione levels, and I’ve seen that in testing, too. Girls have definitely higher glutathione levels than the boys do. If that is what could be a huge trigger factor for them is that they just, their detoxification is just so much lower than that of females.

Dr. Weitz:             So, let’s go into food sensitivity. How important is it to avoid eating gluten and dairy? Or is it better to do food sensitivity testing and base it on that, especially considering the cost and some of the controversies of food sensitivity testing?

Greer:                   So, there are some foods that trigger opioid receptors to go off and that would be things like gluten, soy, dairy, rice. And so, we know that, so that we know a lot of the times removing those foods from the diet could be extremely helpful for kids. There are times I’ve done the Zoomer tests on specific kids that if dairy makes up a very large part of their diet and the parents want to know if they’re truly 100% sensitive, I’ve done that. And I’ve had a couple kids come back completely negative against dairy. So, we leave it because there’s no point of removing it if the person is not having a reaction and they’re able to break it down and digest it perfectly well.

Dr. Weitz:             Now, isn’t it, I’ve read several articles where they discussed the fact that antibodies against dairy can block the absorption of folate. There’s this whole thing about blocking folate receptors and-

Greer:                   Cerebral folate deficiency, yeah.

Dr. Weitz:             Yes, cerebral folate deficiency, exactly.

Greer:                   We do a test for that, too, not with Vibrant, but with another lab company. It’s called the FRAT test, F-R-A-T, and it looks at the antibodies for either accepting or blocking the folate into the cell. So, we know that there are specific nutrients like folate and B12 and a bunch of other nutrients that are so essential for brain function and folate is one of them. So, there are a lot of kids that and you can actually, some of the research actually shows you can actually start seeing this as early as six months in kids with cerebral folate deficiency. And that could be developmental delays, it could be seizures. So, when we test, we can actually see if they have that either blocking or recepting antibody. If they’re positive, typically they would be put/placed on, not folate, but high leucovorin, like supplementation.

Dr. Weitz:             Okay. For those who don’t know, what’s leucovorin.

Greer:                   So, leucovorin is high folinic acid. You cannot really get the sufficient amount in a supplement, so it would have to be a script. It would have to be something written medically from a doctor or a physician to get the high dose of folinic acid in what is leucovorin.

Dr. Weitz:             So, it’s not that it’s in a different form, it’s that the dosage is so high. And what’s the approximate dosage?

Greer:                   It depends on the child. So, I had my son tested for the FRAT test and he was actually negative for both antibodies. And I knew it because he has always never really had a problem with dairy, but I did try because he’s very limited with his diet. I did try and he’s on 10 milligrams a day, which is probably one of the lowest dosage. You could go up, I think all the way up to 50, I believe a day. And I saw some really amazing speech, some really amazing things come out.

Dr. Weitz:             And by the way, when you’re talking about 10 milligrams, a typical multivitamin might have 50 or 100 micrograms of folate.

Greer:                   Right. So, the leucovorin is just such a high, you just won’t be able to get that. I mean, you’d have to give the kid a supplement every couple of hours in order to get to the amount that you would look for in the leucovorin.

Dr. Weitz:             What about just injecting folate?

Greer:                   I’ve not had any kids do that. I’ve had patients do B12 shots, that’s more common, but not so much. I haven’t really heard too many people of doing a folate injection.

Dr. Weitz:             Okay, okay. Great. So, you typically don’t do food sensitivities testing?

Greer:                   No, I will. It depends on the child’s diet. So, the problem with kids on the spectrum is their diet is so limited a lot of the time.

Dr. Weitz:             Right.

Greer:                   So, if a child is eating 10 to 15 foods, if you do food sensitivity, it’s going to show you probably that they’re sensitive to probably everything they’re eating, because all the things that they’re eating is gluten, corn, soy, dairy.

Dr. Weitz:             Right, right.

Greer:                   So, there are times that I definitely do do it if they have a variety, more of a variety of diet, which I have gotten a couple of kids that have a better diet.

Dr. Weitz:             So, let’s say you have a kid that only eats 10 foods, then how much can you even take out the gluten and dairy if that’s going to?

Greer:                   Yeah. We start typically swapping one thing for one thing. Okay, so we start very basic. And I try to explain to parents, Rome was not built in a day. If you think you’re going to be able to change your kid’s diet that’s a really severe picky eater overnight, it’s not going to happen. But we have time and we can make things work in the meantime, so that we can start just let’s take mac and cheese. Let’s start just trying to change the mac and cheese and find something different that he can eat that’s either gluten-free pasta, dairy-free mac.  We can figure this out, but we just start swapping one thing for one thing and eventually we get there. And sometimes, after you start pulling some of those things back and after you start supplementing with micronutrients that they could be deficient in, there are times that all of a sudden the parents call me and say, “Oh, my gosh, she just sat down and ate a plate of pasta and meat.” It would just random, all of a sudden their palate opens and they start feeling better and they’re start more apt to actually eat different foods. So, we start with something small and we work our way out.

Dr. Weitz:             Let’s talk about gut health. How important is gut health? How do we assess gut health? What role does it play in the autism picture?

Greer:                   Yeah. So, typically kids on the spectrum and even ADHD, their guts are completely different than a neuro typical person. Research after research study has shown they have higher rates of candida, yeast overgrowth, clostridia overgrowth, leaky gut, inflammation, parasites. We know this. This is not anything that’s new. And if most kids come to me, the first question I’m asked when we talk about gut health is, “Is their stomach distended? Do they have foul smelling gas? Are they constipated?” Because it’s probably, I think about 80 to 90% of kids have gut issues that are on the autism spectrum disorder, so we know that they have issues.  So, one of the first tests I’m always going to do as a stool test, 100%, hands down. It’s what gives us that information to tell us what’s actually going on in that microbiome. So, we can start figuring out when their diet is so poor, even removing one whole food group, vegetables, that can start damaging the microbiome right away. And it’s just like a trickle down effect. So, we have to look at the microbiome and look at the diet and say, “Okay, what key nutrient are we missing? And what piece of the food groups are we missing? And then what’s going on in the microbiome that we need to fix?”


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Dr. Weitz:             So, let’s say you did a stool test on a kid with autism. Let’s say, it’s a four-year-old and there’s parasites and there’s all sorts of dysbiosis, what interventions will you use?

Greer:                   So, kids are tricky on the spectrum because trying to get them to take supplements can be sometimes-

Dr. Weitz:             It’s really hard, right?

Greer:                   Yeah. So, we start slow and steady. I am the queen of finding everything that could be tasteless, flavorless, and mixed with water, unless we can syringe-train, which is very helpful. Which we start working on right away where you just work on giving small amounts of juice or something in a syringe and then adding supplements to it, so that the kid gets used to taking it. Things like tinctures and stuff we can dilute. So, we can do an array of things. I love Biocidin, especially for the little ones, because it’s so easy. It doesn’t taste terrible. We can typically mix it in some water, so that we can get them to take it and it’s not something that is typically a huge problem.

Dr. Weitz:             Right.

Greer:                   I do love anything, I do love CellCore products. I use them if we can mix it in some yogurt or some-

Dr. Weitz:             Yeah, but aren’t there tinctures alcohol-based?

Greer:                   Biocidin or CellCore?

Dr. Weitz:             No, CellCore.

Greer:                   Well, some of them can be alcohol-based and then, they also have capsules. So, you can also use the capsules if they’ll mix it in things. But a lot of times for parasites, I’ll use something just mimosa pudica seed, which is a pretty gentle intestinal scrubber, which is pretty easy to mix with some pudding or yogurt, things like that. So, I mix and match depending on the child and see what we can work with because not everything is going to mix with water. So, we need to be able to get them to eat something.

Dr. Weitz:             So, take a capsule and mix it in with some pudding you said or you use-

Greer:                   Pudding, apple sauce, yeah. We can sometimes do juice, depending. I usually tell my patients to get a mortar and pedestal and just grind it even the powder even more and mix it really well in the juice. And a lot of the times that helps, so it’s not so suspended and it’s not floating. It’s actually more mixed into the juice. So, we’re able to get it and we can break it up. And people, I think underestimate how hard it is sometimes to give patients and little ones supplements. So, you don’t have to give it all at one shot. You can break it up two to three times out of the day, which it might be a little bit more inconvenient, but it’s more likely the kid will take it that way than at one whole dose.

Dr. Weitz:             And if you do use tinctures, do you try to use glycerin-based rather than alcohol-based or?

Greer:                   I do as much as I can, but depending on the child, sometimes if they do need something stronger, I’m not opposed as long as the parents are comfortable with it. I can teach parents how to make their own tinctures as well if they’re interested in doing that, because some might more feel more comfortable doing that, which is perfectly fine. It’s really hard to find amazing supplements for kids in this area. Most of it, the best supplements are more of adult-based supplements, but so a lot of times that’s why I do rely things on like Biocidin and then there’s a couple other parasite tinctures.

Research Nutritionals has a great line and I’m starting to use them a lot more. They have some ones for parasites and stuff like that. So, I definitely try to research and pick what is going to work best for my patient, but sometimes, it’s just things are, you know. I’ve had a parent that they knew their kid had parasites and they still have parasites when we checked again. So, trying the alcohol one actually was the one that finally got rid of it. So, sometimes we just have to pick and choose.

Dr. Weitz:             Yeah. So, let’s go into vitamin deficiencies. Which are the most important nutritional deficiencies, or I should say insufficiencies, that you tend to see with autistic kids?

Greer:                   So, there’s some research out there that says, kids on the spectrum have at least one nutritional deficiency. Every time I do a micronutrient test, it’s at least five. It’s always at least five or more and it’s pretty much across the board always going to be similar ones. Choline-

Dr. Weitz:             Is that your preferred test for nutritional deficiencies?

Greer:                   Yeah, I do.

Dr. Weitz:             The micronutrient test?

Greer:                   Yeah, I do the Vibrant micronutrient test, because it tests intercellular and extracellular. And parents will go to their pediatrician and get blood work done. Fabulous. Love it. But it’s only serum. It’s only showing me 24 to 48 hours. And it’s always, typically going to be either high or low. And it’s not a full picture if it’s in the cells and that was one of the first ways of figuring things out because my son always had perfect blood work. And I’m going, “This can’t be. He doesn’t eat anything. It can’t be perfect. It doesn’t make any sense.” So, once I-

Dr. Weitz:             Yeah. I’ve given up on serum B12 and serum B6. And yet, some of the patients come in, “Oh, yeah, I had everything tested. I went to my primary care doctor.” And it’s like, “No, you haven’t.”

Greer:                   Yeah. It’s very frustrating. And B12 serum, a lot of the times when parents come to me, they do have that tested a lot of the times for kids on the spectrum and it’s typically extremely high, like 1700 to 2000. So, if they have a specific gene, the FUT2 gene, one, that will actually make it look either high or low and not be completely relevant to what’s actually going on-

Dr. Weitz:             Because the levels could be high, but it’s not getting into the cells, right?

Greer:                   Correct. So, a lot of the times they forget to look for MMA. We need the MMA status, the methylmalonic acid because that is actually showing us if B12 is going into the cells. So, when we do the micronutrient test, which I use from Vibrant, it gives me that full picture. I can see MMA, I can see their B12, and I can see if they’re storing it, too. But I can also figure out, maybe they have MTHFR/COMT mutation and using methyls are not going to work for them.

Dr. Weitz:             You use the Vibrant micronutrient test that has the genetics involved also?

Greer:                   The NutriPro?

Dr. Weitz:             Yeah.

Greer:                   Yeah, that’s my new favorite test. I absolutely love the NutriPro. So, it’s basically, nutrigenomics in a nutshell. You have your micronutrients on one side and then you have all the genes that are related to that particular nutrient. So, I have found so many things in that test that has been tremendously helpful for my patients, especially with certain things like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, which typically tend to be low in kids on the spectrum as well. So, it’s been amazing with figuring out, do they need methyls? Do they need adeno or hydroxy? Do they need to add in palmitate because the vitamin A is not converting? So, it’s great. I love it.

Dr. Weitz:             So, when you say adeno or methoxy, you’re talking about different forms of vitamin B12?

Greer:                   Yeah. So, one of the biggest things with kids on the spectrum is everyone wants to know their kid’s MTHFR status. And people would come to me and they go, “My kid is positive for MTHFR. What do I do?” I’m like, “What do you mean positive? There’s no positive here.” We need to know where the allele is here, what the actual genetic mutation is. So, it’s a common misconception and people put a lot of weight into MTHFR without looking at the big picture.

If you ever look at the methylation cycle, it’s huge, okay? And there are so many other co-factors and nutrients besides B12 that are needed in the methylation cycle. So, I try to explain to them MTHFR is just one little piece of this puzzle here. And I show them the cycle and I highlight all those other nutrients. I’m like, “These are just as important to make that methylation cycle work just as much.” But if they have MTHFR and then I can see if they have COMT mutation, then I can say, “Okay, methylated cobalamin is not working for you. We need to actually put them on adeno or hydroxy cobalamin.”  And likely, they will absorb it a lot better because on methyls, a lot of kids can have hyperactivity, anxiety, anxiousness. And the parents are only attributing these to their autistic behaviors, but it’s actually because of those methyls and I’ve seen that a lot of the times with injections, with B12 injections as well.

Dr. Weitz:             Interesting. That’s a great clinical pearl right there.

Greer:                   Yeah. There’s that one and glutamate. Those are the two that will make a kid on the spectrum go cuckoo for Coco Pops, usually. Those are your two clinical pearls. Don’t give a kid glutamate.

Dr. Weitz:             So, going to the glutamate issue.

Greer:                   So, we know amino acids is really helpful for the microbiome. We know that. And many kids who are on the spectrum, don’t eat beef or meat, maybe chicken nuggets, but they’ll be deficient in a lot of amino acids.

Dr. Weitz:            That should be its own food group, chicken nuggets.

Greer:                   Yeah, chicken. We call it the beige foods. It’s like chicken nuggets, pizza, French fries, chips, crackers. It’s the beige foods. So, if a kid on the spectrum already has high glutamate levels, okay, and I do suggest testing glutamate levels, if you give them or put them on-

Dr. Weitz:            And by the way, glutamate, for those who don’t know is an excitatory neurotransmitter.

Greer:                   Right. It’s an excitatory neurotransmitter. So, if you give a leaky gut supplement that has L-glutamine in it, it will raise the glutamate levels and now, you have an increase in uptake of excitatory receptors. And the child will literally, what I usually say, “Swing from the rafters.” They will be out of control, poor sleeping, wild, hyperactive, so I’m very cautious. I typically never really give L-glutamine supplementation to kids unless I’ve tested and they are low because if you give it to them, that is what’s going to happen. They have a whole specific diet called the REID, R-E-I-D for low glutamate, because a lot of kids on the spectrum have already high levels of glutamate. And that could be from a variety of different things.

Dr. Weitz:            What are some of the other common nutritional deficiencies you see?

Greer:                   So, choline, inositol, and carnitine are my trifecta. Those are typically what I always see low. A lot of times you’re going to find these in eggs and beef and some fish and things like that. And those are so important for brain function and mitochondrial function for the cell. So, if a kid is low in choline, inositol, and carnitine, it’s a recipe for disaster. There’s no energy here. There’s no energy to the brain. So, a lot of the times we’ll also have to supplement with those particular things if we can’t get it into the diet.  Definitely a lot of times, your Bs, your B3, your B6, because those are just utilized in so many different processes in the body. Definitely, vitamin C, vitamin E are master antioxidants. And then typically EPA, a lot of the time fish oils, unless they’re already giving.

Dr. Weitz:            I’ve seen some articles about high-dose vitamin C that’s been used like 8 grams.

Greer:                   So, that’s more for detoxification. It will help, there’s a lot of research out there about using vitamin C. But it’s not going to be so much going to help cognitively so much, but it will help with the detoxification process. It’s typically even with adults, it’s one of the biggest ones that I see low all the time, because it’s used so much throughout the body, vitamin E and vitamin C. We’re always using that in different cycles.

Dr. Weitz:            What’s your preferred form of vitamin E?

Greer:                   So, that one, so-

Dr. Weitz:            Just for those who don’t know, vitamin E is not just vitamin E. Vitamin E is actually a family of nutrients and we have alpha, beta, gamma, delta tocopherol and same thing, tocotrienols. And then there’s controversy over, most typical multivitamins will have DL-alpha-tocopherol. And so, we discovered quite a number of years ago that that’s actually not the most active one in the body. It’s more gamma tocopherol. And in recent years, people have discovered how important the tocotrienols are.

Greer:                   Yeah. So, again, it’s very hard to supplement kids with supplementation. So, a lot of the times I will use, so there is a brand of tocopherol from Mary Ruth that I use. Again, I don’t use it every day. Okay. We have this misconception that we need to take supplements every single day and that’s not the case and not the case for kids. Our diets are supposed to be a variety of things, so we don’t have to take a vitamin C supplement every single day. We don’t have to take fish oils every single day. Things like vitamin E, the same thing.

So, MaryRuth has tocopherol supplementation that I do like and I know it is controversial. I’ve seen the research. There’s always positives and negative, so I don’t give it every day, but I give it a couple of times a week if we can’t get the diet to increase with those particular nuts and stuff like that. So, we will give the supplementation, just to boost a little bit. But again, that’s where that NutriPro comes into handy with the genetic parts, because it helps me figure out, do they need more supplementation because they can’t convert or transport or if the diet is just not perfect.

Dr. Weitz:             Right. Well, why do you say the vitamin E that you give is controversial? Because I don’t see vitamin E is all that controversial.

Greer:                   So-

Dr. Weitz:             Except maybe the form.

Greer:                   Yeah, it’s more of the form, I want to say. Not so much vitamin E, but at the form that you’re giving it. So, there is a controversial-

Dr. Weitz:             What form is that, MaryRuth supplement?

Greer:                   I believe it’s tocopherol supplementation.


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If you go to chilisleep.com and you use the affiliate code, Weitz20, that’s my last name, W-E-I-T-Z, 20. You’ll get 20% off a chiliPAD. So, check it out and let’s get back to this discussion.


Dr. Weitz:              I saw a really interesting study on NAC as being a really beneficial supplement for kids with autism.

Greer:                   Yeah. So, well, NAC is the precursor to help increase glutathione. So, a lot of times NAC can be extremely beneficial if they have really poor detoxification pathways and things like that. When we’re working with kids on the spectrum, one of the things is if you try a kid on glutathione or NAC and sometimes they don’t tolerate it well. They could increase steaming. They can increase agitation.  What we find is that they are actually going to have an issue with their sulfation pathway. Okay. A lot of that’s due to molybdenum deficiency. So, there’s a new supplement that just came out from Aspire Nutrition, which is vitamins, probiotics and stuff geared towards kids on the spectrum. And their new multivitamin actually has molybdenum in it. So, I actually don’t have to supplement separately anymore the molybdenum, which is fabulous. I love it.

Dr. Weitz:             I wonder if that could be related to copper because molybdenum is a like a copper inhibitor and we sometimes use it for patients who have excess copper.

Greer:                   So, yeah. I haven’t seen too many crazy high coppers in kids. Typically, it’s actually low. Their zinc to copper ratio is typically always low, too, because their zinc is always low. So, it could be related in that aspect. But yeah, that’s an interesting one. I don’t know if there’s any research on that one.

Dr. Weitz:             I’ve seen talk about melatonin as often being beneficial for kids with autism.

Greer:                   Yeah. Melatonin can be helpful. I try to make sure that if we’re using it, we’re not using it every single day because the kid will eventually, it’s likely just like an adult, get use to it. You’d have to keep increasing the dosage. And sometimes, it could be a neurotransmitter issue if they’re not producing enough melatonin. Is it the gut issue that’s not producing enough lactose and bifidos to help balance out those neurotransmitters. I won’t always reach, honestly, for melatonin first. I usually trial CBD oil or I try something lemon balm or valerian root first. But definitely melatonin can be helpful for certain kiddos, especially if it’s a neurotransmitter issue.  But what I’ve found, too, is a couple of my kiddos and myself who’ve had COVID, when we started taking melatonin again, it actually does the opposite. And it actually starts creating flare-ups for us. So, I’m not sure how that’s now playing in with COVID. But I’ve had a couple of my patients that used to take melatonin after they’ve contracted COVID, now, it’s actually causing them to be aggressive or to be anxious and-

Dr. Weitz:             Interesting, because as I think you’re just alluding to is melatonin was often part of the COVID protocol. It was found to be beneficial. But you’re saying for long COVID, sometimes it’s not.

Greer:                   Yeah. So, that was even my doctor even said, “Oh, take 10 milligrams a day or something. It’s been shown to help with COVID.” So, that’s what I started doing, especially as a long hauler, and then I started waking up a lot of the times and having these flare-ups with really bad joint pains and muscle pain and fatigue. And then I was away at a conference for two days and I forgot to pack my melatonin. I didn’t have it and for those two days, I never felt better. So I was like, “That’s so weird.” So, I came home, I took it and then I felt worse again. I was like, and then when I stopped the melatonin and I felt fine.

Dr. Weitz:             Interesting. Do you find fish oil helpful or do you like to use cod liver oil?

Greer:                   So, fish oil and cod liver oil can be super, super helpful, especially because our kids are not obviously eating any type of fish and they need that EPA, the DHA and it’s been amazing. That was one of the first things my son’s developmental pediatrician said to me one day when we were walking out. When he was two and a half, she’s like, “Oh, put him on fish oils. It will help his brain.” And I’m like “What? Where did that come from?” And it did.  It definitely helped his cognitive ability, his focus. It definitely helped and then I’ve seen a lot of kids who have histamine responses. If you put them on fish oil, it’s the opposite effect. So, you have to, I do say, tread lightly. Sometimes, it is a food sensitivity, so if they’re reactive to this specific type of fish, then we do cod liver and we try cod liver or flax, if we absolutely have to. But yeah, fish oil is not only for gut and the brain, but the gut.  It helps so many with inflammation, those low levels of lactose and bifidos. It’s definitely one of those things that pretty much all kids should be on if they’re not eating fish. But again, those are one of the things you don’t have to literally take every single day. It can be something that you take three times a week because you’re not literally eating fish every single day.

Dr. Weitz:             You mentioned histamine and I understand histamine can play a big part. And I don’t think most people think of histamine affecting behavior. But just think of somebody who takes Benadryl, which is reducing histamine and how you get tired and calm with that.

Greer:                   Yeah. So, a lot of kids, I find, especially some we figure out they have something like mass cell reaction. There’s something deeper going on, lime, mold, that’s affecting their immune response and parents, sometimes will have rashes or hives or their behavior becomes very irrational, very rage or hyperactivity, very not like the child. So, when we’re looking at could it be histamines, we do food sensitivities a lot of the times to actually pinpoint. We can see if they’re coming back reactive to a lot of histamine foods, they likely have a histamine response issue going on. So, we start removing anything that could be a high histamine reaction and then start working on detoxing and lowering that inflammation to the body.

Dr. Weitz:             What part do toxins, especially heavy metals, play in autism? And I also have heard some discussions about mycotoxins as playing a role in a number of cases.

Greer:                   Most of the mycotoxins, especially like my ADHD kids, I find that they have the most type of in-home black mold type of things that are affecting their ADHD. Most of the little ones I’ve had have only had food-related molds, which is still an issue, not so much an environmental mold, a few. But that, any type of mold, whether it be environmental or food-related mold, especially things like juice or from grains, that’s just is adding fuel to the fire. That’s just adding, putting more taxation on the human body for them.

With heavy metals, heavy metals is a huge problem in a majority of the kids that I see. Anything from mercury, aluminum, arsenic, nickel, lead. I just had two come back for uranium because of their well waters. So, it affects everyone completely differently. So, for me, heavy metals and especially, my son was one of the first things that I really did with him was detoxing him of heavy metals. So, that was what I saw the biggest and hugest improvements of him being nonverbal, could barely speak two or three words to completing full sentences within six months of detoxing heavy metals out of his system. So, I knew heavy metals played a huge role when I started looking at genes.

And I started looking at influences, and I had amalgam fillings, so it just all played together. And a lot of the kids that I’ve seen just have these high levels of any type of heavy metal. And we have to start looking at where they’re coming from, how do we remove them safely. And then how do we start making sure the gut is working, their bile is flowing to be able to remove all of this safely. And if they’re constipated, we got to make sure that they’re not constipated. It’s a process to work with these types of kiddos, because there’s so much that has to be packaged in a nice little bowl, so that we don’t really disrupt their system too much.

Dr. Weitz:             What’s the best way to test for heavy metals? We have hair, urine, serum.

Greer:                   So, we have blood, which typically shows more of, only like a few days. So, if you thought you were exposed to arsenic a few days ago, that would be the best way to test. The half-life is pretty short in the blood. Unlike lead, you can still test for lead in the blood for a couple of months. Hair is easy because you don’t have to disrupt the child. You don’t have to try to collect urine if they’re not potty trained and things like that, but there’s a lot of influencing with that.  Anything that you use if you wash your hair with something, if you were outside and you happen to be near someplace that has glyphosate or which, any type of pesticides will have heavy metals in them. So, hair is not the most accurate, but it can be helpful.

But urine is definitely the gold standard because it shows what’s going on in the system right now. The problem is heavy metals hide. They don’t free float in the system. So, there are times where I do say we need to do a little provoking. You can try some NAC, glutathione, DMSA, Zeolites for a couple days prior to collection and then collect and see. So, urine typically is the number one and that’s where I catch the majority of them.

Dr. Weitz:             Now, there’s been some controversy about this, because some of the labs recommend not provoking that. It will affect the sensitivity of the test.

Greer:                   I know. Here’s the thing. Most of the tests are validated for unprovoked, which I totally understand. But if heavy metals are typically embedded in our brain and our muscles and our tendons and tissues and organs, how else are you going to get to see what’s going on?

Dr. Weitz:             That’s right.

Greer:                   Because there’s no percentage of accuracy. So, if I see somebody who says their aluminum is above the reference range and that’s just with a little provoking. Can you imagine what else is actually in that system that I don’t see. So, if I’m actually catching something, that actually means that there’s probably, there’s more there, but I don’t know to what extent there is more.

Dr. Weitz:             And so, you think a couple of days of provocation and maybe something like liposomal glutathione for two days.

Greer:                   Yeah, that’s all I really use and I catch things all the time. So, that’s just for my own experience. I’ve had practitioners do two weeks ahead of time, 24 hours to 48 hours. I’ve had people just do saunas the night before and catch the next day. It’s really practitioner’s preference. I just know what works for me and my kiddos, so because again, smaller bodies, they’re smaller compacted. I don’t need as long because they’re going to transfer everything over pretty quickly, so a few days and I catch a pretty good amount.

Dr. Weitz:             So, what will you have, say you have a six year old kid, have them do glutathione twice a day for two days or?

Greer:                   So, with little ones, I could definitely do glutathione or a little bit of NAC. I don’t usually, especially if they’re small and they’ve never been on those supplements before, I definitely start them low. Research Nutritionals has a great watermelon glutathione that tastes amazing, so that’s super easy to get the kiddos to take. Sometimes, I’ll just do like zeolite sprays, which is easy for the kiddos to take. So, yeah, I just give a small amount. If I was just starting them on a dose and working my way up thing just to see how they would react, but then also it helps with the provoking.

Dr. Weitz:             Okay. So, zeolite is a binder and it comes in a spray form.

Greer:                   Yeah. So, I use TRS Coseva. Other people could use powder zeolites or other types of liquid zeolites. I just find what works best for my patients and what I’ve used personally in my family, so I use it under guidance and being careful. But yeah, so it’s just what works best. It’s a zeolite solution. It helps to cage and bind the heavy metals to pull them out of the system and it’s just pretty easy.

Dr. Weitz:             Yeah. And we’ve been using that Total Tox Burden urine tests from Vibrant. And that seems to be really, really helpful and tests a lot of things.

Greer:                   That’s my favorite test.

Dr. Weitz:             Right? Because it tests…

Greer:                   I love that test.

Dr. Weitz:             … heavy metals and a lot of heavy metals. And heavy metals that people don’t often test. And it also tests mycotoxins and environmental toxins.

Greer:                   Yeah. The environmental toxins is helpful, too, because it’s caught a few times where I’ve had kids in a room where either they just lay a carpet down in their bedroom or they just had their floors done. And we’ve seen high levels of specific type of byproducts in their system that they’re breathing in all night long and it’s just, so high. So, I had one parent have to remove a carpet that they had put down because whatever that carpet was made out of, that toxin, when we looked at everything, we could tell that’s where it was coming from. And they had to rip out the whole entire carpet because the kid was just breathing in whatever chemicals and stuff was in that carpet all night long. And they couldn’t get rid of it because they weren’t being able to detox it properly.

Dr. Weitz:             A couple of patients recently who had high levels of gadolinium and that’s because they had MRIs with contrast. And I don’t think many companies test for gadolinium.

Greer:                   No, and I’ve actually had little kids test for gadolinium from their parents. The kid never had any type of MRI…

Dr. Weitz:             Oh, really? Wow.

Greer:                   … or anything that or MRI with contrast, but the kid tested positive. I think that was a two year old.

Dr. Weitz:             Is that through breastfeeding or?

Greer:                   It could be, yeah. So, a lot of heavy metals, like I said, get stuck in organs and stuff. Mycotoxins, environmental toxins can get stuck in the adipose tissue. Same with DDT. That’s why DDT gets passed on is because it goes from our adipose tissue through breastmilk and through utero. So, I think the EWG found in a study, I want to say it was 30 to 40 umbilical cords, they found 238 different types of toxins in the umbilical cords. And that was heavy metals toxin, environmental toxin, so it’s like-

Dr. Weitz:             They’re coming into this world with that many toxins before their first day.

Greer:                   Right. And the levels were astronomical. They weren’t even just minute. They were pretty astronomical. So, just about anything, even viruses, Lyme, Epstein. All those things we have been seeing that these kids are coming positive for these viruses from mom.

Dr. Weitz:             Interesting, interesting. And we know that the current virus has a very high auto immunoreactivity.

Greer:                   Right. Yeah. And COVID and stuff is now going to throw a wrench into a lot of this because, especially with the kids that I work with who had old viruses, herpes simplex virus, strep, et cetera. All of a sudden now when they come in contact with this new virus of COVID, it’s now exacerbated their old symptoms. It’s exacerbated and brought to life these underlining conditions and viruses. So, it’s like every time I think we have a grasp on something like a monkey wrench gets thrown in and it’s like, you know. So, everything new still with this, too, but it’s just unfortunate that it’s just, that’s what’s going to keep changing.

Dr. Weitz:             What do you think about EMFs?

Greer:                   I bought an EMF reader. My husband probably thought I was out of my mind and I was walking around the house with this thing and it’s going off like crazy. And I was like, “Oh, my gosh.” And my husband’s a tech guy, so he loves technology. So, everything that I was reading was going off like a maniac and he just looked at me, rolled his eyes and walked away.  But so, I actually was at a seminar and one of the presenters was talking about LPS, so lipopolysaccharides in the microbiome. These are produced by gram-negative commensals and they produce endotoxins, which is toxic. And with kids on the spectrum, what I’ve seen is a lot of them have overgrowth of gram-negatives, which are impacting their gut, impacting their brain. When they were talking they were explaining that if you have high EMF readings near that person, it actually can increase those LPS and exacerbate the overgrowth or any type of pathogens in the human body, which completely makes sense because you’re basically charging them.

So, that’s why I bought an EMF reader and that’s why I was going around my house like a maniac. So, what I started to look at was, especially with kiddos, making sure that any type, if your laptop, no computers in the bed, in the room, no iPads. We try to limit iPads. The router, make sure the router is away from everybody. Ours is in the basement, away from everybody. I really do believe, and there are studies with kids on the spectrum and EMFs, that EMFs have actually exacerbated behaviors. So, I 100% believe it and I’ll just keep walking around the house like a crazy woman with my EMF reader trying to figure things out.  But yeah, I even got those Shungite stickers and crystals and stuff. And that actually, it was funny because I had the Shungite, I believe it is. And I actually put it up against something I was testing and it actually does help absorb it. So, I was like I went out and got a lot more and I just have been placing them around the house. My husband I know thinks I’m crazy, but it’s all right.

Dr. Weitz:             That’s great. So, I think we’re going to bring this discussion to a close. Any final thoughts and then how can people get a hold of you find out about what you have to offer?

Greer:                   Yeah. So, I always say to people, tests don’t guess. When in doubt, just test. I know, I’ve spent and well, you did talk about this at the beginning, kids on the spectrum and parents, we spend. If I showed you bills of what therapies have costed me over the years, it is a fraction of probably what I’ve probably spent on biomedical interventions that have done more for my son than these therapies. So, for me, testing is just the ultimate solution to a lot of our kids’ problems. We need to know.

We need to make those changes. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give yourself some space and just start doing little pieces at a time. You don’t have to go crazy and change everything overnight. It’s a process. But take it upon yourself to just live, enjoy your family, and try to do the best that you can for your family. And that’s all, just judging from experience on this, because it’s been a journey. It’s been a really tough journey.

Dr. Weitz:             That’s great. And how can patients contact you if they want to have you help them?

Greer:                   Yeah. So, they can contact me. I have a website called Biomedical Healing for Kids. And I also have a Facebook group and an Instagram, which is Biomedical Healing for Kids, so you can join my Facebook group. I started that when I started my son’s journey just to showcase and help other parents and post different things and research articles and stuff and it has just taken off. So, I’m happy to help and reach out if you have any questions.

Dr. Weitz:             That sounds great. Thank you, Greer.

Greer:                   Thank you so much.



Dr. Weitz:            Thank you for making it all the way through this episode of the Rational Wellness podcast. And if you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please go to Apple Podcast and give us a five star ratings and review. That way more people will be able to find this Rational Wellness Podcast when they’re searching for health podcasts. And I wanted to let everybody know that I do now have a few openings for new nutritional consultations for patients at my Santa Monica Weitz Sports Chiropractic and Nutrition Clinic. So, if you’re interested, please call my office (310) 395-3111 and sign up for one of the few remaining slots for a comprehensive nutritional consultation with Dr. Ben Weitz. Thank you and see you next week.


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