Friday, 29 March 2013

Always Show your Workings? More about Glutathione (GSH)

It may be a long time since you were in school, but you will most likely remember the maths teacher kept telling you to show your working.  The idea was that you might have got the method right, but got the wrong final answer; at least you could get half a mark.

I just asked Ted (aged 12) what happens these day at school if you get the right answer, but the workings were wrong.  Ted debated this with friend, whilst continuing to play a video game together.  The conclusion was that if the answer was right, but the working was wrong, you would not get full marks. 

In the field of autism this seems to be a recurring scenario (right answer, but wrong workings).  Somebody finds a therapy that appears to work, and produces some scientific justification, but then along come other clever people and use science to tear apart the proposed justification (or workings).

Yesterday while adding tags to this blog, I came across a blog with a delighted parent, who had noticed a dramatic reduction in autistic behaviours in her child.  I paid attention because it mentioned the word Glutathione.  The post went on about the child having low levels of Glutathione (GSH), because of “unregulation of CBS(++)”,  and the Yasko genetic panel.  What is all that about, I wondered.

Using Google I quickly found two avenues to pursue, in no time at all:-

  • A very fancy website with colour charts, fancy names like "Neurological Research Institute",  Genetic Profiling Systems,  and "A guide to nutrigenomic testing".  Then alarm bells started to ring; a Dr Amy Yasko of Holistic Health International, who can sell you nutrigenomic testing for just $495.
  • A very basic website,  with a paper called “CBS Upregulation, Myth or Reality". This paper by Mark London, from MIT, seems dedicated to refuting the “science” put forward by Dr Yasko.  London concludes:-  
“Thus, while some of the aspects of Dr. Yasko’s treatment plan may have usefulness, there is no support that CBS upregulation can have any negative effects.”
Then I find quickly in blogs, that people are wondering just who is this Mark London and what interest has he got? Maybe he does not like Dr Yasko?  It turns out that after the $495 nutrigenomic testing, you then have to buy something called the “Ammonia support supplement”.  I checked her site and just 24ml will set you back $85, it say that is enough for 48 servings and you need 3 servings a day. So that about $5.30 a day or nearly $2,000 a year.

It looks like Mr London thinks that’s a lot of money to pay, without showing the correct working.

I have raised my son’s Glutathione (GSH) and it cost me 20 cents a day or $73 a year.  I am with Mark on this one.



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