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The Toxic Origins of Autism

Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD, is known for his successful treatment of neurological illness and chronic pain with Integrative Medicine. Here he talks about some of the toxic causes that can lead to autism. In addition children with Autism may have a constant and preventable production of toxic substances within their own bodies.

Synthesizing traditional and alternative medicine for more than 32 years, Dr. Klinghardt has blended these two approaches into a 5-level system of Integrative Medicine. He also developed Autonomic Response Testing (ART), an innovative diagnostic system that has helped transform many practitioners into accomplished healers.

Synthesizing traditional and alternative medicine for more than 32 years, Dr. Klinghardt has blended these two approaches into a 5-level system of Integrative Medicine. He also developed Autonomic Response Testing (ART), an innovative diagnostic system that has helped transform many practitioners into accomplished healers.

Dr. Klinghardt is a world leader in the areas of psychoneurobiology, environmental toxicity, chronic infection, and family systems influences, and how these lead to chronic illness. He currently resides in Bellevue, WA where he treats patients and teaches workshops on his healing methods.

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Dr. Mercola's Comments:
When I finished medical school over 25 years ago, the incidence of autism was only one in 10,000. Now it has conservatively climbed to 1 in 150, and some experts believe that if you consider the full range of neurological disorders that could logically be under the umbrella "Autism Spectrum Disorder" the incidence may be as high as one in 10.

As the numbers rise, conventional medicine feigns cluelessness about the real causes. Genetics (the so-called “Fragile X syndrome” being the most common) was recently hailed as “the cause,” especially in U.S. media, but most failed to underscore the fact that genetics defined as a specific mutation that creates the cluster of symptoms labeled Autism, accounts for no more than 1 percent of the cases of autism.

Meanwhile the other 99 percent are still unaccounted for other than drifting toward the general perception of the causal combination of genes and environment. 

Yet, as Dr. Klinghardt, one of my primary mentors and a pioneer in natural medicine, shared in the video above, the picture is becoming much clearer. One commonality among most people with autism is that their pathways of detoxification have become overwhelmed by both man-made and microbial toxins.

I have been inspired to collaborate with some of the leading experts in autism, including Dr. Klinghardt, and participate in the THRIIVE think tank that will provide basic resources for those afflicted with autism.

One of the challenges of seeking alternative strategies for autism, or any disease for that matter, is there is quite a bit of material to sort through. In the coming months I will be bringing you the results of this collaboration, but for now I’d like to share a bit of what Dr. Klinghardt has discovered about the potential causes of autism.

• Causal Factor #1: Autoimmune Disease

Parents of autistic children, particularly mothers, tend to have a greater rate of autoimmune diseases. Things like food allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other, more subtle, symptoms. According to Dr. Klinghardt, this may be a precondition that should be looked into.

• Causal Factor #2: Gene Mutations

Children with autism tend to have more gene expressions that are inefficient for detoxification. These so-called “mutations” tend to be unpredictable, and every autistic child’s set is slightly different along with their own unique expression of Autism.

• Causal Factor #3: Chronic Infections ( & Lyme Disease)

Chronic infections like Lyme disease are extremely common in autistic children, and may even be causing the gene mutations. Dr. Klinghardt has found that four out of five autistic children that come to his office test positive for Lyme disease. Typically, the child gets the disease not from a tick bite but from their mother, who may be a silent carrier of the illness.

Ironically, the major symptom of Lyme disease in a child is not autism, but rather hyperactivity, learning disorders, depression, early puberty, and slight delays in motor development, according to Dr. Klinghardt. And the symptoms can actually stay silent or nearly silent for up to 20 years!

Looking at it this way, it’s easy to see why understanding the origins of autism are so important for helping our society as a whole.

How Chronic Infections Cause Autism

Any type of chronic infection, whether caused by Lyme disease or any other microbe, such as mold, can spread through your system and make you chronically ill. One of the major problems is that the biotoxins produced by the infection compete for the same detoxification pathways as do other toxins, like mercury, pesticides, vaccines and so on.

Children with autism not only have overwhelmed detoxification pathways and often heavy metal toxicity, but, according to Dr. Kllinghardt, they also have a silent, daily toxin production in their body caused by toxic microbes.

Is Electro-Magnetic Exposure the Missing Link?

Dr. Klinghardt believes that exposure to electromagnetic fields from cell phones is significantly adding to the problem.


Well, when toxic microbes in your body are exposed to electromagnetic fields, they think they are being attacked. They respond by producing even more biotoxins in an attempt to prolong their survival. Dr. Klinghardt says:

“The increase in electro magnetic field (EMF) exposure, in combination with the propagation effect it has on the microbial burden in our bodies, helps explain the incredible avalanche of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, not just autism, that we are seeing right now.”

So How Can Autism be Treated?

Autism is a complex condition with many contributing factors, which is why it takes a multi-faceted approach to treat it. Dr. Klinghardt recommends the following three steps to treat autistic children:

1. Lower microbial burden: Make your child’s body less of an optimal habitat for microbial overgrowth through dietary changes (less starch & sugar at minimum) and lowering overall stress. Also, consider testing for mold (in the house) & Lyme (in the body) but only after “provocation treatment”.

2. Lower incoming toxic burden: Do whatever you can to establish a mold, dust, toxin & smell free environment for your whole family & THEN establish a detoxification program. Please remember hidden toxin like fluoride and look carefully at ALL your cleaning products.

3. Lower EMF burden in your child’s home and bedroom. Your child’s health will be optimized with daily sun exposure (healthy EMF) and nightly avoidance of man-made (harmful) EMF.

Along with these, I also highly recommend:

1. Carefully reviewing the vaccination issue, including the conventional vaccination schedule. Know that in most U.S. states you have the right to opt out of vaccines. You may also want to review some of the recommendations for a more sensible vaccination schedule

2. Having your child eat a diet tailored to their nutritional type for optimal health. In my experience, nearly ALL children seem to respond favorably to the dietary changes when properly implemented.

3. Avoid pasteurized milk, which is an ABSOLUTE imperative to the treatment of autism. Anyone managing this illness without restricting milk is deceiving themselves. This includes all milk products, such as ice cream, yogurt and whey. Even natural flavorings in food must be avoided unless the processor can guarantee, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that caseinate is not included. Oh and let’s not forget the worst offenders: MSG and High Fructose Corn Syrup...basically all processed food that you haven’t read the label on!

4. As Dr Klinghardt mentioned but it’s my very own soap box & absolutely worth repeating, complete elimination of sugar, juice, soda, French fries and wheat (pasta, bagels, cereal, pretzels, etc) is also highly recommended.

5. Get proper sun exposure, This is an additional theory that makes a whole lot of sense as there is a link between rampant vitamin D deficiency and the proportionate jump in autism has recently been highlighted by Dr John Cannell. The vitamin D receptor appears in a wide variety of brain tissue early in the fetal development, and activated vitamin D receptors increase nerve growth in your brain. 

It is my personal belief that this may be the single largest contributing factor to autism and that it is a deficiency of sun exposure to the pregnant mom and subsequently to the fetus, they are at a massively increased risk of developing autism.

So one of THE MOST IMPORTANT changes that could radically reduce autism is to make certain ALL pregnant women have their vitamin D levels normalized to 50-60 ng/ml.  Even if it had no impact on autism (unlikely) this will massively increase the health of the mom and virtually eliminate the risk of type one diabetes in the infant.

6. Use an effective intervention to address any emotional stresses as soon as possible – avoid having destructive thoughts and letting emotions fester. Potent energy psychology tools such as the Emotional Freedom Technique are excellent for this purpose.

And last but certainly not least... if you are the parent of a child with Autism, we will send you the link to this article when you sign up for our free e-alert on Autism related topics. We are committed to being your cutting edge resource for the articles and tips that can assist you in your journey to good health along with your child! I would like to say to you... the parent of a child with Autism...there is true HOPE and we are working diligently to bring it to you on a regular basis! I would also like to express a big Thank You to the Think Tanks for facilitating the cutting edge of my Autism related Articles! We are collaborating on many fronts and are eager to share as well as create answers for parents!