Sunday, December 1, 2013

Organic Acids Test Results

In a previous blog post entitled “Lab Tests” [October 13, 2013], I explained that we were having The Great Plains Laboratory’s organic acids test with yeast culture and sensitivity run to check Alex’s metabolism as well as to determine the presence of yeast in his system. After collecting his urine and stool samples, we sent the test kit off to be analyzed and waited for results. A couple of weeks ago, Alex’s doctor sent us a copy of the results from the organic acids test, a ten page document that carefully detailed and explained what the test revealed along with recommendations for treatment. Since Alex has had this test run in the past, I was familiar with the information given in the results; however, I still needed to review the potential causes for the various results that were out of the normal range. Out of the seventy-six metabolic markers tested, Alex had seventeen that were abnormal.

The good news was that after comparing the most recent test results with those from the last time the test was run in August 2004, his metabolism shows improvement over time. Essentially, even though he has some metabolic issues, his body does seem to be healing. However, the tests indicate that he still has some vitamin deficiencies, excessive inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction—all of which are common in autism. Since Alex has been dealing with a chronic yeast infection of his mouth for many months despite antifungal medication, we were not surprised the test indicated that he does, indeed, have yeast overgrowth in his system.

After studying the test results carefully, highlighting key passages, taking notes, and writing questions, I was prepared to discuss the results with Alex’s doctor last Monday. Once again, I was reminded how blessed we are to have found him. Not only does he possess knowledge about nutritional medicine, but he also enthusiastically pursues ways to make Alex better. As he laid the test results across the examining table and made notes on the paper liner on top of the table, he clearly explained his interpretation of the results, which confirmed my suspicions. I especially appreciated that he treated me as an equal as we discussed possible approaches to treatment, and his warm, reassuring manner made me comfortable about asking questions.

In addition to the organic acid test results, he also discussed the results of the yeast cultures and sensitivity, which detected the presence of the fungus Candida albicans in Alex’s stool, which came as no surprise, since he has had bouts of candidiasis throughout his life. What was surprising was the indication of another fungus, Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, present in his system. While I wasn’t pleased to discover that Alex has not just one but two strains of fungus in his digestive tract, I was relieved to discover that the sensitivity tests showed several antifungals to be effective on these fungi. In fact, the same antifungals that were beneficial to treating one strain were also useful to treating the other, which was good news. The natural antifungals caprylic acid and grapefruit seed extract were shown to be effective, as was Nystatin, an antifungal commonly used in children with autism who have yeast issues. In addition, all three of the prescription azole medications, fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), and ketoconazole (Nizoral), were shown to treat the fungal infections effectively. Fortunately, Alex has taken all of these medications and caprylic acid at one time or another without any negative side effects. In the past, his yeast cultures have shown resistance to Nystatin, so I was pleased to see that we can now add that antifungal to our arsenal along with grapefruit seed extract.

After carefully considering all the test data, Alex’s doctor and I discussed the plans for his treatment. He recommended finishing this month’s dose of itraconazole and then switching to grapefruit seed extract for a month, followed by a month of Nystatin. This rotation of antifungals is a common method of treatment to prevent resistance to any antifungals. He suggested that repeating this three-month cycle would be likely, as he foresees that getting the yeast under control will likely take at least six months. In addition, we prioritized the treatment with supplements recommended by the organic acids test. Because we always do a control method whenever we do something new with Alex, starting only one new supplement at a time, I asked him which supplement we should try first. He suggested a good vitamin B complex to strengthen his immune system and to address nutritional deficiencies indicated by the test results. After that, he recommended adding the supplement CoQ10, followed by the amino acid taurine. Although Alex has taken all of these supplements in the past, we still need to monitor the effects they may have upon him, especially until we get the yeast overgrowth under control.

Along with a copy of Alex’s test results, his doctor gave me a copy of an article about amino acids he had read recently that made him think of Alex. We discussed some of the amino acids Alex has taken in the past, including GABA, taurine, glycine, and thianine, and he explained the benefits of some of these amino acids upon the nervous system, which he felt would help keep Alex calm. Our hope is that once we get the yeast under control, we can reduce the number and/or dosages of psychiatric medications Alex is currently taking and replace them with more natural substitutes to address his anxiety. I also shared some research I had found written by a doctor who has a child with autism and who treats many children with autism. She mentions that whenever her daughter has yeast overgrowth, she complains that she has “fleas” and begs her mother to call the doctor for antifungals. In addition to medication, the doctor recommends frequent Epsom salt baths to help detoxify and calm the itching, the sense of having fleas. Interestingly, Alex has been asking to take two or three baths a day and specifically requests Epsom salts in the tub. As I have mentioned previously, Alex is very in tune with his body, and I was amazed that he knew what he needed to feel better. His doctor agreed, and he recommended that we continue the Epsom salts baths when Alex requests them.

While we wish Alex could be spared of the annoyance of yeast overgrowth, and we continue to pray for his healing, we are thankful that a variety of ways exists to treat the problem so that we don’t need to worry that he is running out of options. Moreover, we’re especially grateful to have a doctor who is in this battle with us for the long haul and who understands the importance of addressing a physical issue that significantly affects Alex’s behavior adversely. Most of all, we are thankful for the healing power of God and for His guidance through medical professionals and tests so that we can help Alex be healthy and happy.

“Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health
and allow me to live!” Isaiah 38:16


Bright Side of Life said...

Thank you for sharing this information. I am keeping an eye on my son for yeast overgrowth as he has had an infected bottom lip four times this year. This usually comes with ulcers and thrush of the mouth. I need to chat to my Dr about antifungals. As you mention.... I would also like to wean my son off his medication (Zoloft). Here is to health and happiness.

Pam Byrne said...

Thanks for your nice note. I'm sorry that Nick is dealing with similar mouth sores as Alex. I'm hoping that Nystatin and/or grapefruit seed extract will be the magic cure. While the other antifungals keep the thrush in check, as soon as he goes off them, the yeast returns. :( Praying for good health for both of our boys in the coming year. :)
Take care,

Phyllis said...

Wow, Pam! I'm SO thankful for Alex's doctor also! To have the two of you collaborating information, experience & intelligence-as equals! Thanks God! Wishing you all the best!

Pam Byrne said...

Hi Phyllis,
We are so thankful for Alex's doctor, not just for his expertise but for his compassion and dedication to helping make Alex better. As I've told him, he IS a gift from God! Hope you and your family are doing well. Thanks for your nice comments.
Take care,

Meghan Garner said...

Certainly looks like you've had your share of reading test results. You were proficient in reading them, and the doctor was even able to discuss with you the issue in a deeper way, unlike most patients. The key in interpreting test results is to find the best balance to maximize the treatments he can avail, and what medicines he should and should not take to avoid conflicting results. I hope Alex will get well soon!
Meghan Garner @

Pam Byrne said...

Dear Meghan,
Thank you for your nice comments and good wishes. I'm thankful that I've learned to interpret test results with the help of doctors who have taught me what the indicators actually mean. With treatment and prayers, I believe that Alex will eventually be healed of yeast overgrowth.
Take care,