Zinc, Copper, and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Joint Research

Research indicates that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) appear to be at risk for zinc (Zn) deficiency, copper (Cu) toxicity, and often disturbed metallothionein system functioning (1-4). Working with international researchers, the following is a summary of our work.

Li et al. (2014) investigated the serum levels of Zn and Cu in 60 Chinese children with ASD (48 boys, 12 girls) and a control group of 60 healthy sex-matched and age-matched individuals (2). The researchers also evaluated the autism severity using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) score. The mean serum Zn levels and Zn/Cu ratio in the study were significantly lower in the ASD children compared with the control group (P<0.001). At the same, the serum Cu levels were significantly higher in the ASD children compared with the control group (P<0.001). It was in the study found a significant negative association between the Zn/Cu ratio and CARS scores (r=-0.345, P=0.007) (2).

Macedoni-Lukšič et al. (2015) determined the serum levels of Zn and Cu in a group of Slovenian children with ASD (N = 52, average age = 6.2 years) and a control group of children with other neurological disorders (N = 22, average age = 6.6 years), matched in terms of intellectual abilities (3). Compared to the control group, the ASD group had significantly elevated serum Cu/Zn ratio (95% confidence interval for children with ASD=1.86-2.26; 95% confidence interval for the control group=1.51-1.88) (3).

Crăciun et al. (2016) investigated the levels of Zn and Cu in whole blood, as well as the Cu/Zn ratio in a group of 28 Romanian ASD children. No significant difference in whole blood Cu was observed. However, Cu/Zn ratio was ~15 % (p = 0.008) higher in ASD children than that in the control ones. The results of the study may be indicative of Zn deficiency in ASD children (4).

In conclusion, our research suggests that providing Zn to ASD children may be an important component of a treatment protocol, especially in children with Zn deficiency (1-4). Mercury accumulation may occur as a cause or consequence of metallothionein dysfunction in ASD children, which may be one of the causes of Zn deficiency. Metallothioneins are proteins with important functions in metal metabolism and protection. It is important to monitor and follow the values for both Cu and Zn together during Zn therapy because these two trace elements are both antagonists in function, and essential for living cells (1).

– Geir Bjørklund

 

References

1. Bjørklund G. The role of zinc and copper in autism spectrum disorders. Acta Neurobiol Exp 2013; 73: 225–236.

2. Li SO, Wang JL, Bjørklund G, Zhao WN, Yin CH. Serum copper and zinc levels in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Neuroreport 2014; 25: 1216-1220.

3. Macedoni-Lukšič M, Gosar D, Bjørklund G, Oražem J, Kodrič J, Lešnik-Musek P, Zupančič M, France-Štiglic A, Sešek-Briški A, Neubauer D, Osredkar J. Levels of metals in the blood and specific porphyrins in the urine in children with autism spectrum disorders. Biol Trace Elem Res 2015; 163: 2-10.

4. Crăciun EC, Bjørklund G, Tinkov AA, Urbina MA, Skalny AV, Rad F, Dronca E. Evaluation of whole blood zinc and copper levels in children with autism spectrum disorder. Metab Brain Dis 2016; 31: 887-890.

New Environmental Initiative in Semey, Kazakhstan: The Former Testing Site for the Soviet Union’s Nuclear Weapons

Council for Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (CONEM) has groups in different parts of the world. One of these is CONEM Kazakhstan Environmental Health and Safety Research Group. In June 2017, this group was established at the Semey State Medical University to promote environmental studies. Until 2007 Semey was known as Semipalatinsk. The Semipalatinsk Test Site was the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons. It is located on the steppe in northeast Kazakhstan, south of the valley of the Irtysh River. The head of the CONEM group in Kazakhstan is associate professor Lyudmila Pivina, MD, PhD.

CONEM Director Ilyès Baghli, MD, Received International Award for Cancer and Chronic Diseases Treatment

CONEM’s board member from Algeria, Ilyès Baghli, MD, has been recently awarded the International Lifetime Achievement for Global Extraordinary Contribution for his work on cancer and chronic diseases treatment, during the PGHTN CON 2016 International Conference; which was held at Nims University, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India from 11-14, February 2016. Dr. Baghli is also president of The Algerian Branch of CONEM, SANMO (Algerian Society for Nutrition and Orthomolecular Medicine).

 

International Lifetime Achievement for Global Extraordinary Contribution

Presentation of the award to Dr. Ilyès Baghli

Presentation of the award to Dr. Ilyès Baghli at the PGHTN Conference in February 2016 at NIMS University in Jaipur, India

Dzair News TV Channel

New Branch of CONEM in Algeria

Igor G. Bondarenko, MD, PhD
Board Secretary of CONEM

The number of members of the Council for Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (CONEM) is growing, and its representation is being surely spread. On the 13th March this year, CONEM was enriched by a new branch member – the Algerian Society for Nutrition and Orthomolecular Medicine (SANMO). This society was founded in 2009 by Ilyès Baghli, MD, who has recently been re-elected to the presidency of this society.

SANMO’s mission is education in and promotion of the science of nutrition and orthomolecular medicine, including those via TV and press conferences and publication of newsletters and books on orthomolecular medicine. Presently, there are over 120 members of SANMO in Algeria.

Let us all congratulate and welcome SANMO as an Algerian branch of CONEM!

 

Participants at SANMO

Participants at SANMO’s symposium in March 2015 where the application for membership in CONEM were signed.

 

Ilyès Baghli, MD ,signed the application

The president of SANMO Dr. Ilyès Baghli signs the application for SANMO to be a part of CONEM

 

Representatnts of the Algerian Branch of CONEM

We congratulate and welcome the Algerian Society for Nutrition and Orthomolecular Medicine (SANMO) as an Algerian branch of CONEM

 

CONEM SANMO signed

The application from SANMO to be a part of CONEM signed by the societys board of directors and members of the scientific council.