By Janet Levatin, MD
An 8th grade student recently asked me to answer some questions about vaccines and autism for a school project. This gave me the opportunity to “get into the beginner’s mind” to answer the questions in a meaningful way for the student. Here are the questions she posed to me and my answers:
Q: In your opinion, can vaccines can cause autism?
A: Autism, like many chronic, complicated conditions that are difficult to treat, has complex causes, some of them related to the toxic burdens to which we are exposed. It is well known that we are increasingly being exposed to many more toxic heavy metals than in the past due to increased industrial usage, agricultural techniques, power production, etc. Vaccines contain mercury and aluminum, metals known to be toxic to the body and brain, even in small amounts. Vaccination is a very direct form of exposure to toxic metals and other ingredients with toxic potential.
In addition, we are constantly being exposed to thousands of new chemicals. The EPA reviews applications for 40 to 50 new chemical each week. All can potentially harm humans in various ways, including altering our DNA. The body can withstand exposure to only a certain amount of toxicity before illness and dysfunction occur. Today we are taking in more than we can detoxify, which leads to a variety of illnesses and health problems, including autism. An analogy would be trying to drain a bathtub while water is still pouring in. For some people who have genetic defects know as polymorphisms, the necessary detoxification pathways do not work efficiently. This sets them up to be more susceptible to the harmful effects of toxins, including the harmful ingredients found in vaccines. An excellent new book by Dr. Amy Yasko, Feel Good Nutrigenomics, discusses these subjects in detail.
The number of vaccines in the recommended schedule continues to increase. At the same time, the age that vaccines are started keeps getting earlier. The first vaccinations used to be given at several years of age. The earliest age then became 2 months old, then one day of age, and now vaccines are routinely given during pregnancy. I have no doubt that this is a contributing factor in the autism epidemic, as well as the other childhood epidemics, including allergies, ADHD, mental disorders, asthma, learning disabilities, autoimmune diseases, and more.
Q: Is there a way to eliminate autism once someone has been diagnosed?
A: Healing from a complex disease such as autism is a process. It would be wonderful if there was a pill to just make autism and other complex medical conditions go away, but unfortunately there is not. A multifaceted approach is needed. The best approach is to identify the type and amount of toxicity and nutrient nutrient deficiencies and work to correct them. Identifying genetic polymorphisms and doing regular testing for toxicity and deficiencies is a way to improve metabolic pathways and overall functioning.
Avoiding processed and genetically-modified food is crucial to healing any chronic condition. Dairy products and foods containing gluten have a particularly negative effect on those on the autism spectrum. Holistic, natural healing methods, such as herbs and homeopathy, are often very beneficial.
Doing everything possible to prevent autism is a much better approach. Parents contemplating pregnancy should optimize their health before conceiving. Avoiding toxic foods, fragrances, synthetic vitamins, chlorine, bromine, fluoride, and toxic metals are important practices. In my opinion, there is no role for vaccines in pregnant women, and I encourage all pregnant women to decline them. These active choices will greatly reduce the chance of having a child with autism and other chronic illnesses.
Q: Should we even be giving vaccines to our children?
A: Vaccines are manufactured by for-profit corporations whose main interest is their financial bottom lines. Due to the passage of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986, vaccine manufacturers and the doctors/nurses who administer them, cannot be sued if there is a bad outcome such as a debilitating illness, or even a death, after vaccination.
I believe there is no role for mandatory or forced vaccination. Unbiased education, freedom of choice and informed consent should be mandated and freely available. Prior to vaccinating, parents should carefully study not only the possible benefits of vaccines, but also the very real possibility of long term illness or disability from an injection. The potential negative outcome from a vaccine should be weighed against the risks of the infection the vaccine is supposed to prevent. Routine administration of hepatitis B vaccine to one-day-old infants, which began in 1991, is an unwarranted practice that needs to stopped as soon as possible. I also believe there is no role for vaccines being administered during pregnancy, a practice that is increasingly being pushed on pregnant women.
These are a few of the topics that were covered in my Q & A session with this inquisitive 13-year old student. Hopefully this information will also be important to you as you explore the highly volatile topic of vaccination.