A new study by Clinical
Epigenetics, a peer-reviewed journal that focuses largely on diseases, has found that the rise in autism in the United States could be linked to the industrial food system, specifically the
prevalence of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the American diet. The study, published yesterday online, explores how mineral deficiencies could impact how the human body rids itself of common
toxic chemicals like mercury and pesticides. The report comes just after a different report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, documented a startling rise in autism in the United States.
"To better address the explosion of autism, it's critical we consider how unhealthy diets interfere with the body's ability to eliminate toxic chemicals, and ultimately our risk for developing
long-term health problems like autism." said Dr. David Wallinga, a study co-author and physician at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
The report's key findings:
- Autism and related disorders affect brain development. The current study sought to determine how environmental and dietary factors, like HFCS consumption, might combine to contribute to the disorder.
- Consumption of HFCS, for example, is linked to the dietary loss of zinc, which interferes with the elimination of heavy metals from the body. Many heavy metals like mercury, arsenic and cadmium are potent toxins with adverse effects on brain development in the young.
- HFCS consumption can also impact levels of other beneficial minerals, including calcium. Loss of calcium further exacerbates the detrimental effects of exposure to lead on brain development in fetuses and children.
- Inadequate levels of calcium in the body can also impair its ability to expel organophosphates, a class of pesticides long recognized by the EPA and independent scientists as especially toxic to the young developing brain.