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CYP450 Enzyme Group - a huge piece in the ASD puzzle?

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

CYP450 - the ‘final frontier’ in chronic disease and environmental illness?

This blog into 2 sections, because there is so just much crucial information about the function and impacts of the CYP450 that has a crucial bearing in the pathology of autism and countless other chronic and environmental diseases and dysfunctions.

The CYP450 group of enzymes that regulate Phase 1 of liver detoxification and multiple other metabolic processes in the body may be one of the missing pieces in unlocking and understanding the pathology of ASD.

Toxins in, Toxins out.

The more we learn about the powerful but delicate systems in place that transform and process toxins in all forms from the body, the more chronic illness and toxin overload seem an inevitability in the chemical soup that is the world we live in.

The last few years has seen a great deal of research into the individual genetics of detoxification and its impact on the development of autism, but a deeper look at a key aspect of detox, the CYP450 enzyme group of Phase 1 liver detoxification also highlights how damaging and crucial the long term effects of toxin exposure are, whatever our genetics.

It also points to the significant potential of targeted homeopathic treatment to help the body address levels of toxic damage that may have disturbed the chemistry of toxin clearance.

CYP450 Enzyme Group

This article borrows heavily from the research of Professor Steven Rochlitz into the CYP450 group of enzymes that he calls potentially the ‘final frontier in understanding chronic disease and/or environmental illness’. Part of what makes them so interesting and relevant in the face of modern health care issues and epidemics of ever increasing numbers like autism, is that this group of enzymes is responsible for processing so many of the drug, industrial and agricultural chemicals that we are increasingly exposed to, and can help to explain how individual sensitivity can vary so much to these and to foods and other substances.

The devastating long term impact of toxic exposure

They are also a vector by which to understand the long term sometimes catastrophic effects of environmental toxin exposure. Heavy metal, drug or indeed any toxic exposure, if long lasting or high enough, can overwhelm the enzyme system and cause permanent problems with the CYP450 group. This includes pesticide exposure which is clearly a growing environmental hazard. Exposure can mean permanent issues with detoxification, permanent increase in free radicals and the inflammatory cell damage they can cause in high amounts, and potential permanent disturbance to all of the other systems that CYP450 regulates and influences.

The importance of this to the pathology of autism becomes clearer if we start to list the influence of CYP450 enzymes and their effects when in deficit or in excess.

Some of CYP450 enzymes range of influence

  • Processes naturally-occurring toxins, cigarette smoke, drugs, food compounds

  • Processes Caffeine, alcohol, drugs, xenobiotics

  • Vascular function in the brain

  • Cholesterol balance in the brain and fatty acid metabolism including arachidonic acid - this is thought to have a key role in brain network maturation, so this point has absolute relevance in the pathology of ASD

  • Retinoic acid metabolism

  • Androgens catalysed into oestrogens

  • Bile synthesis - hence fat digestion and metabolism and all that this impacts on the body’s chemistry!

  • Bilirubin metabolism

  • Vitamin D metabolism

  • Stress hormone metabolism

  • Thyroid and adrenal hormone metabolism

  • Histamine metabolism

CYP450 associated dysfunctions

  • As with methylation, people have differing amounts of particular CYP450 enzymes - up to 40 times different. This can have both positive and negative effects.

  • Adrenal, thyroid and endocrine disorders

  • Inflammatory or allergy-like illness (esp when allergy is not antibody-antigen reaction, but metabolic reaction)

  • Sensitivity to caffeine, alcohol, drugs - pharma and recreational - deficient enzymes increases sensitivity - CYP450 enzyme said to be involved in the high levels of iatrogenic death due to adverse drug reactions

  • Chronic health issues that date from taking a drug

  • Stress intolerance - CYP450 enzymes process adrenal hormones, so for some, even a small amount of stress will have a profound effect as these hormones build up to even dangerous levels if that person has deficient ability to metabolise and process these chemicals.

  • Mast cell disease - CYP450 enzyme processes histamine

  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Intolerance of fats due to poor processing ability - this may be a symptom at the onset of illness in those with chronic illness related to this Biochemical process

  • High lipid based peroxide radicals - these are processed by CYP450 group

  • Arthritis

  • EMF sensitivity - EMF can impact CYP450 enzymes

  • Mental health conditions

  • Poor fat digestion and cholesterol levels

  • Vitamin imbalance (Vitamin D, related mineral imbalance)

  • Poor tolerance of herbs or supplements

  • Widespread food intolerance

  • Sunlight intolerance

  • Mercury has the greatest potential to create long term defects in the CYP450 enzyme function

Part 2 will look in more depth at the specific toxins associated with CYP450

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