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Larry Newman is the Chief Operating Officer, Technical and Regulatory Affairs of Kirkman Group, Inc. (Kirkman). Contact Kirkman at 1-800-245-8282; 6400 Rosewood St., Lake Oswego, OR.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How to Support Biochemical Pathways in the Body

By Larry Newman

Special needs individuals tend to exhibit abnormalities in several biochemical pathways. Each of these individual pathways has a unique purpose and an abnormality can lead to numerous health issues. A description of those pathways most often disrupted follows.


The sulfation process is linked to an enzyme system known as phenol sulfotransferase (PST). Normally, PST is involved in a process called sulfoconjugation, whereby a group of potentially harmful chemicals known as phenols are attached to sulfate and thereby eliminated from the body. When there is a deficiency of sulfate in the bloodstream, phenolic compounds may build up in the body, and this in turn can interfere with neurotransmitter function. Sulfate deficiency and the resulting impairment of PST activity may explain some sensitivity reactions to a variety of phenol-containing foods, such as: apples, grapes, berries, citrus fruits, chocolate, food colorings, and some herbs and spices.

Special needs individuals seem to have only about 1/5th of the normal level of sulfate in their bodies, the rest having been excreted excessively in the urine. In addition to the phenolic buildup described above due to sulfate deficiency, sulfur and sulfate also play other important roles in the body including:

  • Detoxification of metals and other toxins 
  • Releases pancreatic digestive enzymes 
  • Activating the hormone CCK which plays a role in socialization 
  • Supporting a healthy ileum, which retards a leaky gut 
Sulfation can often be supported and improved by topical Epsom Salt products such as Magnesium Sulfate Cream or by giving individuals Epsom Salt baths.  Oral sulfate such as Glucosamine Sulfate or MSM may also be effective sulfation vehicles.
Kirkman's Road Map can help to guide you
to find the right supplements for the support you need.
Use on-line or order at www.kirkmanlabs.com


Methylation is a series of very important biochemical reactions in the body that are responsible for overall good health.  In special needs individuals, this process is very often lacking to some degree, making these individuals poor methylators.  A proper functioning methylation pathway has life rewarding health benefits including:

  • Proper brain function
  • Healthy detoxification
  • Proper reproduction
  • DNA protection
  • A healthy, normal, non-premature aging process
There are many nutritional supplements that support proper methylation.  You should discuss these options with your physician carefully, because each special needs individual is unique and requires a methylation improvement program specifically tailored to their specific disorder.  Products used to support the methylation process include:

Oxidative Stress

Special needs and sensitive individuals often have elevated oxidative stress.  Certain toxins called oxidants enter the body and begin causing oxidative tissue damage, otherwise known as oxidative stress.  These toxins can be in the form of chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, and other environmental pollutants.  Some of these cell injuring oxidants are known as “free radicals.”   It is important to minimize oxidative stress damage by consuming antioxidants that retard the process.  Some of these antioxidants include vitamins C, E, and A, beta-carotene, selenium, melatonin, carnosine, carnitine, pycnogenol, grapeseed extract, idebenone and CoEnzyme Q10.  Fruits and vegetables are also very high in antioxidant content. There are laboratory markers that measure levels of antioxidant compounds present in the body.  Talk to your doctor about appropriate testing and subsequent supplementation with antioxidants.