Showing posts with label triglycerides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label triglycerides. Show all posts

Tuesday 1 January 2019

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), Phloretin, Phloridzin, Chlorogenic Acid, OAT3, Autism and Colon Cancer

Today’s post is only marginally related to autism, but does again show how some common food products have potential medical benefits.

Where I currently live people have been using apple cider vinegar (ACV) as a home remedy for generations. It is the apple part, rather than the vinegar part that is most interesting. I think they should continue with this home remedy, just be careful not to dissolve the enamel on their teeth. 
Rather surprisingly we can link ACV to improving Bumetanide effectiveness in autism and the chemoprotective effect of statins.
I have read so much research about statins, I do take Atorvastatin myself. The only downside is that research shows it does increase fasting glucose levels by about 0.4 mmol/L, exactly why nobody is quite sure.
If you want to further boost the chemoprotective power of statins it seems you may need a little help from something called Phloretin. Phloretin is a phenol that occurs in apples and the leaves of apple trees.  Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is rich in Phloretin.

Viability of HCT 116 colon cancer cells 48 hours after treatment with:-

PT = Phloretin
ATST = Atorvastatin
PT+ATST =  Phloretin + Atorvastatin

The closer to zero the better the result.  

If you want to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce fasting glucose levels it looks like it is the Phloridzin, a close relative of Phloretin, in apple cider vinegar that is useful.
If you want to improve the pharmacokinetics (how a drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted) of bumetanide you may also be able to use apple cider vinegar (ACV).  ACV also contains Chlorogenic acid which we we saw in an earlier post inhibits excretion of bumetanide through OAT3 (Organic acid transporter 3). Chlorogenic acid is also found in coffee.
In theory ACV will cause the level of bumetanide in blood to be higher, which might increase the amount that crosses the blood brain barrier and so make bumetanide a more potent autism drug. 
One odd proposed benefit of ACV is on GERD/reflux. You might have thought taking an acid would be the last thing that would help.
You would have thought that strong alcohol (also low pH, so very acidic) would also upset people with GERD/esophagitis, but some people I know swear that it is very beneficial.
In the case of GERD/esophagitis rather bizarrely I think it is the acetic acid (low pH) that is the reason why ACV seems to help some people.  I think it may help via feedback loops to trick the body into reducing its own acid production.

The drawbacks of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can damage your teeth and your esophagus.  People avoid these problems by diluting ACV in a glass of water and rinsing their mouth with clean water afterwards.

ACV can lower potassium levels and it will lower blood glucose levels, which is good thing for most people, but diabetics would need to take care. Low potassium seems to worsen behaviour and increase sound sensitivity.
The Phloridzin in ACV is likely to reduce appetite, which for most people is a good thing, but for those few who struggle to gain weight it might be an issue.
ACV should lower triglycerides significantly, which might be bad for somebody. 

The results of the present study demonstrated that the antitumor efficacy of ATST could be enhanced at a relatively low dosage through the synergistic action with PT, which suggested the potential interaction of statins with other compounds in the food matrix. This interaction affects the efficacy of statins, and may explain the controversial results obtained in prior studies regarding the associations between statin use and the risk of colon cancer-associated mortality (27,28). As the dietary composition is different for each individual, this can result in varying statin efficacy. Conversely, different statins have different antitumor effects. In six colorectal cancer cell lines, including DLD1, HT29, SW620, HCT116, LoVo and colo320, simvastatin and fluvastatin showed strong growth suppressive effects. Atorvastatin demonstrated a relatively weak growth suppressive effect, whereas no growth suppressive effect was observed with pravastatin (29). This may be another reason for the paradoxical results regarding the antitumor effects of statins.
Therefore, the p21 gene may be the potential regulatory target underlying the G2/M phase arrest following the synergistic action of ATST and PT; more in depth future investigations are warranted.
In summary, the present study demonstrated that PT and ATST produce a powerful synergistic interaction in suppressing colon cancer cell growth. This process was accomplished via the synergistic induction of apoptosis and the arrest of the cell cycle at the G2/M checkpoint, which resulted from downregulated cdc2 activation following combined treatment.

Vinegars contain several bioactive compounds that are characterized according to the type of the raw material, such as grape vinegars and apple vinegars. Liquid chromatography coupled to diode array detection and electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry was used for identification and quantification of phenolic compounds. Antioxidant properties of vinegars were determined by 2,2diphenyl1picrylhydrazyl and 2,2′azinobis3ethylbenzthiazoline6sulphonic acid assays. Antimicrobial activities of vinegars were examined with an agar disc diffusion method with Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Gallic acid and chlorogenic acid were found to be the major phenolic acids accounting for the largest proportion of the total phenolic acid contents in grape vinegars and apple vinegars. Within the flavonols, quercetin3Ogalactoside and quercetin were detected as the major compounds in grape vinegars. Apple vinegars were characterized by phloridzin, phloretin and high chlorogenic acid content. Antimicrobial activity results indicated that grape vinegars exhibited higher antimicrobial activity against tested bacterial strains correlated with their higher antioxidant capacity.

In conclusion, gallic acid, tyrosol, protocatechuic acid, caftaric acid, catechin, epicatechin and syringic acid constituted the highest proportion of the total phenolic contents in GV. Chlorogenic acid, phloridzin and phloretin were found to be the major phenolic compounds in AV. With respect to antimicrobial and antioxidant activity results, GV showed higher antimicrobial and antioxidant activity than AV. With regard to phenolic composition of vinegars with their antioxidant capacities, two separate groups were obtained and characterized the vinegars with PCA based on the type of raw material. The results we obtained in this study extend our knowledge about the composition of vinegars obtained from different raw materials consumed in Turkey and allow the consumer to compare vinegar brands with the highest contents of beneficial compounds.

Coffee = chlorogenic acids  = 1,3- and 1,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid
Five compounds, 1,3- and 1,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, ginkgolic acids (15 : 1) and (17 : 1), and epicatechin, significantly inhibited hOAT3 transport under similar conditions

3.2. Inhibition of hOAT3 by Natural Anionic Compounds and Flavonoids

Human OAT3 expressing cells showed about 4-fold greater accumulation of ES as compared to background control cells ( versus  pmol mg 10  , resp.). Similar to hOAT1, hOAT3-mediated ES uptake was completely (>96% inhibition) blocked by probenecid (Figure 4). Five of the compounds, 1,3- and 1,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, epicatechin, and ginkgolic acids (15 : 1) and (17 : 1), significantly inhibited hOAT3-mediated transport at 50-fold excess (Figure 4). 1,3-Dicaffeoylquinic acid and ginkgolic acid (17 : 1) exhibited 41% inhibition, while 30–35% reduction of hOAT3-mediated ES uptake was observed for 1,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, epicatechin, and ginkgolic acid (15 : 1). Catechin, 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid, and ursolic acid failed to produce significant inhibition. Based on the level of inhibition observed, values for all of these compounds would be greater than 50 μM, much higher than clinically relevant concentrations (Table 1). Therefore, further dose-response studies were not performed.

Phloridzin reduces blood glucose levels and improves lipids metabolism in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.


Phloridzin is the specific and competitive inhibition of sodium/glucose cotransporters in the intestine (SGLT1) and kidney (SGLT2). This property which could be useful in the management of postprandial hyperglycemia in diabetes and related disorders. Phloridzin is one of the dihydrochalcones typically contained in apples and in apple-derived products. The effect of phloridzin orally doses 5, 10, 20 and 40 mg/kg body weight on diabetes was tested in a streptozotocin-induced rat model of diabetes type 1. From beneficial effect of this compound is significant reduction of blood glucose levels and improve dyslipidemia in diabetic rats. As a well-known consequence of becoming diabetic, urine volume and water intake were significantly increased. Administration of phloridzin reduced urine volume and water intake in a dose-dependent manner. Phloretin decreases of food consumption, as well as a marked lowering in the weight. In conclusion, this compound could be proposed as an antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic agent in diabetes and potential therapeutic in obesity.  

Harvard Medical School vs the BBC?
You might expect when it comes to investigating health claims about apple cider vinegar (ACV) that Harvard would give you the science and the BBC would be just superficial.
While neither actually bother to use google to find what the active constituents of ACV might be, the BBC do actually make a trial in humans and measure the results in a lab.                                                                                             

It looks like if you have high triglycerides, or indeed high blood glucose, ACV is a potentially interesting non-drug therapy.
The guys at Harvard should watch the BBC and try a little harder next time.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one home remedy that now has some science to support it. It is cheap and easy to access.
It is perhaps not relevant to many people with autism, but does show how medicine turns a blind eye to some old treatments that were stumbled upon as being effective hundreds of years ago.
When it comes to chemoprevention, the majority of cancers in males (prostate, colon, esophagus, bladder etc) have been shown in the research to be inhibited by statins. Some people know they have a familial risk of one or more of these cancers, would it not make sense that they be informed about chemoprevention?  It is much better to avoid cancer than to have to try to treat it.  In colon cancer it appears that phloretin from ACV might even be helpful.
We also saw that people with type 2 diabetes often find the beta cells in their pancreas die and so they stop making insulin, and yet a cheap calcium channel blocker can protect those insulin-producing cells and put off the day that insulin injections are required.
I did actually borrow my “polypill” name for my son’s autism therapy from another polypill that was designed to extend the healthy life expectancy of older people. Their pill has not been a huge success.

What is needed is a personalized polypill, whether it is for people with autism or typical adults from the age of 50.
I imagine, in 50 years time, when your family doctor has your genome on file, you probably will have a personalized little pill to help you minimize the risk of developing preventable disease. 

Monday 16 February 2015

Biotin & Triglycerides - why perhaps Fish Oil and Niacin may actually help a little in Autism & Schizophrenia

Far back in this blog, I wrote a post about fish oil.  Omega 3 oils are definitely good for your general health, but do they help with autism?  They are also claimed to help with ADHD and improve your NT child’s cognitive performance.

On critical review of the evidence, it seemed that the benefit was far from conclusive.  There was one very positive study, that neither the authors nor anyone else could repeat.

The following review of the literature by the University of Maryland show that, as with autism, studies on fish oil in depression, ADHD, bipolar and schizophrenia show conflicting results.

Some of the “cognitive enhancing” fish oil products are extremely expensive and I showed that regular fish consumption was far cheaper and likely to be as effective.

There is an issue of just how big an effect you are looking for.  We can all imagine tiny effects, but you really want an effect that everyone else notices.

Monty, aged 11 with ASD, eats lots of fish, mainly because he loves it.  He is not at all put off by those little bones.

The effect of fish oil on Monty was not noticeable.


A recent post contained a study from Greece, where they found a remarkably high proportion of kids with ASD with a biotin deficiency.  This had not shown up on the standard test, because the standard test is strangely not for biotin at all; it tests for biotinidase, a related enzyme.

Identifying a biotin deficiency is not easy, blood tests are not helpful and you have to look at certain compounds found in urine.  As a result your local laboratory may not offer a useful test for biotin.

Since supplementation with pharmacological doses of biotin is known to be harmless, the practical way forward is to try it.

In the midst of looking at the relative effect of different primary antioxidants, I was substituting one thiol antioxidant (ALA) for another (NAC) to see if there was any obvious difference.  I could give lots of reasons, with scientific papers to back them up, as to why 0.6g of ALA plus 1.8g of NAC might be “better” than 2.4g of NAC, but it is not.  If anything, it might be worse.

Then I tried Carnosine in combination with NAC and again I could see absolutely no effect.

Then I decided to go back to my original NAC regime and add the biotin that had been on the shelf since Christmas. Very surprisingly, the effect that I thought might show up with ALA, showed up with biotin.  

It was not a huge effect, but a small step forward, that Monty’s assistant at school also noticed.  He was more calm and altogether more "normal". 

Does this mean Monty has a biotin deficiency?  It is of course possible.  In the Greek study 4% of the kids were thought to have such a deficiency, far more than expected, and most did respond, in varying degrees, to biotin supplements.  Unfortunately they only gave the biotin to the 4%; I would like to know what would have happened to the remaining 96%.

Biotin lowers Triglycerides and Elevated Triglycerides are associated with Mood Disorders   

Biotin is a B vitamin, but very little is actually known about it.

Then I found the link I was looking for.

Biotin does not lower cholesterol, but it does reduce (in a big way) your Triglycerides.

Several studies have shown that elevated Triglycerides are associated with all kinds of disorders: bipolar, depression and schizophrenia.  These studies suggested a causal link between the mood disorder and the elevated triglyerides.

Other Effects on Mood

          Besides depression, high levels of triglycerides are also correlated with other affective disorders including bipolar disorder (manic depression), schizoaffective disorders, aggression and hostility. In fact, the poor nutritional status of many depressed persons, who often have diets high in fats, can be improved to lessen the depression, according to Charles Glueck, MD, medical director of the Cholesterol Center of Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati.
"We have shown that in patients with high triglycerides who were in a depressive state, the more you lower the triglycerides, the more you alleviate the depression," Glueck wrote in a 1993 article in Biological Psychiatry.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most Americans aren't aware of the role triglycerides play in physical and mental health. A five-year study of more than 5,000 Americans found that 33 percent of them had borderline high triglyceride levels.

Improvement in symptoms of depression and in an index of life stressors accompany treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia.

In 14 men and nine women referred because of severe primary hypertriglyceridemia, our specific aim in a 54-week single-blind treatment (Rx) period was to determine whether triglyceride (TG) lowering with a Type V diet and Lopid would lead to improvement in symptoms of depression, improvement in an index of life stressors, change in locus of control index, and improved cognition, as serially tested by Beck (BDI), Hassles (HAS) and HAS intensity indices, Locus of Control index, and the Folstein Mini-Mental status exam. On Rx, median TG fell 47%, total cholesterol (TC) fell 15%, and HDLC rose 19% (all p < or = 0.001). BDI fell at all nine Rx visits (p < or = 0.001), a major reduction in a test of depressive symptoms. The HAS score also fell at all nine visits (p < or = 0.05 - < or = 0.001). Comparing pre-Rx baseline BDI vs BDI at 30 and 54 weeks on Rx, there was a major shift towards absence or amelioration of depressive symptoms (chi 2= 5.9, p = 0.016). On Rx, the greater the percent reduction in TG, the greater the percent fall in BDI (r = 0.47, p < or = 0.05); the greater the percent reduction in TC, the greater the percent fall in HAS (r = 0.41, p < or = 0.05). Improvement in the BDI and HAS accompanied treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia, possibly by virtue of improved cerebral perfusion and oxygenation. There may be a reversible causal relationship between high TG and symptoms of depression.

Mood symptoms and serum lipids in acute phase of bipolar disorder inTaiwan.



Serum lipids have been found to play important roles in the pathophysiology of mood disorders. The aim of the present study was therefore to investigate the relationship between symptom dimensions and serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and to explore correlates of lipid levels during acute mood episodes of bipolar I disorder in Taiwan. Measurements were taken of the serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels in patients with bipolar I disorder hospitalized for acute mood episodes (68 manic, eight depressive, and six mixed). The relationships between serum lipids levels and various clinical variables were examined. The mean serum levels of cholesterol (4.54 mmol/L) and triglycerides (1.16 mmol/L) of sampled patients were comparable to those of the general population in the same age segment. Severe depressive symptoms and comorbid atopic diseases were associated with higher serum cholesterol levels. A negative association was noted between serum triglyceride levels and overall psychiatric symptoms. Compared with previous studies on Western populations, racial differences may exist in lipids profiles of bipolar disorder patients during acute mood episodes. Increased serum cholesterol levels may have greater relevance to immunomodulatory system and depressive symptoms, in comparison with manic symptoms.

Biotin supplementation reduces plasma triacylglycerol and VLDL in type 2 diabetic patients and in non-diabetic subjects with hypertriglyceridemia.


Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as a prosthetic group of carboxylases. Besides its role as carboxylase prosthetic group, biotin regulates gene expression and has a wide repertoire of effects on systemic processes. The vitamin regulates genes that are critical in the regulation of intermediary metabolism. Several studies have reported a relationship between biotin and blood lipids. In the present work we investigated the effect of biotin administration on the concentration of plasma lipids, as well as glucose and insulin in type 2 diabetic and nondiabetic subjects. Eighteen diabetic and 15 nondiabetic subjects aged 30-65 were randomized into two groups and received either 61.4 micromol/day of biotin or placebo for 28 days. Plasma samples obtained at baseline and after treatment were analyzed for total triglyceride, cholesterol, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), glucose and insulin. We found that the vitamin significantly reduced (P=0.005) plasma triacylglycerol and VLDL concentrations. Biotin produced the following changes (mean of absolute differences between 0 and 28 day treatment+/-S.E.M.): a) triacylglycerol -0.55+/-0.2 in the diabetic group and -0.92+/-0.36 in the nondiabetic group; b) VLDL: -0.11+/-0.04 in the diabetic group and -0.18+/-0.07 in the nondiabetic group. Biotin treatment had no significant effects on cholesterol, glucose and insulin in either the diabetic or nondiabetic subjects. We conclude that pharmacological doses of biotin decrease hypertriglyceridemia. The triglyceride-lowering effect of biotin suggests that biotin could be used in the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia.

In addition to its role as a carboxylase cofactor, biotin modifies gene expression and has manifold effects on systemic processes. Several studies have shown that biotin supplementation reduces hypertriglyceridemia. We have previously reported that this effect is related to decreased expression of lipogenic genes. In the present work, we analyzed signaling pathways and posttranscriptional mechanisms involved in the hypotriglyceridemic effects of biotin. Male BALB/cAnN Hsd mice were fed a control or a biotin-supplemented diet (1.76 or 97.7 mg of free biotin/kg diet, respectively for 8 weeks after weaning. The abundance of mature sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP-1c), fatty-acid synthase (FAS), total acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1 (ACC-1) and its phosphorylated form, and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) were evaluated in the liver. We also determined the serum triglyceride concentrations and the hepatic levels of triglycerides and cyclic GMP (cGMP). Compared to the control group, biotin-supplemented mice had lower serum and hepatic triglyceride concentrations. Biotin supplementation increased the levels of cGMP and the phosphorylated forms of AMPK and ACC-1 and decreased the abundance of the mature form of SREBP-1c and FAS. These data provide evidence that the mechanisms by which biotin supplementation reduces lipogenesis involve increased cGMP content and AMPK activation. In turn, these changes lead to augmented ACC-1 phosphorylation and decreased expression of both the mature form of SREBP-1c and FAS. Our results demonstrate for the first time that AMPK is involved in the effects of biotin supplementation and offer new insights into the mechanisms of biotin-mediated hypotriglyceridemic effects.

Triglycerides are also elevated in autism:-


We hypothesize that autism is associated with alterations in the plasma lipid profile and that some lipid fractions in autistic boys may be significantly different than those of healthy boys. A matched case control study was conducted with 29 autistic boys (mean age, 10.1 +/- 1.3 years) recruited from a school for disabled children and 29 comparable healthy boys from a neighboring elementary school in South Korea. Fasting plasma total cholesterol (T-Chol), triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), the LDL/HDL ratio, and 1-day food intakes were measured. Multiple regression analyses were performed to assess the association between autism and various lipid fractions. The mean TG level (102.4 +/- 52.4 vs 70.6 +/- 36.3; P = .01) was significantly higher, whereas the mean HDL-C level (48.8 +/- 11.9 vs 60.5 +/- 10.9 mg/dL; P = .003) was significantly lower in cases as compared to controls. There was no significant difference in T-Chol and LDL-C levels between cases and controls. The LDL/HDL ratio was significantly higher in cases as compared to controls. Multiple regression analyses indicated that autism was significantly associated with plasma TG (beta = 31.7 +/- 11.9; P = .01), HDL (beta = -11.6 +/- 2.1; P = .0003), and the LDL/HDL ratio (beta = 0.40 +/- 0.18; P = .04). There was a significant interaction between autism and TG level in relation to plasma HDL level (P = .02). Fifty-three percent of variation in the plasma HDL was explained by autism, plasma TG, LDL/HDL ratio, and the interaction between autism and plasma TG level. These results indicate the presence of dyslipidemia in boys with autism and suggest a possibility that dyslipidemia might be a marker of association between lipid metabolism and autism.

Omega-3 Oil and Niacin in Schizophrenia

Like Autism, Schizophrenia is another observational diagnosis, with many different underlying genetic and environmental causes.  I keep referring to it as adult-onset autism.  It is also characterized by oxidative stress.

I found it interesting that two very widely used therapies for schizophrenia are omega-3 fish oil and high doses of niacin.  2 g a day of NAC is another common therapy in schizophrenia.

The clinical trials of omega-3 oil in schizophrenia, are just like the ones in autism, far from conclusive.  Yet people with schizophrenia continue to buy the expensive EPA fish oils, just like many parents of children with autism.

Another very popular treatment is Niacin.

Niacin does many things but these include increasing your HDL (good) cholesterol, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and, importantly, can reduce triglycerides by up to 50%.

Niacin in Anxiety

Niacin in autism

People do use high dose niacin and niacinamide in autism, but in general niacin levels are totally normal in people with autism, according to this study:-

For the vitamins, the only significant difference was a 20% lower biotin (p < 0.001) in the children with autism. There were possibly significant (p < 0.05) lower levels of vitamin B5, vitamin E, and total carotenoids. Vitamin C was possibly slightly higher in the children with autism. Vitamin B6 (measured as the active form, P5P, in the RBC) had an unusually broad distribution in children with autism compared to controls (see Figure Figure1),1), with the levels in the children with autism having 3 times the standard deviation of the neurotypical children.

Niacin was very similar in the autism group (7.00 μg/l and the control group (7.07 μg/l)

Other interesting findings highlighted the usual metabolic differences:-

·        ATP, NADH, and NAHPH were significantly different between the autism and neurotypical groups
·        Sulfation, methylation, glutathione, and oxidative stress biomarkers which were significantly different between the autism and neurotypical groups
·        Amino Acids which were significantly different between the autism and neurotypical groups, rescaled to the average neurotypical value

Peter Triglyceride Hypothesis in Autism & Schizophrenia

Elevated triglycerides in autism/schizophrenia may contribute to behavioral/mood problems.  The lipid contribution to the dysfunction may be correlated to elevation of triglycerides.  In other words triglycerides aggravate the existing disorder.

Some CAM treatments currently used in autism/schizophrenia, including high dose niacin, high dose biotin and high dose omega 3 oils may be effective due to their ability to lower triglycerides.

Biotin may be the safest, cheapest and most effective option to reduce triglycerides and improve mood/behavior.

The underlying cause of lipid dysfunction in autism/schizophrenia is the ongoing oxidative stress.

Fish oil is claimed to be good for your heart, but it has been shown not to affect cholesterol levels.  In some studies it did lower triglycerides.  In some countries doctors prescribe omega-3 oil to patients with stubbornly high triglycerides.  Perhaps they should read the research and try biotin?


Other functions of biotin

Biotin does have other more complex functions and the triglycerides may, so to speak, be a red herring.

Regulation of gene expression by biotin (review).


In mammals, biotin serves as coenzyme for four carboxylases, which play essential roles in the metabolism of glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids. Biotin deficiency causes decreased rates of cell proliferation, impaired immune function, and abnormal fetal development. Evidence is accumulating that biotin also plays an important role in regulating gene expression, mediating some of the effects of biotin in cell biology and fetal development. DNA microarray studies and other gene expression studies have suggested that biotin affects transcription of genes encoding cytokines and their receptors, oncogenes, genes involved in glucose metabolism, and genes that play a role in cellular biotin homeostasis. In addition, evidence has been provided that biotin affects expression of the asialoglycoprotein receptor and propionyl-CoA carboxylase at the post-transcriptional level. Various pathways have been identified by which biotin might affect gene expression: activation of soluble guanylate cyclase by biotinyl-AMP, nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB (in response to biotin deficiency), and remodeling of chromatin by biotinylation of histones. Some biotin metabolites that cannot serve as coenzymes for carboxylases can mimic biotin with regard to its effects on gene expression. This observation suggests that biotin metabolites that have been considered "metabolic waste" in previous studies might have biotin-like activities. These new insights into biotin-dependent gene expression are likely to lead to a better understanding of roles for biotin in cell biology and fetal development.

It does appear that biotin is more important than generally appreciated. 


In earlier posts I highlighted that elevated cholesterol is a bio-marker for inflammation.  In a large sub-group in autism, cholesterol is elevated.

In today’s post we looked at  a different type of lipid, triglycerides, they have a different role to cholesterol.  Not surprisingly the lipid profile is dysfunction, since it is closely linked to oxidative stress, which appears to be at the root of many problems in autism.

It is extremely easy and inexpensive to check your lipid profile (LDL, HDL and triglycerides); if elevated, there are safe established ways to bring things back to “normal”.

Parents seeing a small positive effect with their fish oil supplements might consider saving a lot of money and seeing if an extremely inexpensive biotin (5mg) supplement has an equal or greater effect.  The cost of biotin would be $2 a month.  The cost of fish oil with anything like the concentration used in the more effective trials (0.84g EPA and 0.7g DHA) will cost around $50 a month and may not lower triglycerides by as much as the cheap biotin.

By measuring the lipid profile before and after, you will be able to determine for yourself the relative merits.

Niacin also has been shown to improve mood/anxiety.  It is used by people with autism and schizophrenia.  Niacin is also extremely effective at reducing triglycerides.  High doses of Niacin can be accompanied by side effects and so use is discouraged.

Biotin levels do seem to be slightly low in autism.  Effective methods of accurately diagnosing deficiency are disputed.  Biotin is very effective at reducing triglycerides.

Elevated triglycerides have been associated with mood disorders and depression.

It seems plausible that the benefits from Omega-3 , niacin and biotin stem from their effectiveness in reducing triglycerides.

Biotin would seem to be a very cost effective and safe way to achieve this, without the side effects of niacin.  

Biotin also appears to have other key functions, including transcription of cytokine genes. Over expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines is a common feature of autism.