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Clostridia Connection to Mental Health and Autism - Case Studies

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Case Studies on Two Children with Autism: Clostridia Toxin Reduction Using Biocidin® Supplementation 

By Kurt N. Woeller, D.O. 

Pathogenic Clostridia bacteria in the GI tract and their toxins can have negative consequences within the human body, particularly in the brain, and may be a causal factor in mental disorders and autism. Two specific toxins called 4-cresol and 3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-3-hydroxypropionic acid (HPHPA) are known to inhibit Dopamine Beta-Hydroxylase, a dopamine to norepinephrine converting enzyme (1). When this enzyme is inhibited there can be a significant rise in dopamine levels within the brain leading to serious behavioral issues, including aggression and self-injury, as well as a potential exacerbation of psychosis as seen in Schizophrenia (2). Also, excess dopamine production can be neurotoxic to the brain, leading to oxidative stress and a depletion of glutathione (3). 

The image listed below is an enzyme conversion diagram of dopamine to norepinephrine. The metabolite of dopamine called homovanillic acid (HVA) and norepinephrine called vanillylmandelic acid (HVA) can be measured along with the 4-cresol and HPHPA through Great Plains Laboratory’s Organic Acids Test. Notice how both the 4-cresol and HPHPA specifically block the dopamine beta-hydroxylase enzyme.

The Organic Acids Test from Great Plains Laboratory has a number of markers that show this relationship between clostridia toxins 4-cresol and HPHPA, and the inhibiting effect of dopamine-beta hydroxylase, and laboratory director Dr. Willam Shaw, Ph. D has published articles on this topic that are available though the lab website at www.greatplainslaboratory.com.

Typically treatment for clostridia bacteria is done with antibiotics such as metronidazole (Flagyl) or vancomycin (Vancocin), using a 10 to 14 day course of therapy. Both of these antibiotics are often effective at eradicating clostridia bacteria and improving digestive function. However, in some individuals clostridia bacteria are resistant to these antibiotics and recurrence rates are high. Also, antibiotics have a tendency to increase candida overgrowth and create other issues related to dysbiosis (digestive bacteria imbalance). Finally, in some sensitive people these antibiotics cause intolerable side effects such as nausea, abdominal bloating and pain. Therefore, it has often been necessary to find alternative interventions to try and deal with the complex problem of clostridia bacteria seen in special needs individuals. 

The supplement product Biocidin® from Bio-Botanical Research has shown positive results in clostridia reduction as is evidenced by the normalization of clostridia toxins 4-cresol and/or HPHPA and improvement in the HVA and VMA values. Listed here are two examples of before and after Organic Acids Tests results from two children with autism showing normalization of HPHPA and 4-cresol where using Biocidin® as the primary anti-pathogenic supplement.

Example #1

Initial treatment was Vancomycin for 10 days with no resolution of elevated HPHPA

Follow-up use of Biocidin® for 60 days showed positive reduction of HPHPA

Recurrence rates are high with clostridia bacteria. Shown next is the follow-up test after 7 months without treatment. We see that the HPHPA levels from clostridia came back with a level at 426.

This time around a different strategy was used with Biocidin, similar to how Dr, Shaw has recommended cyclical dosing of antibiotics.….. Instead of doing daily dosing of the supplement, a cyclical dosing regimen was employed with the goal of not only reducing the active colonies of clostridia, but reducing the spore colonies of clostridia as well. One of the reasons for recurrence of clostridia is their ability to develop spores which are resistant to many conventional interventions. It has been shown in research and clinical practice that dosing antimicrobials in a cyclical fashion may be more successful in long-lasting effects against clostridia (4). We now are are adding GI Detox to our protocol as it has shown success with Clostrida in other cases, and may give additional support in removing the spores. For the next round we used: Biocidin (2 capsules TID) x 14 days, then every 3rd day do a treatment day for 4 weeks. Culturelle – 4 capsules at bedtime

Test result 30 days after cyclical Biocidin® intervention

Test result on same child collected 4 months after Biocidin® intervention. Notice the HPHPA level is still normal.

These lab results at 30 days and 120 days show the success of this protocol.

Example #2 – High 4-Cresol 

In this child the 4-cresol was elevated and not the HPHPA. A similar dosing schedule was used as seen in example #1 with Biocidin® used in a cyclical fashion. Biocidin® (8 drops TID) x 14 days, then every 3rd day do a treatment day for 4 weeks.

Follow-up Organic Acids Test 4 months later

Here we again see that there was a reduction in the 4-cresol marker using the cyclical dosing. 

Biocidin® continues to be a useful supplement to support the digestive system against the problematic toxicity from various clostridia bacteria. Used alone or in conjunction with other supplements, i.e. probiotics, and other herbs it can be an effective way of assisting the special needs individual with their bowel issues. Now that we have added GI Detox to the protocol we will be performing similar studies do determine if that approach adds additional benefit, and will report our findings.

Organic Acids Testing from Great Plains Laboratory, along with many other useful integrative health tests useful for individuals with autism-spectrum disorders can be purchased from Lab Tests Plus. When ordering through this site each test result also comes with a personalized written review of relevant lab markers and action step suggestions for supplement assistance and medicine protocols when appropriate. Visit www.labtestsplus.com for more information.

Kurt N. Woeller, D.O. – medical director (Sunrise Medical Center) 951-461-4800 (phone) info@mysunrisecenter.com, www.drwoeller.com, www.autismactionplan.com


(1) Goodhart PJ, DeWolf WE Jr, Kruse LI. Mechanism-based inactivation of dopamine beta-hydroxylase by p-cresol and related alkylphenols. Biochemistry. 1983 Jun 21; 22(13):3091-6. (

2) Shaw, W. “increased urinary excretion of 3-(3-hydroxy-phenyl)-3-hydroxypropionoic acid (HPHPA), an abnormal phenylalanine metabolite of Clostridia spp. in the gastrointestinal tract, in urine samples from patients with autism and schizophrenia.” Nutritional Neuroscience 2010 Vol 13 No 3: 1-10 

(3) Linan Chen, et al(2008) Unregulated cytosolic dopamine causes neurodegeneration associated with oxidative stress in mice. J. Neurosci. 28, 425–433. 

(4) Alternative treatments for Clostridium difficile disease: what really works? Lynne V. McFarland Journal of Medical Microbiology (2005), 54, 101–111

​Clostridia Connection to Mental Health and Autism

Clostridia Bacteria, Neurochemical Toxicity, and the Link to Certain Mental Health DisordersBy Kurt N. Woeller, D.O. Clostridia (aka. clostridium) are a group of opportunistic and often times pathogenic bacteria that can harbor in the digestive system. They are strictly anaerobic (don’t like oxygen) and form spores that are resistant to many conventional antibiotics increasing their pathogenicity [...]

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