The incidence of autism even as recently as 2004 was one in 166. Now it’s as common as one in 68, according to the CDC.

What’s going on here?

The Interleukin-6 Connection

The first piece of the puzzle was this article, which shows that when a pregnant mom gets a bacterial or viral illness, the subsequent activation of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) can impact the baby’s neurodevelopment. The following two papers also link the inflammatory IL-6 specifically with autistic behavior in mice and monkeys.

This study suggests a possible mechanism by which this might occur, showing that IL-6 elevation changes the formation of the synapses (connections in the brain) and also alters neural signal transmission.

But the issue isn’t just unavoidable illnesses in pregnancy. There are other possible causes of IL-6 activation.

The Aluminum Connection

While the official position of the vaccine industry is still that there is no connection between autism and vaccinations, the studies conducted have only investigated thimerosal (the mercury adjuvant) and the MMR vaccine. They have not looked at the aluminum adjuvant at all. (Vaccines containing aluminum include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, DTaP, Hib, HPV, PCV, MCV4, and anthrax.)

As it turns out, Aluminum is quite neurotoxic. While oral ingestion is not great for you, absorption is low and the vast majority gets eliminated in the feces if complexed with a negatively charged ion, or the urine, if aluminum is an ion (positively charged and on its own). Since the compound gets excreted when ingested, and the ions cannot penetrate the blood brain barrier, the body can compensate for oral ingestion.

However, aluminum in your bloodstream gets ingested by your macrophages (immune cells that destroy things that shouldn’t be there, and then present them to your T-cells to see if you need to get rid of them.) Once inside the macrophages, aluminum gets a free ride to other parts of the body it wouldn’t otherwise have access to—such as the brain.

Here are a few of the study findings:

  • Aluminum causes motor neuron death
  • Aluminum causes motor neuron degeneration
  • Aluminum bioaccumulates in the neurons. Especially interesting in this study was the finding that the lowest studied dose of aluminum (200 mcg/kg) was actually more toxic than the higher doses. This was probably due to the fact that higher doses trigger immune activation, leading to the formation of a granuloma, which prevents aluminum from penetrating deeper into the body. Lower doses trigger no such activation. This implies that many small injections (such as what one might find in the vaccine schedule) may cause more harm than one larger injection.

The Aluminum and IL-6 Connection

So far we’ve established that 1) IL-6 at least in animal models has been linked to autistic behavior, and that 2) nanoparticulate aluminum, at vaccine doses, is neurotoxic and bioaccumulates in the neurons.

According to this study, aluminum increases IL-6 in the brain fourfold. (Remember, that’s the inflammatory cytokine connected to autism!)

This study drives the connection home: the study explored three groups of rats. One was a control group; one group was given a vaccine containing aluminum adjuvant (hepatitis B), and one group was given a vaccine without aluminum. Only the group given the Hep B shot showed IL-6 activation.

With that in mind, consider the current vaccine schedule. By my calculations, it involves up to 31 vaccines in the first two years of life, most of which contain aluminum adjuvants. (For context: back in 1980, the vaccine schedule called for 5 vaccines by age two.) Consider again the findings of this study: smaller doses of aluminum do not trigger granuloma formation, allowing the aluminum to enter the bloodstream, encounter macrophages, and thereby cross the blood brain barrier. Then imagine that small dose occurring 31 times over the course of your child’s first two years of life. 

The Upshot

I’m by no means saying aluminum adjuvants in vaccines are the ONLY possible cause of autism. In my practice, I’ve certainly seen that autism is a multifaceted disease, always associated with various kinds of toxicity and gut dysfunction. There are almost always genetic mutations which hinder adequate detoxification.

But if you’re a parent and considering the most appropriate vaccine schedule for your child, this is certainly data worth considering.

I’m indebted to J.B. Handley for his research and connections for this article.