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Article: Battling Autism with Bentonite Clay
by Cheryl McCoy

Many autism treatment centers, including a clinic based in Austin treating autistic patients worldwide, are incorporating the use of Bentonite clay in their successful treatment regimens.  Detoxing and chelating with calcium Bentonite clay baths is proving to be a key factor in their success.  Studies are showing the clay's unique ability to safely remove metals and environmental toxins from the body clears the way for greater results with behavioral and integrative therapies.

The number of children diagnosed annually with autism is escalating at a truly frightening rate. In the 1980s, a study showed that 4 in every 10,000 children showed signs of autism.  A recent study by Cambridge University's Autism Research Center showed that approximately 1 in 60 children has some form of the condition.  The controversy over what causes autism spectrum disorder has grown almost as rapidly as the number of cases, with most researchers searching frantically for a genetic culprit, while others point to environmental factors.

Current research has shown that while there does appear to be a genetic factor in many autism cases, environmental factors may be the trigger that actually sets off the disorder.  "There's really the role for something in the environment that could be triggering someone who is genetically susceptible," says Dr. Gary Goldstein, a child neurologist who directs the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Maryland.

"I think there's a real concern that there's been a change in our environment," said Dr. Carol Berkowitz, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "An exposure to some toxins, chemicals, environmental factors -- either when a mother is pregnant or after the delivery of the child -- that has led to autism."

Many have pointed to childhood vaccinations as the cause of autism, and the debate continues on that point.  Some researchers dismiss the correlation while others refer to data showing that unvaccinated children show a significantly lower rate of autism than children who have been vaccinated.  Specifically, some researchers blame mercury, which is still present in the flu vaccines given to children as part of the vaccination regime.  Others point to the dramatic increase in the number of vaccinations given in accordance with the CDC Mandatory Vaccination Schedule.  In 1983, the total number of vaccines given to children from birth through 6 years of age was 10.  In 2007, that number had grown to 36.

The range of environmental toxins that could be triggering autism envelopes everything from the previously mentioned mercury to lead and other toxic metals, pesticides, food additives, flame retardants, phthalates (found in cosmetics and vinyl, including vinyl flooring), antibacterial soaps, pet flea shampoos, and even fluoride. 

Chelation, Internal Cleansing and Detoxification

With environmental toxins playing such a significant factor in the onset of autism, it becomes imperative to protect ourselves from them, and to remove them from our systems as rapidly as possible.  Unfortunately, it's impossible to completely avoid these toxins; they are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.  Internal cleansing and detoxification are needed to remove these substances from our bodies.  Many naturopaths and holistic doctors are recommending chelation and detoxification programs in addition to behavioral therapy for their autistic patients.  Experts agree that when you remove these toxins, all other behavioral and integrative therapies such as music therapy and applied behavioral analysis, work much more easily and effectively.

Chelators are substances that bind to heavy metals. The two most common chelators used by medical professionals are transdermal DMPS and oral DMSA. These chelation therapies generally work well, but they are quite expensive and there is a greater risk of side effects (headache, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, cramps), especially for children. There is a better, more natural way to detoxify the body that has less risk of reactions, and works just as well, if not better -- calcium Bentonite clay.

What is Calcium Bentonite Clay, and How Does it Work?

Calcium Bentonite clay is a member of the Montmorillonite/Smectite family of clays.  It is one of the most sought after of the healing clays.  It carries a uniquely strong negative ionic charge which causes it to "magnetically" attract any substance with a positive ionic charge (i.e., bacteria, toxins, metals, etc.). These substances are both adsorbed (sticking to the outside like Velcro) and absorbed (drawn inside) by the clay molecules.  The toxins are then eliminated from the body as the clay is eliminated or removed.

Calcium Bentonite clay is used both internally and externally to detoxify the body.  Clay cannot be digested, so when taken internally in liquefied form, the clay passes through your system collecting the toxins, and removing them as the clay is eliminated.  If drinking the liquefied clay is not palatable to you, it can be added to food, juices, or smoothies.  Used externally, clay baths have proven to be highly effective at removing toxins. Discussing clay baths in his book The Clay Cure, Ran Knishinsky states, "It is a fairly simple procedure, and it can do a lot of good in a relatively short time.  Because of clay's excellent drawing effect, the clay has the power to literally pull toxicities through the pores of the skin in the bath."  And Wendell Hoffman, author of Using Energy to Heal, found that Bentonite clay, when used in a bath, can and does draw out toxic chemicals through the pores of the skin. 

Dr. Miriam Jang, M.D., author of Breakthroughs in Autism stated:

"I have put a huge number of patients on these clay baths and the levels of heavy metals -- mercury, lead, arsenic, aluminum, and cadmium -- have come down dramatically. I have been monitoring the levels of metals using all three methods (TD DMPS, oral DMSA and clay baths) and the clay baths are way faster in the removal of metals. One particular patient had very high levels of mercury and levels of lead that were off the charts. In 3 months of twice weekly clay baths, the lead came down dramatically and the mercury disappeared. The muscle weakness associated with high lead levels improved dramatically."

Choosing the right clay

When selecting a clay for healing and detoxing purposes, it's important to remember that not all clays are created equal.  Some clays should never be used externally, let alone internally.  You must do your due diligence and make certain that you are using a high quality, safe, healing clay.  According to an article written by Perry A~, author of Calcium Bentonite Clay, Nature's Pathway to Healing, and published certain standards should be followed when choosing a good quality detoxing clay.  The clay should be a natural, contaminant free calcium Bentonite Clay with a pH of 8.7 or higher.  Processed clays have a reduced efficacy, so it's best to use a natural, unprocessed clay.  And choose the clay company carefully as well.  You should look for a company that provides a mineral analysis sheet, a certified laboratory microbial test, and direct contact information including a phone number and physical address.  There are too many "fly-by-night" companies out there, so make sure you're dealing with a reputable seller.

Most of the current autism research funding is being spent on finding a genetic factor that causes the disorder.  This is vital research that should continue.  But more funding must be used to study the environmental factors as well, and clay therapy in particular.  Several holistic autism clinics are achieving great success with clay therapy.  Unfortunately, since clay cannot be patented by the pharmaceutical companies, they are not willing to promote its use, and therefore the medical society is largely unaware of the benefits of calcium Bentonite clay.


Cheryl McCoy has been researching and studying the healing benefits of clay since 2003 She has worked extensively with clay expert Perry A~ Arledge, and is the co-owner of the Apex Bentonite Clay company. She can be reached at



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