As the 2nd part of the 2 part series on MAO-A activity and Respen-A, we will get more into this issue. Side effects are a possibility while on Respen-A and I do see them from time to time in my office. While they are not common, I have seen them in children who fail to get enough protein in their diet while taking Respen-A. Children with these side effects may become more attached, may have more meltdowns, they may have a difficult time transitioning and may become more emotional. When we notice these side effects, they are usually signs of a serotonin depletion. This is rare but it does happen and then I will usually suggest that they begin adding in a supplement like 5-HTP, or even tryptophan in certain cases, as an attempt to raise serotonin levels. And this is something I always convey to parents wanting to start Respen-A with their child. Adequate protein levels need to be met and usually eating some form of meat each day is enough to do that. But there have been very rare instances where supplementation with 5-HTP or even tryptophan becomes necessary so that we don't see a depletion in serotonin levels but this is usually in the case of a very picky eater with a severely limited diet.
However, we do see MAO-A being inhibited by several other things also. We know that using pitocin to augment labor and delivery can definitely impact this system in a negative way. Other ways to impair this system include the exposure to certain heavy metals like cadmium, mercury and arsenic, as well as oxidative stress and lipid peroxidase. So you see some common elements here as these things like heavy metals and oxidative stress are things we often treat in Autism through a biomedical treatment approach. Certainly we see other factors as well.
So in the biomedical treatment community, this is not anything different than how we may treat this impaired system, we see it as another system that is affected in Autism. We also know that dopamine can be impacted by something called Monoamine Oxidase B or MAO-B. And we see that if MAO-B activity is too high then what can happen is that MAO-A activity can be suppressed. So the important thing here is balance between MAO-B activity and MAO-A activity. If we see deficits in the MAO-A activity, that's where we can easily see how a product like Respen-A can be beneficial.