All Hail The Farmer's Tan!?!
I have questioned this for years, why doesn't my son with Autism tan? He stays white, like Casper the Ghost, seriously, even through 5 hot Arizona summers. He gets the same amount of sun exposure (which is pretty hefty since he is an outdoor kind of kid) as his sisters do and they end up looking like Coppertone babies, they tan even under sunscreen. We let the kids get some exposure to the sun without sunscreen, for proper vitamin D absorption. And if we are going to be doing something like swimming for hours in mid day for example, then everyone gets sunscreen plus swim shirts to cover their torso. We use sunscreen without all the toxic chemicals, I am more worried about the chemicals than sun exposure, especially given our high whole foods diet. So then why does our whole family tan with the exception of my son?
After doing (brief) research I found data on an enzyme process (which is not surprising, I swear ALL processes are enzyme based) that aids in melanin production. OK so we know a lot of my son's enzymatic processes are not working the right way. So, you can imagine my surprise when just a few weeks ago my son got a little pink on his shoulders. The neighborhood kids were all congregating at our house so I decided to pull out the slip and slide. It was placed in the shade of a tree but the kids were running all over, in an out of mid day sunlight. They played for 2 hours, a pittance of our normal sun exposure. We came inside and I noticed a slight pinkening of his skin on the tops of his shoulders, given the relatively light exposure, I didn't make him wear the swim shirt he usually wears for mid day swimming, that and the fact that he never tans! So why would he start tanning all of a sudden? We started Respen-A at the end of last year. Respen-A is supposed to aid in enzyme processes within the body. You can understand my excitement of potentially seeing visible results of this therapy. We've had tremendous success with Respen-A in terms of social/emotional/relationship areas so this was even more exciting to see some tangible results of cellular changes as well possibly.
Then just the other day, Facebook was crawling with people reposting THIS article from Age of Autism discussing this very issue with regards to tanning and Autism. I had never heard of the heavy metals connection before but it is also an interesting theory. Maybe this is also indicative of metal excretion? My son did not show high for mercury but he did for aluminum. Whatever the case, I see widespread healing as indicated by bowel changes, behavioral changes and yes now even tanning.
As I look deeper at my son's progress, I can see changes in his cognition, how he relates to us, how he relates to others. Just yesterday he did a joint OT session with another little boy, a little boy eerily similar to him at age 3 1/2. The child was engaging in echolalia, repeating my son in the same intonation and everything. My son, exasperated, said "Stop copying me, that is SO annoying, we are not the same". His therapist and another staff member found that pretty hilarious. Oh how far we've come. We see "typical" behaviors, "typical" phrases come out of his 6 year old mouth and I have to appreciate that 3 years ago he was virtually non-verbal. He is rounding the corner to 7 so definitely 4 years ago he was non-verbal. Now all we have to work on in speech is the "S" sound. And I link the 2, body and gut healing and progress through therapies. I do not think I could separate them. Without biomed, we would not have made this progress but many times, biomed is leaves you wanting a crystal ball 1) to see what NEEDS to be fixed and 2) seeing what is getting better. The reality is, not many of us can afford to rerun tests (or want to put our kiddos through tons of testing, especially more invasive tests) constantly and so we have to watch for clues that what we are doing is working until we do rerun a test. Some of them are subtle and some things are "wow" factors. So when I see a change like tanning, I am thoroughly excited! So here's to a summer of fun, relaxation, and hey maybe even a farmer's tan or two if we are lucky!