In this article we provide an overview of the Primer, discussing the key nutrients within this formulation, why they are used and Primer's specific role in the biomedical treatment process.
Phase 1 Pfeiffer Protocol for ASD
The Primer formula is used for the phase 1 Pfeiffer Protocol for the biochemical treatment of patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is a general supplement designed to re-balance the copper: zinc ratio in the body (by decreasing copper and increasing zinc), and to assist in the promotion of metallothionein (MT) proteins in the gastrointestinal tract (important for detoxification), brain and elsewhere. This protocol is based on over 1,200 published articles describing MT synthesis, activation and redox mechanisms.
Benefits to ASD Patients
Promotion of MT proteins within the body provides many benefits to ASD patients including:
- The removal of toxic heavy metals in the body
- Protection against future toxic exposures
- Normalisation of the gastrointestinal tract
- Improved behaviour control
- Improved immune function, and
- Enhanced development of brain neurons and synaptic connections.
The first five benefits may be attainable in the first year of treatment, regardless of the age of the patient. However, the rate of formation of new synaptic connections declines rapidly with age, which is why early intervention is critically important for development of speech, cognitive development, etc. Great patience is needed in the treatment of older children who can be expected to progress at a relatively slow rate. Behaviour therapies which shower the brain with impulses and promote neuronal development are especially recommended in conjunction with MT promotion therapy.
Primer Composition & Protocols
This formula contains much needed zinc (as picolinate, the most easily absorbed form of zinc), as well as activated B6 (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate), manganese gluconate and essential antioxidants (vitamins C and E).
Aggressive zinc loading must precede full scale MT promotion therapy for best results, since each molecule of MT requires 7 atoms of zinc for proper functioning. Primer is often used as the first step in nutritional supplementation of patients with ASD, particularly for those patients with low zinc levels and high copper levels.
The best clinical outcomes have been achieved using the two-phase protocol of:
- Phase 1 - preloading with zinc and augmenting nutrients (i.e. the Primer), followed by
- Phase 2 - cautious, gradual introduction of MT promotion nutrients (the Promoter - read Promoter article here).
In treating ASD this should be part of a comprehensive treatment program.
Aggressive supplementation with zinc and augmenting nutrients is recommended for at least 4 to 8 weeks, but can be up to 6 months or more. Sensitive patients may require a gradual build up of zinc dosages. It is also important to remember that Primer must never be taken on an empty stomach, as this may cause nausea (even though zinc is best absorbed on an empty stomach).
The Primer contains (per daily dose): Zinc Picolinate 50mg, Pyridoxine-5-phosphate 25mg (active vitamin B6), Pyridoxine HCL (B6) 50mg, Manganese Gluconate 7.5mg, Vitamin E 100mg (Mixed tocopherols), Ascorbate activity (Vitamin C) as Magnesium Ascorbate 300mg, and Magnesium Ascorbate 22mg. These doses are standard and can be adapted to suit individual needs.
Unfortunately, the Primer ingredients do not have a very pleasant taste! So, to help with increasing compliance in children who have difficulty swallowing capsules or who are adverse to the taste of the powder, we have recently developed a lozenge form of the Primer.
The lozenges are sugar free, are chewable in texture, come in individual blister packets and can be made in a variety of flavours; the most popular being chocolate, marshmallow and apple and watermelon. Our Primers can also be compounded into a transdermal cream and/or liquid suspension. Another product which we have developed to help increase compliance is the Masking Syrup. This has been specifically designed to be mixed with the Primer (powder within the capsule), it is also free of sugar and any "nasties" and is offered in a wide range of flavours.