Digestive Enzymes

Gastric disturbances such as decreased production of gastric acid, decreased digestive enzymes, poor absorption of nutrients, and dysbiosis are common in autism.  These gastric problems can be the result of deficient MAO-A activity.  MAO-A metabolizes histamine into the active H2 agonist.  H2 receptor stimulation by the H2 agonist stimulates the parietal cells in the stomach to secrete hydrochloric acid.  The hydrochloric acid helps breakdown the food in the stomach.  The low pH in the stomach as a result of hydrochloric acid secretion closes the sphincter from the esophagus into the stomach and opens the sphincter from the stomach into the duodenum, which is the beginning of the intestinal tract.  The intestines are alkaline so the acidic chyme (food from the stomach) lowers the pH of the duodenum.  The low pH of the duodenum stimulates the sphincter between the pancreas and the duodenum to open.  The opening of the sphincter between the pancreas and the duodenum stimulates the pancreas to contract and secrete digestive enzymes and secretin into the duodenum.  Secretin is the bicarbonate molecule for the intestines raising the pH of the duodenum back up to an alkaline pH.  The higher pH in the duodenum activates the digestive enzymes in the duodenum so that the food can be further broken down releasing the nutrients for absorption across the intestinal membrane.  So if MAO-A activity is deficient, the histamine is not converted to the H2 receptor agonist and the whole digestive process is hindered. 

 The active ingredient in Respen-A stimulates MAO-A activity resulting in H2 production, which in turn stimulates gastric acid and digestive enzyme production.  Many parents have reported that their child no longer needs the digestive enzymes after starting Respen-A.  Digestive enzymes can be taken with Respen-A but they may not be necessary.