A personal trial of oral citrulline for ASD by Peter Good

I first met Peter a couple of years ago at an Autism Research Institute Think Tank. At the Think Tank Peter impressed everybody with his knowledge, specially about biochemical pathways. He was my lunch buddy for that couple of days and ever since we have kept in touch. I invited him to write a contribution to my blog and he obliged. You can read about his ideas regarding fever and the clinical manifestations of ASD in a previous blog: http://bit.ly/10NyJFk. Peter now wanted to offer his thoughts regarding some thoughts regarding oral citrulline and ASD. However, before going to the blog Peter will be introducing himself in a short paragraph.


Many people with an illness or disorder read the medical literature looking for clues or treatments. I didn’t realize I was autistic till I began studying it. After 30 years reading (and writing) about multiple sclerosis – with no degrees or formal education in the medical sciences – I noticed similarities between MS and autism. As I began my study (got to save the Lost Boys!) I was fortunate to encounter three cordial advisers early on. Without their guidance I might easily have lost my way in a forest of evidence and citations: Martha Herbert (Massachusetts General Hospital) told me of fever’s phenomenal benefit; Eugene Kiyatkin (National Institutes of Health) clarified fever’s nature and uniqueness; and Jon Pangborn (Autism Research Institute) told me of high blood ammonia in these children.

One month ago (5/6/15) I began taking 4 grams a day of the free (nonprotein) amino acid citrulline, after learning most dietary arginine is taken up by the liver. Citrulline (arginine’s precursor) bypasses the liver and forms arginine in the kidneys, thus more available (I hoped) for brain nitric oxide and creatine.

I was already taking 2g creatine and 2g taurine in morning coffee for several years, and the last year 2g arginine in orange juice before coffee. I just replaced the arginine with citrulline – 2g before breakfast (fasted state), then another 2g several hours after breakfast or lunch (postabsorptive).

It’s been only one month – but I’m already convinced citrulline is doing something very welcome to my brain. I feel calm, unhurried, rarely anxious – an unfamiliar state (though emotional ‘flashbacks’ are strong as ever). I repaired my tv antenna and leaky roof without hesitation, climbing a 16 ft. ladder many times without fear of falling. I sleep more soundly. My left-hand intention tremor aggravated during the month, abruptly calmed one night, later returned.

But the strongest, most distinctive effect of citrulline is I keep talking to myself! All day every day I find myself reading aloud without intending to, thinking aloud, and not only speaking to my ‘self’ but arguing, planning aloud, and practicing speaking. I feel like a different person than the ME I’m used to. That ME is emotional, impulsive, rarely plans or anticipates consequences – and doesn’t talk much.

ME on citrulline speaks eagerly – in private and public. Curiously, the free amino acid taurine had similar effect when I began taking it with coffee several years ago. I found myself reading aloud without intending to, then thinking aloud. As I began taking taurine daily, the effect became less prominent. Now it’s back from citrulline.

Do citrulline and taurine stimulate the left hemisphere preferentially?
Is autism a chronic neurochemical imbalance of the hemispheres?
Let’s find out.

Comments welcome; explanations even more. 🙂

Peter Good
Autism Studies
La Pine, OR

8 Respuestas a “A personal trial of oral citrulline for ASD by Peter Good

  1. All autism is not created equal.Fever only has positive effects on autism in autoimmune forms,such as autism related to PANDAS and PANS.For someone,like myself,with autism of a metabolic or mitochondrial nature,the slightest fever can be very harmful,causing severe illness and regression,all of one’s life.One needs to be on guard at all times against infection,and keep the underlying metabolic disorders under control at all times.The results otherwise are disastrous.

    MS is generally regarded to be an autoimmune disease.As with other autoimmune diseases,many mothers who have MS,also have children with both autism and other autoimmune diseases,including PANDAS or PANS.

    Citrulline has been studied in other autoimmune diseases,especially rheumatoid arthritis,with very good results.


    There is no reason citrulline would not be just as effective for MS and autoimmune mediated autism.

    This may have implications for autism and MS.

    Antibody Transfection into Neurons as a Tool to Study Disease Pathogenesis
    Authors: Joshua N. Douglas, Lidia A. Gardner, Sangmin Lee, Yoojin Shin, Chassidy J. Groover, Michael C. Levin.
    Published: 2012-09-26

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    • Yours is only the second report I’ve heard of fever aggravating autistic behavior, Robert. Dr. Zimmerman said 80% of ASD children improve to some degree. What kind of metabolic/mitochondrial dysfunction do you have?

      I don’t believe autism is an autoimmune disorder – or MS, for that matter. If autism is autoimmune, how does fever provoke such dramatic improvement? If MS is autoimmune, how did cerebral vasodilation with histamine help so many at St. Joseph Hospital in Tacoma decades ago?

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      • Peter, I saw your written work on AS vs HFA,
        I will try to keep it short and not pedantic (having first dx with AS. I do feel disgust with my own behaviours.)

        1. Do you consider them absolutely separate, or two subtypes types like Bipolar 1 and 2?

        2. Would any of the treatments or effects of stuff like fever also have any similar effect/benefits?

        3. There are a few I imagine, and one I’ve met who seem to be in the middle of the two. And I’ve read of those with classic autism coming to resemble what used to be called AS as they get older, and possibly occasionally vice versa. Thoughts?

        4. Would you accept calling AS with a new term (like Autism type 2?) considering the information now released about Hans Asperger?

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  2. Dear Peter,

    This is a scientific research that I would like to learn more about. Often I’ve thought that one of the main characteristics of autism is a unresponsive left brain.The left brain is our verbal and rational brain. (Speech is limited in severe cases of autism.) The language of the right-brain is pictorial and its consciousness is undivided. The right brain is distinctive for its highly global construction. Whereas it holds a vast storehouse of learning, dreams, and potentials.

    Doctor Darold A. Treffert said that both hemispheres generally perform different functions. «The left is considered dominant in language and logical thinking, the right in art, math and musical abilities. In the fetal brain, the right hemisphere will often finish its development ahead of the left. This leaves the left susceptible to a host of agents that can disrupt brain function. With the left hemisphere compromised, the right compensates.”

    The right is capable of taking over speech and writing if the left is damaged. And if the damage happens in youth, the right brain can take over almost all of the functions of the other.

    Left Right
    Intellect Intuition
    Abstract Thinking Concrete
    Objective Subjective understanding
    Linear Holistic perception
    Language Nonverbal processes
    Logic Emotions and spatial relationships

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    • Thank you, Claudia. I had not seen Dr. Treffert’s writings; just downloaded Savant Syndrome. I’m a very right-hemisphere person – love movies, maps, music. I’m no savant, but do have writing/editing abilities that come naturally. I suppose they’re left-hemisphere skills, but appear to come from my subconscious.

      What interests me is the likelihood that hemispheric dominance is not structural but biochemical – as if the metabolic changes that come with fever shift dominance from RH to LH transiently.

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      • To Peter Good,
        I have what used to be called Aspergers (or now just ASD)
        I have experimented with creatine, citrulline, and taurine after reading this.
        Creatine makes me dehydrated and gave a dry headache, it potentiated the ritalin making me a bit too rushed instead of calmed, it helped me keep a straight back less slouching, a pumped feeling, but I stopped, citrulline and taurine don’t have effects I can notice.

        I am also depressed and have ADHD, maybe depression effects prevents benefits.. Could medications like SSRIs, Ritalin, or clonazepam (I’ve grown a tolerance to) be preventing my body from making good use of them?

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  3. Pingback: Does glutathione depletion keep brain blood flow low and myelin immature in children with autistic disorders? | Cortical Chauvinism·

  4. Perhaps the citrulline/arginine is facilitating an increase in biosynthesis of arginine vasopressin, which appears to be lower in people with autism spectrum disorders who score lower on understanding that other people have their own thoughts, wishes, emotions, etc. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26200852 Although that study result was about «theory of the mind» and not talkativeness. Still, it might be a lead. Autism research is full of leads.

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