by Marilyn Harding


by Marilyn Harding


Imagine your rambunctious toddler joyfully exploring his or her new world and then suddenly or gradually stop playing. Your son stops making eye contact. Where once your daughter tested new words, she screams or is silent.

For a staggering 1 in 59 children in the US alone, a parent receives a chilling diagnosis and their world tilts on its axis. Most children are diagnosed around two years of age. Dreams of proms and graduation fade into an unknowable future of treatments and therapies. The focus becomes how to manage the unpredictable, moment to moment.

For a group of passionate mothers there is indefatigable hope, intense faith and the determination of a lioness to protect her cub. These mothers share the belief that they were chosen to have these children because they could love and care for them and grow from the experience.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

For this group of heroic moms, it meant taking charge and finding solutions outside of the box of pharmaceuticals and therapies. They wanted solutions not just treatments and started combing the internet for information. The mothers found what they were looking for in the seminal work of Dr. Patrick Nemechek and his book The Nemechek Protocol for Autism and Development Disorders.

This is not simply a way to alleviate symptoms but a top-down approach that understands the way the body is supposed to function and restores the body to equilibrium, thereby ending symptoms, reversing illnesses, and optimizing health. Dr. Patrick Nemechek

The underlying cause of most if not all chronic illness is excessive inflammation in the body. Where some is good for the normal functioning of the body, more isn’t better. Much of our food contributes to metabolic inflammation, which Dr. Nemechek says interrupts the healthy communication between brain and body resulting in an array of autonomic dysfunction including autism. The Protocol has four pillars:

Repair – repairs and stabilizes Autonomic functioning by recreating the healthy environment that is mandatory for the brain to make stem cells and repair itself.

Reverse – reverses Autonomic Dysfunction by treating intestinal bacterial overgrowths or underlying infections, with simultaneous core changes in nutrition.

Restore – Restores proper microglia function (white blood cells) and restores the brain’s control over inflammation with bioelectric transcutaneous stimulation of the Autonomic Vagus nerve.

Maintain – Provides long term structure for maintaining renewed health, continued cellular and organ repair, decreased overnutrition, and the ability to recover from new Autonomic injuries.

Nutrition is central to each of these stages. And extra virgin olive oil is central to that healthy regimen. Dr. Nemechek writes about The Magical Health Qualities of Olive Oil, especially olive oils with phenolic compounds.

For these children, and many more whose parents have offered testimonials the Nemechek Protocol is nothing short of miraculous. The diet proved its benefits with many of the children responding within days or weeks. The parents were thrilled. Bolstered by this success and witnessing the responses in their children, they kept searching and discovered high phenolic olive oil. For most of them, using an olive oil with higher phenolic content proved to enhance the already life changing benefits of the Nemechek Protocol.*

This is when one of the mothers reached out to Athan through Facebook. When Athan went to her page in response to her friend request, he was surprised to see so many references to high phenolic olive oils. He responded immediately and asked how he could help. What Athan discovered was a tight cooperative community and a story that is so inspiring he wanted get their message out far and wide. We hope that we can facilitate a clinical trial so that more parents around the globe can find answers to this life changing challenge.

Athan made up a questionnaire and within days had responses. You can read the excerpts below.

It’s clear from the responses that the higher phenolic content added to the efficacy of the Nemecheck Protocol. Of course this is anecdotal, but compelling and worth trying. Here are just some of the comments after adding higher phenolic EVOO.

Speech is amazing. Grammar suddenly self-corrected. No more mouth sensitivities. More social and more socially appropriate. Cognition is so much better too!

Taking a higher phenolic EVOO is a total life changer. [Parents] should try incorporating it in their kid’s diet and for the whole family as well towards a healthier lifestyle.

For parents of children with autism, the smallest ‘gain’ can bring pure joy, like this simple shift.

 He started repeating words after we say it. He plays with his toys more now.

Or what most parents take for granted.

More awareness, burst of words, talkative, expressive, more eye contact.

We know that food is medicine. Hippocrates and Dioscorides spoke about it over twenty-five hundred years ago. Today modern science has proven what these ancient doctors said about early harvest olive oil – that it is ‘medicinal’. Early harvest olive oil from green unripe olives described in the ancient materia medica is high in phenolic compounds. These individual compounds (some 30+ in olive oil) with anti-inflammatory properties such as oleocanthal, and antioxidant properties as found in oleacein can now be accurately and individually measured.** At present these two are most rigorously studied, but time and attention will prove the efficacy of the other phenols for their ‘magical qualities’.

The natural state of the human body is vibrant health. When something interferes with that it can be hard to find the map back – especially in this world of infinite unfiltered information. But as these mothers discovered there is a map for their child. Dr. Nemechek shows that the path is simple but takes dedication and vigilance. The road might be long, and access to pure and natural foods might take some searching, but for these mothers the effort is worth it. It is life -saving.

One of the questions on Athan’s questionnaire was “Do you have any advice for other parents who have kids with autism?” These mothers’ answer sums up the courage, tenacity and inquiring spirit that gets results:

Always challenge the status quo … never be contented with your child’s current condition … there are a lot of things out there that can help our kids condition … it’s our role as parents to act on it.

Appreciate every gain, small or big. Take it low and slow. Never hurry. Healing does not happen overnight. And never forget to read, read, read.

My advice to other parent who have kids with autism is don’t just rely on therapies. Lifestyle and dietary changes really helps. Research the science and have the tenacity to achieve your goals.

Our health and well-being and that of the ones we love is the most precious commodity, one that we often take for granted until something like autism shows us a different perspective.

May you find all the answers you seek to vibrant health.



For more information please contact Athan at

See selection of questionnaire responses below.

*Dr. Nemechek believes it is the whole complex of extra virgin olive oil including its phenolic compounds that has the desired effect which includes reduction of inflammation. He also recommends that the suggested daily intake is not reduced because of a higher phenolic measurement.

** It must me noted that when numbers are used as measurement of phenolic content in olive oil, there are two schools of thought which differ significantly. It is our aim to edify the public especially when high phenolic olive oils are being sought as part of a solution for chronic illness and the restoration of health.

In simple terms, HPLC is historically used by the IOC (International Olive Council) to measure total polyphenols in olive oil. It does not measure or identify individual phenols. At this writing, the IOC does not recognize the EU Health Claim Labelling Regulation.

In 2012 the EU established a Health Claim Labelling Regulation 432-2012 stating that extra virgin olive oils with 250 mg/kg of polyphenols can put a health claim on the label. The method of measurement used to establish the health claim metrics is LC-MS/MS at University of Barcelona by Dr. Isabel Covas

That same year, 2012, Dr. Prokopios Magiatis and Dr. Eleni Melliou discovered a way to accurately measure the individual phenols in olive oil by molecular weight using NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance).

From November 2016 to January 31, 2020 the EU funded the five-country, three-year ARISTOIL Interreg MED Programme, to study best practices to produce, measure, store, transport and market high phenolic olive oil. The study which partners included the University of Athens and the University of Córdova as well as Aristoleo Ltd. concluded that the LC-MS/MS and NMR, while using different analytics have been verified as equal measurements.

HPLC is a general measurement and will usually show a much lower number. This is best illustrated as the difference between describing a bowl of fruit by the individual weights of apples, oranges, lemons and bananas in kilos as opposed to the combined weight of all fruit in pounds.

Whether you are buying for total phenolic content or specific phenols the most accurate measurement is by NMR or LC-MS/MS which is recognized by the EU Commission in regard to the health claim.

ARISTOIL Certification is in development evolving from the study, which will track all aspects of high phenolic olive oil production from grower through retail sale. This will be much more in keeping with the stringent criteria of the COOC, California Olive Oil Council. The IOC in comparison does not appear to enforce compliance with best practices – for example allowing extra virgin olive oil in clear plastic bottles.

Until the ARISTOIL Certification becomes active in the high phenolic olive oil category, ask the producer for their NMR or LS-MS/MS certificate. Also make sure you check out the distributor for shipment and storage conditions. Phenolic content can preserve the longevity of the olive oil if unopened, however, phenolic content is sensitive to light, heat and air and needs to be shipped and stored at optimal temperatures. Check out A Buyer’s Guide to High Phenolic Olive Oil.

Aristoleo Annual Awards for High Phenolic Olive Oil and Table Olives is the only international showcase dedicated to the high phenolic category. Now in its 5th year, Aristoleo Awards assesses high phenolic olive oils based on NMR phenolic profile (500mg/kg +) and organoleptic analysis at independent labs.


Excerpts from Questionnaire Responses (18 mothers)

Please note that we have removed brand names and phenolic counts as these may be more confusing than informative as explained above.

Describe the progress you saw when you started giving higher phenolic EVOO to your child.

  1. “Language has exploded, correct sentence construction, significant increase in awareness ”
  2. “From Feb 2018 to July 2019, we were using a [2017 lower phenolic content EVOO] Back then, we did not know about high phenolic EVOOs and how harvest years have an impact on phenolic count. Once we got our son on a [higher phenolic content EVOO]. On his third day on it, the gains started coming in. I remember logging, almost daily, so many gains, particularly food gains.That entire month saw his food-related senses getting “awakened”.  He was never a rice eater but in July 2019, my son started eating rice. By August, we introduced [2018 higher phenolic EVOO]. We were very surprised when one day in August, he was struck with a fever that did not even last him more than 24 hours~ Could it be the oleocanthal? Probably~ We also saw some odd temperature spikes that lasted almost a week but instead of him feeling and acting sluggish, he was still his usual active self~We’d later learn about the Herxheimer Reaction (Herxing) and how EVOO’s anti-viral/anti-fungal/antibacterial properties can induce it. His non-verbal receptive language became more complex. He lost monotony and his syllables became more varied. By October, we introduced [2019 high phenolic EVOO]. That’s when our son’s babbling and expressive language became even more complex. His eye contact has ever since became longer and more purposeful.”
  3. “Speech began to improve, no longer just echoing words occasionally but having functional language.”
  4. “He is calmer, better understanding and speech improves.”
  5. “Improved receptive skills, she’s now trying to express herself through babbling, trying to learn self-help skills, and trying to socialize with other people.”
  6. “More meaningful verbal communication and good eye contact. Less aggression like hitting and pinching”
  7. “More awareness, burst of words, talkative, expressive, more eye contact ..”
  8. “At first he had another awakening. It was worst compared to when we started NP. After a few weeks, when his body was completely adjusted, his speech was much more clear & his comprehension was much stronger.”
  9. “Increase in awareness though his pica came back but after a month it started to reduce.”
  10. “After Mini Awakening Speech was improved:” “Awakening” is a term Dr. Patrick Nemechek uses to describe an increase in awareness. This may be accompanied by symptoms similar to the Herxheimer Reaction as the brain adjusts to new stimuli.
  11. “Started imitating sounds, and became more interactive”
  12. “I got a lot of gains with [EVOO], in a matter of days his vocabulary expanded, which makes me wonder of its phenol content, the taste of it is really peppery and it burns my throat. I had gains with [another EVOO] too, he learned how to sing and use his imagination while he was that EVOO. 2 days after giving [a high phenolic], my son started to play with his cousins~ And the explosion of words makes me speechless. He is now better at expressing his wants and needs, what he likes and doesn’t like…”
  13. “Significant improvement in speech”
  14. “For my six-year-old, he can already communicate. He can answer simple questions like: what, where, who and what… He just can’t answer why. His receptive language has improved. For my 10-year old, I still can’t see significant changes. I read though those with ADHD takes longer heal.”
  15. “He started repeating words after we say it. He plays with his toys more now.”
  16. “Awareness and speech slightly improved.”
  17. “More calm, more focused, can say a few words, tries to communicate.”
  18. “Speech is amazing. Grammar suddenly self-corrected. No more mouth sensitivities. No more autism signs. ADHD symptoms are very less now. He almost doesn’t have any symptoms of ADHD that I can see these days.. More social and more socially appropriate. Cognition is so much better too!”


Do you have any advice for other parents who have kids with autism?

  1. “Taking a higher phenolic EVOO is a total life changer. They should try incorporating it in their kid’s diet and for the whole family as well towards a healthier lifestyle.”
  2. “It is through interaction with fellow parents in the autism community that my husband and I learned about high phenolic EVOOs. Its benefits are such a fascinating subject. I highly encourage parents to incorporate this not just in their children’s diet but in their entire family’s lifestyle, as well. It’s expensive, yes, but its cost is nothing compared to the potential health benefits it can give.”
  3. My advice to other parents who have kids with autism is don’t just rely on therapies. Lifestyle and dietary changes really helps. Research the science and have the tenacity to achieve your goals.”
  4. “Nemechek Protocol works well with diets. Research and pray for your kid all the time. God will lead us to right intervention that will improve them.
  5. “Stick to what’s working for your child/children – may it be detox, protocol, therapies, etc, and be patient. Also, prayers, faith to Him. We were given these children because He knows that we are capable of taking care of them.”
  1. “Always challenge the status quo … never be contented with your child’s current condition … there are a lot of things out there that can help our kids condition … it’s our role as parents to act on it.”
  1. “Trust the process, soon we will get there. Hold on tight and have faith in God:’”
  1. God chose us to be the guardian of his sinless children and we should feel honored and blessed about this.”
  1. We need to heal ourselves as well as we know that it is not an easy journey
  1. You can stick with Nemechek Protocol alone.”
  1. Appreciate every gain, small or big. Take it low and slow. Never hurry. Healing does not happen overnight. And never forget to read, read, read”.
  1. “Yes, don’t be afraid to look for answers.”
  1. “There have been times when I am tempted to discontinue what we1re doing as the initial effects make one of my kids more hyper. But l1m likewise influenced to continue by stories of success of other parents.”
  1. To try the Nemechek protocol and start with low phenolic EVOO. It has helped us a lot.”
  1. “They should try incorporating high phenolic EVOO on their kids’ diet. A daily dose of it can make a big difference on their child’s health.”
  1. “Trust the process.”
  1. Try very high phenolic EVOO. Continue with therapies. Never give up~


If you are under doctor’s care or on medication always advise your health practitioner that you are adding high phenolic olive oil to your diet.
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Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 

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