ABOUT OUR FAMILY AND JOURNEY
Hello, we are David and Jessica Rivas. We are both registered pharmacists living in Orlando, Florida. We met in Pharmacy School in the University of Puerto Rico in 1996. In addition, I have been working as a pharmacist for a major retailer for the past 17 years. Jessica worked for eight years and then retired after my son's diagnosis of autism. In 2008, we were blessed with the birth of healthy twin babies, a boy, and a girl. Daviana Victoria weighed 8lb and David Jonathan 6lb, 10oz. They filled our home with love and joy.
By the time David Jonathan was 18 months old, we had started noticing things that he was not doing what other kid his age were doing and he had repetitive behaviors. He had no words, no baby talk, he didn't respond to his name when was called, no eye contact, hand flapping, tiptoe walking, spinning in a circle, head banging, biting, diarrhea, staring at lights and ceiling fans, tapping ears, lining up toys, holding a toy for hours without playing, no interaction with his sister, crying in the middle of the night and sometimes running and laughing without control for no reason. We were not able to go to restaurants due to our son's severe symptoms.
We found a physician that was able to do specialized testing to determine which areas of his body were dysfunctional or not working correctly. We found that our son had an imbalance in his gut (gut infection or dysbiosis) with high levels of a bacteria called clostridia which may be causing several of his symptoms of autism. Also, we found that he had issues with his mitochondria, which are the energy factories inside the cells. Mitochondria are crucial for healthy brain function.
We started him with a couple of antibiotics (Vancomycin and Flagyl) plus a high-dose probiotic formula. We then added mitochondrial nutrients. After two days, his diarrhea stopped. In two weeks, his hyperactivity went down dramatically. There was no more aggressive behavior, no more biting and he was very calm. We, as pharmacists, were surprised by how we did get amazing results without the use of mind-altering medications like antipsychotics which are FDA-approved for autism. These medications are well-known for severe side effects like obesity and diabetes. We learned about the connection between the gut and the brain. Without a healthy gut, the brain is not going to have an adequate function.
Now, our son is doing great in school. He loves math, music and enjoys going to the theme parks. He still has autism, but is mild and improving every year. After this experience we decided to help people with autism and chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, etc. I have a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Functional
Medicine from the University of Western States. Functional Medicine focuses on the root cause of disease and not only in the suppression of symptoms. I am certified in Clinical Nutrition by the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board. I have received a live training course called Mastering Autism with the physician Kurt Woeller, who has over twenty years of experience treating autistic kids with nutrition, dietary supplements and medication. My wife, Jessica, is an expert in cooking paleo recipes for lunch, dinner, and snacks such as cookies and pancakes using safe ingredients. We started Nuterel as a way to help families affected by these devastating disease through nutrition, which we may not have effective treatment with medications that can at least control the progression of the illness.
In our free time, we are always involved in activities like Special Olympics practice and other events with our kids. Also, we love to go to church as a family.
Enjoying the journey,
David and Jessica Rivas