Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder with different levels of autism. Autism refers to a broad range of conditions that affect a person’s social skills, speech, and communication. It can also cause rigidity in behaviors, also known as repetitive behaviors.
There are many different treatments available to help ease some of the symptoms of autism, including various types of therapies.
Can a Dietary Supplement help with autism symptoms?
Vitamins and other nutritional supplements are substances that are fundamental for your body to work. In most cases, we get these through our diet. Sometimes though, people can be lacking in one or more vitamins. Since they are essential for our bodies to function correctly, it’s not hard to imagine that they could amplify symptoms that already exist. But are there any vitamins for autism, and do they work?
Yes, there are vitamins and supplements marketed for autism. However, there is NOT a fix-all pill. No vitamin, mineral, or tablet will cure autism. Though, there are individual and combined supplements made to help elevate symptoms of autism, ADHD, and any other concerns.
When it comes to giving your children vitamins for autism, you first need to consult with their doctor. They may be currently taking medications that could interact negatively with vitamins, or their doctor may have other thoughts.
What are the best supplements for autism?
The most efficient way to get any vitamin or nutrient into your body is naturally through food. Since autistic children also struggle with food, and oral vitamin is typically the next best thing. They can also struggle since kids’ multivitamins do not taste how they did when we were kids!
No matter which way you go (diet, oral dose, or patch), getting the right supplements is key! Check out the following vitamins for autism. It’s best to be as educated as possible for anything you put in your child’s body.
Vitamin B6 & B12 –
These are what I like to refer to as the “energy vitamins.” No, I don’t mean they are going to give you a caffeine-like boost. The B vitamins are the ones that provide your body with the energy it needs to function well.
B12 (aka Cobalamin) plays an important role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and DNA production. Talk about an essential vitamin! B12 is a nutrient that’s easily maintained in most people’s diets. Notice how I say most? For those who don’t eat meat, it can be easy to become deficient as plants don’t make B12. For those with autism, maintaining a healthy diet can be a huge struggle due to food adversity and sensory issues.
A vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, nerve damage, and mood disturbances. So for those looking for vitamins for autism, B-12 is a pretty standard go-to choice.
Many children (and adults) with autism struggle with getting to sleep. We have multiple autism diagnoses in our home, and the rest is something we are always struggling with! Some of my children can’t get to sleep. Others struggle with waking up, or sometimes both. This is all due to those pesky melatonin levels.
Though our bodies make melatonin, they don’t always make enough to balance our sleep/wake cycle. That is why so many doctors are now recommending melatonin for children and adults.
Our personal favorite is the Nature Made Melatonin Gummies. They come in 2.5 mg and 5 mg.
Cysteine is a semi-essential amino acid that is a linking piece for many other amino acids. N-acetylcysteine is the supplemental form of Cysteine. One of the major things that relate this supplement to autism is that it helps regulate glutamate levels.
By regulating glutamate levels in your brain, NAC may alleviate multiple psychiatric disorders symptoms and reduce addictive behavior.
Stanford University studied the effects of NAC on 31 children with autism. In that study, they found that this supplement decreased the irritability levels of the children. They also noticed a reduction in repetitive behaviors.
Omega Fatty Acids
A few small studies have linked adding Omega-3 fatty acids with decreased hyperactivity in children with autism. Though the verdict is still out on what specifically omega supplements for autism do, we know the supplement’s benefits.
Omega-3 fatty is crucial for our brain function and development throughout our entire life. Having low levels of omega-3s may even accelerate brain aging and contribute to deficits in brain function. (via Healthline.com)
L-Carnosine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted by Doctor Michael G. Chez, most of the children who had been taking the carnosine supplements showed significant improvement in behavior, socialization, and communication skills.
Though there haven’t been any reported major side effects, too much l-carnosine can cause irritability and insomnia in some children.
There have been many studies to show many of us lack Vitamin D. While many know they get it from milk, you also get vitamin D from the sun. With the increase of awareness to use sunscreen to protect our skin, we are inadvertently blocking the vitamin D we so desperately need!
One study found that autistic children who took a daily vitamin D supplement reduced many symptoms. These included impairments in social interactions, communications, and repetitive behaviors.
Back to the gut health connection with autism, probiotics are a major player in supplements for autism and ADHD. Many children with autism struggle with stomach issues such as constipation, migraine stomach aches, and diarrhea.
In fact, good bacteria found within the GI tract act as messengers. It sends out signals and communicates with various parts of the body, including the brain. An imbalance in these intestinal bacteria affects areas like attention, stress, mood, and sleep.