nutrition

Autism

By Dr Peter Eng

GP, FACNEM, Nutritional Medicine

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Specific nutrients may play a key role in managing autism and this is based on scientific studies in which they demonstrate benefits.

Autism manifests during early childhood producing aloofness, language delay and impaired socialisation skills. A diagnosis may not occur until they are three or older. There are still debates as to the causes but Dr Cannell, MD, has linked it to mercury loaded vaccines that were given to children who are deficient in Vitamin D3. Autism Rates are now 2 – 5 times higher than what they were in 1990 – which correlates to the same time that some doctors began advising the population to avoid too much sun exposure could increase risk of skin cancers including melanoma. (See WWW.LEF.ORG/AUTISM) We highly recommend Raising Children Network Website for Autism – it is the most comprehensive in Australia.

nutrition factors

A child with Autism is often deficient in the the following and may benefit from taking supplements. It is important to use the proper dose of any nutrient, especially in children. Be sure to consult with a skilled naturopath or integrative physician (from NIIM or ACNEM) and obtain a blood analysis to determine correct dosage so that you do not over-supplement and be sure to list any supplements (along with medications) in the child’s medical records.

  • Zinc

    Zinc is a trace element found widely in the environment, including in many foodstuffs. It is sometimes taken as a supplement. Good food sources of zinc include meat, shellfish, milk and dairy foods such as cheese, bread, and cereal products such as wheatgerm. It can be obtained through use of a Multi Vitamin. Most children need a zinc supplement and it is best to have a blood test to determine zinc level.

  • Magnesium

    Levels may be reduced in Autistic Children. Magnesium is deficient in Australian soil. Examples of good supplements include: ‘Fibroplex for Children’ (made by Metagenics) or “Kids Plus” by Nutrition Care. Improvement is found especially when taken in conjunction with Vitamin B6. However More high-quality research is needed to determine the effectiveness of this therapy. As always we recommend a Blood test - Possible side-effects of giving large doses of vitamin B6 include sensory neuropathy (inflammation or wasting away of the sensory nerves), headache, depression, vomiting and photosensitivity (sensitivity to light).

  • Melatonin

    There is strong research evidence to suggest that melatonin may be effective in reducing sleep disturbances in some individuals on the autism spectrum.

  • Vitamin D3

    See WWW.LEF.ORG/AUTISM for information on how important this is for Autism sufferers. For optimal absorption, give your child vitamin D during the meal of the day that contains the most fats. 75% of autistic children seem to respond at least somewhat to higher doses of vitamin D. You need to measure these levels in blood tests with your Health practitioner or contact a doctor who is from NIIM or a member of ACNEM.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids

    are deficient in the majority of children with autism. Supplementation with fish-oils has been shown to correct these deficiencies. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna and other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Taking Omega-3 supplements may improve behaviour, mood, imagination, spontaneous speech, sleep patterns and focus of autistic children. Try a child supplement of Omega-3’s for Kids by Metagenics – they have a peppermint flavoured one! They recommend Children 1-4 years: Take 2.5ml, Children 5-12 years take 5ml

  • Sulphur compounds

    such as glutathione and cysteine are often depleted in autistic children and are crucial in elimination of toxins from the body.

  • Vitamins A & C

    Can improve symptoms in Autistic Children including Eye contact, social interaction and sleep. Vitamin A is stored in body fat and high levels can be toxic so it is best to speak to a Doctor to determine a safe dose.

  • Vitamin B6 & Magnesium

    Known as ‘breakthough autism intervetion’ half of the cases studied demonstrated significant improvement in eye contact, speech and interactions with the environment in children with autism after combining B6 with Magnesium.

  • Multivitamin Supplements

    Many Autistic Children have poor absorbtion of nutrients due to inflammation in the gut, in addition to problems such as diarrhea or constipation. Common deficiencies include Vitamins A, B1, B3, B5 and biotin, selenium, zinc, magnesium, certain essential amino acids and essential fatty acids. All kids with ADHD should take a standard children’s multi vitamin once daily.

  • Probiotics

    Studies have proven that there is a very high level of harmful bacteria called clostridia in Autistic children, which can produce damaging neurotoxins that may contribute to autisim. The two most commonly used bacteria to fight this in a supplement form are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. It makes sense to include this probiotic in the supplement regimen of any child with Austism. A great test to learn more about gut issues is called A Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis with Parasitology.

  • Digestive Enzymes

    such as Trypsin, Chymotrypsin and Amalyse should be given orally to assist with the breakdown of proteins and carbohydrates.

Tips

  • Rule out food sensitivity
  • Several reports have noted improvements in allergies and asthma following elimination of food and/or food additives.
  • Do an IgG 93 Food Sensitivity Profile. You need to see a doctor who is from NIIM or a member of ACNEM. https://www.acnem.org
  • Skin tests and blood allergen specific IgE (RAST) tests are reliable and scientifically validated allergy tests. Together with a medical history and examination these tests can help your doctor define the cause of your allergies and are rebated by Medicare in Australia
  • http://www.annclinlabsci.org/content/37/1/96.full
Reviewed by Dr Peter Eng 9 June 2015 references
  • current version

    Dr Peter Eng
  • PEER REVIEWER

    Dr Peter Eng
  • document id

    1709170
  • next review

    28.08.2016

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED - MEET THE EXPERTS VIEW ALL

Autism

nutrition

Specific nutrients may play a key role in managing autism and this is based on scientific studies in which they demonstrate benefits.

Autism manifests during early childhood producing aloofness, language delay and impaired socialisation skills. A diagnosis may not occur until they are three or older. There are still debates as to the causes but Dr Cannell, MD, has linked it to mercury loaded vaccines that were given to children who are deficient in Vitamin D3. Autism Rates are now 2 – 5 times higher than what they were in 1990 – which correlates to the same time that some doctors began advising the population to avoid too much sun exposure could increase risk of skin cancers including melanoma. (See WWW.LEF.ORG/AUTISM) We highly recommend Raising Children Network Website for Autism – it is the most comprehensive in Australia.

Reviewed by Evelyn Lewin 9 June 2015
references
  • current version

    Dr Peter Eng
  • PEER REVIEWER

    Dr Peter Eng
  • document id

    1709170
  • next review

    28.08.2016

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

make a comment

0 comments

top 10 nutrients

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