- Remove or reduce foods using an Elimination Diet to see which food controls symptoms and which aggravates them.
- A gluten-free and casein-free diet (gluten is the protein in wheat, and casein is the protein in milk).
- Eliminate allergenic foods like eggs, fish, seafood, tree nuts, peanuts, and soy.
- A low-carb ketogenic diet has been found to be effective for autistic children.
- A yeast and sugar-free diet is helpful in some cases.
- Some autistic children are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals therefore ensure that the child is getting an adequate amounts to aid their growth and treat symptoms.
- Include a diet rich in essential fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and cod liver oil.
- A diet rich in fiber helps to alleviate and prevent constipation. Also include plenty of fluids and regular physical activity.
- Probiotics help with gastro-intestinal problems because they contain healthy bacteria and can improve the micro flora in the digestive tract in many autistic children.
- Digestive enzymes also help to aid digestion.
Nutritional supplementation can provide big changes for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Many reasons exist for treating ASD with supplementation. Many children with autism are deficient in things like digestive enzymes – resulting in poor digestion and poor absorption of nutrients.
The combination of Vitamin B6 and Magnesium has proven to be of significant benefit to autistic children. B6 is necessary for brain function and there have been numerous studies on B6 use in autism. Research proved supplementation with B6 and Magnesium led to increased eye contact, less self-stimulatory behavior (“stimming”) fewer tantrums, improved speech, a calming effect, and more normal behavior.
- Vitamin D is helpful in increasing glutathione levels (which assists in detoxification of the body).
- Vitamins A, C, E, Zinc and Selenium promote a healthy immune system.
- Vitamins C and E fight free radicals and protect brain cells from oxidative stress.
- Essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 are essential for normal brain development and help behavior and learning by supporting proper levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.
It can be beneficial to add one supplement at a time in order to keep track of your child’s progress. Take note of any behavioral changes that occur with the associated supplementation – this will provide feedback on the progress that your child is making. Also, do your homework to make sure you are choosing high quality supplements.
2. What Are the Signs of Autism?
There are many behaviors that are associated with Autism. The three main signs of Autism are impaired social interactions, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors.
3. How Is Autism Diagnosed?
Diagnosis relies on parental interview, as well as the presence of observable Autistic behaviors while the child is in the office. ASD’s are complex disorders that require a multi-professional approach to diagnose. An evaluation will include a child psychologist, a speech therapist, and a developmental therapist looking for markers of Autism.
4. What Causes Autism?
Doctors are not sure what causes Autism at this time, but suspect that both genetics and environmental factors play a role.
5. What Treatments Are Available?
There is no cure for Autism, but there are several treatments. Treatments for Autism include educational and behavioral interventions, including play therapy and speech therapy. Medications are also available for the treatment of Autism. Doctors often prescribe antidepressants to manage the symptoms of Autism, but an increasing number of doctors are prescribing or recommending natural treatments for Autism. One such treatment is the use of an Omega-3 supplement.
6. How Can Omega-3s Help Autism?
Children with ASD’s are often lacking in Omega-3s, and Omega-3 therapy may ease the symptoms of Autism. Omega-3 supplementation has also been proven to improve sociability and reduce irritability.
In addition to diet, the autistic body is often lacking proper nutrition. This isn’t hard to believe considering many children in general have picky appetites. The truth is though, is that the body cannot fight off sickness nor can the brain operate at its full potential without the proper food and nutrition. If your child won’t sign onto the idea of eating an array of foods with vital vitamins, a supplement may be the answer. Below are some of the most common vitamins and supplements that have been found beneficial in treating Autism.
· Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): A body with a Thiamine deficiency doesn’t deliver the proper fuel to the brain in order for it to function. Because of this, inflammation and damage to the brain are very possible. Gastrointestinal disorders, which come hand in hand with Autism, can cause an inability for the body to absorb Vitamin B1.
· Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Autistic bodies have been found to have a mutated enzyme (MTHFR). Vitamin B2 is needed for the healthy production of MTHFR and also aids in metabolizing fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
· Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is traditionally given to increase skin quality and circulation, but its benefits outreach luminous skin. In a case study, rats that had a stroke were given Vitamin B3, and it was shown that new, healthy brain cells were created and they experienced improved neurological function. Not only has Vitamin B3 been prescribed for circulatory issues, but for many conditions such as depression, anxiety, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
· Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride): Research has found a link between those who are suffering from Autism and those with a particular form of epilepsy (seizure disorder). When taken with magnesium, Vitamin B6 helps alleviate several Autism symptoms.
· Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): Vitamin B12 is one of the most essential of the B vitamins as it is normally responsible for metabolizing every cell in the body. In order to have a healthy working nervous system, Vitamin B12 is essential. A deficiency of Vitamin B12 has been known to cause a number of conditions such as delirium, anxiety, delayed thinking, and developmental regression.
· Folic Acid: A deficiency of Folic Acid has many of the same issues as that of Vitamin B12, only with potential digestive issues as well. Folic acid is necessary to maintain healthy cell production and maintaining DNA. Some research has indicated that Autistic Children have a deficiency in their “Folic Acid Cycle”.
· Vitamin A: This vitamin is necessary for language processing as well as tissue growth. Some research has shown that Vitamin A supplements can aid in memory, visual perception and language production.
· Vitamin C: Many Autistic bodies have shown a deficiency in Vitamin C. Supplementing this vitamin can promote the body to excrete toxins like heavy metals.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been talking about the importance of a healthy balanced diet and how eliminating some foods, such as casein, gluten and complex carbohydrates, can be beneficial to autistic children. A healthy diet can help combat deficiencies and elimination diets can stop autoimmune reactions and allow an inflamed gut to heal.
Autism and Nutritional Deficiencies
Research into autism has found that some autistic children have nutritional deficiencies, particularly in the B vitamins, Vitamin A, calcium, zinc, selenium and magnesium, so it may be worth getting your child tested for deficiencies.
However, it can be difficult to get a child to eat a healthy diet and almost impossible to get them to consume all of the right essential nutrients, especially if they are a fussy eater!
The good news is that there are vitamins and supplements out there that can remedy this and help ease some of the symptoms of autism. Here are some vitamins and supplements which have been found to be helpful in treating autism:-
The B Vitamins
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – A thiamine deficiency can starve the brain of the fuel it needs to function properly, causing damage and inflammation to the brain. As autism is a neurological disease, a Vitamin B1 supplement can be beneficial, particularly where a child has suffered from gastrointestinal disorders which may have effected absorption of this vitamin.