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Can Supplements And Vitamins Support Autism Spectrum Disorder?

By Pamela Wirth

Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD, is a neurological disorder that can promote repetitive behavior, social function deficit, delayed development, and communication impairment. The condition's cause is yet not confirmed; though many believe it can be genetic, metabolic, or neurologic.  There is no specific medication to lower the symptoms of the disorder, yet some believe that detoxification difficulty or nutrient deficiencies can contribute to the symptoms.

Nutritional deficiencies can come from poor digestion, selective eating, absorption issues, gut imbalance and many other related problems. When people are on a restrictive diet, it is more difficult to consume nutrients in recommended amounts and nourish their body. Also, the added complexity of consuming processed food rather than nutrient-dense foods can exacerbate nutrition challenges. So, to replenish the nutrient deficiencies, it is important to resolve absorption and gut issues and consume the right minerals and vitamins.

It can be a challenge for people to reinforce these nutrients just by diet; however, so supplementation becomes important.  Learn more about some of most important vitamins and supplements now.

Vitamin C:

When it comes to neurotransmitters, Vitamin C plays a vital role in the production and support of the body's immune system. When the immune system amplifies, the body's ability to fight against free radicals elevates; studies have shown that people with ASD are often Vitamin C deficient so their immune system is compromised, and they can face multiple health issues.

Vitamin D3:

Vitamin D3 is an essential vitamin that affects the brain's neurotransmitters. Not only does this vitamin bolster the brain's connections, but it also supports new connections to improve impairments. Vitamin D3 supports people who have Autism lower major symptoms, including repetitive behavior, communication issues, and difficulty in social interaction.

Vitamin B-12 (Methylated):

B-12 vitamins strengthen the nervous system and maintain the optimal working of the human body. Some specific pathways in the brain are responsible for the body's normal functioning and add power to multiple brain processes. Methyl B-12 plays an important role in carrying out these pathways, metabolic processes and supports cognitive impairments.

Magnesium (Glycinate):

Magnesium is one of the many micronutrients which play an important role in the body to optimize functioning of muscle cells and the brain. Magnesium can cross the blood-brain barrier and support several neurological symptoms, including headaches in people with Autism.

Vitamin B6:

More than 60 biological processes in the body are enhanced and balanced by Vitamin B6. Usually, the recommended amount of vitamin B6 is fulfilled by consuming multi-vitamins, but now its supplements are also available and are equally effective. The naturally consumed Vitamin B6 is converted into active form when an enzyme PLP breaks down the vitamin. PLP enzyme is responsible for producing dopamine- a neurotransmitter for pleasurable reward and motivation, memory, and movement.

Omega / Fish or Vegan Oil

Omegas are an anti-inflammatory substance essential for eye development and the cognitive functions of the human body. These fats fortify the body and are rich in essential fatty acids, which support brain health. One kind of omega-3 acid is found in plant oils, while others are sourced from seafood. With diet only, more than 95% of people don't fulfil their recommended dosage of this essential fatty acid. In 2007, research showed that there was quite an improvement in autistic children with adequate omega-3 supplementation. The standard Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for omega-3s is:

Probiotics:

Stomach problems, including diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches, and poor digestion can be a common complaint. The root causes behind the problem are the presence of abnormal microbes and inflammation in the gut which augment the symptoms. The gut bacteria send signals to multiple body parts and communicate to balance the proper functioning of the digestive tract. But when the gut bacteria are absent or imbalanced, symptoms like disturbed sleep, stress, attention problems, and mood disorders may magnify the condition. 

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes also support stomach problems. They play a vital role in removing harmful proteins from the gut and improving the body's overall health. The harmful protein aggravates the stomach problems, which these enzymes can hinder. Moreover, the body cannot break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins without these enzymes.

Hence, supplementing digestive enzymes improves digestion and absorption.

Broccoli Sprout:

Broccoli sprout (Sulforaphane) is an organic compound commonly found in green leafy vegetables, specifically broccoli. A study has shown that 65% of the participants who consumed a broccoli sprout supplement showed a positive response towards social behavior, while 31% communicated well.

Bottom Line:

Supplementation of vitamins and other nutrients is important for Autistic people as they can suffer from various nutrient deficiencies due to absorption and gut issues as well as an imbalanced diet. But it is always suggested to consult with a registered doctor before self-medicating. Observing your loved one’s response to every supplement is essential so that any drug interaction or high dosage cannot cause harm.

Reference:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5634395/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5672987/