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Vitamins to Treat Aspergers

Question

Are there any vitamins that can be used to treat or alleviate unwanted symptoms of Aspergers and other autistic spectrum disorders?

Answer

Behavioral nutrition and alterations to diet have been shown to improve brain function as well as decrease symptoms. While using vitamins can be a sole form of treatment or used in conjunction with prescribed medications and therapy, it is very important to discuss all nutritive considerations with your child’s doctor first.

Vitamin C— Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that has been optimistically regarded for this reason in Aspergers children and traditional autism. According to Regional Medical Clinic, vitamin C is usually used as a complementary treatment combined with other vitamins and carnosine. The Autism Society of America substantiates these claims while adding that vitamin C has shown marked improvements for kids in clinical trials. Research findings suggest that vitamin C improves brain function, symptoms of confusion and depression and improves the severity of behavioral problems significantly.

There are several theories regarding vitamin C’s benefits for those with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs):

• One theory regarding vitamin C’s effects focuses on the benefits of its antioxidant properties. Some researchers believe that those with ASDs have more difficulty in managing free radicals. Free radicals can damage the immune system, the brain and other areas of the body. As an antioxidant, vitamin C provides some protection against the effects of free radicals.
• Children with ASDs are deficient in vitamin C. This theory was supported by a study which found lower levels of vitamin C in Aspergers and Autistic children.
• Vitamin C’s benefits are due to its effects on the brain’s response to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Vitamin C supplementation has a calming effect on people with ASDs and reduces stereotyped behavior.

Of 201 parent ratings of vitamin C provided to the Autism Research Institute, 46% reported improvements using the supplement, 51% saw no change and 2% said that their children grew worse.

B6 with Magnesium— It is believed that those with ASDs may suffer from a deficiency of vitamin B6 and magnesium. Research shows that levels of magnesium in their blood are lower than those of children without ASDs. Magnesium has also proven beneficial for some children with ADHD. Vitamin B6 and magnesium deficiencies are common among both Aspergers and traditional autistics of varying functionality. B6 and magnesium related deficiencies can cause symptoms in this population, manifested through bouts of agitation, aggressive behaviors, irritability and depression.

In a meta-analysis from the Autism Research Institute, 21 of 22 clinical studies from 1965 to 2005 showed that when vitamin B6 with and without magnesium added was given to autistics, major improvements were made. Supplementation was reported as highly beneficial in reducing problem behaviors as well as providing additional benefits to auditory-visual and auditory-tactile pervasive and developmental conditions.

Parents rate vitamin B6 and magnesium highly as a treatment for ASDs. Of 321 parent ratings provided to the Autism Research Institute, 50% saw improvements with vitamin B6 and magnesium supplementation, while 45% saw no effects and 5% said that their kids grew worse. Magnesium on its own was not as effective, with improvements noted in just 16% of cases.

Minor side effects of large doses of vitamin B6 may include nausea, diarrhea or hyperactivity. However, these effects are uncommon and more likely to occur only when the dose is too high or increased too rapidly. Nausea can also result from taking B vitamins on an empty stomach, so kids should take vitamin supplements with meals.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids— Omega-3 makes the cell membrane elastic, allowing nutrients to enter the cell and the waste to exit the cell. In addition, the long omega-3s (EPA and DHA from fatty fish) attach to cell membrane receptors, helping the cells communicate with each other. This is why the benefits of omega-3 fish oil are so diverse – it helps every cell in the body do its best work.

Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential nutrients that are not produced by the body. Therefore, the only options are to obtain them through a diet rich in leafy greens, oily fish, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts or canola oil or supplement them. In Aspergers, omega-3 fatty acids play an integral role in countering the effects of a common fatty acid deficiency. Additionally, studies report that eating a diet with considerable fish intake or omega-3 fatty acids can also decrease the depressive symptoms by up to 50 percent and benefit both erratic behaviors and brain function.

Emerging research studies indicate that omega-3 may be beneficial for relieving ASD symptoms. One study conducted on children in the autistic spectrum suggested that omega-3 was helpful in stemming hyperactivity and stereotypy as compared to placebo.

Aspergers can create a lonely world, especially when friendships are difficult to form. Sometimes, the inability to connect with peers can cause the loneliness and frustration to bubble into depression. Omega-3 can help with depression. A study on the impact of omega-3 on children with depression found a significant improvement for the children who were given omega-3 fish oil versus the children who were given placebo. Omega-3 may also have a positive impact on Aspies who struggle with controlling their anger. Eleven studies to date suggest that omega-3 can help regulate and control aggressive behavior and hostility. Although more research is needed, omega-3 could be instrumental in stemming the daily meltdowns and temper tantrums.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have heard that Omega 3 helps, but also that an increased dose is needed to see an effect. Can anyone advise what that might be?

Anonymous said...

Thanks. We have started B6, E and Omega 3 Fish Oil this weekend. We will see what happens and report back.

rene said...

I just read, in the magazine Autism File, that it's important to achieve a balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3. When Omega 6s cross a certain level they start to diminish the benefits of Omega 3s. The idea ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is about 2:1. In most consumers of the standard American diet, the ratio of intake is estimated to be anywhere from 10:1 to 20:1.

rene said...

I just read in the magazine Autism File that there needs to be a healthy balance between Omega 6s and Omega 3s. When Omega 6s cross a certain level they start to diminish the benefits of Omega 3s.
The ideal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is about 2:1. In most consumers of the standard American diet, the ratio intake is estimated to be anywhere from 10:1 to 20:1.(Which basically means that most of us are getting a lot more Omega 6 than Omega 3, which is cancelling out any benefit the Omega 3 may have otherwise provided.)

Anonymous said...

I have had phenomenal results on my 4 year old daughter with starting Omega 3. She has dreadful voilent temper and anger issues as a result of her Aspergers. I only started the supplement a month ago and nothing else has changed in our home or school environment, she has had no tantrum at all in the last two weeks I would definately recommned to anyone.

Jessica Hanson said...

Hello! I am soon to start my 8 yr old Aspie son on natural supplements, aiming to wean him off mind altering medications. How much of each of these supplements is suggested for a child?
Thanks!

Jessica Hanson said...

I've found that just about all vitamin c comes in 500mg capsules.Some have told me this is too much for an 8 yr old, research has said otherwise... Is it ok to give this to him once daily or am I way off on this?

Theoferrum said...

Hi,

I have been diagnosed with both Asperger Syndrome and also Bipolar by the VA and I just recently discovered on my own the importance of Vitamin B6 to my overall mental well being - things that would normally have me very anger I now, literally, just shake off and go about my day. So, I just wanted to confirm the conclusions in the report above from the point of view of someone who actually has the condition.

I discovered this because Asperger Syndrome people are not able to process proteins derived from wheat and dairy products and the resulting compound is a depression. The reason is in the B6 deficiency because the body needs B6 to process protein. It is water soluble so you need a specific amount every day and the more protein you consume the more B6 you need. I have noticed that I use about Two Multivitamins a day (to the one a day most adults would take) and I feel great.

Hope that helps...

Jessica Hanson said...

Thank you!
I appreciate you confirming based on your own experiences :)
We have been working with a dietician who is knowledgable about ASD, and we have since had our son on a great vegan childrens probiotic, a wonderful omega supplement, flax seed, and B6... Along with a great doTerra oil routine, and changing him to a gluten/casein free diet. Over the past couple months, I can't fully express my joy in all the differences I've seen in him! He's a brand new kid that I feel I'm meeting for the first time.... A kid, I believe, that the psych meds were burying/suppressing away, just furthering the issues. He sleeps better, he's genuinely happier, I've seen no reoccurrences of depression, and he's excelling in taekwondo as a form of therapy. I'm so thankful I started doing research, started questioning everything our psychiatrist told us.
Thank you for sharing your story, I wish more parents had knowledge and access to info like this, to help empower them and help improve their children's lives!

Mommabear said...

My son has autism/adhd w/pragmatic language delay. We've done special diets for many years currently on GAPS diet with minimal success no significant change. He takes vit c, msm, n glutamine mixed together in powder form, vit d, flax oil(this is his omega 3), l carnosine (just started last month immediately stopped 10yrs of bedwetting!), a supplement form biofilms, probiotic, enzyme, and b6. Whew! I'm wondering if some of these should be stopped. You're using less and having more success, what brands supplements are you on?

Mommabear said...

Forgot to mention, he is 10yrs old never medicated only supplements and diet. He was nonverbal til 5 so I know diet has helped, but I feel there is something I'm doing wrong because with all im doing, I haven't had a "breakthrough" in all these years. I hear stories like these where diet changes and voila! I can't put my finger on it, but hopefully if you can tell me what supplements your on, maybe I can piece together my particular puzzle.

Jessica Hanson said...

Hi MommaBear!
When we started with omegas, we started with ground flax seed and hemp oil. Hemp oil was a NO... for any of us in the house! Horrible taste, couldn't 'hide' it in anything. So we stuck with just the flax seed... sprinkle it in applesauce, mix it with almond butter on sandwiches. Our dietitian thinks it wasn't quite enough on its own, but a great addition! She recommended a daily omega supplement. So, we continue adding here and there in foods, but now every morning he gets a purified fish oil omega 3 soft gel. NORDIC NATURALS is my favorite brand, its the only one I've found that DOESN'T have a fishy after taste! (It's lemony)
We went right for the adult one (we just give him 1 rather than 2), we didn't mess with kids gummies or flavored liquids. Since he's used to swallowing pills for so many years, he swallows these no problem. But the brand does have kid friendly products if your son doesn't like to swallow large pills.
For the probiotic, we use MegaFood Kids N'Us MegaFlora. It's vegan, non GMO, can be swallowed as is, or opened up and sprinkled into food/drinks (we do that for our 2 yr old). I like that it is to stay refrigerated.
For his B6 supplement, I've been using Nature's Way, but only because it was on a good sale at our farmers market. Once it's gone, I'm gonna switch to a higher quality brand, preferably one of the one's I mentioned above!
For the food additives, like ground Flax seed, hemp seed, I LOVE the Spectrum brand. They also make other healthy food alternatives that I buy, like coconut cooking spray. For cooking & baking, we switched to coconut products. Coconut oil instead of butter or veg oil, coconut flour, coconut sugar... and I prefer the Nutiva brand for all of these, luckily Costco sells them :)

Aside from all of those, we are strong believers/users of essential oils! I've got doTerra products all over the place! lol
I have a whole oil 'pharmacy' it feels like for the whole family, but when it comes to my son, I have a few staple oils & blends we couldn't do without! Every morning before school, I use the InTune blend on the bottom of his feet and nape of his neck, I use the Balance blend on his wrists and neck under his jaw line. At night, we diffuse Serenity or lavender mixed with Balance. Sometimes I use Vetiver as well, because this oil is a natural tranquilizer, calms him to sleep soooo well. He gets bouts with RLS like I do, the vetiver has proven to help us both with calming muscles.
I hope something here helps you or you are able to find the right balance for him! Sooooo glad you don't experiment with medications like I did for years, I so regret it. But we are on the healthy track now. Keep it up, hang in there!!!

Mommabear said...

This is awesome. I believe less may be more and I'm going back to basics. Carlson fish oil, nutiva hemp, b complex, multi vit, and l carnosine. Thanks for your help and words of inspiration.

Shamena Niles said...

Jessica Hanson... are still having success with the natural supplements you're using. My son is currently on Psych meds I strongly believe they are making him worst! Would love more feedback from you!

m&m M7M said...

Just wondering if anyone with non verbal children have tried the Gemini 11 that is a teaching skill to help?

m&m M7M said...

My grandson was without speech until the age of 4 yrs. Mucus clef pallet fixed him on being able to speak. He was never diagnosed until a local P/A seen him. He had been to speech therapy and many doctors. But absolutely no one found it until this P/A did. If you think your child needs to be checked out, I would sure ask your dr. But after he finally was able to talk he is such a smart child. He only has a time in concentration and focus. He can make good grades but also slips back a lot. He has been diagnosed with ADD and Asperger's(mild). He is 12 now and trying to keep up is something else. I am fed up with the meds he goes up and down and all around. I am taking him to therapy next and was thinking about trying vitamins? Does anyone have any suggestions? Vitamins and food or what ever you have tried and if it works?

Matthew Stirling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Fleming said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Fleming said...

Is there a certain mg dose of the B6 you give to your child? Also, how much flax do you give daily? What is the purpise of the probiotic ? Do you use vit. C in the mix too?
Thank you so much for all your info. I am first learning about suppliments for my aspie son.

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