Autism Kit - How Supplements Support Kids on the Spectrum
Trying to get the right amount of nutrients into your child can be challenging especially when you may not be in front of him or her during every meal. All kinds of things may get in the way of your ability to manage your child's food choices like your job, school, camp, vacation, and the list goes on. Supplements can give you that "more in control" feeling when it comes to bioavailable micronutrients that can trump any not so good food choices for the day, week or possibly month. We are not advocating unhealthy meals and snacks, however sometimes it's out of our control. We have chosen the supplements that work best for our patients. Please consult with your healthcare provider if you are making any changes in your child's supplements.
Here are our top choices for children on the spectrum. Each category of supplements has a link to the products we offer.
PROBIOTICS - Autism Spectrum Disorder children frequently suffer from dysbiosis that can lead to food allergies and sensitivies. Probiotics can support digestion and enzyme creation in the gut. The probiotics we offer in our kit contain high doses of healthy microorganisms. The probiotic recommendation for children with autism and/or ADHD, as well as other digestive complaints is 15-30 billion a day.
CURCUMIN - The active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin has been used in Indian and Chinese cultures as an herb and as medicine for thousands of years. Hundreds of studies have demonstrated curcumin to possess the following properties: anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet, cholesterol lowering, antibacterial and anti-fungal effects. What makes it important in autism is curcumin’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties. These support neural pathways, helping with neurological disorders like autism. Curcumin also plays a role in detoxification by increasing cellular glutathione levels. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from reactive oxygen species (ROS) like free radicals. Glutathione reserves are typically low in ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Low glutathione levels can lead to many biochemical problems for children with autism, one being an inability to detoxify toxins such as mercury and lead. These toxins adversely affect chemicals in the brain that support attention, focusing, and general awareness. By increasing glutathione levels, curcumin can support attention, focus and awareness.
VITAMIN B12 - Methyl-B12 helps ASD children with executive function, speech and language, socialization and emotion regulation.
A recent study shows that low levels of B12 in brain tissue from children with autism were three times lower than the levels in brain tissue from children unaffected by the condition. The average B12 brain levels for the children with autism was close to that of brain tissue from unaffected adults in their 50s. This pattern of lower-than-typical B12 levels persisted across the lifespan in the brain tissue from donors affected by either autism or schizophrenia. Click here for article link.
Methyl B12 - An active form of B12 called methylcobalamin, or methyl B12, supports healthy brain development through a process called epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Studies have shown that lowered levels of methyl B12 in the brain could adversely affect early brain development and may disrupt learning and memory later in life.
FISH OIL/OMEGA 3's - Omega-3’s that come from fish oil and some nuts and seeds like walnuts and flax seeds are Essential Fatty Acids. They really help with focus, concentration and mood. About two-thirds of the brain is composed of fats. Myelin, the protective sheath that covers communicating neurons, is composed of 30% protein and 70% fat. DHA reduces oxidative stress, enhances learning and memory, and is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in cell membranes within the brain. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatories and the primary building material for cell membranes, which let nutrients in and toxins out. Kids with ADHD can exhibit biochemical deficits that need additional supplementation to support important brain and nervous system function.
VITAMIN D - Autistic children have shown elevated levels of prostaglandins which cause inflammation. Vitamin D inhibits the synthesis and biological actions of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. ASD children are more likely to have abnormally higher levels of brain antibodies. Research has shown that high levels of certain brain-antibodies are associated with low vitamin D status. Vitamin D stimulates production of glutathione and several other antioxidant and detoxification enzymes. Since glutathione, antioxidants and detoxification are all extremely important for autistic children, Vitamin D is a good support option. Make sure that you choose the healthier D3 (cholecalciferol) option instead of D2 (ergocalciferol).
MULTIVITAMIN - Since children on the spectrum tend to be picky eaters, getting a multivitamin is important. They also tend to be low on specific micronutrients. More details are in Common Nutritional Challenges Among Autism Spectrum Disorder Children blog.