Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a composite neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, behavior, and social interaction.
In the U.S., approximately 1 in 54 children have ASD. We all know there is still no clear or proper cure for autism.
However, some researchers and their studies about autism mention that nutrition and vitamin supplements can be game changers for improving behavior and overall health for an autistic.
In this article, we will discuss our top 5 vitamin supplement picks that seriously help to improve the health of individuals with autism.
Why are Vitamin Supplements Important for an Autistic?
As a parent, you know autistic individuals have restrictive eating habits and food sensitivities that cause gastrointestinal problems. As a byproduct, they also have a higher risk of developing nutritional deficiencies.
The nutritional deficiencies that their body has completely impacted their health. Additionally, it also exacerbates their existing behavioral and cognitive symptoms.
Vitamin supplements, therefore, play a key role in ensuring adequate nutrition and support for our autistic loved ones and their unique needs.
Furthermore, these supplements also support the growth and development of autistic children. It also helps to manage certain behavioral and cognitive symptoms.
Now, let's overview some of the five best vitamin supplements for our autistic loved ones.
1. Methylated B12
Methylated B12, also known as methylcobalamin, is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B12. It is vital in cognitive function, energy production, and nerve cell health.
Methylated B12 is one of the crucial vitamin supplements for individuals with autism, as studies have shown that they tend to have lower levels of this vitamin than the general population.
Methylated B12 helps produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are important for brain function and mood regulation. It also helps in the formation of red blood cells and DNA synthesis.
Research has shown that supplementing autistic individuals with Methylated B12 can improve cognitive function and behavior in autistic individuals.
Organic Sources of Methylated B12
Good sources of Methylated B12 are as follows:
- Eggs, and
Good sources of Methylated B12 for vegans are as follows:
- Fortified cereals
- Plant-based milk, and
- Nutritional yeast
Core Benefit of Methylated B12
- Improve cognitive function, language ability, and behavior in individuals with autism.
2. Methylated Vitamin B₆ with Magnesium
Methylated Vitamin B₆ with Magnesium is another important vitamin supplement for individuals with autism.
Vitamin B₆ is crucial in regulating neurotransmitters for proper brain function. On the other hand, magnesium helps in over 300 biochemical reactions and contributes to a healthy nervous system.
Studies have shown that combining methylated vitamin B₆ with magnesium can help reduce hyperactivity, irritability, and social withdrawal in autistic individuals.
Organic Sources of Methylated Vitamin B6 with Magnesium
Good sources of Methylated Vitamin B6 with Magnesium are as follows:
- Dark leafy greens,
- Fish, and
Core Benefit of Methylated Vitamin B6 with Magnesium
- Methylated Vitamin B6 with Magnesium improves cognitive function, communication skills, and behavior in individuals with autism.
3. Sulforaphane (Broccoli Sprouts)
Sulforaphane, a natural compound in broccoli sprouts, has been popular due to its potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also benefit in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
In a study conducted on autistic individuals, sulforaphane supplementation resulted in improved communication and social interaction.
Including broccoli sprouts or sulforaphane supplements in an autistic individual's diet could positively impact behavior and social functioning.
Organic Sources of Sulforaphane (Broccoli Sprouts)
- Broccoli sprouts are easily grown at home or are available at food stores.
Core Benefit of Sulforaphane (Broccoli Sprouts)
- Sulforaphane improves social interaction, verbal communication, and repetitive behaviors in individuals with autism.
4. Vitamin C
Autism individuals suffer from vitamin C deficiency, contributing to cognitive and behavioral problems. So, Vitamin C is an essential supplement for building strong immunity, reducing oxidative stress, and improving cognitive function.
Vitamin C also helps absorb iron, which is important for brain function. A study suggested that vitamin C supplementation positively affected communication and sensory integration in autistic individuals.
Organic Sources of Vitamin C
Good sources of Vitamin C are as follows:
- Citrus fruits,
- Peppers, and
- Leafy greens.
Core Benefit of Vitamin C
- Vitamin C improves immune function, cognitive function, and behavior in individuals with autism.
Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA and EPA, are essential for maintaining proper brain function and neural development. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and can help in reducing oxidative stress.
Research has shown that individuals with autism can have lower levels of these essential fatty acids.
Autistic individuals can benefit from omega-3 supplementation, as studies say it improves cognitive function and reduces hyperactivity and anxiety.
Organic Sources of Omega-3
Good sources of Omega-3 are as follows:
- Fatty fish: Salmon, Tuna, and Sardines,
- Chia seeds, and
Core Benefit of Omega-3
- Omega-3 improves cognitive function, behavior, and social interaction in individuals with autism.
Are There Any Potential Side Effects of Vitamin Supplements for ASD Patients?
When it comes to vitamin supplements for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it's not uncommon for parents or caregivers to turn to these supplements as a way to improve their loved one's overall health.
However, it's important to understand that there may be potential side effects and that not all supplements are equal.
Firstly, it's important to note that the body's ability to absorb vitamins can vary greatly from person to person.
This difference shows that some individuals with ASD can benefit from these supplements. In contrast, other individual bodies may not even react to the slightest benefit.
Next, we must remember that these supplements sometimes interact with other medications. And hence it can harmfully react with it and potentially worsen the situation and symptoms.
If we specifically talk about the side effects, we need to understand that certain vitamins are fat-soluble. These fat-soluble vitamins can lead to toxicity.
As an example, vitamins A and D are fat-soluble vitamins. Even though these vitamins were not on our list, let's review their side effects for a better idea.
High doses of vitamin A cause–
- Headaches, and
- (even) Liver damage!
Similarly, excessive amounts of vitamin D can lead to–
- Hypercalcemia, which can cause weakness,
- Nausea, and
- (even) Kidney damage!
So what's the bottom line?– The logic is quite simple. Some vitamin supplements may benefit individuals with ASD, while some may not.
The important thing is to always consult a healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.
Remember: Carefully consider the potential risks and side effects of any supplement and only use them under the guidance of a medical professional.