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Nutrients for Autism

Nutrients for Autism

In 1980, 1 in 2000 children were diagnosed with autism.  Now, it’s 1 in 68 according to the CDC. Autism rates are on the rise, causing many experts to refer to this trend as an autism epidemic.  Widespread disagreement ensues over the exact cause of autism, yet it’s clear that toxicity is a major factor.

Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) display issues in the gut leading to digestive problems like bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, as well as nutrient malabsorption leading to symptom-causing deficiencies. Detoxification, through modifications to the diet and supplementation, has been shown in hundreds of studies to alleviate many symptoms, improve behavior and development and, in a small percentage of children, even have the autism label removed.

Treatment Strategies

  • Dietary modification to heal the gut and reduce exposure to environmental toxins
  • Nutrient supplementation to boost nutrients and antioxidants
  • Detoxification of contaminants such as heavy metals and allergenic foods

Symptoms Improved

Restoring nutrient balance and removing toxins has been reported in hundreds of studies to improve autism symptoms.

Enhances Executive Function

  • Awareness
  • Cognition
  • Appropriateness
  • Eye Contact
  • Responsiveness
  • Normalize behaviors and interactions

Promotion of Speech and Language

  • Spontaneous language
  • More complex sentences
  • Increase vocabulary

Improvements in Socialization, Understanding, and Expressed Emotion

  • Initiation and interactive play
  • Understanding and feeling emotions
  • Affection and tolerance to touch

Nutritional Support

Nutritional therapies have demonstrated benefits in managing this stubborn illness.  Drugs don’t manage it.  The Summary of Treatments for Autism from the Autism Research Institute recommends eating whole fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, and protein and avoiding junk foods, processed foods, fried foods, transfat, and non-organic food.  Organic foods contain more nutrients and have much lower levels of pesticides (7% vs 37% in non-organic foods). One study found that people living near an area with high use of agricultural pesticides had a much higher risk of having a child with autism.

Many ASD children have food sensitivities due to abnormalities in their digestive/immune system.  ARI recommends eliminating common allergens, especially gluten and casein (dairy) from the diet.  Casein, a protein found in dairy products, causes the immune system to attack a similar protein in the body, the folate transfer receptor, which carries folic acid into the brain and has a big effect on mood and behavior. Removing corn and soy may also be beneficial as they are common allergens.

Supplementation Helps

Hundreds of studies show that supplementation with essential nutrients benefits development and behavior in children with autism.  ASD children and adults often test deficient in key nutrients, either due to malabsorption in the gut or a need for more nutrients than the average person.  Additionally, many studies have demonstrated that children with autism have substantial oxidative stress, suggesting either a low level of key antioxidants or an increased need for them.

ARI recommends supplementing vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B vitamins, choline, inositol, calcium, chromium, iodine, iron, lithium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulfur (MSM), and zinc to ensure that ASD people have enough nutrients and antioxidants to fully detox and support overall health.


Key Nutrient Studies