A MUST read … Part 2
If you’re just joining us, this is the 2nd part of a two-part blog. I wanted to go over the various ways to help children with ADHD and Autism. BUT….there’s SO MUCH information! I decided to break it apart into to sections. Enjoy!
Can Vitamins Help ADHD and Autism?
There have been numerous studies to show children and adults with ADHD and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), have low levels of certain nutrients. Some have seen low levels of Vitamin D, folate, magnesium, and vitamins B1, B6, B7, and B12. Well, what does this mean?
Some research suggests a vitamin therapy regime will improve behavior and/or focus. Other scientists believe some of these deficiencies came either during pregnancy or possibly from a genetic predisposition.
Regardless, here’s the breakdown:
- Vitamin D deficiencies – linked with autism
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – responsible for breaking down carbohydrates, muscle contraction, brain, and nervous system regulation
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin) – vital to metabolism, energy, hair, skin, and nail growth, neurological development
- Vitamin B12 – essential for red blood cell production and healthy DNA, and helps maintain health of nerve cells that are needed for proper cognitive function
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and Magnesium – These two work together very nicely. Primarily because they compliment each other in a variety of systems (brain, nervous, cardio, muscular) and help child with autism and ADHD they may exhibit behavioral issues. Some people experience better mood, less depression, improved metabolic function, more energy, etc. A 2006 study in “Magnesium Research,” found that B6 with magnesium improves the social interaction and communication of children with Autism. However, when the supplements were removed, behavioral and communication problems reappeared.
So…. yes, vitamins (and minerals) can help!
Simply put, neurotransmitters connect information from the world around us to our brain. Our brain takes that information and divides that information and sends the proper signals to the rest of our body.
For example, you may see someone crying. Your neurotransmitters are sending messages to your brain that that person is sad or hurt. Your body responds with an empathetic facial expression and possibly a hug or a “What’s wrong?” However, in an autistic child, the neurotransmitters may send the message that someone is crying but lack the connection to an appropriate facial feature or an empathetic gesture.
This lack of empathy is because there may be a lack of neurotransmitters, such as choline, glutamine, asparargine, and inositol. Therefore, the brain is not able to have enough “energy” to signal an appropriate response.
What About Amino Acids?
If you go back to middle school or high school biology, amino acids are the “building blocks” of proteins. This means these are vital for building protein compounds, and synthesizing hormones and neurotransmitters. They’re kinda a big deal!
Just as there are different types of minerals, vitamins, and neurotransmitters, there are also different types of amino acids. Carnitine is one who is responsible for transporting fatty acids (such as the omegas I mentioned in Part 1) into the cells so they can be used for energy. However, in a child with autism, carnitine is significantly lower. Now, this autistic child is not able to get the fatty acids to carry the omegas into the cells so they get the proper stimulate in order to develop socially, academically, and emotionally. Carnitine, in a recent study, actually showed to reduce hyperactivity and improve social behavior in boys with ADHD. This may be a healthy alternative to stimulant drugs often prescribe by doctors to treat ADHD.
Is It Really ADHD or Autism?
Our society is so consumed with “dis-“. Dis-order and dis-ease, but few talk about having too much of something – STRESS. In particular, oxidative stress is damaged cells. This occurs on a DAILY basis throughout our bodies. Whether your ingesting junk food, soda, inhaling bleach used to clean the house, wearing clothes washed with laundry soap, or lathering with shampoo and conditioner, our body is exposed to countless chemicals every day!
Good thing our bodies have a natural, built-in, protection. At the moment of internal and external toxins, our body goes into defense mode. However, defense can only take so much before it stops and shuts down.
Child and some adults with ADHD and autism, have been found to have an increase in oxidative stress. With this increase, their bodies are less likely to have a strong defensive mechanism and will have a harder time eliminating toxins. We need our defense mechanism – AKA. antioxidants – to be fully functioning at their best!
One study linked damage to the fatty tissue surrounding our cells to ADHD and autism.
How can you help prevent all this stress?
- Reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in the house (counter cleaners, window cleaners, laundry detergent, disinfectants, shampoos, lotions, soaps, etc.)
- Carefully look at your diet. Reduce (and hopefully eliminate) processed and high sugar diets
- Add REAL fruits and vegetables
- Supplement with minerals (such as selenium, copper), antioxidants (such as cysteine and vitamin E) along with other nutrients (such as those mentioned above).
Where To Start?
With so much information thrown at us, it’s hard to figure out where to start. I would NOT recommend giving your child a bowl of cereal one morning and then a bunch of supplements the next. However, I would start with a gradual shift. This is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. Therefore, slow and steady wins the race. Our brain and nervous system are so complex (along with other systems not mentioned). So, I would say, start with one thing at a time.
It reminds me of when my boys where babies. The classes, doctors, nurses, books, all said introduce one veggie, fruit, protein, and carb. at a time. This will help figure out any possible allergies. Well, this time you’re working in reverse. Change only one factor at a time.
Perhaps you introduce a new type of bread (gluten free, low sugar, etc.), zinc supplements, magnesium supplements, a combination, whole fruits and veggies (such as Juice Plus), natural CBD oil, vitamins, etc. But only introduce or reduce one or two at a time. This will allow you to see what is working and what is not.
Never fear…variety is near!! If it doesn’t work, try it in combination with another supplement or replacement. For example, zinc may not be enough by itself but with magnesium in addition to a meat-free diet, it does wonders!
If you found this information helpful and useful, please comment below and share!!