New research concludes that supplementation vitamin D, tryptophan, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil would boost brain serotonin concentrations and help prevent and possibly improve some of the symptoms associated with autism without side effects. Vitamin B6, BH4, and iron are cofactors in the serotonin pathway and may also help modulate brain serotonin levels and facilitate moderate improvements in some autistic behaviors. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have problems of food selectivity, implying risks of nutritional deficiencies. Practical treatments might therefore include correction of nutritional deficiencies, elimination of problematic foods and/or use of digestive enzymes, restoration of optimal intestinal flora balance, support of methylation and detoxification pathways, reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation (e.g., through dietary and physical activity means), improvement of mitochondrial function, and provision of oxytocin. By providing the body and brain with what they need and by eliminating that which may be interfering, the potential exists to significantly improve overall brain functioning and therefore quality of life for individuals with autism. Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) cover a range of neurodevelopmental disorders affecting more than 1% of children born in the US and are characterized by 3 primary behavioral symptoms: impaired reciprocal social interactions, communication deficits, and propensity for repetitive behaviors. Four observations are consistently associated with ASD: altered serotonin concentrations; low concentrations of the vitamin D hormone precursor 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D3]; high male incidence; and presence of maternal antibodies to fetal brain tissue.
Nutritional Supplementation and Autism
About the Author: Dean Smith, DC, PhD
Dean Smith, DC, PhD, husband, and father of two children, is a highly respected health and wellness authority. He is a chiropractor at Essence of Wellness Chiropractic Center and a researcher and clinical professor at Miami University. Dr. Smith incorporates lifestyle intervention (exercise, nutrition, other non-drug methods) with chiropractic adjustments and other manual methods to encourage optimal wellness. He has helped countless adults and children lead a life of wellness. His research interests lie broadly in the area of human movement and coordination. He is most interested in how chiropractic, exercise and rehabilitation affect human performance. His scientific articles have been published in such journals as Human Movement Science, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Chiropractic Research Journal, Chiropractic and Osteopathy and The Open Neurology Journal. His training includes a Master’s degree in exercise science, a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and a PhD in brain and cognitive science with a focus on motor control and coordination. The International Federation of Sports Chiropractic has awarded him with the International Chiropractic Sport Science Diploma (ICSSD).