Evidence Supporting Nutritional Supplements in Autism Treatment

January 27, 2008 at 11:44 pm 2 comments

Audrey, a concerned grandmother of a young man with autism, recently emailed with a question regarding evidence to support the treatment of autism with nutritional supplements.  Here is my reply: 

Hi Audrey,

Thanks for your question regarding evidence supporting vitamin and mineral supplementation in autism. 

Vitamin and mineral supplementation has been proven to be effective in the treatment of autism.  You can find an abundance of scientific evidence regarding the use of vitamin and mineral supplements on the website for the Autism Research Institute at www.autism.com.  Just key in “vitamins” on the site and you will be directed to many relevant articles, including data from scientific studies performed.  Also, the Autism Research Institute has compiled information from over 23,700 parents who rated various treatments for autism.  This “Parent Ratings of Behavioral Effects of Biomedical Interventions” can be found at www.autism.com/treatable/form34qr.htm  Another extremely helpful article is “Summary of Biomedical Treatments for Autism” by James B. Adams, Ph.D. which can be found at www.autism.com/treatable/adams_biomed_summary.pdf 

An amazing book is Autism:  Effective Biomedical Treatments, by Jon Pangborn, Ph.D. and Sidney MacDonald Baker, M.D.  It is available online at www.autism.com.  It is written with the physician in mind, so buying an extra copy for your grandson’s physician may be a good investment!

Of course, it is important to make sure that the vitamin and minerals are in their proper form and in the proper amount.  Let’s take folic acid, for example.  Most nutritional supplements (even many of those targeting autism) contain 400 mcg of folic acid, which is the RDA.  However, children with ASD generally need the more active forms of folic acid such as 5-methyl-tetra-hydrofolate or folinic acid instead of just folic acid.  Furthermore, the RDA for folic acid is 400 mcg, but most individuals with autism need 800 mcg of the active forms.  Another example where the form of the vitamin is critical is with B12 – most vitamin supplements contain B12 in the form of cyanocobalamin.  However, methylcobalamin has been proven to be most effective in children with autism spectrum disorders.  Vitamin B6 is another example where form really matters.  Using the correct form of vitamin B6 ensures utilization.  While most supplements contain B6 in the form of Pyridoxine hydrochloride, children with autism respond better to the more active form, Pyridoxal 5-phosphate. 

I have reviewed countless numbers of nutritional supplements, including those specifically targeting autism.  There isn’t one “perfect” supplement out there.  I am currently working on finding or developing the ones that will work correctly for autism spectrum disorders.  Check back – I’ll keep you posted on the progress of my research!

Keep pressing on in your journey for healing for your grandson!      


Entry filed under: biomedical treatments. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Progress in Autism Treatment Through Gluten-Free/Casein-Free and Specific Carbohydrate Diet Amounts of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Autism

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jacque Lindsay  |  February 17, 2012 at 10:50 am

    My daughter was told to give DMG to her daughter with Autism to help with seizures that may come from puberty.

    Is this a safe supplement and if you stop taking it does everything comes back as before?

  • 2. acttoday  |  March 17, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Thanks so much for your question. Please remember, I am not a doctor and cannot give medical advice. This is a forum for sharing information, so I’ll share some information as a guide for beginning your own research. Check out the Autism Research Institute’s publication which gives parent’s ratings of biomedical treatments for autism: http://www.autism.com/pdf/providers/ParentRatings2009.pdf
    The ARI also has published information which discusses DMG and TMG in autism. If I were researching the issue of seizures for my child or grandchild, I would also look at information regarding causes of seizures such as chromosome-related syndromes, auto-immune issues such as Cerebral Folate Receptor and/or Transport Antibodies (see the work of Dr. Richard Frye), mitochondrial disease or disorder (see Dr. Fran Kendall’s work and mitoaction.org). Many times “autism” is an incomplete diagnosis and a more pinpointed investigation is needed into the cause of a particular symptom so that the effective treatments can be determined. Keep searching for answers!


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Autism-Changing Tomorrow (ACT) blog is maintained to provide a place where ideas and thoughts relating to autism and treatments for autism may be exchanged. The information on Autism-Changing Tomorrow is of a general nature and is provided with the understanding that ACT or any individuals or entities associated with ACT are not engaged in rendering medical advice or recommendations. Any information in the postings, messages, articles, comments, and publications in or on the ACT blog must not be considered medical advice or recommendations and such information should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a board certified physician to address individual medical needs.

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