Can Supplements Help Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Greetings from Dr. Thorburn:

As we discussed last week, autism is a disorder that involves abnormal development and function of the brain. People with autism show decreased social communication skills and restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviors or interests. One in 68 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a 30% increase from 1 in 88 two years ago, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Boys are affected by ASD more often than girls.

More and more studies are focusing on nutritional supplements and their affect on ASD. Here are a few key nutrients that have shown to be helpful:

• Curcumin: Oxidation and inflammation play major roles in ASD. Curcumin is the component in turmeric with remarkable anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also helpful in relieving gastrointestinal issues that often accompany ASD.

• Glutathione: This master antioxidant is found in every cell in our bodies. Recent studies show that children with ASD suffer from glutathione deficiencies and a reduced ability to convert oxidized glutathione back into its active form. Researchers in Arkansas found glutathione levels in the brains of children with ASD to be up to 52% lower than normal levels.

• Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are concentrated in the brain and play a major role in its development. Researchers have found that children with ASD often have low omega-3 levels. A recent study in California indicated that after 12 weeks, children with ASD in the omega-3 given group had improved hyperactivity scores.

• Probiotics: Researchers frequently connect gut health with brain function. Clinical research published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders examined how gastrointestinal disorders affect children with ASD. These children showed more anxiety, irritability and social withdrawal than children with ASD and no gastrointestinal issues.

Perhaps the biggest issues with any kind of supplementation are not just what supplements to take, but in what form, what brand, how much to take and how often to take it. Also, how long will you have to take the supplement before seeing some kind of results?

We have a non-invasive testing method, Vitamin Deficiency Testing, where we can quickly see which nutrients you or a loved one require for optimum health as well as how much is required. Call our office to schedule an appointment.

Until next time…

Yours in health,

Dr. T

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