Autism now affects 1 in 44 children in the United States. With staggering numbers like these, it’s no wonder parents are currently searching for vitamins for autism and ADHD.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder with different levels of autism. Autism refers to a broad range of conditions that affect a person’s social skills, speech, and communication. It can also cause rigidity in behaviors, also known as repetitive behaviors.
The Best Vitamins for Autism and ADHD
There are many different treatments available to help ease some of the symptoms of autism, including various types of therapies.
With new studies showing a possible gut-brain connection, many families look to diets and supplements for autism to help. So, are there vitamins for autism that can help?
Can a Dietary Supplement help with autism symptoms?
Vitamins and other nutritional supplements are substances that are fundamental for your body to work. In most cases, we get these through our diet. Sometimes though, people can be lacking in one or more vitamins. Since they are essential for our bodies to function correctly, it’s not hard to imagine that they could amplify existing symptoms. But are there any vitamins for autism, and do they work?
Yes, there are vitamins and supplements marketed for autism. However, there is NOT a fix-all pill. No vitamin, mineral, or tablet will cure autism. Though individual and combined supplements are made to help elevate symptoms of autism, ADHD, and any other concerns.
When giving your children vitamins for autism, you first need to consult their doctor. They may be currently taking medications that could interact negatively with vitamins, or their doctor may have other thoughts.
What are the best supplements for autism?
You need to understand more about vitamins and supplements for autism. Today, we’re going to dive into some significant supplements for autistic individuals.
The most efficient way to get any vitamin or nutrient into your body is naturally through food. Since autistic children struggle with food, oral vitamins are typically the next best thing. They can also struggle since kids’ multivitamins do not taste how they did when we were kids!
Whether you go (diet, oral dose, or patch), getting the right supplements is vital! Check out the following vitamins for autism. It’s best to be as educated as possible for anything you put in your child’s body.
Vitamin B6 & B12 –
I like to refer to these as the “energy vitamins.” No, I don’t mean they will give you a caffeine-like boost. The B vitamins are the ones that provide your body with the energy it needs to function well.
B12 (aka Cobalamin) plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and DNA production. Talk about an essential vitamin! B12 is a nutrient that’s easily maintained in most people’s diets. Notice how I say most? For those who don’t eat meat, it can be easy to become deficient as plants don’t make B12. For those with autism, maintaining a healthy diet can be a huge struggle due to food adversity and sensory issues.
A vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, nerve damage, and mood disturbances. So for those looking for vitamins for autism, B-12 is a pretty standard go-to choice.
B6, also known as Pyridoxine, affects boosts your mood and sleep. B6 helps your body produce serotonin (think your happy levels), melatonin (sleep), and norepinephrine (one of those stress hormones).
Many children with autism struggle with getting to sleep. We have multiple autism diagnoses in our home, and the rest is something we are constantly struggling with! Some of my children can’t get to sleep. Others struggle with waking up, or sometimes both. This is all due to those pesky melatonin levels.
Though our bodies make melatonin, they don’t always make enough to balance our sleep/wake cycle. That is why so many doctors are now recommending melatonin for children and adults.
Our personal favorite is the Nature Made Melatonin Gummies. They come in 2.5 mg and 5 mg.
Cysteine is a semi-essential amino acid that is a linking piece for many other amino acids. N-acetylcysteine is the supplemental form of Cysteine. One of the essential things that relate this supplement to autism is that it helps regulate glutamate levels.
By regulating glutamate levels in your brain, NAC may alleviate multiple psychiatric disorders symptoms and reduce addictive behavior.
Stanford University studied the effects of NAC on 31 children with autism. In that study, they found that this supplement decreased the irritability levels of the children. They also noticed a reduction in repetitive behaviors.
Omega Fatty Acids
A few small studies have linked adding Omega-3 fatty acids with decreased hyperactivity in children with autism. Though the verdict is still out on what specifically omega supplements for autism do, we know the supplement’s benefits.
Omega-3 fatty is crucial for our brain function and development throughout life. Having low levels of omega-3s may even accelerate brain aging and contribute to deficits in brain function. (via Healthline.com)
L-Carnosine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted by Doctor Michael G. Chez, most children taking the carnosine supplements showed significant improvement in behavior, socialization, and communication skills.
Though there haven’t been any reported significant side effects, too much l-carnosine can cause irritability and insomnia in some children.
Many studies have shown that many of us lack Vitamin D. While many know they get it from milk, you also get vitamin D from the sun. With the increased awareness of using sunscreen to protect our skin, we inadvertently block the vitamin D we so desperately need!
One study found that autistic children who took a daily vitamin D supplement reduced many symptoms. These included impairments in social interactions, communications, and repetitive behaviors.
Back to the gut health connection with autism, probiotics are a significant player in supplements for autism and ADHD. Many children with autism struggle with stomach issues such as constipation, migraine, stomach aches, and diarrhea.
Good bacteria found within the GI tract act as messengers. It sends signals and communicates with various body parts, including the brain. An imbalance in these intestinal bacteria affects areas like attention, stress, mood, and sleep.
As intelligent and health conscious as you are, I can’t believe you support giving your children Flinstone vitamins. I hope you aren’t anymore and already transitioned into a more reputable brand.
Hey Allie, Thanks for reaching out! We did switch fully over to the patch which makes taking vitamins so much easier for our kiddos. We were actually instructed by one of our children’s specialists to take flintstones + iron as our son wasn’t able to swallow pills yet and had an iron deficiency. His iron levels are up now, so we just have to maintain it with diet. Thankfully he loves having scrambled eggs every morning now lol.
I find this ableist article very disturbing and it lacks understanding of those on the spectrum. Autism people are not sick. The are wired different. Any human will function best if they are get all of the proper vitamins. Autistic people are no different in this regard, but no matter what vitamins an autistic child takes, their brain remains wired the same. A parent would be best served to try to gain a deeper understanding of their autistic child, rather than seeking to change them. Autism is only a disability because autistics are the minority and the world wasn’t built for them. I hope for the number of autistic child to rise. One day autistics will outnumber the neurotypical community. We will then call that a disability and put you in therapy to stop staring into peoples eyes, not saying exactly what you mean, and hugging too much.
I am sorry you felt that way. I am an autistic adult with 3 children on the spectrum and I believe vitamins are an excellent way to help before using pharmaceuticals that are too often pushed onto us. I would not wish my sensory overload and struggles on any child, but I also embrace my difference and teach my children the same. It is absolutely okay to have different opinions, even with those that have the same diagnosis as us. By autism being considered a disability by the DSM-5, it enables us to get resources such as Medicaid and therapies that are far outside the financial reach of so many otherwise. As for therapy, I’ve had my fair share. Some were beneficial, others not so much. I’m not personally fond of hugging, but sometimes a hug can be great. Two of my children are the opposite and need a ton of sensory input, so hugging too much is a must for them. One of the biggest things I can share with you as an advocate is that you can sway people in either direction with your words and actions. No matter how true or strong an argument may be, when our words are hurtful they will cause others to disregard our views. Sharing our views, opinions, and facts with the kindness and understand we want others to show us is how to persuade someone to consider your words.
Hi Alicia I love your enthusiasm if I should say, you have given me a lot of hope by this article. My son is autistic and classified as non-verbal. Lately he has begun to sing rhymes, and can now say hallo, how are you, I am fine. He is 7 years 4 months. Believe me when he first mastered his greetings about two weeks ago I thanked God for that. Even the way you respond to those with different perspectives has taught me a lot. You are an amazing person and keep up the good work you are doing being an advocate for autistics.
I beg to differ. My ASD child has his immune system attacking his brain and thyroid. It attacks many areas of his brain. We have medical proof of this called the Cunningham panel and other tests as well. He is sick. He is constantly tired, immune deficient, has to get IVIG in a high dose monthly and has chronic infections. With the right diet, medications and nutritional supports our ASD kids can function better and feel better and lose some of their deficits.
So grateful to have come across your website! Who better to talk to then someone who is on the spectrum herself (we all are) Thank you for all the information you share with us! I strongly believe in the power of nutrition. I Thank you again from the bottom of my heart, cant wait to get supplements for my son. Will be looking forward to your amazing and well written content. Lots of Love!!!