nutrition guidelines for autistic children autism treatments
nutritional therapies and autism

Written and Overseen by Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D.

Maintained and Hosted by The Healing Center On-Line

 


You may also return to these areas:

nutritional therapies for autism spectrum disorders
Home Pagenutrition and autism treatments
healthy diets for autistic children nutritional therapies for autism spectrum disorders
Overviewnutrition and autism treatments
healthy diets for autistic children nutritional therapies for autism spectrum disorders
Treatmentsnutrition and autism treatments
healthy diets for autistic children nutritional therapies for autism spectrum disorders
WebForumnutrition and autism treatments
healthy diets for autistic children nutritional therapies for autism spectrum disorders
Linksnutrition and autism treatments
dietary information and foods for autistic developmental disordersfood allergies related to autism causes dietary information and foods for autistic developmental disordersfood allergies related to autism causes dietary information and foods for autistic developmental disordersfood allergies related to autism causes dietary information and foods for autistic developmental disordersfood allergies related to autism causes dietary information and foods for autistic developmental disordersfood allergies related to autism causes
  Autism Autism Autism Autism

[Color codes: blue = accessible page; light grey = page you are on; dark grey = under construction]


  Nutritional Therapies and Autism

Quick Index to This Page

support this alternative medicine website for children with autism

 


 

Nutritional Therapies and Autism

Vitamin B-12:

Vitamin B-12 shots have been used for autism, usually at a dose of 1000 micrograms (1 cc) intramuscularly per treatment. Amounts above 1000 micrograms may be excreted in urine since this is a water soluble vitamin. There are no reported cases of B-12 toxicity even at high doses.

B-12 is sometimes given several times for the first week, then weekly for about 3-6 weeks, then monthly for three months, and then put on maintenance therapy.

Screening tests for B-12 deficiency include serum and urine methylmalonic acid levels. It is not necessary to have low levels to benefit from B-12.

B-12 works better with folic acid, whose deficiency is common among people with bowel disorders and epilepsy. Folic acid deficiency is common in celiac disease.

B-12 does take some time to work initially, up to a few weeks. When improvement occurs, it typically does so about 2-4 weeks after the first injection and lasts 4 weeks. Some report that up to three months sometimes pass before improvements are seen with B-12.

For general information about Vitamin B-12 see:

 

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Magnesium:

Intramuscular or intravenous magnesium is sometimes helpful, but may also produce increased agitation.

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Gluten and casein free diets:

Urinary peptide tests are available to assess for this. The urine is tested for the presence of certain opioid compounds which are a by-product of incomplete digestion of the gluten and casein proteins. These compounds are thought to be hazardous to the brain, producing or magnifying the autistic symptoms. The labs who do these tests include:

Great Plains Laboratories: Gluten & Casein Urinary Peptide Test

Sample Requirements: 5 ml first morning urine.

Panel Includes:

  • Casomorphin peptide
  • Gliadorphin peptide

Another source of peptide testing is:

Dr. Robert Cade
Depts. of Medicine & Physiology
University of Florida
Phone: 352/392-8952
FAX: 352-392-8481

Theoretically, if these peptides are present in the urine, eliminating gluten and casein from the diet will be helpful.

In my experience (LMM), sometimes eliminating gluten and casein is helpful despite the absence of these metabolites. My suggestion to try the elimination for two months regardless of the test results when autism is present.

Gluten can reduce the secretion of the hormone, secretin, which has central nervous system effects.

Some literature shows that children on the gluten free/casein free diet can apparently eat oats, though many potential problems still exist with most oat preparations, since they may be grown in fields that rotate with wheat. Such crops of oats may inadvertently contain wheat.

It is possible that oats grown without rotation in fields of gluten-containing grains would produce no adverse effects on autoantibody or intraepithelial lymphocyte levels in gluten sensitive patients, however very few oat products are grown this way.

The GFCF Diet Support Group states: "Less than 5% of the oats which are now grown commercially are for human consumption. The chief value of oats remains as a pasturage and hay crop, especially for horses. Oats are also used in crop rotation. The possibility of cross contamination is the issue here, rather than the glutenous type of protein which is not found in oats. However, oats are considered unacceptable by our standards."

"Wheat, rye, and barley have harmful effects on the small intestinal mucosa of patients with celiac disease, whereas maize and rice are harmless," wrote Dr. M. I. J. Uusitupa, from the University of Kuopio, and colleagues in the March 2000 issue of Gut.

His research team studied two groups of patients: 40 adults with newly diagnosed celiac disease and 52 adults whose celiac disease was in remission. Patients in both groups were randomized to a conventional gluten-free diet or a gluten-free diet containing oats, and were monitored for autoantibodies and intraepithelial lymphocytes over a 6- or 12-month period.

The rate of disappearance of antireticulin antibodies, antigliadin antibodies, and intraepithelial lymphocytes were similar, regardless of diet, among patients newly diagnosed with celiac disease. Similarly, antibody and intraepithelial lymphocyte levels were similar among patients whose celiac disease was in remission.

The authors wrote, "These results strengthen the view that adult patients with celiac disease can consume moderate amounts of oats without adverse immunological effects." However, in light of the fact that most available oat products are likely to be contaminated with other gluten grains, we urge that people err on the side of caution regarding including oats in a gluten-free diet, especially when there are better alternatives, such as rice products, available.

For more information on this topic, please see: the Gluten/Casein Theories of Autism and its Relation to Celiac Disease section on our Overview page.

For information about special diets see:

Another resource for cooking without dairy, sugar or wheat is the Natural Gourmet Cookery School, 48 West 21st Street, New York, NY.

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Pancreatic Enzymes:

Many anecdotal reports exist of the helpfulness of pancreatic enzymes for the digestive problems of autistic children. Nevertheless, other parents report that their children regressed on pancreatic enzymes (including the legendary Victoria Beck). I have seen both results in my experience, and have no way to determine which will happen. Needless to say, some children show no change. Cotazym and Creon are two of the most common pancreatic enzymes used.

Here is a typical story:

When my autistic daughter was born, she had severe diarrhea. After many trips to the Pediatrician and changing her formula daily, it was decided she may have Cystic Fibroses. Thus she was given Cotazym. The first day Maggie was on the meds, she slept all night (she was sleeping 10 minutes at a time, 24 hours a day before) and the diarrhea stopped.

Upon starting pancreatic enzymes, some autistic children show improvements in speech, eye contact, tolerance, awareness of surroundings and self, improved color, and more understanding.

Cotazym, and other pancreatic enzymes, are given 4 times a day. Sometimes, one must open the capsule and mix the powder with something that does not need chewing (pudding, ice cream, jello). Unfortunately, then the powder starts breaking down the food before it is eaten.

Creon 10 is supposed to be delayed release. Creon 10 starts breaking down the food in the intestines instead of "on contact", which means it should not turn pudding into water before it can be eaten.

These medicines do not hurt the kids systems; anything they do not need they simply pass.

Pancrease capsules used daily have been anecdotally reported to solve problems with loose stools.

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Colloidal Silver:

Colloidal silver in a glass of water can also help with diarrhea, as well as frothy and smelly stools. It is often given once a month.

For more information about colloidal silver please see:

 

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Super Nu Thera:

A product called Super Nu Thera powder has been reported anecdotally as helpful, but sometimes make children more irritable.

"A new, good-tasting vitamin B6 and magnesium formula, Super Nu Thera 500, is now available from the Kirkman Company of Wilsonville, OR. SNT-500 is a strawberry flavored liquid concentrate that is well-accepted by the vast majority of autistic children. The company will continue to sell the Super Nu Thera formula as a flavored power and as unflavored tablets. All three products contain, in addition to the B6 and magnesium, 20 other nutrients designed to enhance the effectiveness of the B6.

To contact Kirkman:

  • Phone: 1-800-245-8282
  • Fax: 503- 682-0838

(Courtesy Autism Research Institute's Suggested Dosages for Nutritional Supplements)

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

A new Omega-3 supplement has been developed by European Reference Botanical Laboratories, Inc. (ERBL). The new product called Coromega comes in an easy-to-use foil packet which doesn't spoil and contains a daily dose of Omega-3.

While the best source of Omega-3 remains cod liver oil and fish oil, this supplement is readily absorbed in the bloodstream. Omega-3 supplements in the past have been known to taste bad. ERBL claims to have solved this problems and says the new product tastes like "orange creamsicles".

See Coremega: An Omega-3 Dietary supplement for more information.

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Dimethylglycine (DMG):

"For over 20 years ARI [Autism Research Institute] has been hearing from parents who have tried DMG on their autistic children. In many cases remarkably good results have been seen, especially in enhancing speech. In some cases, drug-resistant seizures have been stopped by DMG. (See New England Journal of Medicine, 10-21-82, pgs 1081-82).

There is an extensive research literature on the safety and health benefits of DMG. Many studies have shown that DMG enhances the effectiveness of the immune system, improves the physical and athletic performance of humans and other animals (e.g. race horses) and has, all in all, a very wide range of beneficial effects. It is very safe. I have seen no evidence of any toxic or significant adverse effects. DMG is available in many health food stores in small, foil-sealed 125mg tablets from Food Science Laboratories. Ask for the original Aangamik DMG or for further information from the company, call toll-free at 800-992-8451. (Avoid DMG in liquid or large tablets.)

Dimethylglycine is technically classified as a food. It is found, in very small amounts, in some foods, such as brown rice and liver. Chemically and physiologically, it resembles the water-soluble vitamins, such as the B vitamins. The main reason it is not classified as a vitamin is that there are no specific symptoms associated with a deficiency of DMG.

Many parents have reported that, within a few days of starting DMG, the child's behavior improved noticeably, better eye contact was seen, frustration tolerance increased, the child's speech improved, or more interest and ability in speaking was observed.

For a pre-school child, I would start with 1/2 of a 125mg tablet or capsule a day, with breakfast, for a few days, or one tablet a day for a larger child. I would go up, gradually, to one to four tablets a day for a child, and to 2 to 8 tablets per day for an adult. If there is an initial increase in hyperactivity (rare) reduce the dosage. If the hyperactivity continues, the child may be telling you, in effect, that he or she needs more folic acid. Folic acid is a very safe B-vitamin. Purchase some 800mcg folic acid tablets and give two of these with each 125mg of DMG.

If you are just starting out, I suggest giving the DMG for 2-3 weeks then adding the B6/magnesium (which should also be started gradually: write to us for publication 39F). When you start a trial of DMG, don't confuse the results by simultaneously starting other vitamins, drugs, or other forms of treatment that might make it difficult to tease out the effects of DMG from the effects of the other things tried. If the child is already taking vitamin B6 and magnesium, or anything else that is helpful, there is no reason to stop taking the B6 (or whatever). The DMG is merely a highly concentrated food. It may in fact improve the effectiveness of the B6."

Bernard Rimland, Ph.D.
Autism Research Institute
4182 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116

(Excerpted from: Dimethylglycine (DMG) for Autism)

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Calcium:

Calcium has been used, especially for twitching during sleep.

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Aloe Vera:

Aloe vera in a liquid solution can make food digest better and behavior seems better. You take a few drops 1/2 hour before a meal to prevent leaky gut.

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Flower of Sulphur:

Flower of Sulfur is suppose to return the ph balance in the stomach to where foods are digested better. It is also a natural chelater as sulfur is in the DMAS chelation capsules. Flower of Sulfur is also used for schizophrenia by some people.

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Efalex Oil or DHA Oil:

Efalex oil or DHA oil is supposed to help heal a leaky gut although it can take five months to work. It is supposed to help vision and fine motor particularly.

(For more information on Efalex Oil, see the Efamol: Efalex Manufacturer's Home Page.)

On DHA Oil:

"...researchers have finally now discovered that children with adrenoleukodystrophy are deficient in docasahexaenoicacid (DHA) and are conducting trials on the administration of this fatty acid derived from algae (Martek Biosciences Corporation). DHA is available in marine oils but due to the fishy taste researchers shunned using it due to difficulties with patient compliance. It is crucial that medical testing of red cell membrane fatty acids be performed so that application of therapy is specific to the individual's requirements. Children with adrenoleukodystrophy have low docasahexaenoic acid, low nervonic acid and high lignoceric acid while children with autism, seizures and brain injury also may exhibit high lignoceric acid but have high docasahexaenoic acid and high nervonic acid. Arbitrary administration of specialized fatty acids is inappropriate due to the unique patterns of fatty acid derangement in specific medical conditions."

(Excerpted from the article, Essential Fatty Acids - Lorenzo's Oil and Beyond, ęCopyright 1997 by Patricia Kane, Ph.D.)

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


Other Food Allergies:

Corn and soy seem to upset many autistic people as well. sugar, yeast and preservatives etc. are also sometimes problematic.

See these sites for information about allergy and autism connections:

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


List of Articles & Information on Nutritional Therapies and Autism:

Is Autism a G-Alpha Protein Defect Reversible with Natural Vitamin A? A pediatrician discusses how vitamin A therapy can help children with autism.

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


What others in the field think of Nutritional Therapies and Autism:

Vitamin B6 (and Magnesium) in the Treatment of Autism, Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., Autism Research Institute

[Return to "Quick-Index" of Nutritional Therapies and Autism]


You may also return to these areas:

nutritional therapies for autism spectrum disorders
Home Pagenutrition and autism treatments
healthy diets for autistic children nutritional therapies for autism spectrum disorders
Overviewnutrition and autism treatments
healthy diets for autistic children nutritional therapies for autism spectrum disorders
Treatmentsnutrition and autism treatments
healthy diets for autistic children nutritional therapies for autism spectrum disorders
WebForumnutrition and autism treatments
healthy diets for autistic children nutritional therapies for autism spectrum disorders
Linksnutrition and autism treatments
dietary information and foods for autistic developmental disordersfood allergies related to autism causes dietary information and foods for autistic developmental disordersfood allergies related to autism causes dietary information and foods for autistic developmental disordersfood allergies related to autism causes dietary information and foods for autistic developmental disordersfood allergies related to autism causes dietary information and foods for autistic developmental disordersfood allergies related to autism causes
  Autism Autism Autism Autism

[Color codes: blue = accessible page; light grey = page you are on; dark grey = under construction]


Website designed, created and hosted by The Healing Center On-Line © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008