Specific Supplements – Benefits or Adverse Reactions

Specific Supplements – Benefits or Adverse Reactions

There are numerous supplements that are being used to treat our children. Some have excellent evidence in the literature of benefit, like magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. Other supplements have more anecdotal evidence from parents that are willing to try new supplements in the hope that they will have some benefit.

This section is intended to list those supplements which have been shown to be of benefit, however if the child regresses, often it may indicate an underlying biochemical abnormality which may need additional factors to help correct the imbalance. Sometimes parents see a deterioration of symptoms before there is an improvement with a particular supplement.

This is useful to know so that parents

1) know what to expect
2) persevere through the initial regression
3) know how long to expect to see results and when it is time to stop, and
4) know what type of adverse symptoms other parents have experienced.

There is nothing scarier for a parent than to see your child regress on a supplement. This is similar to parents going on a gluten/casein free, or low oxalate diet and seeing a deterioration in behaviour initially, during the withdrawal period, before their child begins to improve.

This is certainly not a complete list and I will be progressively updating the list as time allows.

Use ARI’s database to find possible treatments for your child.

WARNING!!

Please consult a practitioner familiar with supplementing ASD children. There are appropriate dosages that need to be determined, or co-factors than may need to be added. Some children may regress on a supplement, an experienced practitioner will know whether this is transient or a negative reaction to the supplement.

 

Vitamin B6

BENEFIT

  • Hyperactivity, aggression
  • Benefit should be seen within 6 weeks

POSSIBLE ADVERSE REACTIONS

  • Sound sensitivity, irritability, enuresis (bedwetting)

OPTIONS

  • Additional Magnesium
  • May need a different form of B6 (i.e. P-5-P) or a mix
  • Divide the dose and give more frequently
  • Wrong dosage being used
  • May be an issue with oxalates
  • May be a phenol sulphur-transferase defect

Dimethylglycine (DMG)

BENEFIT

  • Behaviour, speech, eye contact, improvement in seizures
  • Benefit should be seen within a week, although should trial for up to a month

POSSIBLE ADVERSE REACTIONS

  • Increased hyperactivity, sleep disturbance

OPTIONS

  • Additional folic acid required
  • If sleep disturbance – take DMG at the beginning of the day
  • May indicate a methylation problem

For More Information On DMG
DMG Monograph:
http://www.dmgdoctor.com/dmg.php

Omega-3

BENEFIT

  • Hyperactivity, mood, speech. Are crucial for neurological development, essential for brain development (50% content of brain), facilitate neural transmission, cell membrane structure, regulate inflammation, crucial to assimilate other nutrients and help colonize friendly bacteria in the gut, and many more functions

POSSIBLE ADVERSE REACTIONS

  • Hyperactivity – especially if a flavoured product is used
  • There has been some concern about the amine content of fish oils in amine sensitive children. I am not convinced that at the dosages given this is a problem and the problem is more likely to be the quality of the supplement being used.

OPTIONS

  • Unflavoured supplement – may be reacting to the flavouring
  • Start at a lower dose
  • If aggression is an issue may need to supplement omega-6 first

Cod Liver Oil (CLO)

May help reconnect the retinoid receptors critical for vision, sensory perception, language processing and attention.

BENEFIT

  • Sideways glance (Nordic naturals CLO is best for eye issues), hyperactivity, mood. CLO is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and D providing substantial benefit in ASD children

POSSIBLE ADVERSE REACTIONS

  • If behaviour becomes worse or there is increased thirst, this may indicate that there is a fatty acid imbalance

OPTIONS

  • If there is and adverse reaction, omega-6 may need to be supplemented first with borage, evening primrose or blackcurrent oil.

Trimethylglycine (TMG)

BENEFIT

  • Improved speech, better eye contact, reduced frustration, better sleep, better bile flow, increased levels of glutathione, and boosts immune function. Teeth grinding

POSSIBLE ADVERSE REACTIONS

  • Behaviour becomes worse

OPTIONS

  • Additional B6, folate and B12
  • May indicate that they are low in cysteine, taurine and glutathione

Zinc

BENEFIT

  • Zinc generally helps with many of the autistic symptoms as it is vital for the proper functioning of enzymes, and a co-factor in numerous biochemical pathways, including neurotransmitters

POSSIBLE ADVERSE REACTIONS

  • Hyperactivity, worse mood, crying for no apparent reason, increased stimming, stomach cramping, bedwetting

OPTIONS

  • Wrong dose being used
  • Some sleep issues and bedwetting reported if given at night, give in the morning
  • May need to use a different form of zinc (i.e. chelate, picolinate)
  • Possibly a zinc cream or transdermal patch may be a better option

Glutamine

BENEFIT

  • Glutamine is a precursor to the inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, which exerts a calming action. There is considerable evidence that glutamine can help repair and enhance the mucosal barrier function of the gut. L-glutamine can also reduce blood and brain ammonia levels. Glutamine may be low in some ASD children, especially if there is an aversion to meat.

Taurine

Taurine is a sulphur containing amino acid, important in the production of bile salts. It also acts as an antioxidant, helps in detoxification, and is reported to have an anti-opiod effect.

BENEFIT

  • Especially of benefit if stools are light in colour, soft, frothy and foul smelling. Some parents report a calming effect and less screaming

Carnitine

The primary function of carnitine is to help with energy metabolism in mitochondria. It helps to increase energy levels.

BENEFIT

  • Often useful when there is low muscle tone or lack of energy

Vitamin C

BENEFIT

  • Vitamin C helps with detoxification and boosts glutathione which is important in heavy metal detoxification.

POSSIBLE ADVERSE REACTIONS

  • If vitamin C is not tolerated, this may be due to the fillers or additives in the product or possibly an issue with oxalates

ARI's Biomedical Survey Analysis Tool Online

Since 1967, the Autism Research Institute (ARI) has distributed surveys to parents to determine which treatments are most beneficial, as well as most harmful, to individuals with autism. ARI recently developed an Internet program that allows parents to utilize our treatment database survey, the largest in the world, to help determine which treatments to consider trying (or possibly avoiding) for their children. In this program, a parent first rates how his/her child responded to 1-4 treatments in the past. The program then searches ARI’s treatment database (more than 25,000 records), summarizing how children who responded to the same treatment(s) responded to other treatments.

For example: if a child responded well to melatonin, the program will provide a list of additional treatments that benefited children who also responded well to melatonin. There is no charge to use this program up to May 2008.

Read more: Medigenesis

For advice or to book a consultation for your child with an experienced practitioner, call (03) 8802 7687 or email me.