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Enciclopedia de Salud

Health Condition

Autism

  • Vitamin B6

    Research shows that vitamin B6 can be helpful for autistic children.

    Dose:

    30 mg daily per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight; doctor's supervision recommended 
    Vitamin B6
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    Uncontrolled and double-blind research shows that vitamin B6 can be helpful for autistic children.1,2,3 In these trials, children typically took between 3.5 mg and almost 100 mg of B6 for every 2.2 pounds of body weight, with some researchers recommending 30 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight. Although toxicity was not reported, such amounts are widely considered to have potential toxicity that can damage the nervous system; these amounts should only be administered by a doctor. One prominent researcher has suggested that vitamin B6 is better supported by research than is drug treatment in dealing with autism.4

  • Glucosamine

    Some autistic children suffer from chronic diarrhea. In one study, supplementing with glucosamine eliminated the diarrhea in five of six children with autism, possibly by blocking the effect of certain dietary components on the intestinal tract.

    Dose:

    250 mg with morning and evening meals
    Glucosamine
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    Some autistic children suffer from chronic diarrhea. In a study of children with autistic spectrum disorders and persistent diarrhea for many years, supplementing with 500 mg of glucosamine per day (spread over the morning and evening meal) for 30 days eliminated the diarrhea in five of six cases.5 The authors hypothesized that glucosamine worked by blocking the effect of certain dietary components on the intestinal tract.

  • L-Carnitine

    In a double-blind trial, supplementing with L-carnitine resulted in a modest improvement in disease severity in children with autism spectrum disorders.

    Dose:

    50 mg per kilogram of body weight per day (half in the morning, half in the evening)
    L-Carnitine
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    In a double-blind trial, supplementing with L-carnitine resulted in a modest improvement in disease severity in children with autism spectrum disorders. The amount of L-carnitine used was 50 mg per kilogram of body weight per day (half in the morning and half in the evening) for three months.6
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine

    A double-blind study found that supplementing with NAC for 12 weeks improved symptoms of irritability in children with autism.

    Dose:

    Use with a doctor’s supervision
    N-Acetyl Cysteine
    ×
    In a double-blind trial, supplementation with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for 12 weeks improved symptoms of irritability in children with autism.7 The amount of NAC used in the study was 900 mg per day for four weeks, then 900 mg twice a day for four weeks, then 900 mg three times per day for four weeks. Another double-blind study found an improvement in irritability using smaller amounts of NAC: 600 mg per day for children weighing less than 44 pounds and 900 mg per day for children weighing 44 pounds or more.8 However, in a third double-blind trial, NAC in an average amount of 56 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day for 12 weeks was of no benefit in autistic children.9 Because the amounts of NAC used in these studies are relatively large and the long-term safety of this treatment has not been examined, NAC treatment of autistic children should be monitored by a doctor.
  • Vitamin C

    In one trial, autistic children given vitamin C had less severe symptoms than those taking placebo, possibly because vitamin C affects a hormone pathway typically disturbed in children with autism.

    Dose:

    1 gram per 20 lbs (9 kg) body weight per day
    Vitamin C
    ×

    In one double-blind trial lasting ten weeks, autistic children given 1 gram vitamin C per day for each 20 pounds of body weight showed a reduction in symptom severity compared with placebo.10 The authors speculate that vitamin C may play a positive role because of its known effects on a hormone pathway typically disturbed in children with autism.

  • Vitamin D

    In a preliminary study and a follow-up double-blind study of autistic children, daily supplementation with vitamin D was associated with improvements in various symptoms of autism.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Vitamin D
    ×
    In a preliminary study and a follow-up double-blind study of Egyptian autistic children, daily supplementation with vitamin D for 3 to 4 months was associated with improvements in various symptoms of autism, including irritability, hyperactivity, social withdrawal, inappropriate speech, stereotypical behavior, and communication.. The amount of vitamin D given was 136 IU per pound of body weight, with a maximum of 5,000 IU per day.11 Since the amount of vitamin D used in the study was relatively large and could potentially cause adverse effects, this treatment should be monitored by a doctor.
  • Magnesium

    Some researchers have added magnesium to vitamin B6, reporting that taking both nutrients may have better effects than B6 alone. Doctors will often try this combination for at least three months to see whether these nutrients help autistic children.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Magnesium
    ×
     

    Some researchers have added magnesium to vitamin B6, reporting that taking both nutrients may have better effects than taking B6 alone.12 The amount of magnesium—10 to 15 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight—is high enough to cause diarrhea in some people and should be administered by a doctor. Doctors will often try vitamin B6 or the combination of B6 and magnesium for at least three months to see whether these nutrients help autistic children. In a preliminary trial, one group of researchers found that relatively small daily amounts of magnesium (6 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight) and vitamin B6 (0.6 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight) improved symptoms by about 50% in children with autism or a related condition (pervasive developmental disorder).13

What Are Star Ratings
×
Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

References

1. Lelord G, Muh JP, Barthelemy C, et al. Effects of pyridoxine and magnesium on autistic symptoms: Initial observations. J Autism Developmental Disorders 1981;11:219-29.

2. Martineau J, Garreau B, Barthelemy C, et al. Effects of vitamin B6 on averaged evoked potentials in infantile autism. Biol Psychiatr 1981;16:627-39.

3. Rimland B, Callaway E, Dreyfus P. The effect of high doses of vitamin B6 on autistic children: a double-blind crossover study. Am J Psychiatr 1978;135:472-5.

4. Rimland B. Vitamin B6 versus Fenfluramine: a case-study in medical bias. J Nutr Med 1991;2:321-2.

5. Danczak E. Glucosamine and plant lectins in autistic spectrum disorders: an initial report on 6 children with uncontrolled diarrhoea. J Nutr Environ Med2004;14:327-330.

6. Geier DA, Kern JK, Davis G, et al. A prospective double-blind, randomized clinical trial of levocarnitine to treat autism spectrum disorders. Med Sci Monit 2011;17:PI15-23.

7. Hardan AY, Fung LK, Libove RA, et al. A randomized controlled pilot trial of oral N-acetylcysteine in children with autism. Biol Psychiatry 2012;71:956-61.

8. Nikoo M, Radnia H, Farokhnia M, et al. N-acetylcysteine as an adjunctive therapy to risperidone for treatment of irritability in autism: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of efficacy and safety. Clin Neuropharmacol 2015;38:11–17.

9. Wink LK, Adams R, Wang Z, et al. A randomized placebo-controlled pilot study of N-acetylcysteine in youth with autism spectrum disorder. Mol Autism 2016;7:26.

10. Dolske MC, Spollen J, McKay S, et al. A preliminary trial of ascorbic acid as supplemental therapy for autism. Prog Neuropsycholpharmacol Biol Psychiatry 1993;17:765-74.

11. Saad K, Abdel-Rahman AA, Elserogy YM, et al. Randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in children with autism spectrum disorder. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2016 Nov 21 [Epub ahead of print].

12. Martineau J, Barthelemy C, Garreau B, Lelord G. Vitamin B6, magnesium, and combined B6-Mg: therapeutic effects in childhood autism. Biol Psychiatr 1985;20:467-78.

13. Mousain-Bosc M, Roche M, Polge A, et al. Improvement of neurobehavioral disorders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. II. Pervasive developmental disorder-autism. Magnes Res 2006;19:53-62.

14. Reichelt K-L, Ekrem J, Scott H. Gluten, milk proteins and autism: dietary intervention effects on behavior and peptide section. J Appl Nutr 1990;42:1-11.

15. Werbach M. Autism. Int J Alternative Complementary Med 1996;Oct:8.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2022.

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