April is World Autism Month. Started in order to promote autism awareness and acceptance, it draws attention to the thousands of people diagnosed every year and the challenges they and their families face. Every person on the autism spectrum, like every neurotypical person, is completely unique. There is a saying commonly quoted within the autism community: “If you’ve met one person with autism – you’ve met one person with autism.” In other words, no two are alike.
However, some common challenges exist within a large percentage of children on the spectrum. For instance, about half of ASD kids have sleep problems and GI disturbances. Because many are also picky eaters, there may be other nutritional deficiencies as well. Although there is no cure for autism, supplements can be helpful for reducing certain symptoms. Here are some of our favorites:
Probiotics – Children with autism are 3 times as likely as their neurotypical peers to experience gastrointestinal disturbances such as diarrhea, constipation and stomach aches and cramps. Some research shows a link between gut bacteria and the severity of autism, although this is still debated in the medical community. A recent study found that a fecal transplant to rebalance the gut microbiome in 18 autistic children actually reduced both their GI problems and their autism symptoms. Replenishing, rebalancing and sustaining a healthy gut microbiota through probiotic supplementation may prove helpful. Try our Tri-Flora Multi-Strain Probiotic.
Melatonin – Between 50% – 80% of children on the spectrum struggle and suffer with sleep problems. They have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Studies have shown that people with autism have lower levels of melatonin than their neurotypical peers. Not only is adequate sleep needed for good health, but lack of sleep can exacerbate irritability, mood instability and aggressive behaviors. Melatonin supplements are often helpful for improving sleep. It can be taken in liquid drops or chewable tablet form for younger children. If your child is old enough for capsules, consider Restaze PM which in addition to melatonin also provides stress support.
Vitamin D – Three recent studies have shown that vitamin D3 supplementation significantly improved ASD manifestations, one of which observed “remarkable improvements.” The doses used in these children were 300 IU/KG/day up to a maximum of 5000 IU/day. We carry a variety of D3 products at varying doses.
As always, please consult with your doctor before starting a new supplement regime and message us if you have any questions!