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Typical Supplments For Autism


When your child is diagnosed with autism, if you pursue biomedical intervention, you will begin down a path of taking all sorts of supplements, many of them expensive.

We were not taking any of these before we started seeing doctors, although some of them are common, good-for-ya things that your autistic and non-autistic child alike may benefit from (such as multi-vitamins and fish oil).

Other supplements may be needed to support those with MTHR gene variants (such as activated folate), and still more you may go on-and-off again, depending on what you are trying to accomplish (such as reduce heavy metals, or offer the body detox support).

Below I will list a number of the supplements that we’ve been on, how much they cost, and what indications we are taking them for.  Please bear in mind, that your child’s health situation is different, and you should consult with your doctor before going on or off any medication or over-the-counter supplements.

Daily Supplements

1) Fish Oil – You’ve probably heard about the benefits of fish oil for your brain and skin.  It can also be anti-inflammatory, and many ASD patients struggle with inflammatory issues.  At age 4, Blake started on 1/2 teaspoon of fish oil.  We were consuming “store brand” fish oil capsules, but our naturopathic physician told us to switch over to a very high quality fish oil and recommended this brand.  She said for a lot of supplements, she isn’t picky, and there’s just commodities, but for fish oil in particular, you need to make sure you’re getting a good brand, because of mercury issues, and breakdown of the nutrients if stored/handled incorrectly.

In addition to getting our ASD son on this, our doctor also recommended our neuro-typical 2-year old daughter start taking it (1/2 teaspoon/day) and that I, as an adult, take 1 teaspoon per day.  Blake was later moved up to 1 teaspoon/day due to dry/bumpy skin persisting on his legs.

2) Fermented Cod Liver Oil – You may have heard of your parents or grandparents being forced to drink Cod Liver Oil when they were sick.  FCLO, as it’s known on GAPS discussion groups, is a great supplement, and provides, among other nutrients Vitamin A and Vitamin D.  Also, it tastes great – not fishy like your parents’ cod liver oil.  My kids like both the mint and orange flavors.  You can also get it capsules, if you’d rather swallow a pill.  Green Pastures has several flavors, some have stevia as a sweetener, and some don’t.

3) ASD-Safe, GAPS- and SCD-safe, Multi-Vitamin – When we first started seeing a doctor about Blake’s “health concerns” we were told that autistic children were often deficient in certain minerals like zinc.  And, all of us here, are deficient in Vitamin D.  Our M.D. recommended two different multi-vitmains that were good for people on the spectrum.  We decided to go with Vita-Spectrum.  Their vitamins do not have the usual fillers that pollute the “good stuff”.

The vitamins come in powder or pills.  The powder, let’s face it, is pretty bad.  I had Blake on the powder for about 6 months.  He would eat it when we mixed it in his food, but he ate it VERY SLOWLY and wanted HELP, he did not like it.  I couldn’t stand the stuff.  If your kids are able to eat capsules, I would definitely recommend the capsule variety.  If they don’t swallow capsules, they might become motivated to, after they taste the powdered vitamins.  Your child will have to take 6 capsules for their “daily allowance.”

4) Vitamin D Supplement – I believe in getting as much Vitamin D as safely possible from the sun, but living in Seattle, as we do, there isn’t much of that good-ole sun to go around most days.  As such, many doctors recommend supplementing Vitamin D.  You CAN over-do the Vitamin D, so it’s best to go slowly and get a blood test every now and then to make sure you’re levels are in a theraputic range.  I take 5,000 I.U. day and I am in a good, healthy range.  For Blake, he gets 1,000 IU in his multi-vitamin, and we give him additional vitamin D at the rate of about 1,000 – 2,000 I.U. per day.

For more information on the health benefits of Vitamin D and sunshine, read this article on Dr. Mercola’s website.

5) ProBiotics – Many people don’t realize how the health and types of bacteria in our guts (intestines) influence, not just our digestion, but our health.  When yeast and pathogenic bacteria gain a foothold, people can develop yeast infections and “leaky gut syndrome” wherein toxins escape the intestines and circulate throughout the body.  Diarrhea, picky eating, constipation, and other digestion problems can result.  Diarrhea is so common in ASD patients, that doctors used to not even treating it, calling it “autistic diarrhea” and believing nothing could be done.  When in fact, there is plenty you can do to improve the health of your gut flora.  For an autistic-specific discussion of this issue, watch this video on Youtube.

One way to restore and keep balance in your digestive track is through the regular use of probiotics.  There is really much more to be done, as per the prescriptions in the GAPS Diet, but taking probiotics is a good starting point.

We have taken a lot of ProBiotics, and haven’t had trouble with any of them.  I have heard that it’s good to have a variety, to introduce different types of bacteria to the gut (though most brands contain the same 8 primary bacteria).  Some people advise starting out with a small dose and working your way up.  Dr. Klinghardt recommends eventually getting your autistic patient up to 400 billion cells per day.  Blake is currently taking 250 billion cells per day.

  1. Bio-Kult – We started with this one, made by Dr. Campbell-McBride, developer of GAPS.  This is a good one to start with if you need to be on low-dosages of pro-biotics at the beginning, due to sensitivities.  The powder comes in capsules, but you can open them and pour out the powder into food, which will then go un-detected.
    Learn More About Bio-Kult Probiotics.
  2. Gut Pro – This was a very cost-effective way to work our way up to higher dosages.  They sell tiny measuring spoons that you can use to dose out the right number of cells.  The powder is loose, not capsules.
    Learn More About Gut Pro Probiotics.
  3. Prescript Assist – We did this for variety, it is a “soil based” type of bacteria and the powder is black!
    Learn About Prescript-Assist Broad Spectrum Probiotic.
  4. VSL-3 – This is the high-dosage probiotic we are now using.  Each capsule contains over 100 billion cells, so it’s not necessarily a good “starter” pro-biotic.  You may have a lot of die-off if you start with this one.  Blake did not have any trouble when we changed over to it, though.
    Learn About VSL #3 Probiotic.

6) MTHR-5 – This is a folate of vitamin.  Many people who are on the autism spectrum have MTHR gene mutations, which reduce the functioning of some of their metabolic pathways.  We can support this reduced functioning with certain supplements.  I learned in a talk by Dr. Benjamin Lynch, that the “folic acid” vitamin that pregnant women are all told to take is actually not good for us, and consuming more folic acid (a synthetic vitamin) than our bodies can process, can lead to toxic by-products.   Folate is what we should be taking.  This is one that’s probably especially good to talk to your doctor about.  We started with 1-mg twice a day, and worked our way up and now take 5-mg twice a day.

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