By Anil Minocha MD, author: Guide to Alternative Medicine and the Digestive System
Micronutrient deficiencies have been reported in patients with autistic spectrum disorders/ autism. Limited Literature suggests that an improvement in a variety of behavioral problems occurs upon micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) supplementation. At the same time, systematic review published in the prestigious journal Pediatrics points out that most routinely used medications do not meet criteria for evidence based medicine.
Potential mechanism of beneficial effect of micronutrients in autism:
- Antioxidant activity
- Improved mitochondrial function
- Micronutrients function as cofactors and as such have potential to improve metabolic efficiency at the level of neurotransmitters.
Autism-micronutrient vs drugs study background: Dr. Mehl-Madrona and colleagues from the University of Hawaii School of Medicine, Honolulu, Hawaii. University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, sought to compare effect of micronutrient supplementation versus standard medical treatment for treatment of autism.
Autism-micronutrient study: Micronutrient group comprised of 44 subjects (2-28 years) that desired treatment without pharmaceutical medications. They were compared to 44 autistic kids whose parents requested medical treatment.
Results of autism and micronutrient versus medications study:
Both treatments were effective in improving Childhood Autism Rating Scale and the Childhood Psychiatric Rating Scale.
- Self-injurious behavior intensity was lower in micronutrient group.
- Improvement on total Aberrant Behavior Checklist scores was significantly better in micronutrient group as compared to those who received medications.
- Kids on micronutrients showed greater improvement on Clinical Global Impressions scale than the medical therapy group.
Whether the behavioral improvements occurred via effect on mood dysfunction or directly their impact on autistic disorder is open to speculation.
Conclusions of the micronutrient vs medication autism study:
- Treatment with micronutrients offers better results with lower activity level, improved social interaction, reduced SIB, anger and irritability.
- Superior results on micronutrient therapy alone are accompanied by fewer side-effects and lesser weight gain.
- Medical treatment offered advantages of insurance coverage, fewer pills, and less frequent
- Medical treatment is not superior to micronutrient management for any of the clinical parameters measured.
Caveat: Just like most of the literature on autism, this study not meet the evidence level of a randomized controlled trial and is more reflective of evidence relying on
practice based medicine.
Note: Micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) supplementation is part of the 12-point treatment program for autism.
Topics below may be of interest or go to Home page
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