The psychological and educational community in recent years have become fascinated with the study and research of autism spectrum disorder. Advocates, support groups and governments have realized, also, the importance of raising awareness on this disorder that affects one in every 68 children. To be concise, Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that limits a child’s verbal and social communication skills, as well as present with restrictive interests and repetitive behaviours. In addition, many biological and medical abnormalities are found among children living with this disorder. These include hypersensitivity, gastro-intestinal abnormalities, chronic insomnia, immune problem, metabolic disorders and digestive disorders.
With a growing trend toward the use of psychoactive drugs and biologically engineered substances, many have discovered biological and medical treatments for various symptoms of autism to compliment the educational and psychological interventions which are well known.
In this article we discuss some biomedical treatments for the various symptoms of autism.
Metabolic pathway disorders found to cause insomnia are consistently found in those with Autism and hence many autistic patients suffer from insomnia. Melatonin has been found to be synthesized from serotonin in an effort to remedy this abnormality. While the use of melatonin has been suspected of helping autism insomnia, studies and trials are still ongoing to confirm the legitimacy of this claim. As such, if you are interested in this treatment, speak with an informed healthcare professional who can direct you to the right melatonin inducing products fit for your autism needs.
Omega -3 Fatty Acid
Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acids have been said to significantly improve symptoms of Autism for some. There are many theories behind the effects of omega-3 on mood swings and gastrointestinal health. One such theory says that because Bipolar Disorder is commonly found in the extended families of those diagnosed with autism, the intake of fish oil would increase daily mood and temperament. Another point of interest is the soothing effect of omega-3 acids on the gastrointestinal tract. Make sure to ask your local healthcare provider about the fish oil supplement best for your autism needs. Popular food sources of fish oil include tuna, sardines, salmon and other fatty fish.
Thought to lead the way in paving new connections between neurotransmitters in the brain, Vitamin D is highly recommended for those on the spectrum. Autism spectrum disorder is predominantly a disorder of verbal and non-verbal communication, and the increased intake of Vitamin D is thought to supplement parts of the brain responsible for effective communication. There are many Vitamin D supplements on the market, be sure to shop around to find the right fit and dosage for you. Common sources of vitamin D include sunlight/exposure, oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolks.
Not only is vitamin C good for the immune system and fighting off diseases, but it is also good for facilitating communication between neurotransmitters in the body. This is something with which many autism patients are found to be deficient. As such, vitamin C is a very crucial component of the diet of ASD patients. Studies have shown that increased vitamin C intake has helped lower stereotypical behaviours such as hand flapping, head rocking, tiptoeing and banging of the head.
The use of probiotics in the diets of autism patients has been long standing. A very common issue among autism patients are gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, diarrhoea and stomach pain. Probiotics have been found to be highly effective in bringing relief to these issues. In addition, the gut of autism patients show consistent irregularities which send messages to various parts of the body including the brain. The effect of this then translates into sleep issues such as insomnia, attention disorders and anxiety. The use of probiotics has been found to significantly reduce these symptoms due to the microbiomes found in the supplement. Yogurt is a very popular source of probiotics along with certain powders.
While there are several other food supplements worth mentioning, these serve as an introduction into the very vast field of biomed for autism. Many products are currently on the market. It is important to shop wisely and do lots of research. Consult a healthcare professional for any clarity and advice before buying anything which promises instant autism cures. We hope you found this article helpful on the quest to supplement your loved one’s diet!