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Omega – 3 and Mineral Supplements Can Help Kids with Autism

 

Is Your Child Autistic or Someone You Know?

Autism is a developmental disability that impacts the normal development of the brain and affects social interaction and communication skills.   Autism is such a difficult disorder to understand; even doctors and experts do not know everything there is to know about it.  The Autism Society of America reports that as many as 1.5 million Americans have some form of autism.  The U.S. Department of Education says instances of autism are growing at a rate of 10-17 percent a year.

Background

Many people who have seen the movie “Rainman” think autistic people are all like the man Dustin Hoffman played in that film - that they can do complicated math in their heads, perform musically, or do other incredible and astonishing feats.  That is the case in only a very few with autism.  While those stories make for good movies and news stories, the real story is that one person with autism may have very different symptoms and behaviors than another.  That is because autism is a spectrum disorder, and shows itself in various symptoms and levels mild to severe in each individual person.  In fact, there is a good chance you are acquainted with an autistic child and may not even known it. 

However, even at the mildest end of the spectrum autism presents unique challenges to families, often creating unique physical, emotional and financial difficulties.  Thankfully, support is available through government agencies as well as organizations that link parents together with others who face the same challenges.  These groups can provide a compendium of information on the latest research into treatments for autism.

Needless to say every parent of a child with autism should work closely with their physician and do all they can to stay current on investigations into new treatments that may help their child.  They can check this research out for themselves on websites of organizations like Autism Society of America, Autism Speaks, or the Autism Research Institute.  These organizations are dedicated to helping people understand autism and the latest research into treatments for the various disorders on the autism spectrum.  Of particular interest is significant evidence that deficiencies or imbalances of fatty acids and trace minerals like magnesium may contribute to childhood neuro-developmental problems like autism spectrum disorders. 

Omega-3 Fish Oil

As far back as the 1970s omega-3 fatty acids were known to be important to brain cells and the way they work.  It is known that fish oil is a helpful therapy for schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder.  Children with developmental disorders have been helped with spelling and reading as well as behavior through supplements of fish oil.1 Research has shown that kids with autism have lower levels of omega-3 than typical children and they many respond well to omega-3 supplements.2

A group of scientists at the Medical University of Vienna recently conducted a study to see if fish oil capsules could help children with autism.  They found that the autistic children in their study showed fewer signs of autism when taking fish oil.1

Minerals

Research shows that autistic children are commonly deficient in minerals such as magnesium.  This may be due to stomach problems, or other mal-absorption issues that often affect autistic children.  Studies are consistently showing that supplementing magnesium in the diet of some autistic kids can improve their behavior.3,4

Dr. Bernard Rimland at the Autism Research Institute (ARI) surveyed thousands of parents to determine what treatments they have used, and which they’ve found to be helpful or harmful to their children with autism.  He found that many parents reported improvement in their children’s symptoms and health by adding vitamins and minerals.5

Parent Awareness

In light of the wealth of information available Omega-3 and mineral supplements, and their impact on the lives of children and families who live with Autism Spectrum Disorder, many parents are seeing for themselves how it works for them to supplement their child’s diet with high quality omega-3 and minerals like our Active 8 and Active OmegaCLICK HERE to read Active 8's CEO Laura McIver's own personal experience with her autistic son: http://www.healthinformationupdate.com/Nutrition_articles/nutritioninfo_magnesium_autism.htm

Biographical References:

1. Amminger, G.; Berger, G.: Schafer, M. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation in Children with Autism:  A Double-blind Randomized, Placebo-controlled Pilot Study.  Biol Psychiatry.  2007.  Feb 15; 61 (4) 551-3.  Epub 2006 Aug 22.

2. Koutsari, C.;  Tsalamanio, E.; Yanni, A.; Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Role in the Prevention and Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders Current Psychiatry Reviews, Volume 2, Issue 2, p.215-234 (2006)

3. Strambi, M., et al. 2006. "Magnesium profile in autism." Biol.Trace Elem Res 109(2):97-104., and Fido, A., et al. 2002. "Biological Correlates of Childhood Autism: Trace Elements ." Trace Elem Electrolytes 19:205-208.

4. Lelord, G., et al. 1981. "Effects of pyridoxine and magnesium on autistic symptoms--initial observations." J Autism Dev Disord. 11(2):219-230.

5. TC \l3 "Vitamin, mineral supplements benefit people with autism.  2003. James Adams, Ph.D. and Woody McGinnis, M.D.  Arizona State University.