Focus on Autism Supplements: Insight into the Benefits of Supplements for Autism

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Autism Supplements: Introduction

In the book Autism Treatment Guide Elizabeth Gerlach notes that in 1960 Dr. Bernard Rimland who was the director of the Autism Research Institute reported that improvements were observed in autistic children who were given supplements. This way of thinking is still popular. Daily parents of autistic children can be quoted on sites such as praising the results of autism supplements.

A diagnosis of autism can often leave families scurrying for answers. Personal experience has shown that when conducting searches for “cures” and treatments, they are often very expensive. Finding the right treatment can often be confusing and frustrating. Some treatments are even dangerous if not carried out properly, including some injections and hyperbaric chamber treatments. Nutritional supplements are believed by many to be a safe way of possibly alleviating symptoms. For example in The Autism Book: What Every Parent Needs to Know about Early Detection, Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention Robert W Sears stated that “There are five basic supplements that every child with autism should start with. Regardless of the child’s unique health problems.”

Autism Supplements: B Vitamins

In a study carried out by J.B. Adams and BS Holloway from Arizona State University and published in the Journal of Autism, Alternative, and Complimentary Medicine autistic children between the ages of three and eight years old were observed along with a group of neurotypical children. The autistic children’s vitamin B6 levels were significantly higher than the children who did not have autism and their vitamin C levels were significantly lower. It is believed that these children had a less active version of an enzyme that breaks down B6 into its active form.

Adams and Holloway then performed a double blind study for three months. They gave a liquid multivitamin supplement containing vitamins B6 and C to the experimental group of eleven children and a placebo to nine others. Throughout the study the dose was increased steadily until it reached 1mL/5 the child’s body weight. The dose was increased to three times each day. The parents of these 20 children did not know if their child was given the placebo or the multivitamin.

At the conclusion of the study the children who were given the liquid multivitamin were reported to have improved digestion symptoms and better sleep patterns than the children who took the placebo. Further support for B6 comes from Dr. Robert Sears in The Autism Book. He recommends a multivitamin supplement for autistic children which includes a hefty dose of B6.

In addition vitamin B12 Methlycobalamin injections have grown in popularity. Dr. Kelly M Austin who practices at the NHealth Integrative Medicine Facility in San Diego California reports on the Nhealth website that B12 passes the blood-brain barrier and can possibly assist with many mental issues including autism.

Omega 3 Fish Oils

A review entitled Complementary, Holistic, and Integrative Medicine: Fish Oils and Neurodevelopmental Disorders by Brulotte J Bukutu and S. Vohra shows that for some children Omega 3 Fish Oils were noted as having a positive influence on problem behaviors. One mother remarked that fish oil literally “unlocked” her autistic son. She noted that he began to speak and write after a short period of using the supplements.


A zinc deficiency is common in autistic children. When considering an autism supplement zinc can often be overlooked, but it’s believed to help with immune intestinal functions. In the book Autism Treatment Guide Elizabeth Gerlack states that zinc can be effective and is best purchased as a chelated mineral. Suggested dosing should be based on each individual child. A doctor, naturopath or pharmacist can assist with dosing questions.


Melatonin is an autism supplement designed to assist with sleep. Personal experience has shown that an autistic child can appear to never need sleep. When used properly melatonin can give a restful night’s sleep. There have been many studies on the effectiveness of melatonin on autistic children. One such study was conducted by Dr. Beth L. Goodlin-Jones of the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at the University of California Davis.

Over the course of four weeks eighteen children were administered melatonin. Twelve of these children experience overall improvement in their sleep patterns. Melatonin is available in liquid drop form as well as pill form. It can be purchased relatively inexpensively from health food stores as well as major vitamin retailers.

NB: The content of this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to replace sound medical advice and opinion.


Sears Robert W The Autism Book: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Early Detection Little Brown AND Company Hachette Book Group 2010

Gerlach, Elizabeth K. Autism Treatment Guide Future Horizons 1993

Dr Rayshelian

Autism Healing Thresholds

Austin ND

JC Adams, BS Holloway Pilot Study of a Moderate Dose Multivitamin/Mineral Supplement for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Claire Bates “How fish oil unlocked my autistic son”