How does Vitamin B12 Benefit Children with Autism?
One of the fastest-growing natural treatments for autism is vitamin B12 supplementation. That’s because vitamin B12 is one of the most essential nutrients for the brain, making it an ideal supplement for children with autism-spectrum disorder, as well as ADD, ADHD, or other sensory processing issues.
Vitamin B12 supports the brain
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) plays many roles in your body’s healthy maintenance- it’s needed for your nervous system, blood cell production, and energy synthesis, among many other fundamental biochemical activities.
For children with autism, supplementation with vitamin B12 is especially important for improving cognition, language skills, mental focus, environmental awareness, and general mood.
How does B12 benefit the brain? In several ways- first, vitamin B12 supports myelin, a fatty substance which coats your nerve cells, protecting your nervous system from damage and improving communication between the brain and sensors in your hands, feet, eyes, and ears.
When vitamin B12 levels are low, as they are with many children with autism, you notice a correlation in functional deterioration, including slower responses, difficulty walking, vision problems, ear ringing, and painful tingling and numbness in the hands and feet.
Vitamin B12 is also crucial for producing plenty of healthy red blood cells. Often, symptoms of fatigue, attention disorders, aggression, moodiness, and lack of spatial awareness in autistic children result from a comorbid vitamin B12 deficiency.
Additionally, vitamin B12 helps to correct nerve damage (neuropathy) associated with symptoms of autism. In a study on optic neuropathy and autism, scientists noted positive results in visual perception when autistic children were given high doses of vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 deficiency with autism
There are several reasons why children with autism have an increased risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency. They include:
- Damaged gastrointestinal system, resulting in vitamin B12 malabsorption
- Restrictive diet low in vitamin B12-rich foods such as beef and seafood
- Picky eating habits
- Autoimmune disorders, including intrinsic factor antibodies
To reverse vitamin B12 deficiency and sustain healthy levels of B12, doctors recommend taking at least 1,000 mcg of cobalamin per week, although initial supplementation might require a much higher dose for the first month.
Suggested methods include vitamin B12 shots, sublingual vitamin B12, or other non-dietary forms of vitamin B12 which are available without prescription.
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