Diet, nutritional supplements, including lithium orotate, all make a difference with Autism, Sleep Disorders, and Depression. What have you tried?
Unfortunately, more parents than ever know the pain and frustration of trying to help an autistic child. Drugs are not always the best answer. Listed here are some basic natural, non-toxic supplements you can try that may actually make a difference.
I am not going to get into what causes autism, as it may be multi-factorial. I am aware of many theories, and I am not sure which one is correct. However, I do believe our toxic environment … of things we eat, possibly medications or vaccines, and nutrients were NOT getting in our diet, all contribute to a what could be a genetically-susceptible individual developing autism.
This blog post focuses on some things a parent can TRY. Some will see results, others may not. Most parents of an autistic child has tried many or most of the things I will suggest, but they may not have tried these at the level, balance, and/or purity of product brands that I suggest.
I also wish to express that parents should consult with their physician about treatment. All I am offering is ideas. With that understanding and disclaimer out of the way, here is a good list of suggestions (it may not be complete):
1. Multivitamins and Minerals: Every human body needs supplementation; beyond what we can obtain from our food. Certainly, a healthy, low-glycemic, non-trans fat diet is critical for good health; but, supplementation is a must to optimize health. I use and recommend an essential multivitamin, antioxidant, and minerals (chelated form) supplement program. To further personalize this regimen, there are supplements for adults, teenagers, and children. We’re not talking about a routine over-the-counter supplement, but a high-quality, fully balanced, “pharmaceutical-grade” supplement brand.
2. Additional calcium and magnesium tablet, that is balanced with other trace minerals and vitamin D. For children between ages 2 and 5, 1 tablet would be fine. For ages 6 – 10, 2 additional tables of “activated calcium/magesium” would be beneficial. For ages 11 – 15, 3 tablets, and for 16 and older, 4 additional calcium/magnesium tables.
3. Fish Oil (the omega-3 fatty acids) is critical for brain development and function. I would suggest triple or quadruple the normal dose. There is no downside to these higher doses. For ages 0 – 4, 1 – 2 capsules per day (1000 – 2000 mg). For ages 3 – 5, 2 – 3 capsules (2000 – 3000 mg) per day. For ages 6 – 9, 3 – 4 capsules (3000 – 4000 mg) per day. For ages 10 – 13, 4 – 6 capsules (4000 – 6000 mg) per day; and for ages 14 and up, 6 – 10 capsules (6000 – 10,000 mg) per day. IMPORTANT: I recommend a Fish Oil that is cold processes with a double-distillation process making sure the fish oil is free of PCB’s and Organic Residues (like dioxins). You cannot be reassured that most over-the-counter brands are of this high quality.
4. Vitamin D (see my article on Vitamin D on www.laddmcnamara.com). Even if there is 2000 IU of vitamin D3 already in your essential vitamin and mineral regimen, it is beneficial to take additional vitamin D3. Everyone would benefit from taking enough vitamin D to obtain serum blood levels around 75 to 85 ng/ml. Most people do not reach those blood levels of vitamin D. Young children may reach those levels with 2000 IU/day. Older children (6 to 10 years old) may need 4000 IU/day. Adolescents may need 6000 IU/day, and adults may need 8000 to 10,000 IU/day to achieve blood levels in the 75 to 85 ng/ml range. Personally, I take 12,000 IU per day that keeps my vitamin D levels between 85 and 90; but, I am a bigger guy. Most people will be fine with less. The dose that is correct for you can only be determined by a blood test. Again, see my article on www.laddmcnamara.com.
5. Grape Seed Extract crosses the blood-brain barrier, and has shown promise in many neurological issues. I would suggest the following: Ages 1 – 4, 50 mg/day. Ages 5 – 9, 100 – 150 mg/day. Ages 10 – 14, 200 – 300 mg/day; and for 15 and up, consider 300 to 600 mg/day.
6. Co-enzyme Q10 helps with every single organ, tissue, and cell in your body. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and helps the neurons and neurotransmitters function more optimally. Consider: Ages 1 – 4, 30 mg/day. Ages 5 – 8, 60 to 100 mg/day. Ages 9 – 11, 100 – 200 mg/day. Ages 12 – 15, 200 to 300 mg per day. Ages 16 and up, 200 to 400 mg per day. (It is best taken with Alpha Lipoic Acid.)
7. Alpha Lipoic Acid (best taken with Co-Enzyme Q10): Consider: Ages 1 – 4, 25 – 50 mg/day. Ages 5 – 8, 50 to 100 mg/day. Ages 9 – 11, 100 – 200 mg/day. Ages 12 – 15, 200 to 400 mg per day. Ages 16 and up, 200 to 800 mg per day. (It is best taken with Alpha Lipoic Acid.)
8. Lithium Orotate: Lithium Orotate is not the same as Lithium Carbonate, commonly used to treat bipolar disorder; nor does it have its side effects. Lithium is a naturally-occurring trace mineral in which many people are deficient. A small dose of lithium orotate works differently than the prescribed “drug,” lithium carbonate. Lithium Orotate can be be effective in helping with bipolar disorder, but it is generally overlooked. It has shown to be helpful in autism, and many other brain disorders. This effective natural mineral can provide benefits by balancing mood hormones, such as serotonin and dopamine. In addition to autism, lithium orotate has been found to be helpful with mood swings, depression, uncontrolled anger, anxiety, sleep disorders, bipolar depression, schizophrenia, memory disorders, cognitive dysfunction, behavioral issues, language, and drug and alcohol dependency. It appears MANY people can benefit from lithium orotate, in combination with 5-HTP and GABA. Dosing is kept rather low. The following is a very general range and dosing; and one must check with their doctor. For example: A younger child, ages 2 – 5 parents and doctors can consider 20 mg. (Check with your doctor.) Ages 6 – 9, 40 – 60 mg. Ages, 10 – 13, 60 – 135 mg, and age 14 and up, 100 – 300 mg. It is best to split the doses, into twice, or three times per day.
9. Choline: A precursor nutrient to a neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. It is helpful for depression, memory, cognitive abilities, anxiety, behavioral issues, and language. A young child (less than age 5) can take 100 mg or so. A older child (ages 6 – 10) can take 150 – 200 mg. A young adolescent (ages 11 – 15) can take 300 – 400 mg, and anyone 16 and older can take 400 – 800 mg.
10. Phosphatidylserine: an amino acid complex that helps with neurotransmitters; which can help with depression, sleep disorders, bipolar depression, memory, cognitive abilities, anxiety, behavioral issues, language, and autism: A young child (less than age 5) can take approx. 20 mg, give or take. A older child (ages 6 – 10) can take 50 mg/day, give or take. A young adolescent (ages 11 – 15) can take 100 mg/day, give or take, anyone 16 and older can take 100 – 200 mg/day. No one knows the exact dose that is beneficial, but it is not harmful. It is very helpful for nerve functioning.
11. 5-HTP: is 5-HydroxyTryptophan, which is naturally found in milk and turkey. However, you could not drink enough milk or eat enough turkey to obtain the amount required to make a difference. 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin. As opposed to antidepressant drugs that block the re-uptake of serotonin and have side-effects, 5-HTP (particularly with lithium orotate) helps combat depression, PMS, bipolar disorder, sleep disturbances, and autism. Consider: 5 and under, 50 mg/night. Ages 6 – 10, 50 – 100 mg/night. Ages 11 – 15, 100 – 150 mg/night. Above age 16, 200 – 300 mg/night.
12. GABA: (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) a precursor of dopamine, a very important mood and cognitive brain hormone, helping with depression, memory, anxiety, behavior, language, and autism. Many antidepressants artificially boost dopamine with side effects. GABA helps boost dopamine natrually, and works well with 5-HTP, lithium orotate, and other nutrients suggested here. Consider: 5 and under, 50 mg/night. Ages 6 – 10, 50 – 100 mg/night. Ages 11 – 15, 100 – 250 mg/night. Above age 16, 200 – 400 mg/night.
13. Melatonin: Since most children with autism do not produce enough melatonin, they commonly have sleep disruption. In addition to the lithium orotate and 5-HTP, which should help with sleep disturbances, a pure source of melatonin (for example, from sources in Switzerland) is very helpful. Dosing for ages under 5 would be 0.5 to 1 mg. For ages 6 – 10, 1 – 2 mg/night. For ages, 11 – 15, 2 – 4 mg/night. And, for 16 and older, 2 – 8 mg/night. It is not toxic, and can help the child (as well as adults) get a more restful, restorative night’s sleep.
Again, this list is not “complete,” but they are some basic things a parent can do for their child (and themselves). This should NOT be interpreted as medical advice, but only nutritional supplement considerations to support one’s health.
There are many other nutrients that are important for overall health of children with autism, let alone everyone else: for example: Digestive Enzymes and ProBiotics.
My hope is this gives people some ideas as to what to try. And, remember, most of these work when balanced together, not just trying this or that. It’s the ratios and balances of nutrients that matter.