The most effective home remedies for autism include the use of fish oil, magnesium, melatonin, probiotics, antibacterial and anti-parasitic substances, dietary changes, vitamin D, turmeric, and detox baths.
Home Remedies for Autism
The most popular home remedies for autism include:
While a balanced, nutritious diet is essential for all children, magnesium is specifically relevant for those who are autistic. Magnesium deficiency can lead to a number of symptoms that are in line with commonly seen behavioral patterns in autistic children, including rocking, teeth grinding, anxiety, poor concentration, and a low attention span. By ensuring that magnesium is a part of every day’s nutrient intake, those symptoms can be reduced, allowing for more productive behavioral therapy and improved behavior.
Omega-3 fatty acids, along with some other types of fatty acids, are actually beneficial and essential for the body’s normal, healthy development. Studies have shown that high levels of omega-3s can increase socialization in people suffering from autism and can also soothe hyperactive behaviors and disruptive behaviors. In a randomized, double-blind 6-week study by G. Paul Amminger et al., 13 autistic children (5-17 years of age) had a diet enriched with omega-3 fatty acids and showed reduced signs of hyperactivity. The researchers suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may be an effective treatment for children with autism. Fish oil is one of the most concentrated and easily accessible forms of omega-3s, and the supplements can be found online as well as pharmacy stores.
One of the most closely related symptoms/conditions of autism is poor sleep habits. The disruption in normal sleep cycles can cause irritability, lack of focus and concentration, social anxiety, and chronic stress. Melatonin, however, is a soothing, sedative substance that may ensure healthy, restful nights of sleep, thereby helping autistic children to maintain a more relaxed schedule (Swiss Medical Weekly Journal 2005). The related behaviors of poor sleep will diminish, enabling more effective practice of social and communication skills.
Gut Health & Probiotics
Many researchers have argued that one of the most obvious causes of autism was dietary in nature (Adams et al., BMC Gastroenterology 2011). In other words, the health of the gut and the intake of nutrients were the two major culprits behind the severity (or even development) of autism. Intestinal permeability has been closely linked to autism, and probiotics are often the best remedy. Probiotics stimulate the growth and development of healthy, beneficial bacteria in the gut that helps us efficiently absorb nutrients and protect the gut from any infections. Probiotics can be found in ample supply in yogurt, and with a healthier gastrointestinal system, some of the symptoms of autism may diminish.
Sugar-Free and Gluten-Free
Although research is still ongoing on this particular treatment strategy, there are many who believe that by eliminating sugar, gluten, and other processed foods, the symptoms of autism can be reduced and behavior begins moving back towards “normalcy”. This is a very hot topic of debate at the minute, particularly with the increased attention being placed on gluten in recent years, and the rise of “gluten-free” diets, regardless of whether it is due to a food allergy or not.
Other theories about autism from an environmental perspective argue that autism develops due to the child’s gut being exposed to Candida bacteria and other parasitic substances that leave toxic residues in the gut. This very dangerous bacterial exposure at a young age could explain many of the symptoms of autism. Therefore, protecting children from dangerous bacteria and parasites is essential to fully protect them from the possibility of developing the disorder.
This critical nutrient in our diet is often forgotten or overlooked in exchange for the more “high-profile” vitamins. However, vitamin D is crucial for both children and mothers. Low levels of Vitamin D in pregnant women have been connected with higher levels of infant autism, while vitamin D deficiency is linked with the leaky gut syndrome and other conditions that affect the gastrointestinal system, a critical aspect of autism development, as explained above. Finally, vitamin D affects the function of neurotransmitters, which are often negatively affected by those who have autism.
Autism sufferers appear to have higher frequency rates of scurvy, as though their bodies do not process or intake it well enough, further supporting the validity of a diet-based strategy to reduce the symptoms. Keeping a high vitamin C intake in the body helps with the development of collagen, antioxidant activity, cognitive function, and cellular repair and health throughout the body, all of which could improve the symptoms and sensitivities of certain autistic individuals. Further research is needed to see the potential of vitamin C on autistic children.
As one of the most potent and versatile herbs in common use, turmeric offers antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects to the body. This can significantly improve the health of the gut and ensure proper nutrient intake so that many of the symptoms of autism can be lessened or eliminated altogether.
Word of Caution: It is important to remember that autism is a disorder, not a disease, and as such, there is still no formal cure. These are supplemental remedies and should be combined with behavioral therapy as well, according to The Autism Society. On their own, neither approach would be particularly effective. Always speak to a doctor if you suspect that your child suffers from autism because the different types of disorders within autism spectrum disorder often utilize different treatment approaches.