Dietary Supplements for Autism

Dietary Supplements for Autism

“Dietary Supplements for Autism” Dietary supplements are commonly
given to children with autism. Do they do any good? One of the most common is the
omega-3 fats in the form of fish oil, based on studies like this
that showed a marked reduction in omega-3 blood levels
among autistic children. But maybe that’s reverse causation.
Instead of the low omega-3s leading to autism, maybe the
autism led to low omega-3s. Maybe autistic children are just
pickier eaters and not eating as much fish or flax seeds. You don’t know
until you put it to the test. Six months of 200 mg a day of DHA, one
of the long chain omega-3s, and no effect. So here all these kids are taking it,
despite the lack of evidence that it actually does any good. Maybe they just didn’t give enough? OK, how about a randomized,
placebo-controlled trial of 1,500 mg of
long-chain omega-3s? And a high dose
didn’t work either. Put all the studies together
and omega-3 supplementation simply does not appear
to affect autism. Here is a preliminary trial that was
published of vitamin C supplements for autism that suggested
benefit in at least some kids, but should not be interpreted
as a blanket recommendation for vitamin C supplementation,
especially at the whopping dose they used, which could increase
the risk of kidney stones. Bottom line—read a 2017 review in the
journal of the Academy of Pediatrics— there’s little evidence to support the use
of nutritional supplements for children with autism, though they didn’t
review the vitamin D data. The vitamin D story started out,
like the omega-3 story: clear evidence that vitamin D
blood levels were significantly lower in children with autism compared to
other kids, and lower D levels correlated with greater autism severity, but
vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. Rather than vitamin D
playing some role in autism, isn’t it more likely that autistic kids
just aren’t out sunbathing as much? There were some promising
case reports though. For example, this two-year-old
with autism, deficient in D, whose autism seemed to improve
after vitamin D supplementation. But you don’t know if it’s a fluke
until you put it to the test. A study on the efficacy of vitamin D
supplementation in 83 autistic children, and 80% got better, in terms of their
behavior, eye contact, attention span, concluding vitamin D is inexpensive,
readily available, safe, and may have beneficial effects. But this was an open label trial,
meaning no placebo control group. So we don’t know how much of the
improvement was just the placebo effect. Now sometimes open label
experiments are unavoidable, like if you’re studying the effects
of physical therapy or something, it’s hard to come up with
like a placebo massage, but you can stick
vitamin D in a pill. Why not then do a proper randomized,
double-blind, placebo-controlled trial? The typical excuse you get
is that it wouldn’t be ethical. I mean, if you have a kid
who was vitamin D deficient, how could you just stand by
and give them a sugar pill? Yeah, but if vitamin D actually works, how
many kids are you condemning to continue to suffer unnecessarily by publishing
a less-than-ideal study design? There are a bunch of various tenable
mechanisms by which vitamin D could potentially help in children with
autism: improvement in DNA repair, anti-inflammatory actions,
mitochondrial protection, etc. That’s why randomized, controlled
trials are urgently needed, but there haven’t been any
such studies until now. A randomized, controlled trial
of vitamin D supplementation in children with autism,
and it’s about time. They gave kids up to 5,000
international units a day, depending on their weight,
versus a placebo. The drugs we have for autism really just
help with some of the associated symptoms, like we can give kids
sleeping pills or something, but there’s no drug that really touches
the core symptoms of autism. So research groups around the world
are looking for something better, and this group appeared to find it. Vitamin D supplementation
revealed significant effects on the core manifestations
of autism spectrum disorder, significant improvements in not
only irritability and hyperactivity, but social withdrawal, and repetitive
behaviors, and inappropriate speech— the first double-blind,
randomized, controlled trial proving the efficacy of
vitamin D in autism patients.



  • xxAniko

    Ah vitamin D!

  • Idylchatter

    In a properly functioning GI tract, which many persons with autism lack, omega threes can be converted to cannabinoids in the gut. This release seems to prove that statement.
    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its euphoric effects, but it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. A new study in animal tissue reveals the cascade of chemical reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into cannabinoids that have anti-inflammatory benefits – but without the psychotropic high.

    The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Foods such as meat, eggs, fish and nuts contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which the body converts into endocannabinoids – cannabinoids that the body produces naturally, said Aditi Das, a University of Illinois professor of comparative biosciences and biochemistry, who led the study. Cannabinoids in marijuana and endocannabinoids produced in the body can support the body’s immune system and therefore are attractive targets for the development of anti-inflammatory therapeutics, she said.

  • Idylchatter

    Israel is presently doing clinical trials with THC and more importantly CBD for asthma and autism.
    Dr. John Hicks Autism One Lecture
    Can cannabis treat asthma? Jerusalem experts to find out
    Hebrew University's Raphael Mechoulam and Francesca Levi-Schaffer to undertake research with funding from UK-Israel startup CIITECH
    Sitting on cushions in the corner of a brightly decorated room in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, 11-year-old Eitan anxiously watched the sliding door leading to the hallway outside. Each time someone entered the room, he rushed past the hanging mobiles and flowers painted on the walls to make sure the door was shut securely.

    Eitan was at the hospital with his parents to receive extracts of cannabis that researchers hope will help treat his severe autism. The project, which will test the effects of cannabinoids on 120 autistic children and young adults, is the first of its kind worldwide, said Dr. Adi Aran, the director of the hospital’s neuropediatric unit. The study is made possible by Israel’s progressive approach to research on cannabis and has generated interest in the scientific community and among families of children with autism.
    And Newsweek put this out, which by no means is a nothing burger.

    Is Marijuana the World’s Most Effective Treatment for Autism?

    It’s morning in Nahariya, a tiny Israeli town near the Lebanese border, and 4-year-old Benjamin is repeatedly smashing his head against the wall. He spins wildly in circles, screeching at full volume. As his mother tries frantically to calm him, he pulls down his pants and defecates on the floor.

    When they leave their apartment, Benjamin wrestles free of her hand and nearly runs into oncoming traffic. Sharon attempts a trip to the supermarket but leaves before she finishes shopping because her son is screaming while he picks up items and throws them to the floor.

    That was in October 2016, and typical of most days at the time. Sharon, a single mother who moved to Israel from the United States one year earlier, was alone and losing control. Benjamin was taking Ritalin, a drug usually associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which he did not have. He’d also tried the antipsychotic ziprasidone and a mix of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. None of them helped, and he often became more hyperactive as they wore off.

    All that changed a year ago, when Benjamin started taking marijuana. In the little apartment he shares with his mother, mornings are now relaxed and orderly. His transformation may signal the arrival of a long-awaited and desperately needed healing for the many others just like him: children living with severe autism.

  • Steph Ss

    I thought vitamin D could not be in pill form because it's a hormone that is generated by sun exposure. And that Vitamin D supplements are basically a waste of money.

  • Idylchatter

    The cannabinoids that we manufacture, that are all important for controlling inflammation, enabling the regeneration of nervous system tissue, bone fracture healing, melanin production, controlling the blood pressure of retinal microvasculature, curbing anxiety, panic attacks, pain, addiction, etc are anandamide and 2-arachinoylglycerol. A subset of people who have fibromyalgia and virtually all persons who suffer with migraines have low levels of anandamide in their cerebrospinal fluid. CBD can take up for that, and it does. The following lectures will school you on the importance of the endocannabinoid system and what the discovery of it means for the human race.

    Medical Cannabis, The Herb and Its Applications This talk will be presented by Judy Mikovitz PhD
    The Re-Discovery of the Benefits of Medicinal Cannabis – Dr. John Hicks
    Understanding the Endocannabinoid System, National Institutes of Health
    Clinical Application of Cannabinoids and Terpenes | M. Gordon, Cannafest 2015  

    The Endocannabinoid System, Patients out of Time:  Mary Lynne Mathre, Part 1 of 5.   

    CBDTV Reel 1 Doctors and Diabetes Testimonies

    The Inside Story of Cannabidiol – What Are the Benefits of CBD?

    Dr. Michelle Bean The Benefits of CBD Oil (Silicon Valley Health Institute April 2018)
    Dr. Stuart Titus, CBD and medical research
    Dr. Blair on CBD for PTSD
    Dr. Donald Abrams on anxiety, depression and PTSD
    David Bearman M.D.
    Cannabis, cannabinoids, ADHD/ADD, Tourette's Syndrome, Migraine Headaches, Bi-Polar disorder
    CBD is great for anxiety – Dr. Hicks
    No more anxiety meds with CBD
    Dr. John Hicks, cannabidiol from hemp
    Dr. David Allen the discovery of the endocannabinoid system
    Dr. Ralph Mechoulam on the endocannabinoid system
    The Endocannabinoid system in health and disease, Dr. Ethan Russo Part 1
    The Endocannabinoid system in health and disease, Dr. Ethan Russo Part 2
    Dr. Michelle Weiner How your endocannabinoid system works to treat patients Canna Ed Day 2017
    The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) Treatment Implications in ASD – Tracy Fritz, MD  

    Cannabis and Gut Health:  Medical Marijuana Science
    Endocannabinoid System Part 1
    Does medical marijuana relieve back pain Dr. Rachna Patel
    Benefits of CBD Cannabidiol : Delivery systems, usage and mechanism in neuroinflammatory disorders.
    Dr. Lumir Hanus  – Why is Cannabis Such a Successful Medicine
    Cannabis Against Cancer Dr. Christina Sanchez PhD.,  Mara Gordon, Dr. Dennis Landaverde, Andrea Cartin MD


    Dr. Blair on inflammation and CBD

    Cannabasics The Endocannabinoid System, Nyishar

    Cannabidiol Science : For Doctors : For Patients Americans for Safe Access

    Answers to FAQ about Medical Marijuana  Dr. Scott Schwartzwelder

  • justgivemethetruth

    Fish oil production is leading to more stress on fisheries and a real environmental disaster, it's a scam

  • Peter Faber

    Vitamin D is involved in pretty much every type of cell function. You can't really overdose on it. So unless you get at least an hour of sunshine (arms legs head minimum) without sunscreen, you should supplement. I do 5000 IUs per day. It's great for mood and just being more positive.

  • Nature Positive

    No need supplemnts, the SUN is free. The children need to play outside at the Nature . Not play digital games/ "sociel" media most of the time.

  • D.T. Grosz

    I wish you would do a video on Cannabis oil – is it as good as all the hype suggests???

  • Jen Dannie

    Mum here with autistic child. Giving my son Vit.D3 and that should be given side by side with Vit.K2. Also giving Omega 3 derived from Algae.
    I'm living in a cold country and sunshine isn't always available and even summer last just a month.

  • Desertphile

    The evil monsters making these videos should be dragged to the nearest tree and hanged.

  • Counterexample

    Please make a video about tinnitus.

  • truefuschniken

    Love this info!!!

  • Kathy Fausett

    Yes, and insulin improves blood sugar in diabetics, but ignores the cause of diabetes. Vitamin D improves the symptoms in autism, yet ignores the cause—vaccines.

  • johnny roe

    did they start deficient though?

  • John Deacon

    This is a sensitive topic that is consistently handled disappointingly poorly by Greger. I have an autistic friend who likes being autistic, considers it part of his identity, and detests the idea of this being changed by medicine or diet or anything else. I suspect a lot of autistic people share this view and it is vital to acknowledge that before discussing autism from a biomedical perspective.

  • Zamininc

    Should start bundling minecraft with a vitamin D supplement then.

  • HardHittingHealthTruth J

    Most people need vitamin D…. Including Vegans..Stop living in the past…

  • Peter Faber

    Dr. Greger, here's an interesting study for you:

    Article that explains it in plain english:

  • William

    I trust you with this stuff. Thank you soooo much for these videos. After I saw the video regarding sulphurophane I started giving my 6 year old non verbal severly autistic son that supplement daily. Within 2 months he started babbling and saying a couple words here and there. He has also improved drastically in ABA, OT, & Speech. Of course its not an instant cure but wow, what a difference. I will start giving him more vitamin D now.

    Also, we’ve been giving him an omega 3 supplement for over a year and never saw an improvement.

  • Eve Levrae

    so why not just have them run around outside every day?

  • Gareth Morrow

    Is there a danger to prolonged use of high vitamin d even if you have a low calcium diet?

  • Alchemist-A

    Is there anything that Vit D is not good for?!

  • James Humphrey

    LOCK HIM UP !!!! trump

  • OBELISK 369

    Dr. Greger can you please make a video on this article? this article is concerning as it states many studies showing adverse health effects under the third section "3. Adverse Impacts of Fluoride Ingestion on Human Health" about halfway down the page. I know you focus on food but water is extremely important for our health and is ingested by everyone. Much love and thank you for all your hard work!!!

  • Ricky Enene

    cool stuff

  • Jed Jackson

    How can you apply placebo effects to children who i assume dont know they are being treated and or are not cognisant enough for placebo effects to manifest?

  • GreensAndBeansGaming

    Was wondering if u could do a video on why you changed your mind? The vegan community is all familiar with Dr. Kempner's work.

  • It's A Mom Blog

    I have an autistic child. None of this bullshit works. Avoid preservatives and artificial ingredients and get a good therapy regimen going.

  • Denise Dubé

    Vitamin D is among the micronutrients needed in converting T4 to the active thyroid hormone, T3. Do you know of any studies linking other thyroid dependent nutrients to autism, such as iodine? Given low levels of thyroid hormones and low iodine intakes can affect brain function and development, perhaps there might be a link. We know that insufficient iodine intake during pregnancy can severly affect brain development of the fetus.

  • Raw Bacon

    Veganism = Autism

  • Death Angel

    Best supplement is a bullet to the head

  • Tea-Licious With Yulia

    Amazing video, as always! Could you please do a study on which grain is the best in terms of mineral content/ antioxidant etc pleeease? :))

  • kbkesq

    Great info but when he says “until NOW, it’s often years ago. In this case 2016.”

  • Eelke Aptroot

    That's good news, now let's hope those ASD kids get some real sunshine and not just more pills.

  • reinux

    How is it that medical researchers are seemingly so bad at science sometimes?

  • Daniel Cuevas

    My mother gave me these and I don’t think it helped with my Autism.

  • Kathleen North

    Dr Gregor, many of us are confused. What about this?

  • ImDemonWolf

    Take away is to get more sunlight for autistic people.

  • Juliana Sepulveda


  • claude

    hello i'm live in south of daughter take vit d et she's autist.with no gluten and milk since two years .she's don't the's à miracle.happy .make dance. go To sleep with scroll friend. she gavé.candida albican take traitement now.thanks for toi vidéos and the french traduction..excuse me for my by

  • CaseyCJL

    Anyone here read the article and know what kind of vitamin D it is? D2, D3?

  • Nicky Rosenbluth

    Thank you for the informative videos after I complained to my dr that I am so confused with all of the weight loss programs keto, Vegan, etc he suggested your videos which I used to watch because I got so overwhelmed by the choices I am glad he sent me back

  • Sharon's poetry Corner #Enjoy!

    We use cod liver oil for the vit D and Omega 3's! …so far it's working!

  • Realtin O'Brien

    Children with autism.. what about ADULTS!!?

  • Boglenight

    I want people to realize that though this most likely helps kids with symptoms of their autism, it's most likely due to the fact that autistic kids tend to stay inside more due to the fact that their neurological disorder often impairing their abilities to adjust to certain environments and in their abilities to socialize resulting in a vitamin d deficiency. The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, depression, and anxiety, these on top of the challenges that autistic children face would result in the symptoms of autism being more severe than they are, especially when it comes to social anxiety something that is already pretty common among autistic children and adults. The heightened symptoms of autism being brought back to the natural levels that the neurological disorder brings may be read as a false positive as to "treating" or "curing" autism.

  • Leah Wood

    IMPORTANT UPDATE: unfortunately the study on Vitamin D was retracted due to insufficient data:

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