One of the most important things about being a parent is ensuring that your children are getting in their vitamins and minerals. But if you have young children, you know that it is easier said than done. By nature, most children can be picky eaters, and it can be challenging to make sure that they are eating the right foods to get those essential nutrients in! For neurotypical children, picky eating may be the result of preference and is often outgrown as they get older.
It’s slightly different for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
One of the hallmark symptoms of ASD is repetitive and restrictive behaviors, and picky eating is one of the most common in toddler-aged children. The difference between neurotypical children and children with ASD is that children with autism are often hypersensitive to the textures of food. With that being said, it can be even more challenging for parents of children with ASD to make sure that their kids are receiving the nutrients that they need to grow and develop.
Today, we will discuss the importance of nutrients for autistic children and dive deeper into a possible connection between vitamin b12 and autism. We have reviewed the relationship between fish oil and autism, melatonin and autism, vitamin D and autism, and other vitamins and minerals in the past. As we learn more about ASD and dietary deficits in children, researchers have continued to study and monitor other nutrients that may help to improve symptoms associated with autism. So let's dive right in and learn more about the role and benefits of B12.
What is Vitamin B12?
If you walk down the supplement aisle at any grocery or health food store, then you know it can be overwhelming. There are so many different types, brands, and forms of various supplements, including vitamin B12. So what is B12, and what are its benefits?
Vitamin B12 can be found naturally in foods, but if your child is a picky eater, you may have to resort to supplements (after talking with your child’s pediatrician, of course).
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is an essential B vitamin that plays a role in red blood production, brain function, and nerve function. Like other B vitamins, it is a water soluble vitamin that can travel through the bloodstream.
The vitamin can be found naturally in many foods, including:
- Dairy products (yogurt, cheese, milk)
Vitamin B12 and Autism
As we learn more about vitamin deficiencies and their role in brain development, more and more studies are being conducted to test various nutrients and the effects they can have on children with ASD.
Vitamin B12 deficiencies can cause significant problems with cell production and brain function, specifically developmental delays in young children. Often, when a child exhibits signs of delayed speech and language, it can be the first sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency. There are a growing number of studies that have shown improved speech and language abilities in children after B12 intervention.
Methyl B12 injections and B12 supplementation have grown in popularity as alternative treatments to autism. A relatively recent study focused on Methyl Vitamin B12 (MB12) injections. It found that autism symptoms had improved when the children received methyl B12 injections (as opposed to the placebo group).
According to the study, many clinical improvements were observed within the children. They saw improvements in symptoms commonly associated with ASD, such as sleep, gastrointestinal symptoms, hyperactivity, tantrums, nonverbal intellectual quotient, vision, eye contact, echolalia, stereotypy, anemia, and nocturnal enuresis. After the study was over, 78% of parents continued the MB12 injections to help ease symptoms of ASD for their children.
When it comes to autism, there is not one direct cause or “cure” for the disorder. However, as we learn more about autism, we also learn more about possible treatments that parents stand by. ASD is typically managed through treatment options that include applied behavioral therapy, dietary interventions, education, and support.
Why We Included B12 in Our Formula
Most children's multivitamins do not have the exclusive ingredients that support brain health, which is why parents often seek alternative options.
At Simple Spectrum, our hope is that our Nutritional Support Supplement will help parents fill the vitamin and mineral gaps that may be missing from their child’s diet, including Vitamin B12.
Although the relationship between vitamin B12 and autism is still being studied, there is mounting evidence that suggests supplementation and dietary intervention could improve or ease ASD symptoms in children.