Supplements for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
These information pages on complementary therapies for autism and Asperger’s syndrome include reasons for use and research on effectiveness, safety, and side effects.
- Vitamin D (the Sunshine Vitamin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin/ Nicotinic Acid/Niacinamide)
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid/Calcium Pantothenate)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and Magnesium
- Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)
- Vitamin B12 (Methyl B12)
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- Vitamin A/Fish Oil
- Melatonin (the Sleep Hormone)
- Oxytocin (the Love Hormone)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EFAs)
- Amino Acids
- Ginkgo Biloba
- St. John’s Wort
- S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe)
- Glutathione (GSH)
- Dimethylglycine (DMG)
About Complementary Therapies for Autism
A multifaceted approach to autism combines healthy dietary changes with other effective therapies such as behavioural therapy, physical therapy, language therapy, and/or music therapy.
Some vitamins and other supplements have shown promise for treating certain autistic spectrum symptoms. However, even the most effective ones don’t cure autism; rather, they tend to reduce symptoms that those on the spectrum and their loved ones find distressing, such as anxiety, depression, rage attacks, aggression, self-harm, communication deficits, social problems, and other issues.
It’s also important to note that many people with autistic spectrum disorders, particularly on the high-functioning end of the continuum, don’t feel that they need to be “cured” of what they consider to be simply a unique way of being. While most would like to eliminate the depression, anxiety, and certain other problems that are often associated with the spectrum, many wouldn’t want to lose the positive aspects of high-functioning autism variants.
The effectiveness of some supplements for treating distressing symptoms is supported by research, whereas others are backed only by anecdotal reports (individual success stories). Some commonly used supplements don’t appear to have much effect in treating autistic symptoms directly (i.e., difficulty socializing or communicating), but may reduce the anxiety and depression that can trigger or exacerbate them.
When reading the information pages for the supplements listed above, please keep in mind that the articles linked to on this page are not intended as a substitute for medical consultation or care. Health concerns should be referred to a doctor.
Supplements can have side effects, be dangerous at high doses, and interact with certain medications. Always check with a doctor before taking supplements or giving them to your child.
For a full list of articles on autistic spectrum disorders including Asperger’s syndrome, visit the main Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome page.