Ask the Insider–Autism

Q: I have a 25 year old son who I believe has some Asperger’s/autistic tendencies as well as depression and possible bipolar. Do you have any suggestions/recommendations for him?

Dr. Micozzi: First, the debate is raging again about whether or not childhood vaccination is causing or contributing to the epidemic of autism spectrum disorders.  I participated in Congressional Hearings on this topic and there are strong views on both sides.  Recent research actually finds giving acetaminophen (which is inappropriate in any case) to prevent fevers before and/or after scheduled vaccinations is the real culprit- so this link was one step removed.  Either way, excessive vaccination can cause various problems and some vaccines such as the annual influenza vaccine and the HPV vaccine just don’t make sense.  From what I have heard from health officials in Colorado their “nazi-like” views about mandatory vaccinations for everyone are a cause for great concern.

In terms of what you can do to help improve or manage autistic tendencies and related concerns, there is good evidence for the benefits of basic dietary supplementation.  Vitamin D is a powerhouse for brain performance and for balancing mood. I recommend 5000 IU per day Vitamin D.  All the real science supports that recommendation. The only group that as out of step with the real science (as usual) was the quasi-government Institute of Medicine.  We have just discovered that it turns out their calculations were wrong all along by a factor of ten. So their puny recommendations for a total of 600 IU per day, should really be 6000 IU per day. Counting for some Vitamin D in today’s poor food sources that fits perfectly with my long-standing recommendation for 5000 IU. Vitamin D is available in an easy-to-use liquid form with a without added astaxanthin a powerful carotenoid from marine sources.  Another carotenoid called lutein which I helped discover in the 1980s also has been shown to have brain benefits. Look for 12 mg per day lutein.

In Europe the B Vitamins are known as “neuro-vitamins” and many are deficient in standard diets and especially vegetarian diets.  In particular vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is important.  Individuals with autism spectrum disorder often do well with higher intakes of B6, as well as other nutrients.

Take a high-quality daily B Vitamin supplement daily.

Not to overlook minerals, doctors have known for a century that magnesium supplements appear to help patients with depression or low mood.  For magnesium, I recommend, 200 mg/day.