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Autism and Micronutrients

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“Your child is autistic.”

A beloved child is in their arms, but in those four words, many of the dreams that a parent has for that child disappear. And for an autistic individual, their body can feel like a prison.

Autism is a disorder of degrees, ranging from mild Asperger’s Syndrome to extremely anti-social behavior like tantrums, self-injury, and even fecal smearing. An autistic child’s brain is so overwhelmed by the sensory input around them that they “lower the din” in various ways. Some cover their ears; some hum, others retreat into silence. Some exhibit often wild behavior as they create output to block out input. They may bang their heads, flap limbs, move restlessly or nearly constantly. Why? Carly Fleischmann, an autistic teen who found a voice at age 11 when she was first put in front of a computer, has given a voice for many autistic children who couldn’t otherwise communicate. She said “Because if I don’t, it feels like my body is going to explode. . . it’s like shaking a can of Coke. If I could stop it, I would.” And to explain the so-called “anti-social” averting of eye contact that is typical of an autistic person: “I take over a thousand pictures of someone’s face when I look at them. That’s why we have a hard time looking at them.”

Autism is a disorder that not only affects the brain, behaviors, relationships, and learning style, it also affects the gut. A less understood facet of the disorder is it’s impact on the metabolism of nutrients from the food an autist child or adult eats.

Researchers at Arizona State University published their findings in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism (2011). They compared healthy unaffected chidren with autistic children of similar genders and ages and examined the relationship between the nutrional and metabolic status of each group of kids.

They found that children with autism have many abnormalities in their metabolic (the way their bodies use and process food) and nutritional status. And that the many variations in the “severity of autism are strongly associated with the nutritional and metabolic markers” that they investigated in their study. They concluded:
“Vitamins, minerals, and assential amino acids, are, by definition, essential for life, so low levels of those critical nutrients will impair metabolic pathways and may contribute to the developmental delays which occur in autism.”

They found that not only could “nutritional insufficiency and metabolic imbalances play a role in how autism spectrum disorders occur” –in other words, contribut to the cause—

That “increasing nutrient intake may reduce the symptoms and co-morbidities that are associated with autism.”


Dr. Mehl-Madrona and his colleagues in the Department of Psychology at Argosy University in Hawaii, who also teaches in the Deaprtment of Family Medicine at the University of Hawaii’s School of Medicine, conducted a study measuring not only “nutrients” but specifically, the carefully proportioned micronutrient formula, EMPowerplus Q96.

EMP+ Q96 contains minerals that are chelated and pulverized in a proprietary process pver 96 hours into extremely small nano-particles, then wrapped in organic ligands that make it very easy for the body to recognize and absorb. Where one can only absorb 5-10% of inorganic minerals from the soil, rock, or shell, QSciences’ technology and delivery system makes the micronutrients in EMP+ Q96’s formula nearly 100% bioavailable. For those suffering autistic disorders who are born with bodies that already struggle to intake and metabolize vitamins and minerals, this unique, proprietary delivery system is a godsend.

This research team found that micronutrient supplementation was comparable to pharmaceuticals in terms of improvemens in the Childhood Autism Rating Scale, and resulted in better improvements on the Aberrant Behavior Checklist [ABC], the Clinical Global Impressions, and Self-Injurious Behavior.

This graph summarizes the effects of EMPowerplus Q96 when it is compared with psych meds, as Dr. Mehl-Madrona’s study reported:

  1. Micronutrients versus standard medication management in autism: a naturalistic case-control study. Mehl-Madrona L, Leung B, Kennedy C, Paul S, Kaplan BJ.
    Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. 2010 Apr;20(2):95-103.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often accompanied by self-injurious behavior (SIB), aggression, and tantrums, symptoms that have reportedly improved with micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) treatment. The current study took advantage of naturally occurring differences in parental preferences for treatment approaches. The micronutrient group asked for treatment without pharmaceuticals (n=44, aged 2–28 years at entry [M=8.39+5.58]). Their records were matched with those of 44 similar children whose families requested conventional treatment (medication group). Both groups improved on both the Childhood Autism Rating Scale and the Childhood Psychiatric Rating Scale (all p values <0.0001). Both groups also exhibited significant decreases in total Aberrant Behavior Checklist scores, but the micronutrient group’s improvement was significantly greater (p<0.0001). SIB Intensity was lower in the micronutrient group at the end of the study (p=0.005), and improvement on the Clinical Global Impressions scale was greater for the micronutrient group (p=0.0029). It is difficult to determine whether the observed changes were exerted through improvement in mood disorder or through an independent effect on autistic disorder. There were some advantages to treatment with micronutrients—lower activity level, less social withdrawal, less anger, better spontaneity with the examiner, less irritability, lower intensity SIB, markedly fewer adverse events, and less weight gain. Advantages of medication management were insurance coverage, fewer pills, and less frequent dosing.