sun

Vitamin D and Behaviors

Vitamin D and Autism

New research is showing that up to 75% of children on the autism spectrum show significant improvement with high dose Vitamin D supplementation.

Vitamin D levels are very often significantly lower in children with autism and ADHD.

Vitamin D has many vital roles in our body, including enhancing intestinal absorption of other critical nutrients such as Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphate and Zinc. Vitamin D is also very involved with immune function and regulating the inflammatory response within the body.

Vitamin D deficiency has been proven to play a role in many conditions such as autoimmune and behavioral disorders.

Unfortunately, very few foods contain Vitamin D. It is pretty limited to Wild Caught fish (salmon), mushrooms and some shellfish as well as fortified milk. Most of our Vitamin D supply is meant to come from the sun.

Recommended intakes for infants and children vary from 400IU to 1000IU per day depending on specific needs of the child.

However, higher doses are many times warranted for certain conditions and when deficiency is known.

Serum (blood) Vitamin D levels are very important to know prior to supplementing and should be checked again after about 6 months of supplementing. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider for the 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. According to research, ideally levels should be at least 45ng/ml.

Reports and research shows that there appears to be better cognition, focus, and eye contact in autism spectrum disorders and ADHD as vitamin D levels are normalized.

 

 

 

Mohommad, R, et.al, The Relationship between Serum Vitamin D Level and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Iran J Child Neurol. 2015 Autumn; 9(4): 48–53.
Cannell, J, Vitamin D and Autism, What’s New? Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2017 Feb 20.

Nutrient Deficiencies are typically the Root Cause of Behaviors. Get the list of Most Needed Supplements for Behavioral Conditions!

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brain, autism, GABA

GABA for Calming and Anxiety

GABA in helping Anxiety Associated with Autism and ADHD

GABA can be very beneficial for Anxiety

During the process of allowing the body to heal itself, supplements of some sort are usually necessary to give the body what it has been lacking for so long. Optimally, we would like to get to a place of full healing in the body to where supplements are not necessary. However, in the beginning, this is rarely the case.

Many people suffer from anxiety, but especially those with ADHD or on the autism spectrum. GABA levels are very typically reduced in these individuals.

GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid that acts as the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in our brain. It is also responsible for keeping all the other neurotransmitters in check. Our brains need a balance of both excitement and inhibition. An unstable balance, or too much excitation will lead to restlessness, insomnia and irritability. GABA helps to balance this out, naturally. It is also involved with the production of endorphins in our brain, which provide us with that feeling of “all is good”, or what is often referred to as the “runner’s high”. GABA will reduce stress, relieve anxiety and increase alertness.

A deficiency of GABA in people with autism can contribute to the poor inhibition that allows their brain to become over stimulated, which results in their living in a constant state of anxiety.

Some of the following may be experienced with a GABA deficiency.

• anxiety/nervousness
• seizures
• irritability
• heart palpitations
• hypertension
• headaches

Many factors can be involved in lowering GABA levels in the body; some being:

• B1, B6, zinc, manganese and iron deficiency
• Chronic stress
• Inadequate Sleep
• Mercury or lead exposure
• Chronic Pain

Supplementing with GABA will help with:

• Stress
• Hyperactivity
• Anxiety/restlessness
• Impulsivity
• Depression

This can be helped with the GABA supplement. Whenever you introduce a new supplement, always take it slow and go low on dose. Typically, a good place to start is about 250 mg capsule (they can be opened up and mixed in drink/food) and work your way up until you reach the dose which is effective.

 

 

Melville, N., Absence of GABA Activity Linked to Autistic Behaviors, Medscape Medical News, January 2016

Neurotransmitter May Be Linked to Autistic Behavior,
The ASHA Leader, June 2016, Vol. 21, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.21062016.14
 
Coghalan, S., et. al, GABA system dysfunction in autism and related disorders: From synapse to symptoms,

Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews Volume 36, Issue 9, October 2012, Pages 2044–2055

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valerian, anxiety, insomnia, autism

Suffering from Anxiety? How Valerian Root Can Help!

As published on Zhou Nutrition Website:

With 40 million Americans suffering from anxiety disorders, it is the most common mental illness in this country. With the long list of side effects and addiction from anti-anxiety medications, many are searching for an alternative.

Valerian Root May Be the Answer You Are Looking For!

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a perennial plant native to Europe and Asia and has been used for nearly 2000 years for anxiety, nervous restlessness, and insomnia. The effects of valerian are believed to be triggered in the same way as other anti-anxiety medications– by working on the inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid). GABA helps to regulate specific nerve cells and has a calming effect on anxiety. Clinical evidence shows valerian to be as comparable to valium as a treatment for stress and anxiety but without the addictive properties and unwarranted side effects. It is known to be natures best herbal muscle relaxer and sedative.

Valerian is especially good to take during times of stress, when your mind is racing, or if you are experiencing nervous tension or anxiety. There are even implications of it being helpful in calming behaviors associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The root of valerian is the part of the plant used medicinally and can be prepared as a tea, tincture, or capsules. A few of the active constituents of Valerian root, valerenic acid and isovaleric acid, are commonly found in many over-the-counter sleep aides. However, there is no scientific agreement as to the exact elements of valerian that give it the sedative effects. Studies show that valerian can help you fall asleep faster and have higher quality sleep. Some studies reveal that it may take a few weeks to have the full effect of valerian, however, other studies have shown that the effects may be immediately seen.

Valerian tea can be made by steeping 1 tsp. of dried root in 1 cup boiling water for up to 15 minutes. Drink approximately one hour before bedtime. For capsule or tablet form 250-600 mg is the recommended dose and standardized extracts should contain between .5% and 1% volatile oils. As use for anxiety, begin with 200mg of Valerian, three to four times per day.
Precautions

Adverse effects are rarely seen, however, there are some precautions to take.

Follow the recommended dosages, as too much can have a more stimulant type effect.

Valerian should not be taken by women who are pregnant or nursing and children under the age of 3 as there have not been any studies conducted regarding safety within these populations.

Adverse effects are possible when taken with additional sedatives. Valerian should be avoided if taking Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan or Barbiturates (Central nervous system depressants) such as phenobarbital (Luminal), morphine, and propofol (Diprivan). It should also be avoided when taking medications for insomnia such as Ambien, Sonata or Lunesta and alcohol should be avoided when taking valerian.

Speak with your doctor before changing your medications or adding a supplement.

References:
Patocka, J, Biomedically relevant chemical constituents of Valeriana officinalis, Journal of Applied Biomedicine, Volume 8, Issue 1, 2010, Pages 11–18
Natural Medicine’s Comprehensive Database. Valerian. 2016.
Attele AS, Xie JT, Yuan CS. Treatment of insomnia: an alternative approach.Altern Med Rev. 2000;5:249-259.
National Institute of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, Valerian, 2013, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Valerian-HealthProfessional/