Zinc--a critical element for autism
Zinc is critical in the nutritional healing process of autism, ADHD or other behavioral condition.
It is known to play a vital role in neonatal development and is involved in countless metabolic and signaling pathways within the body.
One of the many critical roles of zinc is in gastrointestinal function and gut-brain interaction. There is indication in some research that zinc deficiency among mothers during pregnancy can play a role in the development of gastrointestinal functions of infants/children.
Zinc is critically important for neurotransmitter production, thyroid function and hormone balancing.
Zinc has been found to improve cognition in children with autism and ADHD as well as lessen hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors.
Zinc has also been found to play an important role in sensory integration as well as taste and smells with food. Because of this, zinc supplementation can sometimes be very beneficial in getting extremely picky eaters to try new foods.
Having zinc and copper serum levels checked are proving to be very helpful in knowing the right amount of supplementation to acquire. Zinc and copper ratios have shown in research to be a major indicator of severity of autism.
Studies indicate that zinc and copper have a huge impact on GABA neurotransmitters as well as mercury accumulation in bodily tissues.
The highest amounts of zinc are found most abundantly in oysters, lentils, and green peas. Absorption from food is typically only about 33% in healthy adults, which makes supplementation necessary in many individuals.
Zinc supplementation is also typically necessary to pull someone out of a deficient state. The recommended daily dose is 12-15mg for healthy individuals but may need more depending on signs, symptoms and nutritional status.
Speak to your healthcare provider or Clinical Nutritionist to have a better understanding of yours or your child’s individual needs.
Shawna Kunselman, MSACN
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Bjourklund, G. , The role of zinc and copper in autism spectrum disorders,Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2013;73(2):225-36.,https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23823984
Guillermo Vela, Zinc in Gut-Brain Interaction in Autism and Neurological Disorders, Neural Plasticity
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 972791, 15 pages
Babaknejad N, The Relationship between Zinc Levels and Autism: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis., Iran J Child Neurol. 2016 Fall;10(4):1-9.