Vitamin B12 is often touted as the single most effective biomedical therapy for autism issues. In fact, B12 has also been shown to help individuals with ADHD and similar disorders. Let’s take a deeper look at vitamin B12 so you can decide if it should be a part of Your Autism Game Plan.
Vitamin B12 Encourages Optimal Methylation
B12 helps with methylation. Methylation is a very complex biochemical process responsible for a wide variety of functions within the body.
The Functions of Methylation Related to Autism Issues
- Neurotransmitters: Methylation helps regulate the levels of neurotransmitters that control mood like dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and epinephrine. It is also closely tied to improved behavior and sleep.
- Stress response: Methylation helps regulate the balance of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
- Glutathione: Methylation is responsible for the production and recycling of glutathione, one of the body’s master antioxidants.
- Free radicals and oxidative stress: Methylation plays a big role in fighting free radicals in the body.
- Inflammation and immune responses: Methylation is involved in regulating the body’s immune response. It makes sure the body doesn’t over-react or under-react to various insults.
- Genetic expression, production, and repair of DNA
- Energy production: When methylation is improved, energy levels are also improved.
Magnesium and zinc are also very important in the methylation process. To find out more about how these nutrients can alleviate some of your child with autism’s issues, check out my videos Magnesium Deficiencies and Autism: What You Need to Know and What You Need to Know About Zinc Deficiencies and Autism.
Common Areas of Improvement From B12 Supplementation in Children With Autism
- Improved attention and focus
- Improved eye contact
- Increased awareness of their environment or surroundings
- Improved receptive and expressive language
- Decreased odd or disruptive behaviors
- Improved social awareness
- Increased interest in interacting with peers
- Increased physical and mental energy
- Mental and emotional stability
Possible Side Effects
Vitamin B12 is a low-risk intervention. However, when the methylation process is ramped up because of additional B12 in the body, you will sometimes see a temporary increase or worsening of challenging behaviors.
I recommend a six-week trial of B12 to accurately assess its effectiveness in your child with autism. Many parents report that while some issues worsened, other issues improved. That trade-off was enough motivation to continue the treatment and push through the six-week trial phase. If the addition of B12 causes extreme, dangerous, or self-injurious behaviors in your child with autism, you should stop treatment immediately.
Chemical Types of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamin. You will find the term cobalamin with various prefixes attached to it to differentiate the specific form of the vitamin.
- Cyanocobalamin: This is the form of B12 you will typically find in drugstores and in prescription injections. This form of B12 does not help much with methylation.
- Methylcobalamin: This is the most studied form of B12 and has provided drastic results for many kids.
- Hydroxycobalamin and Adenosylcobalamin: These forms of B12 are used when a child can’t tolerate higher methylation from methylcobalamin.
Forms of Vitamin B12
There are a variety of ways to administer B12 to your child with autism.
- Pills: While pills are readily available, in my experience pills aren’t the best option because they aren’t absorbed well through the stomach.
- Intravenously (IV): This method is effective but can be challenging for kids on the spectrum because it requires the child to sit still for an extended period of time and hold still while the IV is placed.
- Subcutaneous injection: In this method, an injection is given into the fat layer right below the skin. A subcutaneous injection gives you the most bang for your buck, both monetarily and in the effort it takes to administer it. The injection is given with a very small needle and a small amount of liquid. It’s fast and relatively painless. You can even try giving the injection while your child is sleeping.
- Lozenge: B12 can be taken as a lozenge that is held under the tongue. Here are two of my favorite lozenges.
- Liquid: B12 can be found in liquid form. I recommend having your child hold the liquid under their tongue. This way the B12 is absorbed directly in the mouth and doesn’t have to work its way through the gastrointestinal system. Here are two trusted liquid B12 formulations.
I’ve created a curated list of trusted supplements. Sign in to view my full Autism Essentials product guide.
All kids with autism are different, but a methylation deficiency is a common thread for many of them. Vitamin B12 is a great way to help. It’s a low-risk intervention with potentially huge benefits.Tell Me More!
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