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Zinc and Autism?

Posted by on Sep. 7, 2016 at 2:04 AM
  • 7 Replies

Read more: Zinc May Reverse Brain Changes Caused by Autism

A study from researchers in New Zealand has found that zinc could boost brain cell communication, which is decreased in children with autism. This trace element, essential to children's growth, could reverse autism-related changes to a gene, the most severely affected by the condition.

The prevalence of zinc deficiency in autistic children was highlighted in 2013 by Japanese researchers. Further studies have shown that zinc deficiency in early childhood could be linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), characteristics also seen in autistic children.

Zinc is a trace element that plays an essential role in the synthesis of DNA and proteins. A deficiency of the element can affect genes and their mutations. What's more, zinc plays an essential role in the mechanisms allowing cell multiplication and is important for tissue growth and repair. As a result, young children need large quantities of zinc to grow and develop.

Now, researchers from New Zealand's University of Auckland have discovered that zinc can reverse the decrease in brain cell communication associated with autism in animal models.

The scientist focused on one gene in particular, called Shank 3 -- associated with behavioral disorders and schizophrenia -- where modifications were observed. Usually, brain cell communication decreases due to genetic modifications in the Shank3 gene caused by autism. Zinc was found to reverse the process, boosting brain cell communication previously weakened by changes to Shank 3.

In 2014, researchers in France discovered that mutations affecting the Shank3 gene coincided with the most severe cases of autism. Such changes were associated with 1 out of 50 children with autism and intellectual deficits.

According to the scientists, the results suggest that "environmental/dietary factors such as changes in zinc levels could alter this protein's signaling system and reduce its ability to regulate the nerve cell function in the brain."

They now hope to investigate zinc as a dietary supplement to evaluate its impact on autistic behaviors.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that arises before the age of three. It is characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships, as well as restricted and repetitive behavior. The condition can affect different patients in different ways and with varying degrees of severity.


by on Sep. 7, 2016 at 2:04 AM
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Replies (1-7):
ineedcoffeemom
by Brittaney on Sep. 7, 2016 at 8:26 AM
1 mom liked this

Sadly not the case with my daughter. Her zinc blood level is excelent ..... like at the higher range of normal. What I think affects her the most is low ferritin, which has been linked to sleep disturbances, which my daughter definitely has.

SamMom912
by Platinum Member on Sep. 7, 2016 at 8:32 AM
Hoping the testing will reveal good results and give researchers more info to help all the children and families who have difficulties.
trippyhippy
by Bronze Member on Sep. 7, 2016 at 11:11 AM
Hey it's worth a shot
Stephw1110
by Silver Member on Sep. 7, 2016 at 5:13 PM
Ben has been on zinc for 2 years now in hopes of increasing his interest in food. Unfortunately, I have not seen much gains from it. He's had multiple blood tests to check levels and even with supplementation, his levels have not increase. He still isn't really absorbing nutrients properly.

Yet, according to both his Pedi and GI still don't think anything is wrong....
Charizma77
by Carissa on Sep. 7, 2016 at 6:14 PM
Before Ashton bad his blood test results in the bio med dr we previously seen had Ashton on a zinc supplement but once results were in he found out Ashton didn't need to be on it.
ineedcoffeemom
by Brittaney on Sep. 7, 2016 at 8:16 PM

Have you looked into copper deficiency. I've been reading alot about how copper deficiency can cause you not to absorb other nutrients well. I was wondering if my daughter might have this issue because checking her iron levels after 6 months of supplementation, she only showed a small gain in ferritin. And I'm giving twice the recommended dose for children.

Quoting Stephw1110: Ben has been on zinc for 2 years now in hopes of increasing his interest in food. Unfortunately, I have not seen much gains from it. He's had multiple blood tests to check levels and even with supplementation, his levels have not increase. He still isn't really absorbing nutrients properly. Yet, according to both his Pedi and GI still don't think anything is wrong....


Jaimielorai
by Bronze Member on Sep. 8, 2016 at 6:54 AM

We were schooled on the no zinc no think idea, way back when and our son has been taking it since he was 10, you notice when he doesnt and do I believe it helps yes!

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