What do you think about the use of supplements etc. in Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder? I found some studies on PubMed that might be interesting.
Plasma antioxidant capacity is reduced in Asperger syndrome.
Recent evidence suggests that children with autism have impaired detoxification capacity and may suffer from chronic oxidative stress. To our knowledge, there has been no study focusing on oxidative metabolism specifically in Asperger syndrome (a milder form of autism) or comparing this metabolism with other psychiatric disorders. In this study, total antioxidant status (TAOS), non-enzymatic (glutathione and homocysteine) and enzymatic (catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase) antioxidants, and lipid peroxidation were measured in plasma or erythrocyte lysates in a group of adolescent patients with Asperger syndrome, a group of adolescents with a first episode of psychosis, and a group of healthy controls at baseline and at 8-12 weeks. TAOS was also analyzed at 1 year. TAOS was reduced in Asperger individuals compared with healthy controls and psychosis patients, after covarying by age and antipsychotic treatment. This reduced antioxidant capacity did not depend on any of the individual antioxidant variables measured. Psychosis patients had increased homocysteine levels in plasma and decreased copper and ceruloplasmin at baseline. In conclusion, Asperger patients seem to have chronic low detoxifying capacity. No impaired detoxifying capacity was found in the first-episode psychosis group in the first year of illness.
Effect of a vitamin/mineral supplement on children and adults with autism.
CONCLUSIONS: Oral vitamin/mineral supplementation is beneficial in improving the nutritional and metabolic status of children with autism, including improvements in methylation, glutathione, oxidative stress, sulfation, ATP, NADH, and NADPH. The supplement group had significantly greater improvements than did the placebo group on the PGI-R Average Change. This suggests that a vitamin/mineral supplement is a reasonable adjunct therapy to consider for most children and adults with autism.
Nutritional and metabolic status of children with autism vs. neurotypical children, and the association with autism severity.
The autism group had many statistically significant differences in their nutritional and metabolic status, including biomarkers indicative of vitamin insufficiency, increased oxidative stress, reduced capacity for energy transport, sulfation and detoxification. Several of the biomarker groups were significantly associated with variations in the severity of autism. These nutritional and metabolic differences are generally in agreement with other published results and are likely amenable to nutritional supplementation. Research investigating treatment and its relationship to the co-morbidities and etiology of autism is warranted.
May N-acetylcysteine be beneficial in autism?
Sulfur and sulfur-related amino acids are commonly depleted in autism. Glutathione, which largely depends on cysteine for its formation, is also frequently depleted in autism, and may contribute to the heavy metal burden commonly found in autistic patients.
I found some promising studies for other psychiatric disorders.
N-acetylcysteine in psychiatry: current therapeutic evidence and potential mechanisms of action
There is an expanding field of research investigating the benefits of alternatives to current pharmacological therapies in psychiatry. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is emerging as a useful agent in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Like many therapies, the clinical origins of NAC are far removed from its current use in psychiatry. Whereas the mechanisms of NAC are only beginning to be understood, it is likely that NAC is exerting benefits beyond being a precursor to the antioxidant, glutathione, modulating glutamatergic, neurotropic and inflammatory pathways. This review outlines the current literature regarding the use of NAC in disorders including addiction, compulsive and grooming disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. N-acetylcysteine has shown promising results in populations with these disorders, including those in whom treatment efficacy has previously been limited. The therapeutic potential of this acetylated amino acid is beginning to emerge in the field of psychiatric research.
What do you think? More information/studies and other suggestions/theories are more than welcome!
Thanks a lot!