Vitamin B12 (Methyl-B12) is a water soluble vitamin which is naturally present in certain food items such as eggs, milk, meat and fish. But, it is commonly deficient in children with autism as they have limited ability to absorb vitamin B12. Lack of vitamin B12 is responsible for the severity of autism.
In autism, this deficiency is mainly caused due to :
- Poor eating habits
- Unhealthy digestive system
- Neurodegenerative damage
- Damaged metabolic pathways, etc.
Vitamin B12 plays a key role in methylation. Impaired methylation is linked to inflammation which is a common concern in autism. It also affects the regeneration of the neurons and growth of the child as one of its main functions is to build the cells of our body. It maintains a healthy nervous system and provides fuel to the brain. Hence, researchers have started to rigorously study the potential of vitamin B12 as a treatment for autism.
Administration of vitamin B12 may improve various affected symptoms of autism such as:
- Social interaction
- Understanding, feeling and expressing emotions
- Eye contact
- Speech and language
It also increases appetite and energy levels in children by promoting the metabolic pathways for energy release.
The benefits of Vitamin B12 are not seen immediately but over a period of few months or even a year. It is not a cure but a supplement therapy to which not all the individuals with autism respond. But studies have shown that vitamin B12 in combination with other therapies show significant change and they move towards normalcy.