In addition, there were several nutrients in supplements folate, niacin and vitamin A that exceeded recommended levels, even before adding in the nutrients from food. Excessive amounts of these nutrients don't usually cause a problem, but there are known side effects that families and their health care providers need to be aware of. Too much folate can mask a neurological complication of vitamin B12 deficiency and some evidence shows that high levels can provoke seizures in patients on anti-convulsant medications. Too much niacin can cause flushing, gastrointestinal distress and liver damage. And too much vitamin A can have teratological effects (birth defects and other abnormalities of development), liver toxicity, reduced bone mineral density resulting in osteoporosis and central nervous system disorders.
"It's important for dieticians and health care providers to know the potential nutritional insufficiencies and excesses children with autism may be experiencing," Stewart said. "Diet and supplement use can impact their health and some nutritional problems may also affect their behavior. There is a great need for additional research in this area."
Food dyes and sleep
Many families who have children with autism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or who have typically developing kids eliminate food dyes from their diet, hoping to avoid behavior issues. Some studies suggest artificial food dyes may increase hyperacti
|Contact: Heather Hare|
University of Rochester Medical Center