Dr. Rimland, an advisory board member for ACN Latitudes, shared this information several years ago. He is credited with discrediting the theory that autism is due to bad parenting, focusing instead on a biomedical approach. He established and directed the Autism Research Institute, spearheading critical research on autism. Sadly, he passed away in 2006.
All eighteen studies known to me in which vitamin B6 has been evaluated as a treatment for autistic children have provided positive results. This is a remarkable record, since the many drugs that have been evaluated in treatments for autism have produced very inconsistent results. If a drug shows positive results in about half of the evaluation studies, it is considered a success and is then advocated for use with autistic patients. However, despite the remarkably consistent research findings on vitamin B6 in the treatment of autism and despite it being immeasurably safer than any of the drugs used for autistic children, there are relatively few practitioners who advocate its use.
Research on the use of vitamin B6 for autism began in the 1960S with British and German investigators. After my book Infantile Autism was published in 1964, 1 began receiving hundreds of letters from parents of autistic children, including a number who had tried what was then a new idea — megavitamin therapy. Most had experimented with various vitamins on their children with autism as a result of reading books by popular nutritionists.Initially, I was skeptical about the remarkable improvement being reported, but as the evidence accumulated, my interest was aroused. A questionnaire sent to 1,000 parents then on my mailing list revealed that 57 had experimented with large doses of vitamins, and many had seen positive results. I then undertook a large-scale study of over 200 autistic children, using megadose quantities of vitamin B6, niacinamide, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C, along with a multiple-vitamin tablet especially designed for the study. The children were living with their parents in the U.S. and Canada, and each was medically supervised by the family’s physician. (Over 600 parents had initially volunteered for the study, but most could not overcome their physician’s skepticism.)
At the end of the four-month trial it was clear that vitamin B6 was the most important for autism of the four vitamins we had investigated, and that in some cases it brought about remarkable improvement. Between 30% and 40% of the children showed significant improvement with administration of vitamin B6. A few of the children showed minor side effects (irritability, sound sensitivity, and bed-wetting) but these symptoms quickly disappeared when additional magnesium was supplied.
A follow up, double-blind study with two colleagues, Professors Enoch Callaway of the University of California Medical Center at San Francisco and Pierre Dreyfus of the University of California Medical Center at Davis, was supportive of previous findings. There was better eye contact, less self-stimulatory behavior, more interest in the world around them, fewer tantrums, and more speech. In general, the children became more normal, although they were not completely cured.
People vary enormously in their need for B6. The children who showed improvement under B6 did so because they needed extra B6. Autism is thus, in many cases, a B6 dependency syndrome.
While no patient has been cured with the vitamin B6 and magnesium treatment, there have been many instances where remarkable improvement has been achieved. In one such case, an 18-year-old autistic patient was about to be evicted from the third mental hospital in his city. Even massive amounts of drugs had no positive effect, and he was considered too violent and assaultive to be kept in the hospital. The psychiatrist tried the B6 with magnesium approach as a last resort. She reported that she subsequently visited the family and found the young man to be a pleasant and easy-going autistic person who sang and played his guitar for her.
Another example: a frantic mother phoned me to ask for information on sheltered workshops in her city because her 25-year-old son with autism was about to be expelled for unmanageable behavior. I knew of no alternate placements for the son, but I suggested that her son try Super Nu-Thera (see below), a supplement containing B6, magnesium and other nutrients. Within a few weeks she called excitedly to tell me that her son was doing very well and his piecework pay had risen dramatically from the minimum pay of $1.50 per week to $25 per week.
In view of the consistent findings demonstrating the safety and efficacy of the nutrients B6 and magnesium in treating autism, and in view of the inevitability of short and/or long term side-effects of drug use, it certainly seems that this safe and rational approach should be tried before drugs are employed.
Super-Nu Thera is independently marketed by Kirkman Laboratories www.Kirkmanlabs.com