James SJ, Melnyk S, Fuchs G, Reid T, Jernigan S, Pavliv O, Hubanks A, Gaylor DW.
Departments of Pediatrics and Biostatistics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute, Little Rock, AR.
BACKGROUND: Metabolic abnormalities and targeted treatment trials have been reported for several neurobehavioral disorders but are relatively understudied in autism.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine whether or not treatment with the metabolic precursors, methylcobalamin and folinic acid, would improve plasma concentrations of transmethylation/transsulfuration metabolites and glutathione redox status in autistic children.
DESIGN: In an open-label trial, 40 autistic children were treated with 75 mug/kg methylcobalamin (2 times/wk) and 400 mug folinic acid (2 times/d) for 3 mo. Metabolites in the transmethylation/transsulfuration pathway were measured before and after treatment and compared with values measured in age-matched control children.
RESULTS: The results indicated that pretreatment metabolite concentrations in autistic children were significantly different from values in the control children. The 3-mo intervention resulted in significant increases in cysteine, cysteinylglycine, and glutathione concentrations (P < 0.001). The oxidized disulfide form of glutathione was decreased and the glutathione redox ratio increased after treatment (P < 0.008). Although mean metabolite concentrations were improved significantly after intervention, they remained below those in unaffected control children.
CONCLUSIONS: The significant improvements observed in transmethylation metabolites and glutathione redox status after treatment suggest that targeted nutritional intervention with methylcobalamin and folinic acid may be of clinical benefit in some children who have autism. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00692315.
Thankyou so much for this article. Both of my sons are autistic, and while I already ply them with lots of multivitamins, this article has been invaluable. I take Folinic acid myself, and after doing more research and seeing this - realise I can now give it to my children too. Along with their regular multivitamins, as well at fish oil they have daily, I hope to see an improvement for their wellbeing. Thanks so much!