Zinc is an incredibly important micronutrient to the proper function of our cells, particularly the immune system. It is very common for children on the Autism Spectrum to be Zinc deficient.
Zinc is required for growth and it’s needed to make cells, including DNA. It’s used to make proteins which are used in many processes throughout the body, including wound healing, immune function and more. Apart from being a powerful antioxidant and playing an important role in the neurotransmitter function. What else makes Zinc so important?:
- Supports neurological function
- Strengthens immune system
- Helps regulate glucose levels
- Repairs damage DNA
- Helps heal wounds
- Reduce duration of colds
- Protective functions of our cell membranes
- Apoptosis of cells
- Leaky gut syndrome and intestinal permeability
- Cell signalling
Children with Autism have a compromised immune system, and zinc deficiency is a contributing factor. Zinc plays a critical role in the detoxification of heavy metals – it takes 7 molecules of zinc to make 1 molecule of metallothionein, and 1 molecule of metallothionein binds to 1 molecule of heavy metal, so you can see how a deficiency affects the ability to detoxify heavy metals and the incredible demand for zinc that a child with Autism has.
Zinc deficiency in Autism children can be a sign of malabsorption, especially if there are other signs of leaky gut. It is also a warning sign if they also struggle with diarrhea and zinc supplementation is a powerful treatment for diarrhea in children. Zinc can also affect the tastebuds, so if your child is a picky eater, zinc may help.
There are many whole foods that are high in zinc, but if you require treatment for deficiency, speak to your health professional before beginning any zinc supplementation as there can be some contra-indications with other metals.
Some of the best foods to supplement Zinc are:
- Grass-Fed Beef
- Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
- Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) and Mung Beans
- Cooked Oysters
- Kefir or Yogurt
- Cocoa Powder
If you think your child might be low in Zinc, look out for the following signs:
- White spots on the nails
- Low immunity indicated by frequent coughs and colds
- Picky eating and poor appetite
- Slow wound healing and skin problems
If you would like to find out if Zinc supplementation can help your child, then ask about how we use the ASYRA Pro to test for Nutritional deficiencies, and then match the correct Zinc supplement for your child at the correct dosage.
Dietary Supplementation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Common, Insufficient, and Excessive. Stewart et al, J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Aug;115(8):1237-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.03.026. Epub 2015 Jun 4.
Zinc in gut-brain interaction in autism and neurological disorders. Vela et al. Neural Plast. 2015;2015:972791. doi: 10.1155/2015/972791. Epub 2015 Mar 23.
The role of zinc and copper in autism spectrum disorders. Geir Bjorklund. Polish Neuroscience Society 2013. Acta Neurobiol Exp 2013, 73: 225–236
Zinc Deficiency. Higdon J, D. V. (2013, June).Retrieved from Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center: cy
7 Signs of Zinc Deficiency & the Best Foods to Cure it! J, A. (2015) Retrieved from Dr. Axe:
Zinc: Drugs and Supplementation. Mayo Clinic. (2013, November 1)Retrieved from Mayo Clinic:
Zinc. Retrieved from Nutri-facts: Understanding Vitamins & More:Nutri-facts. (2012, February 26).