The right nutrition can help autism and mitochondrial dysfunction

According to the journal Pediatric Neurology, mitochondrial disease patients can have altered caloric needs compared with the general population. Optimizing the number and quality of calories has been shown to improve mitochondrial health in autistics. Supplements such as ubiquinol, L-carnitine, folinic acid and vitamins C and E can help people with mitochondrial disorders.

In my practice, I have found nutrition to be a key factor in helping people with mitochondrial disease. In addition to the supplements already mentioned, the following is what I recommend:

• 3 cups daily (equal to one dinner plate, piled high) of green leaves, such as kale, which are high in vitamins B, A, C, K, and minerals

• 3 cups daily of sulfur-rich vegetables from the cabbage-and onion families, mushrooms and asparagus

• 3 cups daily of brightly colored vegetables, fruits and/or berries, which are a good source of antioxidants

• Wild fish or animal-based omega-3’s

• Grass-fed meat

• Organ meats for vitamins, minerals and CoQ10

• Seaweed for iodine and selenium

• Vitamins B1, B9 (Folate) and B12

• Iodine

Getting a picky eater to eat some of these items may be challenging. Greens and organic grass fed beef, grind the vegetables and then make patties from the combination; served on a gluten free bun. Gluten-free, pancakes with berries are also a good option.

Exercise also helps improve mitochondrial functioning and decreasing the burden of unhealthy mitochondria. It also helps to increase oxygen which the earlier study found to be lacking in the mitochondria in those with autism.