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Featured Dietary deficiencies and supplementation

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by SDRSpark, Dec 25, 2020.

  1. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I know a lot of us have somewhat restricted (or very restricted) diets. My diet sucks, because I tend to only eat one thing per meal (such as an entire box of mac & cheese that's intended to serve 4 people as a side dish) and in general just do not have a varied diet at all. (I eat out a lot because of the pandemic...doordash almost every day. Which might be marginally better but not much lol.)

    I've tried to fix it a few times...eating healthy becomes my special interest which I get bored with after a couple weeks or maybe months, and I'm back to not really wanting to put in the effort for food and eating something crazy like...an entire bag of frozen peas (and nothing else) for dinner.

    Lately I've realized I'm probably deficient in a lot of stuff, and that's screwing with my mental health (neurochemistry and how the body creates neurotransmitters and what it needs to do so is my new special interest right now lol. So I realized I'm probably deficient in both tryptophan and B vitamins. Both are fairly easy to fix.)

    I've also realized it's easier to fill in gaps with supplements reliably than it is to change my diet reliably (been there, done that, have an entire garage full of t-shirts but my diet still isn't any better off because I fall off the wagon every single time).

    Has anyone else here come to the same conclusion? I have seen a lot of talk of using supplements to fill out autistic kids' diets, but it seems like adults are on our own (as with most things).
     
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  2. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

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    A lot of us have ARFID. You may have that, too. I know kids with feeding tubes, but you are right, adults are on their own.

    Yes, we do eat peculiarly, indeed. I eat about 5 foods and yes, have to supplement. I saw a dietician who said the protein powders are perfectly ok. So I use them a lot. Food confuses me. I do take vitamins, too. I am sure I would be seriously deficient. I have had a lot of issues with blood counts, etc.

    Can you do protein powder to make up for things? I know what you mean, though. Whole pack of rice meant for 4 or entire pack of rice cakes meant for 12 with 12 servings of arsenic! And nothing else!

    Do you veer toward underweight, overweight, or normal? I veer toward under which is why I use the powder. I can't eat right without it.

    I do fear how a lot of us will end up.......Till then, here's to 3 apples and maybe 4......
     
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  3. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Surprisingly, there are protein powders made from peas. So maybe you were craving protein. A decent multivitamin and protein, you can get by. Alot of cerals and bread are fortified these days. Though some people disagree here, eggs do supply some important things we need. Beans are always an excellent choice. Lentils and chickpeas are easy to fix and supply more nutrients. Please research what foods you like to eat and see if these are good choices. But we do fall into our food requirements and stick with it over and over. No doubt about that. Maybe identify your food cravings. Mac and Cheese tell me your craving is carbs and creamy. So maybe make a reduced creamy sauce and count your carb intake perhaps. I love crunchy, creamy, salty, hot, sweet. Those are my requirements to feel psychologically full. Once you figure out what you need, then try to find healthly versions of that.
     
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  4. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Well-Known Member

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    Do your research on this, but some things to think about. Carbs not only raise insulin but also Glutamine levels. Generally bad for neurotransmitter balance. A more keto paleo diet with restricted carbs has proven best for autistics. If you do B12 make sure it is methyl B12 as it is common for autistics not to be able to methylate efficiently and end up with deficiencies because they cant convert it into a biologically active form. The protein powder is a good idea but make sure you are taking a L theonine supplement to block the glutamine. You can't change the fact that you are autistic but you do have some control over your neurotransmitter imbalances through diet.
     
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  5. MLE

    MLE Active Member V.I.P Member

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    I struggle with getting complacent in my diet... I've been on a vegan diet for about 5 years now, then vegetarian for about 10 years before that... That said, I wouldn't say I'm always on the healthy side of my eating choices... I get lazy and will gravitate to the processed foods as a quick go-to... Vegan mac-n-cheese (I use the kind where you add your wet ingredients to the powder) is a go-to fav for me, and yes I will cook and eat the whole box... PB&J for lunches... PB pretzels... Hummus and rice cakes... A LOT of pastas... but I have to constantly check myself, or I'll go through an entire package meant for a family...:eek:

    For the most part though, I do eat in moderation... but I've tried to make sure I eat a snack every 2 hours... A handful of cashews between breakfast and lunch, and some sort of snack between lunch and dinner... Plus, and I know this is laziness, I buy the pre-cut fruits and veggies... They are an easy grab and go item... I'm not like super skinny... I have some meat on my bones... but it is a struggle...o_O and I do eat 3 meals + 2 snacks a day... plus drink water!!!!

    Also, I'm not sure where you're at, but a lot of grocery stores are partnered with food delivery services... You can shop through the site and have it all delivered to you, if you don't want to be physically in public... You can get all the healthy food through the site too ;)

    As to vitamins, I only have 3 in the morning (Chelated Magnesium, L-Arginine, and D) and Melatonin at night... I would recommend getting a blood test (basic panel test should do)with your PCP, to determine where your deficiencies are before attempting any vitamin regimen... :cool:
     
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  6. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    This is me. Lazy. I used to be better about it...but my kitchen is small, clean up is a real chore, and if it can't be made in one pot, I don't want to bother with it. On weekends sometimes I would cook dinner. During the week it's micro meals. I only eat one thing because I'm too lazy and or lack the executive function to deal with cooking multiple things.

    I'm doing a lot of delivery stuff. Doordash, Whole Foods delivery, Amazon. Christmas dinner consists of leftover Chinese takeout this year. Orange beef, yum!

    I'm taking l-theanine (is theonine an alternate spelling? I have never seen it spelled that way before but I've seen you mention it multiple times on this forum using that spelling. Wondering if it's a UK spelling or something.) - that worked great for a few days, then largely stopped working for me. I figured out that it can't work on neurotransmitters that I don't have, so I started looking at the building blocks of GABA and serotonin. I added a multivitamin (should have one of those anyway) with plenty of Bs (but not a b-complex vitamin, because all of those that I could find had obscene amounts, thousands of percent of the RDA) and an l-tryptophan supplement (500mg, half of the estimated daily intake from diet of tryptophan) and I'm not sure which it is (or both) but something made a big difference there too. (I'm also increasing the amount of tryptophan in my diet, which is easy to do it turns out - milk and protein, both of which are things I enjoy. I'm hoping not to take the tryptophan in supplement form for too long.)

    Between the multivitamin (all the B's in appropriate amounts), the theanine, tryptophan and magnesium (which I've been using for a while and have tried several different forms - I'm currently a fan of Nuun Rest tablets) I feel like I'm sorted out better than I could ever expect from any medication (and none of the side effects). This has kind of become a little side project/new special interest.
     
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  7. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    Unless you have an issue with diabetes or low blood sugar, or you simply pig out on sweets a lot, the glycemic index of the food you eat is something to keep in the back of your mind but not front and center on the dinner table. We are designed to function well on short term nutritional imbalance as long as things even out over the long haul.

    There are only three kinds of food out there, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Skip out on one and you will eventually regret it.

    Carbohydrates are perfectly good for you. Eating nothing but carbs is bad for you. (You could say that for any food group!) All carbs break down into glucose, the simplest sugar. The only difference is the speed at which it happens. How quickly that happens is represented by their glycemic index. Refined carbs break down more quickly than their unrefined cousins. Sugars are a subgroup of carbohydrates that break down very quickly. (I won't bore you with the chemical structures.) Simple sugars (mono- and di-saccharides) break down faster than more complex sugars.

    Glucose is the only thing that matters. Undigested sugar is irrelevant to your body. Left-handed sugar molecules in an artificial sweetener is one. Sugars that don't break down into glucose may ferment in your gut and make you fart but don't affect your blood sugar much. One example of that is lactose intolerance. Lactose is not broken down into sucrose and glucose but instead turned into a fatty acid, CO2, CH4 and H2 gases.

    "The glycemic index is used to measure how much a specific food increases your blood sugar levels. The higher the GI, the greater the effect on blood sugar levels."

    The more complex the carb, the slower this happens. So sugar and simple carbs are very quickly turned into glucose. That results in a very quick high spike and then an equally quick drop in glucose levels. Some sugars also take longer to convert than others. Complex carbs produce just as much glucose but the process is drawn out over a much longer time frame. No spike, just a continuous low level of available glucose. Another way to flatten that curve is to consume other foods with it that slows the absorption rate. Likewise, eating a bit of sugar after a meal gets absorbed slowly while eating by itself sends it directly to your bloodstream. So a healthy person can eat some simple sugar without harmful effects. (Except for maybe rotting their teeth...)

    There is another way in which you can consume high glycemic index foods without an adverse effect. Your muscles are capable of burning glucose without insulin. If you are about to engage in strenuous activity, (running a couple of miles or a long hard hike or a vigorous workout at the gym) a bit of sugar upfront will give you that bit of energy you need until the more complex carbs start to kick in.

    Protein and fat are broken down into fatty acids and amino acids. Fatty acids get stored as fat. Your body only needs 30-60 grams of protein a day and most Americans eat far more protein than they need. (Vegetarians have to be very careful about the mix of plant proteins they consume. No single source has all the amino acids you need.) A serious athlete might want more for making greater muscle mass but a pregnant woman definitely needs more. Both protein and fat can be broken all the way down into glucose but the process is very slow.

    And you may find times when your blood sugar simply gets low. There are a LOT of reasons for temporary low blood sugar, age, illness, medications, treatment for diabetes. You get inexplicable weakness, tiredness, difficulty in focusing, and maybe hot flashes. (These symptoms need to be discussed with a doctor!!!) Hypoglycemia needs to be treated with high sugar drinks, foods, or in severe cases, meds.

    The blood tester I bought from the drug store was defective and giving me numbers that were 20 points too high. This was into diabetic range, freaking me out. The best way to know your blood sugar is with a clinical blood test but you can't be at the clinic all the time.

    I have grown to know low blood sugar from symptoms. For me, at least, it is a temporary thing until my body spools up the conversion of fat reserves into glucose. Not as good at that as I used to be. Or I can just suck on a candy or drink a Gatorade and it's fixed.

    My doctor keeps bouncing back and forth as to whether I am prediabetic or not. There are official standards but a number does not make you a thing it is how your body responds to the number. the same blood sugar level can be good for one and bad for another.
     
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  8. _eri_bellehumeur

    _eri_bellehumeur Member

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    The whole health kick stuff doesn't work for me unless I make it very simple and attainable. I was vegan for several years and struggled balancing meeting nutritional needs with an incredibly small food budget, and found out that you can get all (or most) of your nutrition needs met from kidney beans, brown rice and oranges, so that is what I ate for months at a time, with maybe oatmeal for breakfast. My diet is more varied now, but I do rely heavily on protein powders, nutritional yeast (very high in b6, b12, iron, and a whole bunch of other vitamins and minerals- it's also really good and I highly recommend. I sprinkle it on everything!) and take additional supplements like iron, b-complex, etc as well as a multivitamin.
     
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  9. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    There are charts online of recommendations for which vitamins to supplement depending on which medications you're taking. For example, for anti-psychotic, it recommends a multi-vitamin. Due to the five medications I take, I take a multi-vitamin, vitamin c, vitamin d, B complex, and magnesium and calcium. Apart from those recommendations, I choose to take fish oil, turmeric, and apple cider vinegar.

    Here's a B-complex that doesn't have a ridiculous amount of each. It's also delicious. I wish I could eat them like candy.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CP7PC72?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_dt_b_product_details
     
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  10. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I take oral vitamin d3 and fish oil, but soon to seeing my dr and will ask for a full vitamin and mineral blood test so that I can work on what I need to take and what I don't.

    I have health anxiety, so my health is extremely important to me and thus, I try very hard to be varied in my dietary habits.

    My "crime" is that I do not like fruit or veg, but do my best with eating an apple a day and I do eat a lot of fish.

    I also check out the truth about what is considered bad for the health and so, I do not eat refined sugars, which, actually you find a lot in reduced fat items. I have butter instead of margarine.
     
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  11. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    Does anybody know if there's a clinic where doctors know the right percentages of vits and mins for people with autistic neurology
     
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  12. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    It's even better to use cold pressed oils they haven't been denuded by heating.
     
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  13. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thanks for the recommendation! I couldn't find one the other day for the life of me.
     
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  14. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Well-Known Member

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    Re: Spelling. Good catch. At some point that "a" became an "o" and neither my brain nor the spell check was able to flag it. You are correct, the spelling is "theanine" with an "a".

    There are several sources for L-Theanine for purchase. This is mine: https://www.puritan.com/puritans-pride-brand-0102/l-theanine-100-mg-012880
     
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  15. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Mine is Sports Research brand. It's highly reviewed on Amazon (also happens to be what was available on Amazon for same day delivery, so it's what I went with lol). I like it. I'm taking one capsule at night and one in the morning.
     
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  16. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind though: (1) A lab test will be able to measure values and compare them within a certain "standard deviation" we call "normals". (2) What is commonly referred to as "recommended daily allowance" (RDA values) are minimum values of what is needed to prevent deficiencies only,...do not get this confused with "health". (3) They do not take into account those individuals with "special needs", whether it be an athlete, someone with a genetic metabolic disorder, or someone with neurotransmitter imbalances (like autism). (4) The typical MD will not have training in nutrition, nor autism, and are more likely to treat lab values than symptoms. Unless that doctor has taken the time to receive and specialize in the specific nutritional needs of autistics,...you might be quite disappointed in your doctor.

    As Streetwise suggested, there may be mental health clinics that specialize in autism that would have this information. I know there are at least 3 in my city. As said above, I would not expect a typical pediatrician, internal medicine, or general practitioner to be fluent in this information.
     
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  17. Yeshuasdaughter

    Yeshuasdaughter Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Some good supplements are prenatal vitamins, fish oil, vitamin d, vitamin b12, and lactobaccillis probiotics.
     
  18. MLE

    MLE Active Member V.I.P Member

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    Yeah, I was assuming (my bad) that there would already be a relationship with the PCP (GP) and they would of been equipped with the knowledge of any neuro conditions... But the test does evaluate the nutrient levels in the body to identify deficiencies... I clearly didn't process the question when I provided my response... I've submitted the comment for deletion... I apologize for any confusion.
     
  19. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    Do you know if they have international offices im in England and I need a deficiency panel ,there's rarely info for this type of clinic in the uk :)
     
  20. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Some of the top researchers in the realm of autism are from the UK. I believe Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen is still at Cambridge. Perhaps someone at Cambridge would be able to point you in the right direction.