Vitamin-E, Omega-3 Improve Verbal Apraxia

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OAKLAND, Calif.—In a recent study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 97 percent of families with children with verbal apraxia reported dramatic improvements while supplementing with vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids (2009;Jul-Aug;15(4):34-43). A total of 187 children with verbal apraxia received vitamin E + polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation. A celiac panel, fat-soluble vitamin test and carnitine level were obtained in patients having blood analyzed. A common clinical phenotype of male predominance, autism, sensory issues, low muscle tone, coordination difficulties, food allergy and GI symptoms emerged. In all, 181 families (97 percent) reported dramatic improvements in a number of areas including speech, imitation, coordination, eye contact, behavior, sensory issues, and development of pain sensation. Plasma vitamin E levels varied in children tested; however, pretreatment levels did not reflect clinical response. Low carnitine (20/26), high antigliadin antibodies (15/21), gluten-sensitivity HLA alleles (10/10), and zinc (2/2) and vitamin D deficiencies (4/7) were common abnormalities. Fat malabsorption was identified in eight of 11 boys screened. Researchers characterize a novel apraxia phenotype that responds to polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. The association of carnitine deficiency, gluten sensitivity/food allergy, and fat malabsorption with the apraxia phenotype suggests that a comprehensive metabolic workup is warranted. Appropriate screening may identify a subgroup of children with a previously unrecognized syndrome of allergy, apraxia and malabsorption who are responsive to nutritional interventions in addition to traditional speech and occupational therapy. Controlled trials in apraxia and autism spectrum disorders are warranted.

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