Increasing Calcium And Vitamin D Consumption In Your Autistic Child
Many people place their children on special diets once they are diagnosed with autism. This is meant to reduce symptoms and to encourage overall health and wellness. Unfortunately, these diets can leave children deficient in certain essential nutrients. According to one study, vitamin D and calcium deficiencies are common. While you can provide your child with supplements to help increase nutrient intake, there are some other things you can do as well. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Many autistic children are placed on a dairy-free diet to reduce the intake of the protein casein. Some people believe that this protein contributes to digestive issues and irritability. However, if you are reducing the consumption of dairy foods, then you are also limiting your child's calcium intake.
Growing children need a great deal of calcium. Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth, and without the nutrient, brittle bones may be noted. In fact, bone fractures are common in children who are on restricted diets. Also, muscle weakness may occur since calcium is required by the muscles to contract.
To make sure that your child is getting the calcium they need, make sure to provide calcium-fortified foods, like orange juice. Also, offer numerous dairy-free foods that contain calcium. Broccoli, kale, almonds, okra, and watercress are all good choices. Many dairy-free milks, like almond and soy milk, contain calcium as well, so they are good alternatives to traditional milk. If your child does not like the taste of the milk, try using it in cereal and when you cook.
Increasing Vitamin D
Many dairy-rich products that contain calcium also have a good amount of vitamin D. Obviously, if your child is not eating dairy, then vitamin D is not being consumed. The good news is that the body can create its own vitamin D. This happens by exposing the skin to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. These rays react with a cholesterol agent in the skin. This agent is a precursor to vitamin D and its release will encourage the creation of vitamin D in the liver.
So, make sure that your child is getting at least a few minutes of sunlight each day. There are also some food sources of the nutrient that do not contain dairy. Many types of fish, like salmon, cod, tuna, and mackerel, have a good deal of vitamin D. This is also true of mushrooms.
To learn more about supplements for autism, talk to your child's doctor today.