In a recent study in New Zealand, it was found that there is a link between zinc and autism.
Zinc is a trace mineral that plays a huge role in the body. More particularly, researchers believe that it may be able to reverse brain cell changes caused by autism.
What is Autism?
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder. The condition differs from one person to the next, but it is generally characterized by communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors, and difficulty forming relationships.
Japanese researchers found the widespread presence of zinc deficiency in autistic children. Similar studies have also demonstrated that early childhood zinc deficiency may also be linked to ADHD, a condition many autistic children are also diagnosed with.
How Does Zinc Deficiency Affect Children?
Genes can be affected and mutated when there’s a zinc deficiency. In addition to that, zinc deficiency affects the body in other ways. For instance, the mineral is responsible for allowing cell multiplication, and plays a role in tissue growth and repair. One thing researchers know is that huge amounts of zinc are required for children to grow and develop.
At the University of Auckland in New Zealand, researchers found that zinc may actually reverse the decline in brain cell communication that’s been linked with autism in animals.
As they focused on Shank3, a particular gene that’s associated with schizophrenia and behavioral disorders, they noticed these modifications. They found that what was happening in that gene, caused by autism, led to brain cell communication decreases.
But, they also found that they could reverse the process and boost brain cell communication with zinc.
The researchers are further investigating zinc to be used as a dietary supplement in order to assess what impact it has on autistic children and their behavior.
You can read more on the study that was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.