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Depletion of Vitamins by Medications In Autism and Other Conditions

As we have discussed before, children with autism have a multitude of deficiencies of essential nutrients and vitamins like Coq10, B-vitamins, omega-3, and vitamin D. On the other hand, children on the spectrum are prone to seizures, and anticonvulsant drugs are prescribed to address this issue.

Anticonvulsant medications promote clinically significant deficiencies of various nutrients like folates, vitamin D, carnitine, biotin, and vitamin K. Also, other anti-seizure drugs deplete vitamin B-6. Besides, other psychiatric medications cause a deficiency of magnesium. If you have noticed, most of these nutrients are already depleted in children with autism.

Acid Suppression Therapy with acid blockers or PPIs like ranitidine or omeprazole may cause deficiencies of nutrients like vitamin B-12, magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamin A.

In addition, statin drugs used to lower cholesterol induce a deficiency of CoQ10, which is essential for mitochondria function. Mitochondria function is crucial for children with autism. Other drugs that can decrease mitochondria function and energy production are:


*Seizure Medications


*Beta-blockers (blood pressure medications)

*Risperidone or antipsychotics drugs


*Antibiotics like tetracyclines and aminoglycosides

These medications are used in a lot of different conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, ulcers, migraines, etc.

What Can We Do?

*Nutrition is essential to compensate for the already existing deficiencies in autism and the additional depletion caused by medications. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other healthy food choices provide most of the nutrients previously discussed.

*Supplementation with vital nutrients like vitamin D is critical if taking medications like anti-seizure medications due to the existing deficit of this nutrient in most of the children with autism and most of the general population.

*Supplementations needs to be included as part of a healthy diet. An unhealthy diet (high in refined carbohydrates, salt (bread, pasta, etc.), and gluten will increase inflammation and may cancel any benefit from helpful nutrients.

"Never change things by fighting the existing reality,

to change something build a new model that

makes the existing model obsolete".

Buckminster Fuller

Inventor and Visionary

There is hope for autism!

David Rivas, RPh, MSc, CCN

Pharmacist and Clinical Nutritionist/Consultant


Anglin, R., Rosebush, P., & Mazurek, M. (2012). Psychotropic medications and mitochondrial toxicity. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13(9), 650-650.

Finsterer, J. "Treatment of central nervous system manifestations in mitochondrial disorders." European Journal of Neurology 18.1 (2011): 28-38.

Menon, B., & Harinarayan, C. V. (2010). The effect of anti epileptic drug therapy on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and parameters of calcium and bone metabolism—A longitudinal study. Seizure, 19(3), 153-158.

Neustadt, J., & Pieczenik, S. R. (2008). Medication‐induced mitochondrial damage and disease. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 52(7), 780-788.

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