Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and an antioxidant that prevents free radical damage in the body. It is found only in plant foods including oils, nuts, seeds and grains. When combined with omega-3, vitamin E has been found to treat the speech disorder verbal apraxia. Vitamin E stabilizes glutamate receptor and decreases excitotoxicity linked to high levels of glutamate.
Verbal apraxia is a neurologically based motor planning speech disorder of unknown etiology common in autism spectrum disorders. Vitamin E deficiency causes symptoms that overlap those of verbal apraxia. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the cell membrane are vulnerable to lipid peroxidation and early destruction if vitamin E is not readily available, potentially leading to neurological sequelae. Inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and malabsorption of nutrients such as vitamin E and carnitine may contribute to neurological abnormalities.
Verbal apraxia is common in individuals with autism, with as many as 50% of autistic children having it. Studies show that many developmental disorders including ADHD, dyslexia, autism and apraxia may be associated with an omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin E deficiency.
Dr. Jill James’ study showed that there was a common clinical phenotype of male predominance, autism, sensory issues, low muscle tone, coordination difficulties, food allergy, and GI symptoms. In all, 181 families (97%) reported dramatic improvements in a number of areas including speech, imitation, coordination, eye contact, behavior, sensory issues, and development of pain sensation.
As vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, there is a safe upper limit. It has slight blood thinning properties and may cause easy bruising and bleeding. Please consult your biomedical practitioner before using Vitamin E with your child.
- Morris CR1, Agin MC. Syndrome of allergy, apraxia, and malabsorption: characterization of a neurodevelopmental phenotype that responds to omega 3 and vitamin E supplementation. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009 Jul-Aug;15(4):34-43.
Claudia Morris, MD (Autism Canada Presentation) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbXlQSqp2so