The problem You can’t be exactly definite about where autism is originating. All that scientists know is it’s the mixed result of abnormal brain behaviour, the structure greatly responsible. The normal brain functions often go awry due to genetic factors. Scientists also know that the environment is a causal factor. A lack of vitamin D gives rise to autistic behaviour and all through teen and the adult years, a deficit in testosterone. Lead and mercury exposure is another reason; also viral infections, especially of the liver. If 5-Alpha-reductase chokes, Heaven may help you! Evidences range from weak to logical, so there’s not much support to many of these theories. Some appear wildly inaccurate; it’s not that vaccines cause autism. What’s new on the block? Researchers are on a nutritional hunt this time. A proper diet, or certain nutritional supplements, may fight against autism while certain foods might trigger autism in one. So says the They focus on L-Carnitine and its related compound, Acetyl-L-Carnitine. The ALCAR alleviates aging and diseased cellular mitochondria and increasing its fat-burning potential; therefore, boosting the brain, increasing alertness and supporting the neurons. The body can make its own supply of ALCAR – just like glutamine - but also found in certain foods. Fish, eggs, red meats and milk are some of them. Earlier... A 2012 study found it only in a small number of people with mild autism. This creates the possibility that the genetic defect is merely an association and does not establish it as a direct cause behind autism. Who are at play? i. University of Maryland Medical Center. ii. A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Texas. About the study The journal Cell Reports publishes the results of their tests on Carnitine as a prenatal supplement. It can stop autism development. It helps to transform fat into energy and this energy is used by the body for many of its functions. The muscles, the heart and the brain get their energy to work this way. Normally, Carnitine is produced naturally by the body as it’s required. Those who can’t are often victims of angina and temporary lameness due to inadequate blood supply in the leg muscles. Why so low? A mutation in the TMLHE gene in the enzyme producing carnitine is held responsible; sometimes, there’s no carnitine production at all! According to past researches, only a specific subgroup with mild autism was three times susceptible than normal to the mutation of the TMLHE gene. The lack of carnitine worsens the symptoms of autism. It alters the neural stem cells in the brain. It is a significant issue for the particular cell types and further contributes to existing autism. Note: There’s one very recent study that unveils new technology to measure and analyze individual such neural stem cells and defects they bring to the brain. It’s a tough task, more so in their complex natural environment. The hitch A lack of carnitine production creates problems for the developing brain too. Implanting carnitine into neural stem cells from external sources made them behave normally, which proves the compound’s potential to prevent autism. But, it applies only to a few types of autism. Moreover, if autism is due to another factor – which could be 1000 other genes – it might not work at all. At best, we could call it a significant but limited preventive strategy. The ‘Autism Diet’ The carnitine study brought up a few questions. These are regarding diets and there are past hypotheses on how diet and nutrition might connect and contribute to the development of autism and on the reverse, its treatment. But they go beyond carnitine to explain. As autism diets, GFCF (gluten-free-casein-free) is more popular and the outlook has earned both praises and scorns. It’s true that such diets might lack a lot of vital nutrients and they are more suitable for people with celiac and/or lactose intolerance. The healthier, regular people might not at all be benefitted from going GCFC. Some studies, in fact speak against it. Does the study count? Only more research will help to understand the link better. Simple nutritional supplement might be helpful in reducing the risk of developing ASD but the prevention front is still to be covered.