Does My Child With Autism Need Carnitine?

Hi, Dr. Theresa Lyons here, creator of navigating autism and ETL, autism. And today’s ask doctor line’s question is about healing autism through healing co-morbidities. And today we’re looking specifically at metabolic disorders, and the one we’re looking at is carnitine deficiency. So if your child has low muscle tone, muscle weakness, fatigue. 

[00:00:26] If they’ve had any antibiotic usage or if they have any methylation issues. This video, you’re definitely gonna want to watch, and you’ve got a lot to learn about carnitine, so let’s get to the science. Comorbidities are extremely important to treat if you’re going for an optimal outcome. Alright, so let me teach you about autism comorbidities. 

[00:00:51] Comorbidity is defined as the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient. There’s evidence of an association between various pathophysiological abnormalities and autism, but the exact relationship has not been defined yet. But that does not mean there’s nothing to do. 

[00:01:13] Treatments for. Some of these comorbidities are very well known. Therefore, there’s no reason for your child to suffer with certain comorbidities. Here’s a list of well-accepted autism, comorbidities, seizure and epilepsy, neurotransmitter disorders, sleep disorders, metabolic disorders, and today we’re going to touch upon the fourth one and carnitine. 

[00:01:38] Immune disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, these are all comorbidities. So if you’re going for an optimal outcome for your child with autism, these are all the things that need to be thought about and made sure if your child has any of these comorbidities that you’re treating them. So today we’re covering the fourth of six metabolic disorders, carnitine, and if you’re interested in any of the other comorbidities, I have YouTube videos on them, so be sure to check out my YouTube channel. 

[00:02:12] What is carnitine? All right. There’s the picture of the chemical structure of L-carnitine, and L-carnitine is a transporter molecule. You can also think of it as a shuttle molecule, so it’s going to shuttle something from one area of the body to another area of the body. So it’s a shuttle moving back and forth, back and forth. 

[00:02:33] The inner mitochondrial membrane. Is where carnitine transports long chain fats into the mitochondrial compartment. Now. Why is this important? It’s very important. Actually. This is important because fats are turned into carbon dioxide by carbonate water. Various cool factors such as NAD pH, which is hugely important in our body. 

[00:02:59] And the absolute vital adenosine triphosphate ATP. Cerebral ATP has been shown to be low in those with autism. And ATP is basically cellular energy, chemicals, cellular energy. It’s how our body uses energy. So ATP as a molecule is hugely important. And carnitine is the shovel molecule that brings the facts. 

[00:03:26] Into the mitochondrial compartment where ATP can be created. So carnitine is very important in this process, and ATP is very important for our body to function optimally. Indications of need. Many say that anyone with an autism diagnosis should try L-carnitine supplementation, but I’m going to give you some very specific needs so you can think about this for your child. 

[00:03:54] Blood carnitine deficiency, so please discuss this with your healthcare provider. They can test for carnitine levels, documented methylation defects. Again, this is something to talk with your healthcare provider about. If your child benefited from any methylation supplementation, and the common ones are melatonin, DMG, team G, those are really the common methylation supplementation. 

[00:04:20] So if your child got any benefit from those, you should speak with your healthcare provider about carnitine. If your child has documented mitochondrial distress, low muscle tone, fatigue, muscle weakness, carnitine deficiency means that. The long chain fats aren’t transported into the mitochondrial compartment, meaning ATP, our cellular energy is not produced at optimal levels. 

[00:04:49] Therefore, this is why you’ll see things like fatigue, muscle weakness, pretty much a lack of energy. So when ATP is affected, you can see lack of energy on a more global level, meaning muscle weakness, low muscle tone and fatigue. Again, it’s. So ATP is cellular energy, so if you don’t have much of it, you’re going to see cellular fatigue and whole body fatigue. 

[00:05:16] Another indication of need is any antibiotic use, and I’ll go into a little bit about the microbiota and carnitine towards the end. Carnitine and autism. So let’s understand how those two interact. So there is a distinct enzyme, and I’ll brief V8 it here. TML H E that executes the first step of carnitine biosynthesis. 

[00:05:41] Clinical associations of TML H E mutations with increased autism risks are now established. The underlying mechanism into exactly what goes on when there’s a mutation that remains unknown. But the TML H E mutation genetic mutation is associated with increased autism risk. So this is established. Fatty acid metabolism disorders occur in those with autism. 

[00:06:12] That’s pretty well known as well. All right. Carnitine treatment. So supplementation, I’m going to briefly touch upon a randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical trial. The results were reported in 2012 and this study had 34 children with autism, and they looked at treatment with L-carnitine. So the L-carnitine therapy was 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day, and this was done over three months. 

[00:06:40] And they found that this treatment significantly improved several clinical measurements of ASD severity. They also found significant correlations between increasing levels of serum free carnitine and several positive clinical outcomes. So meaning when these children were given L-carnitine. They were able to measure an increase in the CRM of carnitine, and they were able then to correlate that increase in the blood with clinical outcomes. 

[00:07:14] So how the child behaved, how they interacted, things like that. Individual dosing varies. So please discuss this with your healthcare provider. One of the conclusions of this clinical study in 2012 was that more studies need to be done to look at optimizing dosing. So this is not necessarily an optimized dose and doses for L-carnitine actually changes per the age of the child. 

[00:07:41] So. Again, please just discuss this with your healthcare provider. Carnitine and the microbiota, the all important microbiota. So carnitine is important in the transportation of short chain fatty acids that are actually produced by the microbiota. So the bacteria in our gut produce short chain fatty acids, and carnitine is important in transporting them. 

[00:08:08] Again, think of carnitine as a shuttle molecule. It’s going to move a molecule from one place to another. A deficiency in carnitine could result from imbalances in host microbiota interactions. It is well known that those with autism have abnormal microbiota, and this is why special diets that focus on rebuilding the gut. 

[00:08:33] Are so efficient in healing autism symptoms and or comorbidities. Special diets are so efficient because all you have to do is change your child’s food, and it has such a huge impact in their overall wellbeing and many comorbidities can actually be healed just by changing the diet. Special diets are that powerful. 

[00:09:01] That’s just the facts. And here are some references in case anybody wants to do further reading.