It happens to every parent who has a child with ADHD or autism. You go through the “search for the perfect supplement” phase to treat your child’s symptoms. If you spend any amount of time in parent support groups, undoubtedly someone will bombard you with a list of supplements, herbs, and vitamins your child should try. It seems that everyone from acquaintances to family members has an opinion about using supplements.
When my son first got diagnosed with autism, we were sent a care package of supplements from a relative who is a pharmacist. I was grateful for the help but I wondered about the efficacy and safety of these products and especially for a child. So I began to research these supplements on-line and in the literature. In addition I listened to other parents about what worked and what didn’t work for their child. We even tried some of these natural remedies and slowly over the years I have come to some conclusions based upon our personal experience. In this on-going series I am going to be sharing information, research, and also my personal experience as a parent with regard to the use of supplements to treat the symptoms of your child’s ADHD or related disorder.
We are going to start this series by discussing a supplement called GABA or gamma aminobutyric acid.
But before I begin I wish to add a little disclaimer: The allure to try a supplement or vitamin to help your child can be strong. You don’t need a prescription for a supplement. Supplements are readily available at your health food store or even supermarket. Herbs, supplements, and vitamins have a positive connotation of being “natural.” In addition, you may be frightened by the side effects of prescription medications. However, you should know that some supplements may contain unnatural fillers or even harmful ingredients. Currently the FDA does not regulate supplements. Some supplements can cause potentially dangerous side effects but you may not know it because no information is provided. Some herbs, vitamins, and supplements may cause adverse interactions when combined with other medications or supplements.
Final reminder: Always tell your child’s doctor about any supplements you are giving to your child. Do your homework and research the supplement as much as you can before allowing your child to take it. Create a log of any changes in behavior, mental, or physical symptoms after initiating treatment with any type of supplement.
What is GABA?
GABA, or gamma aminobutyric acid, is often referred to in the literature as an amino acid which acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter for the central nervous system. GABA blocks nerve impulses so that nerve cells do not fire too frequently. GABA is also responsible for the regulation of muscle tone. It is viewed by some as our body’s natural calming chemical, as it ensures balance in the functioning of our nervous system.