Scientists have often considered vitamin B6 as an effective treatment for autism. While many drugs have shown positive effects sporadically, B6 is the only drug that has produced consistent results. When a drug shows positive results, in over half of the studies, it's considered successful and can be administrated to autistic patients. But despite the remarkably consistent findings of various studies, safer than most other drugs, very few practitioners use it for treatment of autism.
Research on vitamin B6 to treat children with autism began in the 1960s. British neurologists AF Heeley and GE Roberts, in their research, claimed that abnormal metabolites were detected in the urine of 11 of the 19 autistic children observed, after a tryptophan load test. A single 30mg vitamin B6 tablet normalized their urine. No behavioral studies, however, was conducted. Then, in 1968, German investigator VE Bonisch reported that 12 out of 16 autistic children studied, shown considering improved behavior when administered a high dose of (100-600mg) vitamin B6. Three of his patients, in the open clinical trial, spoke for the first time after the medicine was given.
Latest clinical trials have revealed that 30-40% of autistic children showed significant improvement when vitamin B6 was administered to them. Some minor side effects, like sound sensitivity, irritability, and bed-wetting, cropped up. But they were quickly alleviated by administrating additional magnesium.
Over the decades, children have shown a wide range of benefits from vitamin B6. These include, improved eye contact, more interest in the world around them, better speech, and fewer tantrums. They showed better overall improvement, though they were not completely cured of the ailment. Recent studies by US investigators at the University of North Carolina, Thomas Gualtieri et al, and by George Ellman et al, at California's Sonoma State Hospital, have disclosed positive effects of vitamin B6 on autistic children.
While no autistic person has been ultimately cured after administering vitamin B6, several instances have been reported where there has been a noticeable improvement in the conditions. In an interesting case, an 18-year old autistic person was evicted from a leading mental home. Massive amounts of drugs had no effect on him. The guy was considered too much violent and even abusive at times to be kept in a hospital. Psychiatrists and doctors then administered vitamin B6 and magnesium as the last resort. The person calmed down soon after a period of treatment. One of the psychiatrists in the team, later informed that she recently visited the man and his family, and was pleasantly surprised to find that he was now an easy going person who plays the guitar and sings songs.
The need for vitamin B6 varies broadly. Scientists have not ruled out that vitamin B6 may not come of much use if administrated in the later stages of life. Diagnosing the ailment early and starting the medicine course is imperative for better treatment. But vitamin B6 has emerged has a rational and safe approach to treat autism. But singular administration of vitamin B6 is in the early stages of study. It is usually given with a combination of other drugs.