Insomnia, Autism, and Melatonin
July 09, 2019
By Robert Donnell, RPh, Vital Care Compounder
Autism is a disorder, primarily affecting young boys, that causes developmental disorders. Symptoms include: poor social skills, problems with motor skills, and often slow or impaired intellectual progress. Another way of describing this problem would be as spectrum disorder. Asperger syndrome and Rett syndrome are two of the terms you will see used when describing symptoms and the inability for these patients to function.
Sleep disturbances are some of the most often reported problems in patients with this disorder. 40 to 80 percent of these patients or their caregivers report insomnia on a regular basis. This causes problems for the caregivers and patients as well. These patients report problems getting to sleep, staying in a state of restful sleep, and often, prolonged periods of almost complete insomnia.
A possible explanation for this restlessness is a reduction in the production of melatonin — a hormone produced by the pineal gland located at the base of the brain, which is partially responsible for keeping the normal sleep cycle in place. The prime secretion of melatonin occurs during the evening when darkness occurs. We retard the body’s normal production with the artificial light of televisions and computer screens. Peak levels happen about 3am and these levels begin to fall as morning arrives. The enzymes necessary for production of melatonin may be flawed or missing in these patients.
Melatonin has become one of the most studied chemicals for the treatment of autism with many receiving wonderful results. In an example of these studies, 3 mg was used in children age 2 to 15 with positive results. In another study, children ages 2 to 18 were given 0.75 mg to 6 mg with a full 60 percent reporting improved levels of sleep.
Another role of this item is as a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger. Some suggest that patients with autism have problems removing toxins and are lacking in glutathione, another antioxidant. Thus, with this supplement we may even improve the patient’s overall health.
As a compounding-only pharmacy, we can take into consideration a patient’s age, weight, allergies, and taste preferences when called upon to treat them. We also use a quality brand of the pure, powdered, natural hormone melatonin that has a particle size small enough to actually be absorbed. Dosage forms could be oral suspensions, which allow dose adjustments during treatment, flavor choices, and the lack of other chemicals the patient may dislike or that may be contraindicated in their condition. After visiting with the caregiver, we have the ability to make any strength and dosage form the patient may require, using only the finest chemicals from the most reputable companies, which mimic the body’s naturally occurring hormones.
We enjoy visiting with you about your health and look forward to hearing from you. Our pharmaceutical grade supplements help countless numbers of people on a daily basis improve their therapy outcomes and, ultimately, their quality of life.
Vital Care Compounder is located at 115 South 40th Ave. Hattiesburg, MS. For more information call 601-261-0503 or visit www.vitalcarecompounder.com.
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