I want to make sure the next time you do blood testing for your child that certain things are checked for because they are often not. If you go to your pediatrician and they want to do some blood work, well meaning with their approach, but they will often do what is called a comprehensive metabolic panel, a complete blood count with differential to look at immune function and maybe they might order, if it is not a part of the comprehensive metabolic panel, a liver profile. All useful information, what I have found though is that many kids on the Autism spectrum need some additional things looked at.
One is iron. Many kids can be iron deficient, iron deficiency is a problem because iron is utilize within hemoglobin to help bind oxygen and oxygen obviously is necessary for metabolic activity at the cellular level, particularly within the brain. So we need an adequate supply of iron. So minimally doing a serum iron and what’s call a serum ferritin test is important.
Also vitamin D, a lot of information with respects to vitamin D problems and Autism and really vitamin D deficiencies in many people. Minimally you should do what is called a 25 OHD test which is the active form of vitamin D. And we are looking for levels upwards of 70 – 80 nanograms/ml with respects to optimal levels of vitamin D for Autism. And there is a lot of information about that so vitamin D test is important too.
I often see parents come into my practice with what looks like a comprehensive blood analysis but often the doctor forgets to do a total cholesterol. You can do a total cholesterol or a lipid panel. A lipid panel is also going to give you the LDL and HDL and the triglyceride numbers, which is fine, but when we look specifically at Autism we are primarily looking at is a decrease in total cholesterol. So minimally just doing a total cholesterol test and any lab can do that so it is not expensive. And we are looking ideally for levels upwards of 160 to 170. I often find that many kids on the spectrum are quite low, 110, 100 and below.
And then finally if it hasn’t been done, do a thyroid test. And don’t just do a TSH which is the thyroid stimulating hormone. Make sure minimally you do a TSH, a free T3 and a free T4. Often doctors will just do a TSH and it is not sensitive enough to pick up on subclinical hypothyroidism. Because you can have a normal TSH but it may be that your child is not converting T4 to T3. Free T3 is the physiologically active form of thyroid. So whenever I do a thyroid panel I will do a TSH, a free T3, and a free T4. If there is any concern about an auto-immune thyroid problem you can also add what is called an anti-TPO or an anti-thyroid globulin antibody. So that is always an option. So, think about that the next time your child is having a blood test, you can ask your doctor to add those important markers
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