Many people with cerebral palsy experience a feeding problem, which may make it difficult to consume all their essential nutrients through food. Taking vitamins may be an effective way for them to supplement their nutrition.
This article will present 7 essential vitamins for individuals with cerebral palsy.
Best Vitamins for Cerebral Palsy
Below is a list of 7 supplements that boost brain function and help heal the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain development in babies and the maintenance of brain function throughout life. It can be found in fish oil or flaxseed supplements.
DHA is a type of omega-3 that regulates nerve growth and has neuroprotective effects.
Children with cerebral palsy who have learning difficulties may benefit from omega-3, as it helps improve cognitive functions such as learning and memory.
Studies suggest that omega-3’s may promote joint and bone health, which is fundamental for impaired movement.
2. Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are necessary for the bone health of children with cerebral palsy.
Due to feeding difficulties, many children with cerebral palsy don’t receive adequate nutrition and are at risk for malnourishment. This leads to weak bones that are susceptible to fractures.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, and calcium is essential for strengthening the bones.
Nervous tissues use energy from calcium to stimulate nerve impulses and regulate muscle contractions, so the mineral is essential for not only bone health, but also movement.
Over 75% of individuals with cerebral palsy experience spasticity, making it difficult to move and eat properly because their muscles continuously contract.
Magnesium may reduce spasticity and increase range of movement by relaxing the muscles and promoting nerve function.
Magnesium may also help CP patients who experience gastroesophageal reflux disease and other digestion problems. It is used in laxatives, heartburn and upset stomach medications to relieve constipation, relax the muscles in the digestive tract, and neutralize stomach acid.
Just like calcium, magnesium is essential for bone health and preventing osteoporosis.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is potent in antioxidants, which combats free radicals and prevents oxidative stress. Oxidative stress may cause or increase depression and memory loss.
Vitamin C enhances the synthesis of norepinephrine, which is a neurotransmitter that improves focus and energy.
It’s also crucial for maintaining bone health because of its involvement in gene regulation that influences bone development.
Zinc plays an important role in the brain and affects a variety of different functions such as learning, memory, and mood.
It promotes communication between neurons and regulates neurotransmitter activity.
Because children with cerebral palsy often have learning difficulties and mood swings, ensuring that they are not zinc-deficient may boost their cognitive abilities and reduce emotional outbursts.
Many children with cerebral palsy are prone to digestion problems. Probiotics increase healthy bacteria in the gut and promote digestive health.
The gut and brain are connected through biochemical signaling. This is why people experience digestive problems when they’re anxious.
Good bacteria levels in the gut allow for the production of neurotransmitters that improves mood and brain function.
In fact, 99% of serotonin (the ‘feel good’ chemical) is made in the digestive tract.
7. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with memory loss, depression, weak muscles, digestion problems, and irritability. These conditions are common among people with cerebral palsy.
Vitamin B12 keeps nerve cells healthy by forming the cell’s myelin sheath (a protective covering for axons).
It also helps promote neurotransmitter signaling to help regulate mood, stress response, and prevent memory loss.
Vitamins for Cerebral Palsy Should Not Replace a Healthy Diet
Vitamins for cerebral palsy should be used in addition to a healthy diet, not in place of one.
If your child has difficulties chewing, consider blending their food so that it is easier to swallow.
People can get all their essential nutrients through proper nutrition, so supplements should only be taken when necessary.
Vitamins won’t cure your child’s spasticity or heal their brain damage. Instead, they’ll provide the nutrients lacking in their current diet.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand what vitamins will be best for your child’s cerebral palsy and how to properly use them. Good luck!