I have Asperger’s and ADHD, and a week ago I started taking 5gr of glutamine a day and it’s definitely affecting my cognitive empathy. I actually started at 10gr, which proved excessive and ostensibly dangerous, so I am now taking 5gr/day. This is probably too much for children — please do your own research and determine what amount is best for you and/or your child.
One myth about autistics is that we lack empathy. This is not true, as there are different kinds of empathy. We have both affective and compassionate empathy, which are the kinds of empathy most associated with how most people understand empathy; we have the ability to share other people’s feelings, and to want to help others. Many of us with autism have too much of these kinds of empathy, and thus we get overloaded and overwhelmed. Cognitive empathy, however, is quite different. This is the ability to predict other people’s behaviours, thoughts and intentions, and the ability to read between the lines in other people’s communication. We autistics have an extremely hard time understanding when someone is being devious or has intentions other than their declared ones. It opens us up to all kinds of abuse, and causes some people think that we’re rather stupid.
Well, in the past week, I have definitely been improving in the cognitive empathy area. I have been noticing that I can better understand what someone might be thinking, and I’ve been realizing how simple most people are compared to people with certain ASDs. I can now understand better what kind of speech is appropriate or not in a given context, and I also no longer feel extreme dislike for people when they act superficially or have overly consumerist tendencies, or whatnot. Want an example? One thing that I habitually do is give rather large, heavy packages to rather small or elderly people, not realizing that it’s too heavy for them. I’m starting to get really good at understanding people’s physical capabilities and limitations based on their size and age. I’m starting to realize not everyone has as much energy as I do, and I’ve been catching myself before making inappropriate jokes or comments. The Christmas family thing this year was proof. I didn’t piss anybody off!
This is not a scientific experiment by any means. I’m just willing to experiment on myself and document the effects so that perhaps others can benefit in some way.
I have no interest in any glutamine supplement makers. I have no personal gains to be made by posting this. I just think that the number and proportion of kids with ASDs could lead to a real crisis in the healthcare and social support systems in the future, and we need to find better solutions. I strongly believe in the connection between diet and cognitive differences, and I think that had I had a better diet as a child (it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t enough for my growing brain), my symptoms might not have been as severe. I have an absurdly high IQ and that brain needs feeding.
Since I found out I have ASD and ADHD about a year and a half ago (I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia, then bipolar disorder, both of which were very wrong), I’ve been concentrating on proper diet, supplements and exercise, and about 2 months ago I started taking 100mg of bupropion, which has also had an enormous effect on my wellbeing. Having the weight of depression lifted somewhat, I’m able to take better action and control of my life, and can make better choices for myself. My social intelligence is starting to catch up with my other types, and it’s having some really big positive effects in my life. I feel a bit like Charlie in Flowers for Algernon. It’s very empowering. I’m lucky because I’m “high functioning” due to my elevated traditional IQ, so my learning curve will hopefully become very steep and I’ll be able to catch up with — maybe even surpass — many people in terms of social intelligence one day.
NB: I am not on board with the autism/vaccination link at all, and I think that the benefits of an entire population getting vaccinated and gaining herd immunity far outweigh the risks. I’m really sorry if your child had a bad reaction, but if smallpox and other diseases were to run rampant in our society today, it would be devastating.
TL;DR: In less than a week, glutamine 5gr/day has been improving my cognitive empathy and ability to “read” other people.
CURRENT FULL NOOTROPIC STACK 5X/WEEK My full stack is a multi (extra strenth swiss herbal brand), Vit. B100 complex high dose, Vit. C 1gr time release, 1gr cod liver oil, 1gr salmon and fish oils, 1gr organic flaxseed oil, 1gr evening primrose oil, 1gr plant sterols plus CoQ10, 1gr MSM, 500mg glucosamine, 200mg/160IU calcium Vit D, folic acid, an extra 1k IU of Vit D, and then I’ll take some various other herbal supplements in rotation. I take 10mg melatonin/night because my brain doesn’t produce any. I also take pro- and pre-biotics, the kind you have to keep in the fridge. I am going to add uridine, tryptophan in the evening and a non-soya based protein powder when I start hitting the weights again. For now I’m running or rowing or doing aerobics 30 mins 3x/week, trying to increase steadily to 5x/week, then every day.