Autism spectrum disorder is a complex disease, which impacts several systems within the body. There is an observed imbalance of nutrients among these patients, and for many years health care providers have attempted to balance these systems with dietary interventions and nutrition. Specific nutrients are key in driving critical cellular function in the body. If there are not enough nutrients or if they present in toxic amounts the system could function improperly, which may result in diminished brain health. Some of the nutrient reductions seen among those diagnosed with autism include sulfate, essential fatty acids, and glutathione. Further, those with autism often have intestinal problems, which typically respond well to dietary therapy for effective healing.
In a study of 67 children and adults with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), published in the Journal Nutrients, the authors theorized that combining nutritional and dietary therapy would help improve autistic functioning and reduce gastrointestinal stress. The investigators conducted a randomized controlled 12-month trial to test their hypothesis, which resulted in a positive finding. The participants in the treatment group were placed on gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free diet and given vitamin/mineral supplements, essential fatty acids, digestive enzymes, and Epsom salt baths. At the end of the 12 months, the participants showed signs of improvement in nutritional status, non-verbal IQ, and autism symptoms, which were identified by using lab reports and behavioral assessments, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Childhood Autism Rating Scale, and others. Very few adverse effects were reported, which included three reports of worsening behavior, one report of nausea and one report of stomach pain. Three of the authors declared a conflict in interest, which included affiliation with the Autism Nutrition Research Center, Health Diagnostics, and Doctor’s Data.
This study provides evidence that a comprehensive nutrient and diet protocol was well tolerated and effective in improving autistic symptoms.
More Info: Adams, J., Audhya, T., Geis, E., Gehn, E., Fimbres, V., . . . Quig, D. (2018). Comprehensive nutritional and dietary intervention for autism spectrum disorder – a randomized controlled 12-month trial. Nutrients. DOI: 10.3390/nu10030369