Combined nutritional & dietary intervention effective at improving autism symptoms

May 7, 2018Autism Science and Research News

Latest research supports Nutritional & Dietary Therapy for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Randomized, controlled, single-blind study looks at safety and effectiveness

Results of latest 12month scientific study led by Prof Adams of Arizona State University suggest that a comprehensive nutritional protocol is both safe and effective at improving nutritional status, intellectual ability and autism symptoms in most individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The randomized, controlled, single-blind treatment study utilized comprehensive nutritional and dietary intervention for 67 children and adults with ASD, alongside 50 non-sibling neurotypical controls of similar age and gender. Treatment consisted of a special combination supplement of vitamins and minerals, followed by essential fatty acids, Epsom salt baths, carnitine, digestive enzymes, and a healthy gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free (HGCSF) diet.

There was a significant improvement in non-verbal intelligence in the treatment group compared to the non-treatment group based on a blinded clinical assessment. Based on semi-blinded assessment, the treatment group, compared to the non-treatment group, had significantly greater improvement in autism symptoms and developmental age.

Improvements noted across several domains, including core autism symptoms

Substantial increase in developmental ability in communication, daily living skills, and social skills were recorded in those who received the active treatments. Parent reports also suggested improvements in aberrant behaviors, sensory processing, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

The nutritional supplements and healthy diet improved nutritional status, documented by significantly greater increases in vitamins, essential fatty acids, and carnitine. This included increases in EPA, DHA, carnitine, and vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, B12, folic acid, and Coenzyme Q10 in the treatment group.

The vitamin/mineral supplement and essential fatty acids appeared to have the most clinical benefit, although other treatments appeared to have some benefit for some individuals.

“This comprehensive treatment approach is recommended as a promising therapy for children and adults with ASD, with an emphasis on the vitamin/mineral supplement and essential fatty acids as probably being the most helpful.”

Correcting nutritional and metabolic deficiencies can lead to improvements in long-term autism-related problems

This study is also noteworthy as it reports three exceptional cases of improvement during the study, all of which occurred in the treatment group.

The three unusual case reports, in which three very different long-term problems were greatly improved, shows the power of comprehensive nutritional interventions in addressing complex, puzzling medical conditions which may involve one or more nutritional deficiencies.

The results of this study are in agreement with previous studies and literature reviews, such as those by Gogou & Kolios (2017), in which the authors concluded that, based on the published evidence so far: “The use of dietary supplements in children with autism seems to be a safe practice with encouraging data about their clinical efficacy”.

A large body of scientific evidence shows that individuals with autism have statistically significant differences in nutritional and metabolic status, including biomarkers indicative of vitamin insufficiency, increased oxidative stress, reduced capacity for energy transport, sulfation and detoxification, and many of those biomarker are significantly associated with the severity of autism symptoms.

This latest study by Adams and colleagues suggests that correcting those nutritional and metabolic deficiencies through careful and targeted dietary and nutritional therapies can lead to increased ability to function and learn.

“His quality of life has improved dramatically and all behavior issues …have ceased. His social interactions with his peers and family members have improved dramatically and he is overall a much happier person.”


Adams JB, Audhya T, Geis E, et al. (2018) Comprehensive Nutritional and Dietary Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder-A Randomized, Controlled 12-Month Trial. Nutrients. Mar 17;10(3). doi: 10.3390/nu10030369.

Adams JB, Audhya T, McDonough-Means S, et al. (2011) Nutritional and metabolic status of children with autism vs. neurotypical children, and the association with autism severity. Nutr Metab (Lond). Jun 8;8(1):34. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-8-34.

Gogou M & Kolios G (2017) The effect of dietary supplements on clinical aspects of autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review of the literature. Brain Dev. Sep;39(8):656-664. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2017.03.029.


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