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Nutrition Facts and Supplement Science for Managing Autism

Specific diets for children with autism have been found in many studies to improve their symptoms. In one study, 387 parents/primary caretakers completed a 90-item questionnaire about the children’s gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, food allergies, food sensitivities, and diet. Results found that a specialized diet for children with autism who had GI symptoms and food allergies/sensitivities led to improvement in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) behaviors of the children, compared to those with none of those symptoms. Implementing a strict diet that removed gluten and casein also resulted in an improvement in symptoms. Overall, the study suggests that GI and immune factors could impact how children with ASD react to diet implementations.

A study done in Poland aimed to measure how diet and dietary supplements could impact people with ASD. The diet of a person with ASD is going to vary depending on the person’s other symptoms; this study called for constant assessment of the person’s diet to make sure it was tailored for his or her unique situation. It also notes that while a specific diet can help with symptoms of ASD and possibly prevent the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders, diet alone will not be able to effectively treat ASD alone. Omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals are important areas of focus for research regarding the diet of someone with ASD.

Further, a randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled study with 141 people with ASD found that a special multivitamin, which contained ingredients such as CoQ10, MSM, and N-acetylcysteine, was able to improve ASD symptoms, such as hyperactivity and tantrums. Multiple studies have also found that melatonin supplementation can help—many children with autism are reported to have lower levels of melatonin and subsequent trouble falling asleep. Probiotics have been shown to improve GI issues from which people with ASD often suffer. Other studies have confirmed that omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C have helped improve symptoms, as well.

Sources

1. Klein L, Pennesi CM. Effectiveness of the gluten-free, casein-free diet for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder: Based on parental report. Nutritional Neuroscience. 2012 Mar;15(2):85– 91.

2. Kawicka A, Regulska-Ilow B. How nutritional status, diet and dietary supplements can affect autism. A review. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2013;64(1):1– 12.

3. Which supplements have been shown to be helpful for autism? August 2017. Consumer Labs. https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/which-supplements- have-been-shown-to-be-helpful-for-autism/supplements_for_autism/

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