Dietary Supplements and Autism
Aims and Claims
According to Bazian (2011), “People take supplements for all kinds of reasons, usually relating to their health. They hope these will boost vitality, limit the signs of ageing, extend life, cut the risk of chronic disease such as cancer and treat specific ailments such as arthritis".
Some people think that some individuals on the autism spectrum have a range of nutritional and metabolic problems. These include low levels of nutrients, high levels of oxidative stress (a chemical state within cells that can increase cellular damage) and difficulties with metabolic processes (such as digestion).
Some people think that these nutritional and metabolic differences may be the cause of some of the core features of autism (such as impaired communication and social difficulties) and related issues (such as challenging behaviours).
They also think that some of these problems can be overcome by taking one or more dietary supplements, sometimes in combination with other therapies such as special diets.
There have been various claims for different dietary supplements for people on the autism spectrum. For example,
- Some people (such as the Autism Research Institute, 2008) have claimed that taking dimethylglycine results in a range of benefits, including improved behaviour, eye contact, speech and tolerance.
- Some people (such as Amminger et al, 2007) have claimed that taking omega-3 supplements can lead to a range of benefits including reduced hyperactivity, stereotypy, severe tantrums, aggression or self injurious behaviour.
- Some people (such as Kałużna-Czaplińska and Błaszczyk, 2012) have claimed that taking a probiotic can lead to improvements in concentration and the ability to carry out orders.
- Some people (such as Frye et al. (2013)) have claimed that taking folic acid (vitamin B9) supplements, combined with vitamin B12 injections, leads to improvement in a range of areas including expressive communication, personal and domestic daily living skills, and interpersonal, play-leisure, and coping social skills.
- Some people (such as Wake et al, 2013) have claimed that taking yokukansan, a traditional herbal medicine, may reduce severe irritability/agitation and hyperactivity/noncompliance.
- 31 Oct 2017
- Last Review
- 01 Apr 2017
- Next Review
- 01 Apr 2020