Autism and Diet

Autism and diet modification studies attempt to assess whether abnormal amounts of vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients can be found or are absent in people with autism. Results have not clearly pointed to any abnormalities that are consistently linked with the disorder.

Many people with autism are finicky about what they eat. My son does not eat some foods simply because he doesn't like the texture. He also does not like to try new foods just in case he won't like them. Proper nutrition is always a concern.

Some parents and physicians alike have reported improvement in symptoms in people given certain supplements, including vitamin B, magnesium, cod liver oil, and vitamin C. Few, if any, of these claims are backed up by scientific studies.

Some people with autism have food sensitivities and food allergies and dietary management is important to in these cases to maintain nutrition and health. Another focus of dietary therapy is on problems with intestinal digestion and absorption of nutrients in foods suspected to be present in some individuals with autism. Some parents and professionals have reported improvements in symptoms of autism when diets eliminating suspect proteins, such as gluten (found in wheat flour), are consistently followed. However, there are no studies to confirm their effectiveness.

Do not start giving a child supplements or dramatically change his or her diet without discussing it with the treatment team. It is important to maintain adequate nutrition to ensure optimal growth and development. Furthermore, although vitamins, minerals, and many other substances available as supplements are necessary for body functions, some of them can be dangerous if taken in excess.

More information to come later on specific diets parents are trying. Check back often for updates.

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