A recent clinical study showed that improving nutrient intake and the overall diet targets symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) such as anxiety, mood fluctuations, hyperactivity, aggression, and lack of focus, among others. The lead researcher, James Adams, PhD evaluated the effects of the following dietary intervention on ASD symptoms:
Day 0: Multivitamin/mineral supplementation
Day 30: Essential fatty acid (fish oil) supplementation
Day 60: Epsom salt baths
Day 90: Carnitine supplementation
Day 180: Digestive enzyme supplementation
Day 210: Healthy, gluten free, casein free, soy free diet
This particular type of intervention was chosen for several reasons. First, individuals with ASD tend to experience nutritional deficiencies that worsen ASD symptoms and overall health. Second, essential fatty acids (fish oil) support the health of cells throughout the body (e.g., brain, gastrointestinal tract), thereby targeting mental impairments and gastrointestinal problems that are often observed with ASD. Third, Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate salts that help promote healthy sulfate levels which stimulate healthy brain tissue production, detoxification, proper intestinal and brain barrier function, improved neurotransmitter activity, and heightened gastrointestinal functions.
Furthermore, carnitine supplementation boosts energy levels and promotes the removal of harmful substances that contribute to cell damage and the worsening of ASD symptoms. In addition, supplementation with digestive enzymes improves digestive health by enhancing nutrient absorption and relieving stomach discomfort, which is important, as gastrointestinal problems can predict autism severity. Finally, a diet that is free of gluten, casein, and soy disrupts the production of opiates in the body and prevents them from traveling to the brain where they can cause concentration problems, brain fog, inflammation and constipation.
The 1-year study involved 117 participants who were split into three groups:
- ASD Intervention Group – 37 participants with autism who received dietary intervention for 12 months.
- ASD Non-Intervention Group – 30 participants with autism who were asked to maintain their therapy and medication for 12 months.
- Typically-developing Controls – 50 participants who were not diagnosed with a mental disorder and had no family history of ASD.
Each group was comprised of men, women, and children whose ages ranged from 3 to 58. None of the participants were on a special diet, and none had taken supplements two months prior to the study. The only group that received the dietary and nutritional supplementation was the ASD intervention group.
After one year of dietary intervention, the following outcomes were observed:
- Dramatic improvements for non-verbal IQ
- Performance on ASD/behavioral assessments was significantly better
- Gastrointestinal symptoms decreased
- Nutrient absorption and nutrient levels increased (e.g., carnitine, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals)
- Participants displayed enhanced social, daily living, and communication skills
- Developmental age for both children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) greatly improved
One individual who participated in the clinical study improved so rapidly due to the dietary intervention that she no longer required the use of a wheelchair, another was able to discontinue the use of a catheter, and one child participant stopped eating non-food items, which is a factor that can actually be life-threatening. Additional outcomes that were important included heightened interactions between the participants and their loved ones, increased displays of happiness, less aggression, and an enhanced quality of life.
A few participants experienced adverse effects, which indicated that this type of intervention should be tailored to each individual. However, for the most part, the outcomes were overwhelmingly positive. For years, the medical community has argued that clinical evidence which demonstrates the benefits of improved diet and nutrient supplementation for people with autism is lacking. This perspective unfortunately led to conventional treatments for autism that typically involve prescription medications which may cause various side effects. This clinical study proves that taking dietary supplements (e.g., multivitamins, fish oil) and enhancing the overall diet dramatically improves the quality of life for individuals with ASD. More importantly, it demonstrates that supplements can address nutrient deficiencies and effectively target ASD symptoms.
It is pretty amazing what the body can do to help heal itself when given the nutritional support needed for proper biochemical function. It is very difficult to find a high potency, quality multivitamin mineral supplement over-the-counter, which is why I formulated My Spectrum Heroes™ Multivitamin Mineral Plus. I wanted my clients, patients, and followers to have access to a superior nutritional supplement specifically designed to support individuals on the spectrum, without the unwanted ingredients that can aggravate ASD symptoms. Please visit www.myspectrumheroes.com for more information about nutritional supplements for autism and ADHD.