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Research

Comprehensive Nutritional and Dietary Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder—A Randomized, Controlled 12-Month Trial

James Adams, et al

This study involved a randomized, controlled, single-blind 12-month treatment study of a comprehensive nutritional and dietary intervention. Participants were 67 children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages 3–58 years from Arizona and 50 non-sibling neurotypical controls of similar age and gender. Treatment began with a special vitamin/mineral supplement, and additional treatments were added sequentially, including 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 nonverbal intellectual ability in the treatment group compared to the non-treatment group (+6.7 ± 11 IQ points vs. −0.6 ± 11 IQ points, p = 0.009) 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. The treatment group had significantly greater increases in EPA, DHA, carnitine, and vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, B12, folic acid, and Coenzyme Q10. The positive results of this study suggest that a comprehensive nutritional and dietary intervention is effective at improving nutritional status, non-verbal IQ, autism symptoms, and other symptoms in most individuals with ASD. Parents reported that the vitamin/mineral supplements, essential fatty acids, and HGCSF diet were the most beneficial.

Full Study link https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/3/369/htm

 


 

 

Effect of a vitamin/mineral supplement on children and adults with autism

Adams, JB, et all

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Vitamin/mineral supplements are among the most commonly used treatments for autism, but the research on their use for treating autism has been limited.

METHOD:

This study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled three month vitamin/mineral treatment study. The study involved 141 children and adults with autism, and pre and post symptoms of autism were assessed. None of the participants had taken a vitamin/mineral supplement in the two months prior to the start of the study. For a subset of the participants (53 children ages 5-16) pre and post measurements of nutritional and metabolic status were also conducted.

RESULTS:

The vitamin/mineral supplement was generally well-tolerated, and individually titrated to optimum benefit. Levels of many vitamins, minerals, and biomarkers improved/increased showing good compliance and absorption. Statistically significant improvements in metabolic status were many including: total sulfate (+17%, p = 0.001), S-adenosylmethionine (SAM; +6%, p = 0.003), reduced glutathione (+17%, p = 0.0008), ratio of oxidized glutathione to reduced glutathione (GSSG:GSH; -27%, p = 0.002), nitrotyrosine (-29%, p = 0.004), ATP (+25%, p = 0.000001), NADH (+28%, p = 0.0002), and NADPH (+30%, p = 0.001). Most of these metabolic biomarkers improved to normal or near-normal levels.The supplement group had significantly greater improvements than the placebo group on the Parental Global Impressions-Revised (PGI-R, Average Change, p = 0.008), and on the subscores for Hyperactivity (p = 0.003), Tantrumming (p = 0.009), Overall (p = 0.02), and Receptive Language (p = 0.03). For the other three assessment tools the difference between treatment group and placebo group was not statistically significant.Regression analysis revealed that the degree of improvement on the Average Change of the PGI-R was strongly associated with several biomarkers (adj. R2 = 0.61, p < 0.0005) with the initial levels of biotin and vitamin K being the most significant (p < 0.05); both biotin and vitamin K are made by beneficial intestinal flora.

CONCLUSIONS:

Oral vitamin/mineral supplementation is beneficial in improving the nutritional and metabolic status of children with autism, including improvements in methylation, glutathione, oxidative stress, sulfation, ATP, NADH, and NADPH. The supplement group had significantly greater improvements than did the placebo group on the PGI-R Average Change. This suggests that a vitamin/mineral supplement is a reasonable adjunct therapy to consider for most children and adults with autism.

Link to full study

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22151477

 


 

 

Vitamin/Mineral Supplements for Children and Adults with Autism

James B Adams*

 

Abstract Vitamins and minerals are the most widely used medical treatment for autism. Many research studies have demonstrated that children and adults with autism often have nutritional and metabolic problems, including problems with methylation, glutathione, oxidative stress, sulfation, lithium, and more. This review summarizes the results of several vitamin/mineral treatment studies conducted by our group, which demonstrate that vitamin/mineral supplements are highly effective in improving many nutritional and metabolic problems, and result in significant improvements in symptoms based on a large, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. We recommend that all children and adults with autism consider a 2-3 month trial of a vitamin/mineral supplement designed for individuals with autism that is similar to the one used in our studies. By starting at a low dose, and gradually increasing it, there is minimal risk of adverse effects, and many children and adults are likely to benefit, sometimes substantially.

 

Link to full study https://live-autismaspergers-research-program.ws.asu.edu/sites/default/files/vitamin_mineral_supplements_for_children_and_adults_with_autism.pdf

 


 

 

HOW NUTRITIONAL STATUS, DIET AND DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS CAN AFFECT AUTISM. A REVIEW

Kawicka A1, Regulska-Ilow B.

Abstract

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder with symptoms arising that are apparent throughout the patient's lifespan. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterised by impaired social and communication interactions as well as restricted, repetitive interests and behaviour. Currently in Poland, about 50 000 people suffer from autism, of which 1/5 are children. Epidemiological studies show that the incidence of autism is increasing, which may be due to the diagnostic category of ASD having been developed. Of vital importance in the treatment of autism, is early diagnosis which is conducive to more rapidly improving the quality of patients' health. It is believed that both genetic and environmental factors may affect the development of the disease. Moreover, expert opinion emphasises the importance of making an adequate diagnosis when the first symptoms of autism start appearing which can be both psychological, gastro-intestinal and metabolic ones. Conventional treatment is based on the combination of behavioural and dietary therapy together with pharmacotherapy. For example, adapting an appropriate diet could help alleviate the disease severity, as well as the psychological and gastrointestinal symptoms. Much scientific research has indicated that pathogenesis of autism may have a beginning already in foetal life. During pregnancy, specialists should take special heed of metabolic disorders, which can increase the risk ofASD in children. One of the dietician's tasks are to properly assess the nutritional status of mothers before and during pregnancy, thereby allowing changes in nutrition to be made wherever necessary in order that metabolic indicators be improved. Thus an important part of autism therapy is the improving patient's nutritional status to prevent the onset of gastrointestinal symptoms. Adopting diets and tailored to individual disease symptoms, is linked to the nutritional requirements and food preferences of the patient. Specialists also emphasise that continual monitoring of the diet and nutritional status of children with ASD is required. It is also essential to start adequate dietary management in autistic patients with overweight, obesity or wasting, caused by improper nutrition. Frequently only a dietary therapy is insufficient to effectively treat autism. Many studies demonstrate the need to supplement the nutritional deficiencies of autistic patients with fatty acids omega-3, probiotics, vitamins and minerals in combination with medical and psychological interventions. A properly designed elimination diet adapted to the patient's individual may also lead to relief of the autism symptoms and the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders. Parents and caregivers should therefore be aware of the benefits of nutritional therapy and need for proper monitoring the treatment of patients with ASD. A review of nutritional factors, dietary treatments and diet supplementation in patients with ASD is presented.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23789306

 


 

 

Nutritional and metabolic status of children with autism vs. neurotypical children, and the association with autism severity.

Adams, JB, et all

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The relationship between relative metabolic disturbances and developmental disorders is an emerging research focus. This study compares the nutritional and metabolic status of children with autism with that of neurotypical children and investigates the possible association of autism severity with biomarkers.

METHOD:

Participants were children ages 5-16 years in Arizona with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (n = 55) compared with non-sibling, neurotypical controls (n = 44) of similar age, gender and geographical distribution. Neither group had taken any vitamin/mineral supplements in the two months prior to sample collection. Autism severity was assessed using the Pervasive Development Disorder Behavior Inventory (PDD-BI), Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC), and Severity of Autism Scale (SAS). Study measurements included: vitamins, biomarkers of vitamin status, minerals, plasma amino acids, plasma glutathione, and biomarkers of oxidative stress, methylation, sulfation and energy production.

RESULTS:

Biomarkers of children with autism compared to those of controls using a t-test or Wilcoxon test found the following statistically significant differences (p < 0.001): Low levels of biotin, plasma glutathione, RBC SAM, plasma uridine, plasma ATP, RBC NADH, RBC NADPH, plasma sulfate (free and total), and plasma tryptophan; also high levels of oxidative stress markers and plasma glutamate. Levels of biomarkers for the neurotypical controls were in good agreement with accessed published reference ranges. In the Autism group, mean levels of vitamins, minerals, and most amino acids commonly measured in clinical care were within published reference ranges.A stepwise, multiple linear regression analysis demonstrated significant associations between several groups of biomarkers with all three autism severity scales, including vitamins (adjusted R2 of 0.25-0.57), minerals (adj. R2 of 0.22-0.38), and plasma amino acids (adj. R2 of 0.22-0.39).

CONCLUSION:

The autism group had many statistically significant differences in their nutritional and metabolic status, including biomarkers indicative of vitamin insufficiency, increased oxidative stress, reduced capacity for energy transport, sulfation and detoxification. Several of the biomarker groups were significantly associated with variations in the severity of autism. These nutritional and metabolic differences are generally in agreement with other published results and are likely amenable to nutritional supplementation. Research investigating treatment and its relationship to the co-morbidities and etiology of autism is warranted.

Link to Full study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21651783