A new study published in Pediatrics assessed the current research on dietary restrictions and supplements and how they relate to children with autism.
Authors identified 19 pieces of research literature – four of which had a low risk of bias and five had a high bias risk. The studies investigated the benefits of supplements, variations of gluten-free or casein-free diets and other dietary restrictions of a total of 732 children.
While parents reported behavior and communication improvements, the hard data showed there was no change in long-term benefits. One study, which had a high bias risk, showed that gluten- and- casein-free diets positively affected communication, cognitive, motor, verbal and social skills, while another only showed improvements at 12 months, but not 24. Basically, there was not enough evidence to draw any conclusions.
The use of Omega-3 fatty acids had no effect on behavior. In another study of DHA supplements, parents in the placebo group reported better social skills while teachers reported better communication in the treatment group. There was some promise with methyl B12 and levocarnitine, but more research needs to be done to determine actual benefits.
Currently, the best treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders is evidence-based therapies that can address the specific needs of each child. Read more at Forbes.