Nutritional interventions for autism spectrum disorder

Elisa Karhu, Ryan Zukerman, Rebecca S. Eshraghi, Jeenu Mittal, Richard C. Deth, Ana M. Castejon, Malav Trivedi, Rahul Mittal, Adrien A. Eshraghi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an increasingly prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder with considerable clinical heterogeneity. With no cure for the disorder, treatments commonly center around speech and behavioral therapies to improve the characteristic social, behavioral, and communicative symptoms of ASD. Gastrointestinal disturbances are commonly encountered comorbidities that are thought to be not only another symptom of ASD but to also play an active role in modulating the expression of social and behavioral symptoms. Therefore, nutritional interventions are used by a majority of those with ASD both with and without clinical supervision to alleviate gastrointestinal and behavioral symptoms. Despite a considerable interest in dietary interventions, no consensus exists regarding optimal nutritional therapy. Thus, patients and physicians are left to choose from a myriad of dietary protocols. This review, summarizes the state of the current clinical and experimental literature on nutritional interventions for ASD, including gluten-free and casein-free, ketogenic, and specific carbohydrate diets, as well as probiotics, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and dietary supplements (vitamins A, C, B6, and B12; magnesium and folate).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-531
Number of pages17
JournalNutrition Reviews
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • casein-free diet
  • dietary supplements
  • gluten-free diet
  • ketogenic diet
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • probiotics
  • specific carbohydrate diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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