Autism Treatment: Nutritional Interventions
Mega Vitamin Therapy: Some studies are reporting positive effects of large doses of vitamin B6. There have been reports B6 helps control hyperactivity and overall improvement and increase attention, language learning, sleeping patterns and eye contact. The vitamin tend s to take about 60 days before any effects are observed. There are some side effects but these seem to reduce with dose reduction. The experimental evidence does not definitively show that the effects are due to the vitamin B6 and not placebo.
Dietary Interventions The opioid-excess theory of Autism states that children with Autism show an elevated amount of abnormal peptide substances in their urine believed to result from the incomplete breakdown of the proteins gluten (from wheat, oats, barley, rye and other cereals) and casein (from cow’s milk). When these proteins are ingested but not properly broken down by the gut, large peptides escape into the blood stream and are carried to the brain. Here they have an opioid-like effect (i.e. children are less able to pay attention and are socially withdrawn).
Many doctors (specifically a group subscribing to the Defeat Autism Now, DAN!, protocol) recommend removal of gluten and casein from the diet of children with Autism. There are many reports of positive effects of this diet. Some books have been written by parents who have seen their children completely recover from Autism by changing their diet. Many parents see improvements in sociability, attention and eye contact, often after an initial 10 day period when behavior can deteriorate as the body adapts to its new bio-chemistry. No double-blind randomized clinical trials have yet been performed to test the efficacy of the gluten / casein free diet in helping children with Autism but preliminary reports are encouraging.