Arizona State University Nutritional interventions appear to be helpful for treating autism. A team led by Arizona State University researchers is taking a comprehensive nutritional approach in the search for effective autism treatments.

The team led by Prof. James Adams completed a 12-month study involving 67 children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. The results were recently published in the journal Nutrients.

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.

Past research by the ASU team and others have shown that several of these treatments are individually beneficial, and the hope was that there would be a greater effect by combining all of them.

The nutrient combination showed long-term benefits, including a 7 point gain in non-verbal IQ in the treatment group, compared to no change in the non-treatment group. Similarly, the treatment group gained 18 months of developmental age, vs. only 4 months for the non-treatment group. Parents reported many other benefits, including improvements in autism symptoms, problem behaviors, sensory sensitivity, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

“The results are exciting,” said James Adams, ASU President’s Professor leader of the study.”The treatment group had significantly greater increases in many nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, carnitine, and vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, B12, folic acid, and Coenzyme Q10. Most importantly, the treatments were well-tolerated we observed good improvements in many symptoms.”

The team included physicians, nutritionists, nurses, biochemists, and several other researchers.

This is one of the longest treatment studies for autism, lasting 12 months, and demonstrated that a comprehensive nutritional intervention is feasible and effective. Parents reported that the vitamin/mineral supplement and fish oil were the most effective, followed by the healthy HGCSF diet.

There were 3 cases of special improvements. One young girl with extremely low energy level had great benefit from the carnitine supplement, and her wheelchair was put in storage. One young man who was unable to urinate without a catheter several times/day regained that ability within days of starting the dairy-free diet. One seven-year-old boy who had severe pica (eating non-food items) was discovered to have many nutritional deficiencies, and his pica completely resolved within 1 week of starting a healthy diet.

The full paper about the study is available at:

Thank you,

Prof. James B. Adams, Ph.D.
Autism/Asperger’s Research Program
Arizona State University

All of the treatments used in the studies are commercially available, including the special vitamin/mineral supplement formulated by Prof. Adams and available from his non-profit, the Autism Nutrition Research Center,

Also, Prof. Adams has released a shortened version of the study protocol for autism families, focusing on the treatments that were found be be most beneficial. That study protocol is called the ANRC Protocol, and is available for free at

For more information on Prof. Adams’ research, see