Bulgarian Journal of Psychiatry, 2024; 9(2):47-53

Nutritional interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders

Rositza Chamova, Ruzha Pancheva, Dimitar Marinov
Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Faculty of Public Health,
Medical University “Prof. Dr. Paraskev Stoyanov” – Varna, Bulgaria

Abstract. Background: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are characterized by neurodevelopmental issues impacting social interaction, communication, and behavior. Various dietary interventions have been explored for their potential benefits in ASD, yet their effectiveness is still a matter of debate. This review aims to evaluate recent clinical studies on the impact of dietary interventions on ASD symptoms. Methods: We examined clinical trials conducted between 2018 and 2023 that focused on the effect of dietary interventions on ASD symptoms in children. Research databases including PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, BASE, DOAJ, and Google Scholar were utilized. Results: A total of 18 studies with heterogeneous designs were analyzed. Findings generally indicate positive impacts of specific nutritional interventions like gluten- and casein-free diets, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, and vitamin and mineral supplementation, as well as the use of probiotics and prebiotics. These interventions showed improvements in social responsiveness, communication, hyperactivity, and stereotypic behavior in ASD children. However, the studies also displayed inconsistencies and methodological limitations, underscoring the need for further research. Conclusion: Current literature suggests that certain dietary interventions, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and probiotics, may positively influence ASD symptoms. However, to validate these findings, more extensive, long-term studies with larger sample sizes, standardized methodologies, and control groups are necessary.

Key words: аutism spectrum disorders, nutritional interventions, developmental disorders

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