Current nutritional approaches in managing autism spectrum disorder: A review

Cekici H., Sanlier N.

NUTRITIONAL NEUROSCIENCE, vol.22, no.3, pp.145-155, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/1028415x.2017.1358481
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.145-155
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


The link between nutrition and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is a complex developmental disorder manifesting itself in significant delays or deviation in interaction and communication, has provided a fresh point of view and signals that nutrition may have a role in the aetiology of ASD, as well as play an active role in treatment by alleviating symptoms. Objective: In this review study aimed at evaluating, with scientific and concrete proof, the current medical nutrition implementations on ASD, existing medical nutrition therapies have been addressed and their effects on ASD symptoms have been discussed in light of current research. Methods: We reviewed articles regarding the medical nutritional therapy of autism on current nutritional approaches selected from PubMed, Science Direct, EBSCO, and databases about autism and nutrition. Results: The research put forward that in individuals with ASD, while gluten-free/casein-free and ketogenic diets, camel milk, curcumin, probiotics, and fermentable foods can play a role in alleviating ASD symptoms, consumption of sugar, additives, pesticides, genetically modified organisms, inorganic processed foods, and hard-to-digest starches may aggravate symptoms. Discussion: Further prospective controlled trials with large sample sizes are needed before recommendations can be made regarding the ideal ASD diet. This review emphasizes the value of identifying current nutritional approaches specific to individuals with ASD and integrating their effects on symptoms to the conversation and presents suggestions for future research designed to identify medical nutrition therapies targeting this population to better understand the link between ASD and nutrition.