Autism is one of a group of conditions known as autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). These conditions affect how a person communicates and relates with people, as well as how they perceive the world around them. The severity of autistic disorders varies widely. Additionally, because the cause of autism is not yet fully known, there are many theories about how the condition should be treated.
Several special diets may be used to help people with autism. There are supplements that may help as well. The National Autistic Society recommends that parents of children with autism or adults with autism seek the help of a registered dietician to ensure that all nutritional needs are met on any special diet.
Because some research has shown that peptides from gluten and casein may play a role in autism, a gluten-free and casein-free diet may be suggested. Gluten is found in grains and cereals, and casein is found in milk and milk products.
Fatty acids have been found to help with a wide range of conditions, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important for brain development and function. People with autism may be deficient in these two types of fatty acids, which may be found in different foods as well as supplements. Foods containing highly unsaturated fatty acids include fish, seafood, nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables.
Two other supplements that may help are vitamin B6 and magnesium. Proper dosage should be discussed with a GP or dietician, as high doses of B6 may cause peripheral neuropathy.