Although the experience can be rewarding, caring for a son or daughter with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be challenging. Because of their illness children with autism suffer from a variety of life-impairing challenges like behavior and language problems as well as social skills issues.
However, a new study’s findings suggest that negative symptoms can be alleviated by something as surprisingly simple as taking certain vitamins and supplements.
Effects on Symptoms
After asking 1,028 children with ASD to take a variety of omega-3 supplements and placebos, the researchers found that the former was more effective in improving the participants’ symptoms and other functions.
The report, which was published in the medical journal Pediatrics, said that results varied throughout the 27 trials they did for the study. However, they also noted that the gains included numerous benefits like improvement in the children’s sleep, communication, social skills, and attention.
In the end, the study’s lead author, Dr. David Fraguas, concluded that these results demonstrate how helpful ‘dietary interventions’ can be when it comes to the management of certain dysfunctions linked to ASD.
Meanwhile, the researchers also noted how their study wasn’t able to look further into the underlying mechanisms which exactly made the dietary interventions effective. Dr. Fraguas admitted that their research didn’t assess this question and that the current literature on the subject remains inconclusive.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around one in 59 children in America has ASD.
Fortunately, symptoms of autism appear early on allowing parents to catch these signs and get their baby diagnosed as soon as possible. Telltale signs that a child might be autistic are displays of repetitive behavior such as body rocking and hand flapping as well as extreme reactions to changes in their daily routines.
There are currently no medical drugs that can be used to treat autism. However, certain medications have been found to be useful in helping these patients function better in their everyday life by targeting symptoms like seizures, depression, and hyperactivity.
While the study mentioned above showed the positive effects that dietary interventions can have on ASD patients, there’s is no one set scientifically-proven approach that can be recommended for all children with autism yet.
The subject even becomes more complicated when considering the segment of those kids who are also suffering from a list of food-related health issues.
These can manifest in an ASD patient’s sensitivity to certain foods on the basis of texture, color, taste or smell leading them to have a very limiting diet. In relation to this, parents are also advised not to put their children on special diets without consulting with a nutrition expert first.