Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Nutritional Interventions

  • Madison PilatoEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_1303-3


Nutrition interventions involve supplementing the diet with vitamins, minerals, or other substances in an effort to improve health and alleviate the core symptoms of autism and associated behavior. A common example is for individuals with autism to consume high doses of vitamin B6 combined with magnesium.

Historical Background

Nutritional supplements are often used in an attempt to improve disorders, especially mental health conditions, and have been used for autism in particular since the 1960s (Levy and Hyman 2008). Bernard Rimland, a proponent of vitamin B6 therapy in particular, traces the origin back to the 1966 report of abnormal metabolites in the urine of children with autism by A. F. Heeley and G. E. Roberts; these metabolites were said to be normalized by vitamin B6 (Rimland 2008). The next article to address the use of vitamins to treat autism was published by Bonisch in 1968, and research continued for the next four decades.

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References and Readings

  1. Huffman, L. C., Sutcliffe, T. L., Tanner, I. S. D., & Feldman, H. M. (2011). Management of symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorders: A comprehensive review of pharmacologic and complementary-alternative medicine treatments. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 32, 56–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Levy, S. E., & Hyman, S. L. (2008). Complementary and alternative medicine treatments for children with autism spectrum disorders. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 17, 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Nye, C., & Brice, A. (2005). Combined vitamin B6-magnesium treatment in autism spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 4, 1–18.Google Scholar
  4. Rimland, B. (2008). The use of vitamin B6, magnesium, and DMG in the treatment of children and adults with autism. In W. Shaw (Ed.), Biological treatments for autism and PDD (3rd ed.). Lenenxa: Great Plains Laboratory.Google Scholar
  5. Rossignol, D. A. (2009). Novel and emerging treatments for autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 21, 213–236.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral PediatricsUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterRochesterUSA