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Autism—Can Dietary Interventions and Supplements Work?

Lundin, Abigail A. MS, RD; Dwyer, Johanna T. DSc, RD

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000037
Nutrition Controversies

The prevalence of autism spectrumdisorders (ASDs) appears to have increased by nearly a quarter from 2006 to 2008.Much of this growth is probably because of improved awareness, broader definitions, and better diagnosis, but it is possible that the true number of individuals with autism may also be increasing. Children with ASDs and their parents need anticipatory guidance and ongoing assistance from the entire medical and behavioral treatment team. Conventional medical nutrition therapy, such as anthropometric assessment and optimizing feeding strategies, is essential for the nutritional care of children with ASDs. Complementary and alternative therapies, including elimination diets and dietary supplements, are increasingly popular, even though the evidence for their efficacy is still limited.

Abigail A. Lundin, MS, RD, is pediatric dietitian at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, California. She completed hermaster’s degree at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and her dietetic internship at Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

Johanna T. Dwyer, DSc, RD, is the director of the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, a professor of medicine and community health at Tufts Medical School, an adjunct professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, and senior scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, Boston, Massachusetts.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Abigail A. Lundin, MS, RD, 747 52nd St, Oakland, CA 94609 (

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins