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Can Nutrition Improve Adults with Autism?: The Powerful Case of an Adult Male with Severe Autism

I have discussed before that my son with severe autism has been transformed with nutrition and functional medicine. He had all the classic symptoms like hand-flapping, lack of attention, aggression, self-injury behavior, hyperactivity, sensitivity to sound, etc. I had to use headphones to protect him from loud noises. He is now doing amazingly in school (Honor-Roll), calm, focus, no sensitivity to sounds (no more headphones, yes!), and playing sports.

What About Adults with Autism? Can they improve with nutrition?

Let me show a case published in the Journal of Nutritional Neuroscience (1). The case looks like this:

Before Treatment

Case History: It was a 23-year-old autistic male with severe symptoms of autism. He had the following symptoms:

*Constantly in motion (restlessness)

*Agitation (anxiety)

*Irritability (frustration)

*Oppositional behavior (Defiant, uncooperative behavior, etc.)

*Self-injury behavior (head-hitting, head-banging, hand-biting, etc.)

*He was taking the psychiatric medication risperidone since he was 11 years old.

*Undergoing Cognitive Behavior Therapy Treatment

*Worsening of psychiatric symptoms

Clinical Labs Clues:

*Low Vitamin D levels

*Low Omega3 levels (AA/EPA ratio)

The physicians add vitamin D3 supplementation and omega-3 supplementation at optimal dosing for two years. Optimal dosing is crucial!

After Treatment

*Improvements in general behavior were observed clearly in a year like social, communication, imitation, emotional response, etc.

*Restlessness (Constantly in motion), agitation, irritability, and self-injury behavior gradually disappeared.

*Severity of autism dropped from a severe level to a mild level.

*The psychiatric medication risperidone was discontinued by the physicians.

Was this approach for this young adult with autism effective in lowering his severe symptoms and improving the quality of life? Absolutely, yes.

I believe that results are louder than words!

*People with autism have high levels of inflammation, and lowering inflammation sounds like a pretty good strategy in decreasing the symptoms of autism (2, 3).

*Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D3 are potent anti-inflammatory nutrients. Optimal dosing is required.

*It is fine to use medications if required, but leaving inflammation untreated for years has detrimental effects on autism.

*There are no medications to decrease inflammation in autism, but nutrition and powerful nutrients like omega-3 and vitamin D are potent and safe alternatives in quenching inflammation.

In summary, having a nutritional strategy to decrease inflammation in autism is a unique and safe way to improve this population's health. Adults with severe autism can improve with nutrition and safe nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.

If you enjoy this article, please share it with your friends. If you need additional guidance, don't hesitate to contact me.

David Rivas, RPh, MSc, CCN

Pharmacist and Clinical Nutritionist/Consultant

"When you have a clear purpose, you won't have

time for negativity. Amaze yourself by manifesting

your full potential".

Mark Victor Hansen


(1): Infante, M., Sears, B., Rizzo, A. M., Mariani Cerati, D., Caprio, M., Ricordi, C., & Fabbri, A. (2020). Omega-3 PUFAs and vitamin D co-supplementation as a safe-effective therapeutic approach for core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder: Case report and literature review. Nutritional neuroscience, 23(10), 779-790.

(2): Theoharides, T. C., Asadi, S., & Patel, A. B. (2013). Focal brain inflammation and autism. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 10(1), 815.

(3): Bokobza, C., Van Steenwinckel, J., Mani, S., Mezger, V., Fleiss, B., & Gressens, P. (2019). Neuroinflammation in preterm babies and autism spectrum disorders. Pediatric Research, 85(2), 155-165.

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