Autism is a complex spectrum of disorders with genetic, epigenetic, autoimmune, oxidative stress, and environmental etiologies. Treatment of ASD using dietary approach is a promising strategy, especially owing to its safety and availability. Our study critically analysed the roles and efficacy of antioxidants, probiotics, prebiotics, camel milk and vitamin D. This systematic review provides an updated synopsis of human studies that investigated therapeutic benefits of these dietary interventions in autism. A total of 943 papers were identified out of which 21 articles were included in the systematic review. The selected studies investigated the impact of 5 different dietary supplementations in ASD symptom and behaviours. These agents include; antioxidants/polyphenolic compounds, probiotics, prebiotics, camel milk and vitamin D. From the results of the present review, antioxidants/polyphenolic compounds decreased the levels of inflammatory cytokines and improved behavioural symptoms. Probiotics improved behavioural and GI symptoms as well as restored gut microbiota equilibrium. Prebiotics decreased levels of inflammatory cytokines, improved behavioural and GI symptoms and improved gut microbiota. Vitamin D improved behavioural symptoms and offered protective effects against neurotoxicity. Camel milk reduced inflammatory responses and oxidative stress. Given the chronic nature as well as early onset of ASD, dietary supplements become useful to complement nutritional deficiencies in children with ASD. Key benefits of these agents stem from their ability to target multiple physiological areas via the gut brain-axis and are devoid of potential harmful or aggravating effects on ASD patients. The evidence collated in this review propose that dietary intervention may provide a new platform for the management of autism.

KEYWORDS: autism spectrum disorder; dietary intervention; gut microbiota; public health.

Cecilia N Amadi, Chinna N. Orish, Chiara Frazzoli, Orish E. Orisakwe


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