One of the most complex conditions known to man is autism or autism spectrum disorder, and the number of children with the disorder keeps increasing. Due to the brain-based mechanisms of the disease, researchers are currently looking into how ketogenic diets and ketosis can impact children with autism.
In a recent meta-analysis, two independent reviewers investigated the relationship between autism spectrum disorder and the ketogenic diet in humans and experimental studies.After analyzing the data from these studies, the researchers concluded that:
“The limited number of reports of improvements after treatment with the KD [ketogenic diet] is insufficient to attest to the practicability of the KD as a treatment for ASD [autism spectrum disorder], but it is still a good indicator that this diet is a promising therapeutic option for this disorder.”
In other words, there is not enough evidence to support the ketogenic diet as a being a treatment for autism, but it still looks promising. Other researchers looked at the relationship between gluten-free and casein-free diets and found that this dietary strategy can help some children with autism as well.
Thus, the current evidence suggests that a gluten-free, casein-free modified ketogenic diet might be the best diet for some children with autism. The reasoning behind this assumption is that:
- It eliminates gluten and casein, which may cause autism-like symptoms in susceptible individuals.
- It promotes using ketones for fuel, which improves brain function in many ways that are impacted by autism.
- It helps calm the overactive nervous system that most children with autism have.
- It improves gut health, which has a tremendously positive impact on behavior and brain health.
But before you consider implementing any of this info, please read through our comprehensive article on Autism and the Ketogenic Diet. In it, you will find more research and valuable suggestions that often go overlooked.