Enzyme-based therapy for autism spectrum disorders -- is it worth another look?

Med Hypotheses. 2002 May;58(5):422-8. doi: 10.1054/mehy.2001.1513.


Autism is a developmental disease usually manifesting within the first three years of life. To date, no causative agent has been found. Similarly, treatment options have been limited. Of the treatment options available, a number of them have been nutritionally based in an attempt to address one or more of the theories regarding the etiology of the disease. An example would be enzyme therapy for the digestion of purported offending neuroactive peptides collectively known as exorphins. This paper discusses the exorphin theory of autism and subsequent treatment with dietary enzyme therapy. Novel data are presented in support of the theory that enzymes play a critical role in autism. Forty-six patients between the ages of 5 and 31 were selected for inclusion in the study based on a diagnosis placing them in the category of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The diets were supplemented with a novel dietary enzyme formulation, ENZYMAID, for a period of 12 weeks. Progress was tracked according to the Symptom Outcome Survey (SOS) (1) form method of symptom charting and presented in a table for further analysis. The novel enzyme formula, ENZYMAID, beneficially and safely affected all 13 of the parameters measured. Improvements ranged from 50-90%, depending on the parameter measured. Enzyme therapy to treat ASD may indeed a viable option in treatment protocols. These results indicate that further controlled studies are warranted.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Autistic Disorder / enzymology
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 / metabolism
  • Enzyme Therapy*
  • Galactose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological


  • Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4
  • Galactose