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. 2017 Sep;26(9):1067-1079.
doi: 10.1007/s00787-017-0959-1. Epub 2017 Feb 11.

Elimination Diets' Efficacy and Mechanisms in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Free PMC article

Elimination Diets' Efficacy and Mechanisms in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Verena Ly et al. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. .
Free PMC article


Nutrition plays an important role in neurodevelopment. This insight has led to increasing research into the efficacy of nutrition-related interventions for treating neurodevelopmental disorders. This review discusses an elimination diet as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder, with a focus on the efficacy of the food additives exclusion diet, gluten-free/casein-free diet and oligoantigenic diet. Furthermore, we discuss the potential mechanisms of elimination diets' effects in these neurodevelopmental disorders. The main candidate mechanism is the microbiome-gut-brain axis possibly involving complex interactions between multiple systems, including the metabolic, immune, endocrine, and neural system. We conclude with practical implications and future directions into the investigation of an elimination diet's efficacy in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder.

Keywords: Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; Autism spectrum disorder; Elimination diet; Food sensitivity; Gut–brain interaction.

Conflict of interest statement

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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