Autism is a developmental disorder for which its etiology is not well understood. It has been described as being a complex behavioral and neurological disorder in which impaired communication and lack of social skills are the hallmarks of the condition.
The disorder has been possibly linked to genetic, neurological, gastrointestinal and immunological defects as well as to environmental toxins such as mercury and chlorinated hydrocarbons.
A 2018 study (1) demonstrated that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have increased inflammation and significant differences in their immune system and GI microbiota profiles as compared to the non ASD population. According to a recent study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, impairment of methylation and detoxification pathways have also been a factor for many with ASD.
Autism is a growing problem for which no single treatment program has been found to be totally successful. Many people with ASD appear to have their own unique set of symptoms. The best approach to help remediate the condition seems to center on developing a personal comprehensive program based on multiple factors including dietary changes, nutritional supplements, detoxification, GI support and the use of behavior modification programs.
Recent studies have been shown that DMG may have beneficial effects on autistic individuals.
A longtime advocate for the use of DMG for those individuals on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been Bernard Rimland, PhD, the founder and past president of the Autism Research Institute in San Diego. Although Dr. Rimland passed away in 2006, he’s keenly remembered for his dedicated life’s work to find the causes and solution to the autism puzzle.
Dr. Rimland was the first researcher to bring the attention to the autistic community as to the potential benefits of DMG in helping to improve and alleviate the symptoms and abnormalities associated with autism.
He discovered earlier findings by Russian investigators who reported speech improvement in speech handicapped children who were given a product containing DMG. Since 1980, he has recommended to parents with autistic children that they try DMG to see if the nutrient would help improve their child’s communication issues.(2)
The feedback from parents to Dr. Rimland’s Treatment Effectiveness Questionnaire over the next few years was excellent. Many parents and teachers reported significant improvement in a number of areas after starting to use DMG including:
- Improved speech communication
- Better social skills
- Better eye contact
- Improved quality of sleep
- Positive behavioral improvement
Over a period of time, Dr. Rimland collected over 6,000 survey reports in which 42% of the parents rated DMG as offering a beneficial result to their children. Based on the complexity of the disorder, this is a highly favorable report with only 8% reporting a less favorable result.
Dr. Rimland reported that if DMG is going to work, in most cases, parents should see a change within a week or two but advises parents should try it for at least a month before discontinuing use.
Two large studies have reported the benefits of DMG for autism.
Dr. Lee Dae Kun, Director of the Pusan (Korea) Research Center on Child Problems reported to Dr. Rimland that he observed an 80% improvement in a group of 39 autistic children, ages three to seven, who were given DMG over a three-month period.
He observed improved speech communication, dietary choices, cooperation, sleeping patterns and bathroom habits. The parents reported that they clearly saw improvement in their children. Dr. Kun concluded that DMG can be beneficial for children with autism, even if it is not a cure.
In a second study, Doctors Jung and Lee of the Springtide Foundation in Taipei, Taiwan published a double blind study of DMG in 84 autistic children in the Tzu Chi Medical Journal in 2000. The research showed short time and from mild to moderate effectiveness of the DMG with children with autism. The DMG group showed significant improvement in irritability, lethargy, hyperactivity and inappropriate speech.(3)
The reasons why DMG brings about improvement in autistic children is not clearly known but it may be due to DMG’s support of methylation, immune response, detoxification and gut health.
DMG can also make a positive contribution in many areas of cellular metabolism including neurotransmitter production, oxidative stress reduction and energy production in the brain. Perhaps future research in this very important field will shed more light on why DMG can benefit the lives of many children with autism.
The following is a small sample of the letters Dr. Rimland received over the years.
Dear Dr. Rimland,
In December of last year, my husband and I began our son on DMG. Matt was four years old and non- verbal for the most part. Two to three weeks later he began to babble, and then use jargon. After 2 months, he began to make many word attempts and by June was speaking words. Today he speaks well over 200 words and many are two word phrases.
When I tell people about DMG, they ask “do you think that DMG did all of this?” I reply that I think it really helped. It’s cheap, very easy to get and administer and is a nutrient that can’t hurt. It may not work with your child, but is worth trying.
A New York Mother
To the Editor,
Hurray for DMG! Our 14-year-old daughter, who has ADD and is hyperactive with strong autistic tendencies, recently started taking DMG and within two days we were noticing some major changes in her behavior. She had a greatly reduced frustration level and her teenage hostility and /or oppositional behavior has diminished considerably. Homework is now a pleasant experience and her organization skills have increased. The bottom line: she is a much happier person.
A California Mother
(1) Rose, D. Et al., “Differential immune responses and microbiota profiles in children with autism spectrum disorder and co-morbid gastrointestinal symptoms,” Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 2018 (March)
(2) Rimland, B. “Dimethylglycine, a Nontoxic Metabolite, and Autism,” Research Review International. 4(#3), 1990
(3) Jung, S. and Lee, Y. “A Double-Blind Study of Dimethylglycine with Autism,” Tzu Chi Medical Journal, 2000; 12 pp 111-121