Consumer Contact: Be Wary of “Autism-Treating” Products 


Russ Van Arsdale stopped by the studio on Monday for this week’s Consumer Contact segment. This week he was talking to Joy about several products that he says claim to offer treatment or prevention for Autism, however, more often than not, the products simply do not live up to their descriptions.


Autism covers a spectrum on developmental disabilities. Latest estimates are that 1 in 68 children born in the U.S. will have some issues: trouble with verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction, displaying repetitive behaviors and having narrow interests. Autistic people can exhibit these traits in varying degrees.


As of now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says there is no cure for Autism, and for that reason it urges consumers to steer clear of products that claim to cure it. The same could be said for “treatments.” The FDA says there are several categories of products, and it has warned the makers of some of them not to make false claims about their safety or effectiveness.


Chelation therapies are products which are said to remove heavy metals from the body by way of sprays, liquid drops, capsules and clay baths among others. These treatments are approved for specific uses (lead poisoning, iron overload) but only by prescription, and the FDA says medical supervision is a must.


Medical Mineral Solution is a product that the FDA says has  resulted in reports of adverse side effects including nausea, vomiting and life-threatening low blood pressure after drinking a mixture of citrus juice and the solution, which makes a kind of bleach when mixed according to directions.


Detoxifying clay baths are ‘just add water’-style products, which allegedly draws out heavy metals, chemical toxins, and pollutants. This “miracle cure” promised does not happen.


CocoKefir probiotics is a mixture of coconut water and other ‘organic’ juices which supposedly helps keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy. Some makers claim their products are a “major key” to recovery from autism. The FDA says these products have not been proven safe or effective.


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, though cleared for use in treating decompression sickness in divers, has not been cleared by the FDA to treat autism.


BOTTOM LINE: If it is an unproven or little-known treatment, no matter who endorses it, talk with your healthcare professional before using.