Effect of a Wide Spectrum Nutritional Supplement on Mitochondrial Function in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • End date
    Dec 25, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Phoenix Children's Hospital
Updated on 25 April 2022
pervasive developmental disorder


The objective of this study is to evaluate the metabolic effects of a comprehensive wide-spectrum supplement for children with ASD to determine whether it physiologically targets mitochondrial pathways known to be abnormal in children with ASD.The intervention is a commonly used wide-spectrum nutritional supplement, which is theoretically designed to normalize mitochondrial function. The investigators aim to determine if the supplement does have the hypothesized effect on physiology in individuals with ASD. The investigator will enroll up to 50 children, aged 4 to 14 years of age with confirmed ASD and mitochondrial dysfunction, and participation will last 26 weeks.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder often with life-long consequences that affects young children during critical developmental periods. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that ASD affects as many as 17 per 1000 children (1 in 59) in the United States suggesting that the prevalence is higher than previous estimates.Despite the dramatic rise in the detected prevalence of ASD over the past two decades, there is no effective medical treatment for core ASD symptoms (social communication and repetitive behavior), the closely associated problem of language impairment, or the underlying pathophysiology of ASD. Currently, the only accepted treatment for core ASD symptoms is behavior therapy, which may entail intensive one-on-one treatment over several years.

The primary aims of this study are to evaluate the effect of a wide-spectrum nutritional supplement on mitochondrial function in individuals with ASD. Participants entered into the trial will have abnormalities in mitochondrial function that are known to be associated with ASD (approximately 50+% of children with ASD) but are not diagnostic of mitochondrial disease. The investigators hypothesize that nutritional supplements designed for children with ASD have a physiological action of normalizing mitochondrial function and cellular physiology throughout the body.

To test whether the targeted nutritional supplement is superior to placebo, the investigators will study 50 children, between the ages of 4 years to 14 years, with confirmed ASD and known abnormal variations in mitochondrial at baseline. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive active treatment or placebo for 12-weeks under double-blind conditions and at the end of the 12 weeks switch to the opposite condition after a 2-week wash out period. Mitochondrial function will be measured at baseline and after each treatment arm in order to determine if the supplement positively influences cellular biochemistry. The investigator will also evaluate the effectiveness of the supplement on core and associated ASD symptoms using several behaviors assessments.

Condition Autism Spectrum Disorder
Treatment Placebo, Wide-spectrum nutritional supplement
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03835117
SponsorPhoenix Children's Hospital
Last Modified on25 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Weight ≥ 15 kg and ≤ 100kg
DSM-5 diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder as established by formal clinical assessment which includes a gold-standard tool such as the Autism Diagnostic Observational Schedule
Current Clinical Global Impression Severity score ≥ 4
Stable educational and therapy plan (one month) with no planned changes in the intensity of treatment for 12 weeks
English is spoken in the home and at least one parent is able to read, write and speak English
Stable medication (no changes in past 6 weeks and no planned changes for the study duration
Electron Transport Chain Complex (I, II, III, IV) or Citrate Synthase Activity which is >= 2.0 Standard Deviation Above or Below Average (outside the normal range)

Exclusion Criteria

Current Clinical Global Impression Severity score < 7 (Extremely Ill)
Presence of serious behavioral problems (tantrums, aggression, self-injury) for which another treatment is warranted
Significant medical condition by history or by physical examination or lab tests that would be incompatible with the treatment
Children taking anticonvulsant medication for seizures or active epilepsy
Diagnosis of Mitochondrial Disease
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