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Dimethylglycine (DMG)

Dimethylglycine (DMG) is an amino acid that is used for a variety of reasons including ADHD, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), allergies, respiratory disorders, and inflammation.45 The use of DMG has been reported to improve speech, behavior, and improve the occurrence of seizures.26 According to the Autism Research Institute (ARI), DMG is the second most commonly used supplement next to B6/Magnesium.2 The Autism Research Institute has collected thousands of surveys over decades that use a grading scale to determine the effects on behavior of a variety of biomedical treatments based on parent ratings. The survey found that 50% of parents reported DMG supplements had “No Effect” and 42% reported their child’s behavior “Got Better”.21 A 2009 systematic review of novel treatments for ASD, which was published in the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, gave the implementation of DMG a Grade D, due to findings that indicated there were no significant improvements in children when DMG was used.22 There are many positive anecdotal reports for the use of DMG, but research has provided “strong evidence that DMG is not effective in improving social, language, or other functioning in people with ASDs.”14

A 2002 trial of DMG on 39 children with autism aged 3-7 found that 31 (80%) benefited from the use of DMG.26 In 2001, a double-blind, placebo controlled study of 37 children on the autism spectrum examined how DMG affected behavior. The study found that “[s]ome children appeared to respond positively to the dimethylglycine, and there was a smaller proportion of negative changes in the dimethylglycine group, but the quantitative changes in the behavioral assessments were not significantly different from what was observed among the children who received placebo.”46 The participants in this trial only received DMG supplements for four weeks, which may explain the lack of evidence of significant change. A 1999 study examined the use of DMG versus a placebo on 8 males on the autism spectrum. Using three different rating scales on each child, the study found that “all three scales revealed no statistically significant differences, and parent reports were equally distributed.”47 This study suffered from a small sample size, but a low experimental dosage of DMG may also have affected the results.47 Clearly, more research is necessary to constitute the use of DMG as safe and effective.

*Parents should consult their physician before implementing any dietary intervention for their child.