Chelation Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review


Chelation is a treatment to remove specific metals from the body. In recent years, chelation has been used as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders. This review systematically identified studies that have evaluated the effects of chelation on the core symptoms of autism: communication impairments, social skills deficits, and repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. Four of the five studies identified found mixed results and only one study reported positive results. Moreover, the studies contained many weaknesses that prevent the ability to attribute changes in participant characteristics or behaviors solely to chelation. Because of the limited number of studies and the significant limitations of these studies, this review does not support the use of chelation as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders.


Davis, T. N., O’Reilly, M., Kang, S., Lang, R., Rispoli, M., Sigafoos, J., . . . Mulloy, A. (2013). Chelation treatment for autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7, 49–55.