Grapefruit seed extract and autism


Does your child with autism laugh for no reason, many times by themselves? Do they have these large mood swings? Happy one minute, anger and rage the next minute? Do they not handle transitions well? Then you might have heard about grapefruit seed extract as a possible solution.

Grapefruit seed extract is an herbal remedy. Does it work? Work on what? Is there any published scientific literature about grapefruit seed extract and autism? Those are all great questions.

What is grapefruit seed extract?

Very simply, grapefruit seed extract is grapefruit seeds crushed up with parts of the grapefruit. There are liquid formulations, and let me tell you they taste very bitter, and you can get grapefruit seed extract in capsules. I know, not every child can swallow capsules, but I can tell you for certain, that grapefruit seed extract does not taste good.

What is grapefruit seed extract used for?

It has an inclusive list of uses, such as:

  • antimicrobial
  • antifungal
  • antiviral
  • antiparasitic

Grapefruit seed extract research.

Research shows that grapefruit seed extract is basically going to be active towards anything. We have one clinical trial that is looking at oral health and another clinical trial that works with diabetes. I picked some of these just because of the diversity.

Currently, there is a clinical trial comparing the efficacy of grapefruit seed extract oil versus sodium fluoride mouthwash. So think about cavities and maintaining nice, beautiful, healthy, strong teeth and a smile.

There’s another clinical trial that was done that found grapefruit seed extract improves insulin concentration and insulin resistance in adolescents with diabetes.

There’s another one that is looking at multidrug-resistant bacteria. Because grapefruit seed extract comes from nature there are a lot of molecules, so its activity is broad.

The research was looking at some of the claims that a particular brand, Citricidal was making. This brand says that it’s active against more than 800 bacterial and viral strains, a hundred strains of fungus, and a large number of single and multi-cell parasites. These are all things that children with autism can be struggling with health-wise.

So for there to be such a broad claim, the researchers wanted to understand this a bit more. The study investigated grapefruit seed extract in vitro, so this was all in test tubes, for antibacterial activity. The initial data shows that grapefruit seed extract does have antimicrobial properties against a wide range of organisms at dilutions that were found to be safe. The researchers also found that it was evident that grapefruit seed extract disrupts the bacterial membrane and liberates the cytoplasmic contents within 15 minutes after contact, even at more dilute concentrations.

To go a little bit more into grapefruit seed extract, it is also used in foods as an antimicrobial. There are numerous published studies looking at the effect of grapefruit seed extract in vitro trying to see whether grapefruit seed extract is active against this bacteria, or against this fungi.

Grapefruit seed extract and autism research

There have been no clinical trials looking to understand the impact of grapefruit seed extract on those with autism.

However, grapefruit seed extract is the main ingredient in a supplement called Neuroprotek. Now it’s not the only ingredient, but it is the main ingredient in Neuroprotek, which I’m sure many of you have heard before, or your child might even be on it. I have a separate video on Neuroprotek, and I went through that particular clinical trial result specifically in that video. That is the closest I can get to clinical trials with grapefruit seed extract and autism. The research included grapefruit seed extract, but that was not the only ingredient.

It’s a technicality, but it’s an important one to understand. Functional medicine doctors commonly recommend grapefruit seed extract, but please make sure you have done lab tests and you have a specific reason to use grapefruit seed extract and a way to measure progress. Please don’t just try grapefruit extract and see what happens. There’s no need for that. Use science to guide your decisions.


  2. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2021 Jan-Feb; 15(1):197-203
  3. Antibiotics (Basel). 2021 Jan; 10(1):85
  4. J Altern Complement Med. 2022 Jun; 8(3):333-40
  5. Molecules. 2023 Jan 11; 28(2):730