Many studies have explored the efficacy of probiotics on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children, but there is no consensus on the curative effect. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to comprehensively investigate whether probiotics could improve behavioral symptoms in children with ASD. A systematic database search was conducted and a total of seven studies were included in the meta-analysis. We found a nonsignificant overall effect size of probiotics on behavioral symptoms in children with ASD (SMD = -0.24, 95% CI: -0.60 to 0.11, p = 0.18). However, a significant overall effect size was found in the subgroup of the probiotic blend (SMD = -0.42, 95% CI: -0.83 to -0.02, p = 0.04). Additionally, these studies provided limited evidence for the efficacy of probiotics due to their small sample sizes, a shorter intervention duration, different probiotics used, different scales used, and poor research quality. Thus, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled studies following strict trial guidelines are needed to precisely demonstrate the therapeutic effects of probiotics on ASD in children.
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