Food and Behaviour Research

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Clinical improvement following vitamin D3 supplementation in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Feng J, Shan L, Du L, Wang B, Li H, Wang W, Wang T, Dong H, Yue X, Xu Z, Staal WG, Jia F. (2016) Nutr Neurosci.  Jan 18. [Epub ahead of print] 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here.

Abstract:

Objective

High prevalence of 
vitamin D deficiency was previously reported in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but little is known about the efficacy of vitamin D3 treatment in ASD, although data from pilot studies seem promising. We hypothesized that serum vitamin D levels are reduced in ASD and correlate with the severity of disease. Also, we hypothesized that vitamin D3 treatment may be beneficial for a considerable portion of children with ASD.

Methods

In total, 215 children with ASD and 285 healthy control children were recruited in our study. Thirty seven of 215 ASD children received 
vitamin D3 treatment. The Autism Behaviour Checklist (ABC) and the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) were used to assess autism symptoms. High-performance liquid chromatography was used to assess the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH) D] level. Evaluations of ABC, CARS, and serum 25(OH) D levels were performed before and after 3 months of treatment.

Results

Serum levels of 25(OH) 
D were significantly lower in ASD children than typically developing children. Levels of serum 25(OH) D were negatively correlated with ABC total scores and language subscale scores. After vitamin D3 supplementation, symptom scores were significantly reduced on the CARS and ABC. In addition, the data also suggest that treatment effects were more pronounced in younger children with ASD.

Conclusion 

Vitamin D deficiency might contribute to the aetiology of ASD. Supplementation of vitamin D3, which is a safe and cost-effective form of treatment, may significantly improve the outcome of some children with ASD, especially younger children (identifier ChiCTR-CCC-13004498).

Clinical Trial Registration The trial 'Association of Polymorphisms of 
Vitamin D Metabolism-Related Genes With Autism and the Treatment of Autism with Vitamin D' has been registered at www.chictr.org/cn/proj/show.aspx ? proj=6135 (identifier ChiCTR-CCC-13004498).

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

A large literature now supports the idea that deficiencies of Vitamin D may contribute to the risks for autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly in early life.

What has been lacking to date are studies to investigate the potential benefits of supplementation with Vitamin D.  The findings from this small intervention study (carried out within a larger programme of research) are therefore promising, and consistent with an earlier single case report from the same team:
Large-scale clinical trials are now needed to confirm these findings.