Food and Behaviour Research

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Vitamin and mineral status of children with autism spectrum disorder in Hainan Province of China: associations with symptoms

Guo M, Li L, Zhang Q, Chen L, Dai Y, Liu L, Feng J, Cai X, Cheng Q, Chen J, Wei H1, Li T (2018) Nutr Neurosci.  2018 Dec 20:1-8.  doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2018.1558762. [Epub ahead of print] 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on PubMed here

Abstract:

OBJECTIVE:

This study was designed to compare the vitamin and mineral levels of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) with those of age-matched typically developing (TD) children and to investigate their effects on the symptoms of autistic children.

METHODS:

The Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC), Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and Gesell Developmental Scale (GDS) were completed for 274 children diagnosed with ASD. Vitamins and minerals were compared for all ASD children and 97 age-matched TD children. Serum levels of vitamin A (VA) were detected with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC); those of vitamin D (VD), folate, vitamin B12 (VB12), and ferritin were measured with immunoassay methods; and those of minerals were detected using atomic absorption spectrophotometry in two groups.

RESULTS:

The VD and folate levels of children with ASD were significantly lower than those of TD children. The levels of calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), and zinc (Zn) in children with ASD were significantly lower than those in TD children, and no significant difference was found in copper (Cu) levels. Correlation analysis showed that VA and Ca levels were negatively correlated with ASD symptoms. Folate, Ca, Fe and Zn were positively correlated with the GDS scores of autistic children. There were no significant interactions among VD, VB12 and ferritin and symptoms.

CONCLUSION:

We found that children with autism had more vitamin and mineral insufficiencies than TD children, and their levels were related to ASD symptoms. Therefore, it is essential to formulate a detailed nutritional evaluation for ASD children and provide timely and intensive interventions.

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

In this study, levels of many vitamins and essential minerals in blood plasma were found to be significantly lower in children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) than in matched controls.

Furthermore, levels of some micronutrients (folate, calcium, iron and zinc) were also positively related to child development scores, and higher levels of Vitamin A and calcium predicted lower ASD symptoms. 

The authors concluded "it is essential to formulate a detailed nutritional evaluation for ASD children and provide timely and intensive interventions."

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