Autism and vitamin D: an intervention study

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Abstract

Introduction

Vitamin D is an important neurosteroid hormone with diverse mechanisms through which it can affect brain development and function, but research on its use in treating autism has been limited.

Patients and methods

This was designed as a prospective case–control 6-month study. It involved 21 children with autism randomly assigned to two groups: patients in group I received a daily oral dose of vitamin D3 and those in group II did not receive the supplement. Presupplement and postsupplement symptoms of autism were assessed. None of the participants had taken vitamin D supplement in the 2 months before the start of the study. Presupplement and postsupplement measurements of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D levels were also included.

Results

The vitamin D supplement was generally well tolerated. Levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D improved in the supplemented group, showing good compliance and absorption. Both the supplemented and nonsupplemented groups showed improvement in Childhood Autism Rating Scale, social IQ, and Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist, with no statistically significant difference.

Conclusion

Oral vitamin D supplementation is beneficial in improving the 25-hydroxy-vitamin D status of children with autism. Studies directed toward the effect of using high doses of vitamin D on autism symptoms are strongly recommended.

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