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Vitamin D Improves Autism Symptoms in Clinical Trial

By Chelsea Toledo, M.A. on February 7, 2018


Background: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is associated of differences in language, behavior and social cognition. For some, these symptoms are quite mild, while others require lifelong care. As such, many families seek therapies to address the difficulties their loved ones face. While no standardized treatments exist for individuals with ASD, several treatment strategies have been developed, specific to the type and severity of symptoms.


What’s New: Several studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is common in children with ASD. Now, a clinical trial proves that link – and suggests that vitamin D supplementation could improve ASD symptoms. The researchers assigned 109 children with ASD between the ages of 3 and 10 to one of two groups. The treatment group received a vitamin D supplement of up to 5000 IU daily, while the control group received a placebo.


After four months, the researchers found:


  • ASD symptoms – as measured by the Child Autism Rating Scale, Aberrant Behavior Checklist, Social Responsiveness Scale, and Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist – improved in the group that took vitamin D, but not in the control group.


  • Blood tests taken before and after the trial showed no major differences in biological markers (such as white blood cell count and glucose levels) between the two groups at either timepoint.


  • The children in the treatment arm tolerated a daily dose of 300 IU per kilogram of weight with few side effects.


Why it’s important: This is clinical trial explored the potential of vitamin D3 to aid symptoms in children with ASD. Future studies could refine this treatment strategy and explore the link between ASD and vitamin D deficiency.

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