Children With Autism May Benefit From Vitamin D3 Supplementation

avatarby Platinum NaturalsLast updated Nov 2, 2017Category: Hot Topics

The potential benefits of vitamin D in the management of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have been a topic of discussion in global and national medical news and the media. The prevalence of ASD has risen dramatically over the last several decades, from 1 in 5000 children in 1975 to 1 in 88 children in 2012, a 600% increase within 30 years. The etiology of ASD is largely unknown, but there is a strong consensus that it is an interplay between genetic and environmental factors.

Saad,K. et al.


  • 4 month double-blinded placebo controlled randomized clinical trial (RCT)
  • 114 children with ASD (85 boys, 24 girls; aged 3-10 years)
  • Serum vitamin D levels were measured at the beginning and at the end of the study
  • Given 300 IU per kg/day (did not exceed 5,000 IU/day) vitamin D3


  • A small number of patients
  • Additional wide-scale studies with larger numbers are needed to validate the efficacy of vitamin D3 in ASD

Feng, J. et al.


  • 3 month randomized clinical trial
  • 215 children with ASD (mean age 4.76 + 0.95 years)
  • 285 healthy control children (mean age 5.12+/-1.15 years)
  • 37 children (out of 181) with ASD were compliant with the treatment plan
  • Given 3 injections x 50000 IU per month and 400 IU vitamin D3 per day


  • Not a blinded placebo controlled RCT
  • Only a small number of ASD children with inadequate serum vitamin D levels completed the study


  • Previous studies have shown a link between the risk of ASD and vitamin D insufficiency
  • Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is linked with adverse effects in the fetus and an increased risk of autism


  • First double-blinded RCT proving the efficacy of vitamin D3 in ASD patients (Saad, K. 2016)
  • Autistic symptoms (measured using the Autism Behaviour Checklist Score) improved significantly following 3 and 4 months (respectively) of vitamin D3 supplementation, including: irritability, hyperactivity, social withdrawal, stereotypic behaviour, inappropriate speech and autistic mannerisms (repetitive hand movements, creation of noises and jumping)
  • Autistic symptoms did not improve in the placebo group (Saad, K. 2016)


  • Vitamin D3 is important in neurodevelopment, modulation of the immune system, and gene regulation
  • Vitamin D3 may help some children with ASD, especially younger children, with management of behavioural symptoms
  • Supplementation with vitamin D3 is safe and cost-effective

Saad, K., Abdel-Rahman, A.A., Elserogy, Y.M., Al-Atram, A.A., El-Houfey, A.A., Othman, H.A., Bjorklund, G., Jia, F., Urbina, M.A.,
Abo-Elela, M.G., Ahmad, F.A., Abd El-Baseer, K.A., Ahmed, A.E., and Abel-Salam, A.M. (2016) Randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in children with autism spectrum disorder. J Child Psychol Psychiatry Nov 21. DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12652 [Epub ahead of print].

Feng, J., Shan, L., Du, L., Wang, B., Li, H., Wang, W., Wang, T., Dong, H., Yue, X., Xu, Z., Staal, W.G and Jia, F. (2016) Clinical improvement following vitamin D3 supplementation in autism spectrum disorder. Nutr Neurosci DOI: 10.1080/1028415X.2015.1123847 [Epub ahead of print].

Hot Topic Small Talk – Volume 2, Number 2

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