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Autism 4 times more likely if low vitamin D during first trimester – Oct 2016

Lower maternal serum 25(OH) D in first trimester associated with higher autism risk in Chinese offspring

Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 89, October 2016, Pages 98–101, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2016.08.013
Jianzhang Chen a, b, chanjz at 126.com, Kuolin Xin b, Junjie Wei c, Kangli Zhang b, , , Huajun Xiao d


  • Vitamin D deficiency was hypothesized to play role in ASD.
  • Maternal 25(OH) D in autistic group lower than in typically-developing group
  • Maternal 25(OH) D concentrations were associated with risk of developing autism.
  • This is an opportunity for prenatal intervention to reduce the risk for autism.

The aim of this study was to examine the association between maternal serum vitamin D status in first trimester and risk of ASD at age 3–7 years in the offspring.

Using a case-control design, 68 children diagnosed with ASD and 68 sex and age matched typically-developing children were included. Archived maternal blood samples from the first trimester of pregnancy (11–13 weeks gestational age) were identified for those participants. Maternal serum levels of 25 hydroxyvitamin D3 [25(OH) D], unmetabolized folic acid (FA), vitamin B12, homocysteine (HCY) and High Sensitivity C Reactive protein (CRP) were measured from those samples. We examined the associations between those factors in pregnancy and diagnosis of ASD with logistic regression using SPSS.

Mothers in autistic group had significantly lower maternal serum levels of 25(OH) D than in typically-developing group [19.2(IQR: 15.8–22.9) ng/ml vs. 24.3 (19.3–27.3) ng/ml, P < 0.001], with 55.9% and 29.4% being vitamin D deficient, respectively (P < 0.001). Levels of 25(OH) D increased with decreasing severity of ASD as defined by the CARS score (r = - 0.302, P < 0.001). Maternal first trimester serum levels of 25(OH) D in the lower 3 quartiles (quartile 1, 2, 3) (compared to the highest quartile) was associated with increased odds of ASD diagnosis in offspring [OR (95% CI) Q1: 1.36(0.84–2.58, P = 0.25); Q2: 2.68(1.44–4.29, P = 0.006); Q3:3.99 (2.58–7.12, P < 0.001)].

Lower first trimester maternal serum levels of 25(OH) D were associated with increased risk of developing autism in offspring. If these findings are confirmed, this may present an opportunity for prenatal intervention to reduce the risk for ASD.

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See also VitaminDWiki

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