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Autism may be worse if low in both Vitamin D and Vitamin A – Jan 2018

Vitamin A and vitamin D deficiencies exacerbate symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorders.

Nutr Neurosci. 2018 Jan 16:1-11. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1423268. [Epub ahead of print]
Guo M1, Zhu J1, Yang T1, Lai X1, Lei Y1, Chen J1, Li T1.


  1. Both have strong inheritance features – Vitamin D about 60%
  2. Both have gotten substantially worse in last 30 years
  3. Vitamin D is known to be involved in brain development
  4. All autistic children are VitD deficient, but not all children who are deficient are autistic: genes are involved
  5. When giving vitamin D to cure children of rickets “mental dullness” decreases as well
  6. Children with genes which give them too much (Williams Syndrome) have to reverse of autism – too sociable
  7. Mothers having lots of fish (and thus more vitamin D) give birth to kids with less autistic symptoms
  8. Both associated with weak bones
  9. Both worse around the age of weaning
  10. Autism is more common in rich families – more likely to apply sun screen and stay indoors
  11. Autism increases with drugs which lower levels of vitamin D
  12. Seizures are common with Autism - Vitamin D has been shown to reduce seizures
  13. Fewer autistic symptoms (such as sleep problems) during summer: when child gets more vitamin D from the sun
  14. Both worse with latitude
  15. Both vary with Ultraviolet light
  16. Both vary with time of year (more birth of autistics in March in Northern hemisphere)
  17. 2X more urban autism – less UVB in urban environments
  18. Both worse with pollution
  19. Both worse with increased clouds and rain
  20. Both worse with closely spaced pregnancies
  21. Autistics have abnormal immune response – similar to that of vitamin D deficiency
  22. Low levels of vitamin D in mother animals reduces brain function in offspring
  23. Vitamin deficient rat pups have similar brain abnormalities to that of human autistic children
  24. Autistic children get less vitamin D in their blood for the same amount of sun exposure
  25. The 4 males/1 female ratio - Note estrogen increases vitamin D in the brain (testosterone does not)
  26. Both worse in African Americans (A-A 2-3 increased autism rate)
  27. Both worse in Dark-skinned immigrants in Europe

This study was designed to investigate the vitamin A (VA) and vitamin D (VD) levels in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and to determine whether co-deficiency of VA and VD exacerbates clinical symptoms in autistic children.

The Autism Behavior Checklist, Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), and Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) were used to assess the symptoms of 332 children diagnosed as ASD. And the Gesell Developmental Scale (GDS) was used to evaluate neurodevelopment in children with ASD. Anthropometric measurement and questionnaire results were compared for all autistic children and 197 age- and gender-matched control children. Serum retinol levels were detected with high-performance liquid chromatography, and serum levels of 25-OH vitamin D were measured with an immunoassay method in the two groups.

The ZHA, ZWA, and ZBMIA of the children with ASD were significantly lower than those of the control children. Furthermore, higher proportions of children with picky eating, resistance to new foods, and eating problems were observed in the ASD group when compared with the control group. Serum retinol and 25-OH vitamin D levels in autistic children were significantly lower than those in the control children. Additionally, VA and VD co-deficiency impacts more on the symptoms and development in autistic children.

We found that children with autism have more VA and VD deficiencies than control children, and VA and VD co-deficiency may exacerbate the symptoms of children with ASD.

Autism behavior checklist (ABC); Autism spectrum disorders (ASD); Childhood autism rating scale (CARS); Children; Social responsiveness scale (SRS); Vitamin A (VA); Vitamin D (VD)

PMID: 29338670 DOI: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1423268

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