Autism spectrum disorder and low vitamin D at birth: a sibling control study

Fernell, Elisabeth, Bejerot, Susanne, Westerlund, Joakim, Miniscalco, Carmela, Simila, Henry, Eyles, Darryl, Gillberg, Christopher and Humble, Mats B. (2015) Autism spectrum disorder and low vitamin D at birth: a sibling control study. Molecular Autism, 6 1: 3.1-3.9. doi:10.1186/2040-2392-6-3

Author Fernell, Elisabeth
Bejerot, Susanne
Westerlund, Joakim
Miniscalco, Carmela
Simila, Henry
Eyles, Darryl
Gillberg, Christopher
Humble, Mats B.
Title Autism spectrum disorder and low vitamin D at birth: a sibling control study
Journal name Molecular Autism   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2040-2392
Publication date 2015-01-14
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/2040-2392-6-3
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 6
Issue 1
Start page 3.1
End page 3.9
Total pages 9
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Insufficient vitamin D activity has attracted increasing interest as a possible underlying risk factor in disorders of the central nervous system, including autism.

Methods: In this study, 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) was analysed in 58 Sweden-born sibling pairs, in which one child had autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the other did not. The study group consisted of two representative samples; 47 Gothenburg sibling pairs with mixed ethnicities and 11 Stockholm sibling pairs with Somali background. 25(OH)D levels were analysed in the stored dried blood spots taken in the neonatal period for metabolic screening.

Results: The collapsed group of children with ASD had significantly lower vitamin D levels (M=24.0 nM, SD=19.6) as compared with their siblings (M=31.9 nM, SD=27.7), according to a paired samples t-test (P=0.013). The difference was - most likely - not only accounted for by a difference in season of birth between ASD and non-ASD siblings since the mean 25(OH)D levels differed with similar effect size between the sibling pairs born during winter and summer, respectively. All children with African/Middle East background, both the children with ASD and their non-ASD siblings, had vitamin D deficiency.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that low prenatal vitamin D may act as a risk factor for ASD, however, there is a need for replication with larger samples. Future research should study whether or not adequate supplementation of vitamin D to pregnant women might lower the risk for ASD in the offspring.
Keyword 25-hydroxyvitamin D
Autism spectrum disorder
Vitamin D
Dried blood spots
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 8 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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