Randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in children with autism spectrum disorder
Reviewer: Dr. Alan Gaby, MD
Author: Saad K, et al
Reference: Randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in children with autism spectrum disorder. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2016 Nov 21 [Epub ahead of print].
Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Participants: One hundred nine Egyptian children (aged 3-10 years) with autism spectrum disorder.
Study Medication and Dosage: Vitamin D3 (300 IU per kg of body weight per day, with a maximum of 5,000 IU per day) or placebo for 4 months.
Primary Outcome Measure: Autism severity and social maturity, as assessed by the Childhood Autism Rating Scale, Aberrant Behavior Checklist, Social Responsiveness Scale, and Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist.
Key Findings: Compared with placebo, vitamin D significantly improved symptoms of autism, including irritability, hyperactivity, social withdrawal, inappropriate speech, stereotypical behavior, and communication. No significant side effects occurred.
Practice Implications: In this study, vitamin D supplementation improved symptoms of autism in Egyptian children. Prior to vitamin D supplementation, the mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level was 27 ng/ml. The appropriate 25-hydroxyvitamin D cut-off level for diagnosing vitamin D deficiency, and the reliability of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D as an indicator of vitamin D status remain controversial. However, it appears that it is not necessary to have severe vitamin D deficiency in order for autistic children to benefit from vitamin D supplementation. Further research is needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of the relatively high dose of vitamin D used in this study.