Low levels of Vitamin D at birth linked to autism

A new study, conducted by a team of Chinese researchers, found a link between low levels of Vitamin D and autism, strengthening prior research.

The study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, analyzed data of 27,940 newborn babies in China. After extracting neonatal dried blood samples, researchers found out of the nearly 28,000 newborns, 310 developed a developmental disorder. Researchers were then able to determine the risk factor for autism by looking at vitamin D deficiencies at birth.

According to the findings, the vitamin D levels of the 310 newborns diagnosed with a developmental disorder were abnormally lower, compared to the rest.

The results suggest that children with vitamin D deficiencies are at higher risk — 260 percent, to be exact — of being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by age 3, as classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-5.

“Neonatal vitamin D status was significantly associated with the risk of ASDs and intellectual disability. The nature of those relationships was nonlinear,” Dr. Yuan-Lin Zheng, the lead researcher, concluded.

Autism spectrum disorders: Asperger’s syndrome, autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) — affects 1 in 68 children in the US, according to a recent report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Previous research studies have investigated associations between autism and high socioeconomic status (SES), particulate air pollution, and vaccines; however, the CDC has dismissed claims of links between autism and vaccines.