Next Article in Journal
An Evaluation of the Pea Pod System for Assessing Body Composition of Moderately Premature Infants
Next Article in Special Issue
Vitamin D in Fibromyalgia: A Causative or Confounding Biological Interplay?
Previous Article in Journal
Dietary Impact of Adding Potassium Chloride to Foods as a Sodium Reduction Technique
Previous Article in Special Issue
Vitamin D and Sunlight Exposure in Newly-Diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview

Vitamin D and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Literature Review

Institute of Food Science and Technology—School of Food and Nutrition, Massey University, Palmerston North 4474, New Zealand
Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2016, 8(4), 236;
Received: 14 March 2016 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 14 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
PDF [371 KB, uploaded 21 April 2016]


Low vitamin D status in early development has been hypothesised as an environmental risk factor for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), given the concurrent increase in the prevalence of these two conditions, and the association of vitamin D with many ASD-associated medical conditions. Identification of vitamin D-ASD factors may provide indications for primary and secondary prevention interventions. We systematically reviewed the literature for studies on vitamin D-ASD relationship, including potential mechanistic pathways. We identified seven specific areas, including: latitude, season of conception/birth, maternal migration/ethnicity, vitamin D status of mothers and ASD patients, and vitamin D intervention to prevent and treat ASD. Due to differences in the methodological procedures and inconsistent results, drawing conclusions from the first three areas is difficult. Using a more direct measure of vitamin D status—that is, serum 25(OH)D level during pregnancy or childhood—we found growing evidence for a relationship between vitamin D and ASD. These findings are supported by convincing evidence from experimental studies investigating the mechanistic pathways. However, with few primary and secondary prevention intervention trials, this relationship cannot be determined, unless randomised placebo-controlled trials of vitamin D as a preventive or disease-modifying measure in ASD patients are available. View Full-Text
Keywords: review; Autism Spectrum Disorder; ASD; Vitamin D; 25(OH)D; intervention; latitude; ethnicity; migration; season; birth; conception review; Autism Spectrum Disorder; ASD; Vitamin D; 25(OH)D; intervention; latitude; ethnicity; migration; season; birth; conception
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Mazahery, H.; Camargo, C.A.; Conlon, C.; Beck, K.L.; Kruger, M.C.; Von Hurst, P.R. Vitamin D and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Literature Review. Nutrients 2016, 8, 236.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Nutrients EISSN 2072-6643 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top