The effect of vitamin D supplementation on the risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is conflicting. The aim of this study was to estimate the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation on ASD in children.
We conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in which vitamin D supplementation was used as a therapy in children with ASD. The PubMed, PsychINFO, Cochrane CENTRAL library, Web of Science, and Cinahl databases were searched from inception to March 20, 2019, for all publications on vitamin D and ASD with no restrictions. Studies involving individuals aged <18 years diagnosed with ASD and with all functional outcomes assessed by measurement scales for ASD were included. Mean differences were pooled, and a meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model due to differences between the individual RCTs.
There were five RCTs with 349 children with ASD in the review, of which three RCTs were included in the meta-analysis. Vitamin D supplementation indicated a small but significant improvement in hyperactivity scores (pooled MD: -3.20; 95% CI: [-6.06, -0.34]) with low heterogeneity (I<sup>2</sup> = 10%, p = 0.33), but there were no other statistically significant differences in ASD symptoms between groups as measured by validated scales.
Vitamin D supplementation appears to be beneficial for hyperactivity but not for core symptoms or other co-existing behaviors and conditions of ASD. Future RCTs with large sample sizes examining the effect of vitamin D supplementation on ASD among individuals with low serum vitamin D levels at baseline are needed. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
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