Autism risk heightens when newborn infants have low vitamin D levels

Low vitamin D levels at birth were strongly linked to an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders at 3 years, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

For the study, researchers examined 27,940 newborns in China, of which 310 were diagnosed with ASDs at 3 years. They compared the children with ASD to 1,240 control subjects.

The researchers found that the risk of ASDs significantly increased in each of the three lower quartiles of vitamin D level at birth, as compared to the highest quartile — the risk of ASDs increased by 260 percent in the lowest quartile; by 150 percent in the second quartile; and by 90 percent in the third quartile.

"Neonatal vitamin D status was significantly associated with the risk of ASDs and intellectual disability," study authors wrote.

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