Serum concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2016 Apr;25(4):341-50. doi: 10.1007/s00787-015-0786-1. Epub 2015 Oct 29.


Vitamin D may play an important role in the etiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Vitamin D is regarded as a neuroactive steroid affecting brain development and function. It plays an essential role in myelination, which is important for connectivity in the brain. Studies have shown that decreased vitamin D levels in patients, decreased maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy, and decreased exposure to solar UVB might increase the risk for ASD. In addition, autism symptoms and global functioning may improve after vitamin D supplementation. Here, we sought to aggregate information from previous publications on vitamin D levels and ASD, in order to achieve a higher statistical power and thereby to determine the validity of vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for ASD. For this meta-analysis, 11 studies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, accounting for a total of 870 ASD patients and 782 healthy controls. Levels of serum 25(OH) D in participants with ASD were significantly lower than controls, suggesting that lower vitamin D level might be a risk factor for ASD.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorders; Meta-analysis; Review; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / blood*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / etiology
  • Brain
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D