Comparison of serum B12, folate and homocysteine concentrations in children with autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and healthy controls

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2019 Aug 6;15:2213-2219. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S212361. eCollection 2019.


Objective: We aimed to investigate the serum concentrations of vitamin B12, folate and homocysteine in children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and healthy controls.

Materials and methods: Serum vitamin B12, folate and homocysteine concentrations were measured in 118 children (48 children diagnosed with ADHD, 35 children diagnosed with ASD and 35 healthy controls). Symptom severity in the ADHD and ASD groups was evaluated by the Childhood Autism Rating Scale and Turgay-DSM-IV-Based Screening and Assessment Scale for Disruptive Behavior Disorders. Multivariate analysis of covariance was used to evaluate the effects of diagnosis and gender on biochemical parameters.

Results: The ADHD and ASD groups and the healthy controls differed significantly regarding vitamin B12 and homocysteine concentrations, but not folate levels. Patients with ASD had the lowest vitamin B12 and the highest homocysteine levels. Vitamin B12 levels correlated negatively with hyperactivity and/orimpulsivity and oppositionality symptoms in children with ADHD. There were no relationships between psychometric evaluations and laboratory measurements in children with ASD. Gender did not affect vitamin concentrations.

Conclusion: Previous studies found that vitamin B12 was reduced while homocysteine was elevated among patients with ADHD and ASDs. Our results also support those reported previously. Oppositionality and hyperactivity and/orimpulsivity may be related to vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels in children with ADHD. Further studies are required to define the role of these parameters and effects on the etiology and clinical manifestations of ASD and ADHD.

Keywords: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; autism spectrum disorder; folate; homocysteine; vitamin B12.