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RCT finds vitamin D improves core symptoms of autism

Posted on: December 7, 2016   by  John Cannell, MD


Scientists have been desperately searching for a medicine that will improve the core symptoms of autism. A recent randomized controlled trial, the highest standard of proof in medicine, suggests they may have found it.

Professor Khalid Saad and his colleagues, of the University of Egypt, aimed to determine whether vitamin D supplementation elicits a treatment effect on the core symptoms of autism.

A total of 85 boys and 24 girls were included in the study.

Group one received a placebo, and group two received 300 IU/KG/day vitamin D3 (with a maximum of 5,000 IU/day) for four months. The researchers used four different rating scales to measure the severity of the autism, before and after treatment.

The results were dramatic. Half the treated children lost the diagnosis of autism (CARS<30). Twenty five percent of the children made significant improvements in symptoms but remained autistic. Treatment showed no effect in 25% of the children. No significant side effects were noted in the treatment group.


Cannell, JJ. Vitamin D supplementation improves autism in children, according to new study. The Vitamin D Council Blog & Newsletter, 2016.


Saad, K. et al. Randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2016.

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