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Dietary Intake and Plasma Levels of Choline and Betaine in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

TitleDietary Intake and Plasma Levels of Choline and Betaine in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHamlin, JC, Pauly, M, Melnyk, S, Pavl, iv, O, Starrett, W, Crook, TA, S. James, J
JournalAutism Research and Treatment
Volume2013
Keywordsairp
Summary

Lead Author
S. Jill James

Study Aims and Objectives
To evaluate the dietary intake and blood levels of choline and betaine- two nutrients related to folate metabolism and essential for normal cellular metabolism and function - in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Methods- Sample, Procedure, Study Measures, Analysis
288 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder who participated in the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P) study on diet and nutrition were recruited into the study. These children were asked to provide information about their dietary habits over the course of 3 days, with parents closely tracking types and amounts of food eaten. Of this group, a subset of 32 children and adolescents with ASD and 35 control children were asked to provide blood samples to measure plasma levels of choline and betaine.

Results- Main Findings In 69% of participants with ASD, choline was below adequate intake levels. The proportion of children with below adequate choline levels increased as age also increased, meaning that more older children had inadequate levels of choline than younger children. Participants with ASD also had significantly lower levels of choline and betaine in their blood, compared to their control counterparts.

Conclusion- Summary Statement
Choline and betaine are necessary nutrients for normal folate metabolism and cell function. Children with ASD are often unable to gain appropriate amounts of these components through their diet, resulting in lower levels of choline and betaine in their blood. It is important to understand the nutritional deficits children with ASD may experience and to obtain nutritional counseling to create diets or supplements that ensure they are healthy.

PubMed ID24396597