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Dietary Supplementation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Common, Insufficient, and Excessive

TitleDietary Supplementation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Common, Insufficient, and Excessive
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsStewart, PA, Hyman, SL, Schmidt, BL, Macklin, EA, Reynolds, AM, Johnson, CR, S. James, J, Manning-Courtney, P
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Lead Author
Patricia A. Stewart

Study Aims and Objectives
To examine dietary supplement use and analyze vitamin and mineral intake of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Methods - Sample, Procedure, Study Measures, Analysis
Three-day diet/supplement records and use of a gluten/casein-free diet were documented. All 288 subjects were between the ages of 2 and 11. The researchers paid specific attention to the percentage of children who met or exceeded the upper limit of the daily recommended intake for vitamins and minerals.

Results – Main Finding(s)
56% of the children with ASD took dietary supplements. Supplementation often led to excessive intake of vitamin A, folate (one of the B vitamins), and zinc for all ages. Supplementation also led to excessive intake of vitamin C and copper in children aged 2 to 3 and manganese and copper in children 4 to 8. Almost one third of children remained vitamin D deficient and up to 54% were calcium deficient even with taking dietary supplements.

Conclusion – Summary Statement
Few children with ASD need most of the vitamins and minerals they are given as supplements, which often leads to excess intake. Even when supplements are used, careful attention should be given to adequacy of vitamin D and calcium intake.

PubMed ID26052041
Summary category: