A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Fall, 2021 | Number 4, Volume 35

Low maternal vitamin D may raise risk for autism

Maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may significantly increase the risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children, according to a large new study by researchers in Finland and the United States. 

Andre Sourander and colleagues analyzed data collected on 1,558 children with ASD and an equal number of matched controls born in Finland between January 1987 and December 2004 and followed up until December 2015. Factoring in a wide range of variables, they found that maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy was associated with a 44% increased risk of ASD. 

Sourander comments, “The results are significant for public health as vitamin D deficiency is readily preventable.”


“Maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy and offspring autism spectrum disorder,” Andre Sourander, Subina Upadhyaya, Heljä-Marja Surcel, Susanna Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, Keely Cheslack-Postava, Sanju Silwal, Minna Sucksdorff, Ian W. McKeague, and Alan S. Brown, Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 90, Issue 11, 790-797, December 1, 2021. Address: Andre Sourander, [email protected].