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Micronutrient Levels in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Principal Investigator:  Heather Zwickey, PhD

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control estimates 1 in 88 children that are 8 years old have autism spectrum disorder (ASD)1. About 80% of current patients diagnosed with ASD are under the age of 18, so there will soon be a large influx of adults living with ASD2. However, there is little research specifically examining biomedical treatments in adults with ASD. Many of the symptoms of ASD can be reduced in children by addressing nutrient concerns3. Presumably a similar course of action may be viable for adults with ASD.

The goal of this pilot study is to determine if there are unique nutrient requirements in adults with ASD compared to adults without ASD.  Blood samples from adult participants with and without ASD will be assayed for nutrient levels (specifically: biotin, folate, pantothenate, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, asparagine, glutamine, serine, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, cysteine, glutathione, selenium, vitamin E, carnitine, choline, chromium, inositol, and oleic acid). We hypothesize adults with ASD will have abnormal levels of some nutrients compared to neurotypical adults. Determination of the specific nutrient profile in adults with ASD could provide meaningful insights into potential treatments and relief of symptoms.