Could zinc deficiency be a cause of autism?

By Maria Kyriacou

Image: Thinkstock
Image: Thinkstock
Research suggests that a zinc deficiency in infancy be a partial cause of autism

A study of 2000 children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), saw them having their hair tested for iron deficiency.

The strong findings showed 584 (29.6%) of subjects had levels lower than the average with children in the 0-3 age being most zinc deficient. A two-year-old child who took part in the study had a zinc level of only 10.7 ppm versus a healthy child’s average level of 130 ppm.

A lower incidence of zinc deficiency was prevalent in older children with ASD, which continued to drop till children were at normal levels by age 10.

ASD’s are complicated and no doubt caused by a variety of reasons, however a new study has given scientists cause to further explore zinc deficiency after noticing some interesting links.

The results have led the study’s authors to speculate that environmental influences could be at play, altering gene expression in children with ASD.

Zinc levels are very important for pregnant women and the development of babies as they plays a large role in the growth and regeneration of cells.

The flipside is that ASD’s are linked to inflammation, which along with stress can cause us to waste zinc, giving a strong reason as to why children on the spectrum may have low levels.



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