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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2016, Article ID 6763205, 6 pages
Research Article

Calcium and Vitamin D Supplement Prescribing Practices among Providers Caring for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Are We Addressing Bone Health?

1Pediatric Endocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
2Lurie Center for Autism, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Boston, MA, USA
3Pediatric Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Received 30 October 2015; Revised 25 January 2016; Accepted 9 February 2016

Academic Editor: Roberto Canitano

Copyright © 2016 Shylaja Srinivasan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have several risk factors for low bone mineral density. The gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet is a complementary therapy sometimes used in ASD that raises concerns for the adequacy of calcium and vitamin D intake. This study evaluated the prescribing practices of calcium and vitamin D supplements and the practice of checking 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) levels by providers in 100 children with ASD, 50 of whom were on the GFCF diet. Fifty-two percent and 46% of children on the GFCF diet were on some form of vitamin D and calcium supplements, respectively, compared to 18% and 14% of those not on this diet. Twenty-four percent of children in the GFCF group had a documented 25(OH)D level compared to none in the non-GFCF group. The data highlight a gap in calcium and vitamin D supplement prescribing practices among providers caring for children with ASD as well as a gap in the practice of checking 25(OH)D levels.