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Med Hypotheses. 2016 Nov;96:30-33. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2016.09.013. Epub 2016 Sep 22.

Speculations on vitamin K, VKORC1 genotype and autism.

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Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Bartlett Hall, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0505, United States. Electronic address:


Humans vary in the gene that encodes for Vitamin K epoxide reductase complex (VKORC1). Recent research has documented the protective effect of Vitamin K on neural cells and its role in maintaining normal neural development. Of interest, specific neural effects of Vitamin K overlap with key brain development aberrations, including those associated with autism. Furthermore, Vitamin K protects against oxidative stress associated with toxic exposure. Research on the neural effects is reviewed, and a small sample of severely autistic children of Somali descent residing in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota were genotyped and found to have a higher than expected genetic substitution that results in reduction in the efficiency of the Vitamin K cycle. The possibility that this genetic difference could play an etiological role in the development of autism is considered.


Autism; Autism etiology; Somali; VKORC1; Vitamin K

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