Skip to main content
Log in

Magnesium profile in autism

  • Published:
Biological Trace Element Research Aims and scope Submit manuscript


The aim of the present study was to determine and compare plasma and erythrocyte concentrations of magnesium in 12 autistic children (10 boys, 2 girls), 17 children with other autistic spectrum disorders (14 boys, 3 girls), 5 girls with classic Rett syndrome, and 14 normal children (7 boys, 7 girls) of the same age. No differences in intracellular Mg were found between controls and pathological subjects; however, autistic children and children with other autistic spectrum disorders had significantly lower plasma concentrations of Mg than normal subjects (p=0.013 and p=0.02, respectively). Although our study population was small, we conclude that children with autistic spectrum disorders require special dietary management. If these cases are diagnosed at an early stage, they can be helped through diet.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. L. Kanner, Austistic disturbance of affective contact, Nervous Child 2, 217–250 (1943).

    Google Scholar 

  2. C. Gilbert and M. Coleman, The Biology of Autistic Syndromes, 3rd ed., MacKeith, London (2000).

    Google Scholar 

  3. L. Rapin and R. Katzman, Neurobiology of autism, Ann. Neurol. 43, 7–14 (1998).

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. B. M. Altura, Basic biochemestry and physiology of magnesium. A brief review, Magnesium trace Elements 10, 167–171 (1991).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. S. Johnson, The multifaceted and widespread pathology of magnesium deficiency, Med. Hypotheses 56, 163–170 (2001).

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. S. Johnson, Micronutrient accumulation and depletion in schizophrenia, epilepsy, autism and Parkinson's disease? Med. Hypotheses 56, 641–645 (2001).

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. P. M. Kidd, Autism, an extreme challenge to integrative medicine. Part 1: The knowledge base, Alternat. Med. Rev. 7, 292–316 (2002).

    Google Scholar 

  8. P. M. Kidd, Autism, an extreme challenge to integrative medicine. Part II: Medical management, Alternat. Med. Rev. 7, 472–499 (2002).

    Google Scholar 

  9. B. Rimland, The use of vitamin B6, magnesium, and DMG in the treatment of autistic children and adults, in Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD, W. Shaw, ed., The Great Plains Laboratory Inc., Lenexa, KS (2002).

    Google Scholar 

  10. J. E. Niemela, B. M. Snader, and R. J. elin, Determination of ionized magnesium in platelets and correlation with selected variables, Clin. Chem. 42, 744–748 (1996).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. M. Yoshimura, T. Oshima, H. Hiraga, et al., Increased cytosolic free Mg2+ and Ca2+ in platelets of patients with vasospastic angina, Am. J. Physiol. 274, R548-R554 (1998).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. H. Hiraga, T. Oshima, M. Yoshimura, H. Matsuura, and G. Kajiyama, Abnormal platelet Ca2+ handling accompanied by increased cytosolic free Mg2+ in essential hypertension, Am. J. Physiol. 275, R574-R579, (1998).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. J. E. Niemela, G. Csako, M. N. Bui, and R. J. Elin, Gender-specific correlation of platelet ionized magnesium and serum low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations in apparently healthy subjects, J. Lab. Clin. Med. 129, 89–96 (1997).

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. T. Princi, M. Artero, N. Malus, L. Uxa, V. Livia, and G. Reina, Serum and intracellular magnesium concentrations in intoxicated chronic alcoholic and control subjects, Drug Alcohol Depend. 46, 119–122 (1997).

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. L. E. Basso, J. B. Ubbink, and R. Delport, Erythrocyte magnesium concentration as an index of magnesium status: a perspective from a magnesium supplementation study, Clin. Chim. Acta 291, 1–8 (2000).

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. C. Nye and A. Brice, Combined vitamin B6-magnesium treatment in autism spectrum disorder, Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 4, CD003497 (2002).

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. R. L. Findling, K. Maxwell, L. Scotese-Wojtila, J. Huang, T. Yamashita, and M. Wiznitzer, High-dose pyridoxine and magnesium administration in children with autistic disorder: an absence of salutary effects in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, J. Autism Dev. Disord. 27, 467–478 (1997).

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. S. J. Pfeiffer, J. Norton, L. Nelson, and S. Shott, Efficacy of vitamin B6 and magnesium in the treatment of autism: a methodology review and summary of outcomes, J. Autism Dev. Disord. 25, 481–493 (1995).

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. G. Lelord, E. Callaway, and J. P. Muh, Clinical and biological effects of high doses of vitamin B6 and magnesium on autistic children, Acta Vitaminol. Enzymol. 4, 27–44 (1982).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. G. O'Brien and A. M. Whitehouse, A psychiatric study of deviant eating behaviour among mentally handicapped adults, Br. J. Psychiatry 157, 281–284 (1990).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. P. G. Williams, N. Dalrymple, and J. Neal, Eating habits of children with autism, Pediatr. Nurs. 26, 259–264 (2000).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. G. L. Arnold, S. L. Hyman, R. A. Mooney, and R. S. Kirby, Plasma amino acid profiles in children with autism: potential risk of nutritional deficiencies, J. Austism Dev. Disord. 33, 449–454 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. M. A. Rice and R. H. Haas, The nutritional aspects of Rett Syndrome, J. Child. Neurol. 3, S35-S45 (1988).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. A. Baghdadli, V. Gonnier, and C. Aussilloux, Review of psychopharmacological treatments in adolescents and adults with autistic disorders, Encephale 28, 248–254 (2002).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mirella Strambi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Strambi, M., Longini, M., Hayek, J. et al. Magnesium profile in autism. Biol Trace Elem Res 109, 97–104 (2006).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Index Entries