Posted by: Kevin G. Parker, D.C.
article below written by: John Cannell, MD
Vitamin D and autism: Clinical review-Kočovská E, Fernell E, Billstedt E, Minnis H, Gillberg C.
Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Caledonia House, Dalnair Street, RHSC, Yorkhill, Glasgow G3 8SJ, UK.
Vitamin D deficiency – either during pregnancy or early childhood – may be an environmental trigger for ASD in individuals genetically predisposed for the broad phenotype of autism. On the basis of the results of the present review, we argue for the recognition of this possibly important role of vitamin D in ASD, and for urgent research in the field.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with multiple genetic and environmental risk factors. The interplay between genetic and environmental factors has become the subject of intensified research in the last several years. Vitamin D deficiency has recently been proposed as a possible environmental risk factor for ASD.
The aim of the current paper is to systematically review the research regarding the possible connection between ASD and vitamin D, and to provide a narrative review of the literature regarding the role of vitamin D in various biological processes in order to generate hypotheses for future research.
Systematic data obtained by different research groups provide some, albeit very limited, support for the possible role of vitamin D deficiency in the pathogenesis of ASD. There are two main areas of involvement of vitamin D in the human body that could potentially have direct impact on the development of ASD: (1) the brain (its homeostasis, immune system and neurodevelopment) and (2) gene regulation.
Okay…on with the article…
Examining the relationship between vitamin D and autism-April 26, 2012 — John Cannell, MD
In a recent clinical review on autism and vitamin D, Dr. Eva Kocovska and colleagues from the University of Glasgow called for “urgent research” on vitamin D’s role in autism.
The body of the paper consisted of a review of the 35 papers published to date that deal directly with autism and vitamin D. Here were their areas of interest and the studies they reviewed.
On vitamin D blood levels
Four studies have looked at vitamin D levels in autistic children or their mothers and all have found low levels (<30 ng/ml) in autistic children.
One found no difference in vitamin D levels between autistic children and boys with acute inflammation (a curious control), while the other three found differences, some significant and some not.
One study found Somali mothers with autistic children had average vitamin D levels of 6.7 ng/ml, about 30% lower than Somali mothers without autistic children.
On vitamin D intake
The authors examined about a dozen papers that looked at vitamin D intake in autistic children, all finding that most autistic children do not meet vitamin D intake requirements for their age.
On a side note, the authors also mention that magnesium has a crucial role in brain development and function.
side note from me…The Miracle of Magnesium
As readers know, magnesium deficiencies are the rule, not the exception in most Americans.
On brain development and function
The authors reviewed the numerous ways vitamin D is involved in brain development and function, including:
Nerve migration and growth
Neurotransmission, both excitatory and inhibitory
Preventing excessive cell proliferation
Orchestrating signaling pathways in the brain
Nerve growth factor expression
Regulation of inflammatory cytokines
Intra-neuronal calcium signaling
Control of the expression of genes involved in brain structure and metabolism
Regulation of glutathione, the master antioxidant and heavy metal remover
Protection from glutamate toxicity
On autism, vitamin D and seizures
I was surprised at the number of studies showing the connection between vitamin D, seizures and autism.
Up to 30% of children with autism have seizures, and it may be as easy as giving a vitamin D supplement to reduce seizures.
A recent study showed in a statistically significant finding that in States where exclusive breastfeeding is the highest, autism incidence is also the highest.
Remember, unless the mother takes 5,000 IU/day and has a vitamin D level > 40 ng/ml, breast milk contains little vitamin D.
Yes, as I have been saying since 2006, there is a need for “urgent research in the field.”-–April 26, 2012 — John Cannell, MD
Other good Vit D articles: