I wrote about the vitamin D autism connection a year ago in column #116. Last month Dr. Eva Kocovska and colleagues from the
published a paper “Vitamin D and autism: Clinical review” in Res Dev Disabil. They reviewed 35 papers on the relationship between vitamin D and autism and called for “urgent research” on the subject. Here are some of their findings: University of Glasgow
· autistic children and/or their mothers have low levels (<30 ng/ml) of vitamin D. One study found Somali mothers with autistic children had average levels of only 6.7 ng/ml.
· most autistic children do not meet vitamin D intake requirements
· Several of the studies found a connection between low vitamin D levels and seizures in autistic children.
· States with the highest rates of exclusive breastfeeding also had the highest rates of autism. Unless the breastfeeding mother is taking 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily and has a level > 40 ng/ml, her breast milk will contain negligible vitamin D.
The paper also discussed the many roles that vitamin D plays in brain development and function. Here are just a few:
· cell differentiation
· synaptic development
· neurotransmitter synthesis
· neurotransmission, both excitatory and inhibitory
· control of the expression of genes involved in brain structure and metabolism.
None of this proves a causal relationship, and there have been few if any clinical studies of vitamin D treatment for autism. I agree with Kocovska that more research on this relationship is urgently needed.
Source: Kočovská E, Fernell E, Billstedt E, Minnis H, Gillberg C. Vitamin D and autism: Clinical review. Res Dev Disabil. 2012 Apr 20;33(5):1541-1550.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.