May 7, 2012

164 Autism & Vitamin D [7 May 2012]

I wrote about the vitamin D autism connection a year ago in column #116. Last month Dr. Eva Kocovska and colleagues from the University of Glasgow 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:
·        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.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.


  1. It's good to know how important vitamin d to our health. A low vitamin d affects everyone and it is linked into so many diseases. It's so nice that many health practitioner provides detailed information about their research. In that way they help so many people especially now that it is easy to share information via internet.

  2. Thanks Michelle. Your link to Dr. Mercola's article and free one hour lecture on Vitamin D is a good one for anyone wanting to understand more about this essential vitamin.