Friday, February 26, 2010

Autism Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency, Diet, etc.

Dr. Rodier is always talking about rampant vitamin D deficiencies in our modern world. He regularly encourages his patients to get tested for vitamin D levels and usually aims to boost their levels through supplementation as an inexpensive yet essential path to protecting health.

Vitamin D deficiency during a baby's brain development is now being linked to autism [along with having older parents and exposure to environmental toxins (e.g., mercury-emitting smokestacks, vinyl flooring phthalates, agricultural pesticides, etc.)].

Thousands of immigrant Somali mothers have been studied -- both in Sweden and Minnesota -- with respect to vitamin D deficiencies during their pregnancies. Alas, the number of autistic children jumped dramatically for mothers who had moved to northern climes and far away from the vitamin D-producing sunlight of their equatorial homeland.

Meanwhile, did you know that autism is growing at a rate of between 10-17% a year? This growth rate makes autism not only a problem for parents with children afflicted but also a national (actually an international) crisis. Dramatic costs ensue, with additional medical, child care, behavioral therapy, educational, and other resources required for autistic children. Estimates put lifetime costs to society at $3.2 million for each individual with autism. Staggering numbers, indeed.

The Paleolithic diet Dr. Rodier puts all of his chronic disease patients on is both gluten-free and casein-free; rich in probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D3, and critical gut- and liver-healing nutrients; and high in lean protein, veggies, and fiber.

Recent research is slowly confirming that the Paleolithic diet is good for autistic children too, who typically have gastrointestinal problems and, for example, cannot break down wheat and dairy proteins effectively, leading to leaky gut syndrome.

Sad to see our communities suffering so much from such a tragic condition as out-of-control autism, which seems to be as related to our modern diets and practices -- see my July 2009 blog entry on Vitamin E, Omega-3s, and Carnitine for Autism Spectrum Disorders --as to any of our genes.

Meanwhile, my heart goes out to those of you with autism in your immediate families.


Ken said...

Mad dogs and ....

CONTRARY to what is expected, many studies have come to the conclusion that vitamin D concentrations are generally higher among people in northern Europe than among people in southern Europe [30], [31]. Our average serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are in line with the earlier Swedish values estimated in the MORE study [30]. These values were, independent of season, approximately 30% higher than the average among people from central and southern Europe. The results have been explained by a diet containing more vitamin D-fortified foods, lighter skin and wearing lighter clothing when being outdoors during the summer [30], [31]. Our results indicate that our genes, as well as environmental factors, contribute to our vitamin D status. Higher vitamin D concentrations in northern countries may have a genetic basis."

Why are Europeans white?

For a given amount of sun whites will have higher levels of vitamin D than blacks for genetic reasons, in fact they have higher levels for the same exposure than even southern Europeans. There are dangers in humans of tropical ancestry trying to raise their vitamin d levels to Northern Europeans' natural levels, let alone trying to attain the very high putative 'optimums' that are now close to being officially recommended for everbody and which only 3% of English people reach with normal sun exposure.

UNFORTUNATELY our norms for adequate vitamin intake are based on subjects or populations of European origin. We are thus diagnosing vitamin-D deficiency in non-European individuals who are, in fact, perfectly normal. This is particularly true for African Americans, nearly half of whom are classified as vitamin-D deficient, even though few show signs of calcium deficiency—which would be a logical outcome. Indeed, this population has less osteoporosis, fewer fractures, and a higher bone mineral density than do Euro-Americans, who generally produce and ingest more vitamin D .
By pathologizing non-Europeans as being vitamin-D deficient, modern medicine is paving the way for programs that are well intentioned but ultimately tragic in their consequences: mass vitamin-D supplementation to be dispensed through the school system and awareness campaigns. Such public health programs have already been proposed for African Americans and northern indigenous peoples.

What will be the outcome of raising vitamin-D levels in these populations? Keep in mind that we are really talking about a hormone, not a vitamin. This hormone interacts with the chromosomes and gradually shortens their telomeres if concentrations are either too low or too high. Tuohimaa (2009) argues that optimal levels may lie in the range of 40-60 nmol/L. In non-European populations the range is probably lower. It may also be narrower in those of tropical origin, since their bodies have not adapted to the wide seasonal variation of non-tropical humans.

If this optimal range is continually exceeded, the long-term effects may look like those of aging:"

Ken said...

D is for don't.

most people in northern latitudes have a deficiency that needs to be corrected, true?.

RECOMMENDED Summer Sunlight Exposure Levels Can Produce Sufficient (20 ng ml−1) but Not the Proposed Optimal (32 ng ml−1) 25(OH)D Levels at UK Latitudes
Note that "only 2.9 % have proposed optimal levels of 32  ng/ ml"
Now why is it that 97% of people have lower concentrations of vitamin D in their blood than the putative 'optimum' ? Could it have something to do with this:-

IN the Framingham study the lowest cardiovascular disease risks were found in participants with with baseline 25(OD)D levels of 20 to 25 ng/ml, but increased with both higher and lower values suggesting that increased cardiovascular risk occurred at levels below 30 ng/ml."
The heart attack risk is increased at lower levels than are now being considered optimum levels, that's just one disease so maybe there is a trade off and on balance the attaining the higher levels and reducing risks of all the other diseases will lead to a longer heathier life?

IN NHANES III higher mortality was observed in participants with 25 OH)D above 49ng/ml".
That English UVB exposure does not put vitamin D levels up to 32 nm/ml in 97 % of people is obviously because either :-

A - Natural selection hasn't got round to it yet, 97% of the English are still adapted to running around with no clothes on.


B - It wouldn't be good for them to have levels that high.

Anonymous said...


I appreciate your commentary on this issue, as I have a younger brother with Autism. Our Mother was an alcoholic, smoked heavily and was an avid drug user. I was diagnosed with Diabetes when I was just ten years of age. As for my brother, well one can see that poor nutrition has it's consequences. I have become extremely passionate about eating well,and I believe eating poorly is the culprit to most of our health issues in this Country. What ever happened "To confirm thy soul in self control?" Perhaps this issue and the weakness it brings is our modern day test for us all,as usual the Trojan Horse and the enemy is within. Watching our country destroy it's own bodies/temples is such a waste! I also believe the strength our our Nation is directly related to this issue. "No man is free who cannot command himself." Pythagoras

Cindi Hunter

Cindy Marteney, CEO, Our Health Co-op said...

Ken, I like to be fair...but the research I keep seeing doesn't look so much like a conspiracy as good science. Here's a recent piece on the correlation between low vitamin D levels and kidney patients going into dialysis.

Kind regards,