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.