Autism and Vitamin D, Is There a Link?
Autism and Vitamin D, Is there a Link?
When I was a child growing up, I did not know one single person who had Autism. There were a few children who had severe mental retardation, as it was called.Today, there seems to be an exploding increase in those diagnosed with Autism. As with any disorder, there are probably quite a few who are misdiagnosed which adds to the climbing numbers. Also, the increase can be attributed to better education and awareness.
Given the huge increase, scientist and parents alike are scrambling to find something, anything that might give them some answers.
A new hypothesis is suggesting there could be a possible link between Vitamin D deficiency and Autism.
Vitamin D, by name, is a misnomer. A vitamin is a nutrient that cannot be produced by the body and must be consumed. We know that Vitamin D is produced by the interaction of sunlight in the body AND can be consumed. But, nonetheless, the name Vitamin D stuck. Vitamin D is a pre-hormone, which is later converted into a hormone through bodily processes.
Vitamin D is naturally found in fatty fish. Other forms include sources that are fortified with the vitamin, like milk.
Vitamin D deficiency has already been long established as a cause for rickets, a bone disorder in children. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. Other links to Vitamin D deficiency include colon cancer, some forms of breast cancer, bowel disorders, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders and several others.
Researchers believe there is a link to Autism because Vitamin D plays a critical role in the development and function of the brain.
It is interesting to note that recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics has revised it’s guidelines for the Vitamin D intake of children. They doubled it from 200 IU a day to 400 IU a day. Some researchers believe it should be higher given that there is not an increased risk of overdosing, except in rare circumstances.
It is prudent to point out that researchers also cannot agree on the amount adults should consume. The standard as of now is 400 IU a day for adults. Some suggest it should be 1000 IU to 2000 IU a day.
Whatever the future holds for this research, no stone should be left unturned.
Autism research needs all the help it can get, however unlikely the source may seem.