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Posted on 02-06-2013

Morning North State!

Autism is a fast growing epidemic in our modern society.  Science has yet to pin down the exact cause if it and all autism spectrum disorders (e.g. ADHD).  This article from the Winter 2012 edition of the Journal of Dermato-Endocrinology looks at sun exposure in producing vitamin D3 (which is actually a hormone and not a vitamin) and looks at implications to autism.

BACKGROUND FROM ON THE TOPIC:

Neither UVB from the sun or supplemental vitamin D3 are the active form of vitamin D; both forms require a healthy liver and healthy kidneys to make the active form, 1, 25-dihydroxy vitamin D:

STEP #1

Our skin cells contain a molecule called 7-dehydrocholesterol = provitamin D3 which absorbs ultraviolet light B (UVB, wavelength 290-319 nm)

STEP #2

The absorption of UVB by provitamin D3 produces pre-vitamin D3 within the skin cells

STEP #3

Our body heat converts pre-vitamin D3 into vitamin D3 within the skin cell
(
this is the same molecule as supplemental vitamin D3)

STEP #4

Vitamin D3 exits the skin cell into the blood stream and travels to the liver where 25-hydroxy vitamin D (calcidrol) [25(OH)D] is produced
(
this is what is measured in a standard blood vitamin D testing)

STEP #5
25-hydroxy vitamin D [25(OH)D] leaves the liver via the blood stream to the kidney

STEP #6

The kidney makes the active form of vitamin D 1, 25 dihydroxy vitamin D

STEP #7

This active form of vitamin D (1, 25 dihydroxy vitamin D) circulates throughout the body, binding to receptors in the nucleus of the cell influencing gene expression

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE:

1)  Vitamin D deficiency is intimately involved in autism.

2)  These authors report on autism prevalence by US state for those aged 6–17 y in 2010 with respect to indices of solar UV-B (UVB) doses. They calculated autism prevalence rates for white, black and Asian Americans by using total prevalence and relative populations of minors for each ethnic group by state.

3) “The inverse correlation between solar UVB and autism prevalence is similar to that for many types of cancer in the US. The journal literature indicates that adverse effects on fetal brain development during pregnancy due to vitamin D deficiency can explain these findings.”

4) “These results add to the evidence that vitamin D deficiency may be an important risk factor for autism and suggest that pregnant women and autistic individuals raise their serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations above 30 ng/ml.”

5) “Vitamin D plays important roles in repairing DNA damage and protecting against oxidative stress—a key cause of DNA damage.”

6) “Low serum 25(OH)D concentrations in winter are associated with infectious diseases such as influenza, which peaks in winter.”

7)  Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy leads to adverse birth outcomes.

8)  There are adverse effects on fetal brain development for vitamin D-deficient mothers.

9) “Maternal metabolic conditions during pregnancy (diabetes, hypertension and obesity) are associated with increased risk of offspring diagnosed with autism by age 5 y. Vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for diabetes, and obesity is associated with lower serum 25(OH)D concentrations.”

10) “The risk of women with vitamin D insufficiency (46 nmol/L) [18 ng/ml] during pregnancy having a child with clinically significant language difficulties was increased close to twofold compared with women with vitamin D levels >70 nmol/L [28 ng/ml].”

11) Low vitamin D levels increase maternal infections. Maternal infection during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of autism, as is elevated maternal temperature (to combat the infection).

12) “Vitamin D reduces risk of both bacterial and viral infection.” “Vitamin D may reduce the risk of influenza as well as that of other acute respiratory infections.”

13) “Both epilepsy and autism have elevated birth rates in winter and lower birth rates in summer or fall.”

14) “The optimal serum 25(OH)D concentration during pregnancy is above 30 ng/ml based on a number of observational studies.” [Key Point]

15) “Gestational 25(OH)D concentrations are associated with normal fetal brain development and levels above 30 ng/ml are associated with reduced risk of childhood neuropsychological impairments, and development language difficulties.”

16) “There is also evidence that serum 25(OH)D concentrations above 40 ng/ml might be considered optimal during pregnancy since optimal production of 1,25- dihydroxyvitamin D was achieved above this value in a randomized controlled trial with pregnant women.”

17) Women living a traditional life style near the equator have a mean serum 25(OH)D level of nearly 60 ng/ml in pregnancy, approximately triple that of pregnant women in more developed poleward countries.

18) Mean “natural” 25(OH)D levels are around 46 ng/ml in equatorial hunter- gatherers.

19) “This ecological study finds that autism prevalence among those aged 6–17 y in 2010 was significantly inversely correlated with solar UVB doses.”

20) “These results and other findings strongly implicate vitamin D deficiency as an important risk factor for developing autism.”

21) “Maternal vitamin D deficiency appears to play an important role although we cannot discount a role of vitamin D deficiency in early life.”

COMMENTS YOUR FAMILY NEEDS TO KNOW:

KEY POINT #16 suggests that pregnant women should have serum 25(OH)D concentrations above 40 ng/ml.

Here at WellnessOne we will be starting Vitamin D testing alongside Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acid ratios very soon.  I am looking into the best testing kits for the price and will let you all know as soon as they are ready!

Have a blessed day! 

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