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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Update on Autism and Vitamin D from the Vitamin D Council April Newsletter

April 2, 2010

This is a periodic newsletter from the Vitamin D Council, a non-profit trying to end the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. If you are not subscribed, you can do so on the Vitamin D Council’s website:

"Swedish Researchers on the Right Trail"

I continue to get encouraging emails – like the one at the end of this newsletter – from parents of autistic children. At the same time, some researchers in the USA continue to deride my theory while scientists in Sweden are starting to piece it together. Three Swedish papers were published this month that support the vitamin D theory of autism.

In the first paper, Dr. Mats Humble and his colleagues – at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm – measured vitamin D levels on 117 adult psychiatric outpatients. They found that the 10 adult patients with autism had the lowest 25(OH)D levels of any of the other groups, including the patients with schizophrenia and depression, an average of about 12 ng/ml, a level known to cause rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Even more interesting, they reported that some of the patients with depression and schizophrenia seemed to improve when treated with an average of about 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day. They did not say if they treated any of the vitamin D deficient autism patients.(Humble MB et al. Low serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) among psychiatric out-patients in Sweden: Relations with season, age, ethnic origin and psychiatric diagnosis. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Mar 7. [Epub ahead of print)

"Mothers of autistic children have very low 25(OH)D levels"

The second paper, by Dr. Elisbeth Fernell and colleagues – from various institutions in Sweden – measured vitamin D levels in mothers about six years after they had given birth to a child now diagnosed with autism. The Somali mothers had very low vitamin D levels, less than 10 ng/ml. The trend was in the direction of lower vitamin D levels for Somali mothers with autistic children, compared to Somali mothers without an autistic child. (Fernell E et al. Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in mothers of Swedish and of Somali origin who have children with and without autism. Acta Paediatr. 2010 Mar 5. [Epub ahead of print])

"Another scientist endorses the vitamin D theory of autism."

The third paper, an invited editorial in Acta Paediatrica by Dr. Darryl Eyles – of the University of Queensland – was more interesting, at least to me, as he issued an outright endorsement of my autism theory, not that it is proven, but that it is parsimonious, a word and concept I love. Darryl is a prolific researcher and was involved in many of the rat studies that showed gestational vitamin D deficiency damages the brains of the infant rat pups. It was the work of Dr. Eyles, together with that of Dr. John McGrath, which helped me formulate my vitamin D theory of autism. I wrote about their research in 2005, before I realized that the human brain damage I wrote about was manifesitng itself as the autism epidemic. Shortly after I wrote the newsletter below, I saw an autistic child at a shopping mall and started my research into autism and vitamin D. (Cannell JJ. The Tuskegee Experiment. Vitamin D Newsletter 7/17/05)

Anyway, this month Dr. Eyles said, “Low maternal vitamin D remains a highly parsimonious explanation for certain prominent features of autism,” explaining how well their animal data fits with human data on autism. Perfect parsimony is when one theory explains all the known facts, and if there is one major autism fact the vitamin D theory of autism cannot explain, I have yet to locate it. (Eyles DW. Vitamin D and Autism, Does skin colour modify risk? Acta Paediatr. 2010 Mar 8. [Epub ahead of print])

"Pregnant women need 5,000 IU/day"

Dr. Eyles discussed the crucial importance of all pregnant women having adequate amounts of vitamin D and said he was eagerly awaiting the results of the clinical trial Bruce Hollis and Carol Wagner of the Medical University of South Carolina have conducted. They have given 4,000 IU/day to pregnant women, comparing that to 400 IU/day (the amount in prenatal vitamins) and to 2,000 IU/day. However, several months ago in Brugge, Belgium, Dr. Hollis recently presented some of the data from his clinical trial, reporting that 4,000 IU/day in pregnancy is not only safe, but significantly reduces complications of pregnancy more than 2,000 IU/day does and a lot more than 400 IU/day does. All pregnant women should be on at least 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day and take neither cod liver oil nor any retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate (vitamin A).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dr. Linton suggests this link:,english