More and more evidence is pointing to vitamin D deficiency having a key role in autism. Vitamin D plays a role in regulating thousands of genes in the human genome. Vitamin D helps with this disorder by stimulating certain factors in the body.
WHAT IS AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER?
Autism Spectrum Disorder or Autism is a mental condition that affects a person’s behavior, communication, and social skills. This difference in development often affects how children and adults understand and relate to others. Children often develop differently than adults, which can affect how well they understand and get along with other people.
Symptoms of autism can range from very mild to very severe. It occurs across all ethnic, racial, and economic groups. The CDC has stated that autism is more common in boys, with a male-to-female ratio of 4-1.
Autism is generally considered to be a developmental disorder, as symptoms usually appear before children reach the age of 3.
Approximately 1 in 54 children in the U.S. was reported by the CDC to experience autism in 2020. According to the National Autistic Society in the UK, there are over 700,000 adults and children who experience autism. The number of autism cases in schools has increased significantly in the past 9 years, according to a new report.
WHAT CAUSES AUTISM?
The cause of autism is a mystery. The development of ADHD is thought to be influenced by a combination of genetics and the environment. The study found that 80% of ASD cases are caused by genetics, with only 20% attributed to environmental causes. The cause of the condition was not linked to anything the mother did during pregnancy.
Autism is not an illness or a disease, which is important to know. Someone with autism has a different perspective on the world than other people. We do not know of a cure for autism, but people with autism can lead happy and productive lives with the right help and support.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF AUTISM?
The symptoms of autism can vary a lot from person to person. Some people with autism may be diagnosed early in their childhood, while others may only realize that they struggle with autism when they are adults. The symptoms of this condition can vary, so it is important to get a professional diagnosis so that the person can get the help and support that they need.
According to the NIH and NHS, people who have autism may:
Have difficulty communicating and interacting with people.
It can be challenging to understand the emotions of others and to empathize with them.
Have repetitive behaviors or thoughts.
The speakers might discuss the same topic all the time and have difficulty engaging in conversation.
They like their routine because it is familiar and makes them feel comfortable. They feel extremely anxious in new places, with unfamiliar faces, and in new situations because they are not used to them.
Find bright lights and sounds overwhelming. Some people might find the sound too loud, or have trouble distinguishing different sounds, making everything sound like one loud noise.
Have intellectual difficulties and take longer to understand concepts. Some people have extremely high IQs and excel in some academic subjects, but have difficulty understanding other topics.
Specific hobbies or subjects that they absolutely love. Some people are intrigued by insects, while others prefer to collect toy trains.
The individual may have unusual behaviors such as avoiding eye contact, hand flapping, toe walking, or other repetitive motions. Sometimes autistic people are not aware of their own behavior and find normal social norms strange.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that it affects people in different ways. Everybody, regardless of whether they have autism or not, has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. People with autism also have their own individual gifts. What Dr. Stephen Shore is saying is that every person with autism experiences the world in their own unique way.
Now it is thought that many famous and highly gifted people were on the autism spectrum. This is a list of highly influential people that includes Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Sir Isaac Newton, and Hans Christian Anderson. The list also includes modern-day sports stars and celebrities. Hans Asperger said that a dash of autism is essential for success in science or art.
How Vitamin D Helps Autism
Some believe that autism is a disease of neuro-inflammation. Vitamin D has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects through scientific research. Experimental models indicate that vitamin D has both direct and indirect anti-inflammatory effects that involve both innate and adaptive immune responses.
New research is showing that activated vitamin D has multiple anti-inflammatory effects. Vitamin D prevents pro-inflammatory prostaglandins from being created and from having an effect. Pro-inflammatory prostaglandins are increased in autism. Vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory activity also inhibits nuclear factor kappa B, which is involved in abnormal signaling in autistic brains.
There are over 80 autoimmune diseases that have been recognized by doctors, and new diseases are being added to the list all the time. Some researchers believe that many cases of autism are due to an autoimmune response, as there have been a number of instances where autistic children have had autoantibodies in the brain. In addition, the amount of these antibodies present is directly related to how severe the autism is.
According to a recent study, 70% of patients with autism contain high levels of a certain autoantibody (anti-MAG). The study found that those with higher levels of anti-Mag had significantly lower levels of vitamin D. The study also found that low levels of vitamin D were significantly associated with higher scores on an autism diagnostic assessment known as the Childhood Autism Rating Scale. This indicates that autism symptoms become more severe when there is a lack of vitamin D.
Neurotrophins are a class of proteins that help nerve and brain cells to develop, function, and survive. Vitamin D increases the levels of neurotrophins, such as NGF (nerve growth factor) and GDNF (glial-derived neurotropic factor), by up to five times.
According to several research groups, vitamin D has the ability to increase levels of the antioxidant glutathione in the brain. Glutathione is useful in the brain detoxification process because it helps remove oxidative byproducts and captures and excretes heavy metals. Glutathione is an important antioxidant that helps protect nerve cells and improve nerve function. This is especially important for people who are exposed to toxins, such as mercury.
Recent gene profiling has revealed that there are several more antioxidants whose genes are directly upregulated by vitamin D. This refers to thioredoxin reductase 1 and superoxide dismutase, which both works as antioxidants and agents to remove toxins.
Vitamin D could help children with autism in various ways. Some cases of autism could potentially be treated by taking enough vitamin D to reach natural blood levels of 50-80 ng/mL of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This is because vitamin D can help reduce inflammation, prevent autoimmune diseases, and increase levels of substances that support nerve cell health.
However, such a claim is entirely theoretical. There is no evidence that vitamin D helps autism, as there are no trials, case series, or published case reports demonstrating its effectiveness.
Although there is no scientific evidence specifically linking vitamin D to autism, there are many known benefits to taking the vitamin, and it has been shown to improve many of the issues associated with autism. Therefore, it is a good idea for parents of children with autism to consider giving them vitamin D supplements.
There is no concrete evidence that this method will work, only theories. If parents still want to try it, they should be fully aware of this fact.
How To Start Your Child On Vitamin D
For parents who want to increase their vitamin D levels, the key to success is obtaining high physiological 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood levels around 80 ng/mL.
There is no need to get a 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test to start, as all studies show that autistic children are low in vitamin D.
The recommended dosage of vitamin D3 for children is 50 IU per pound of body weight per day. Liquid vitamin D is available from several sources.
A child weighing 25 pounds would take 1,250 IU of D3 each day, a child weighing 50 pounds would take 2,500 IU each day, etc. This dose will usually result in the child’s 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels falling in the middle of the physiological range (40-60 ng/mL), although some children may achieve higher physiological levels (60-70 ng/mL) on this dose.
The child should also be given vitamin D supplements along with other necessary vitamins and minerals. Use half a scoop of Life Extension Mix powder for every 25-pound body weight when blending in juice or a smoothie. One scoop of the powder contains around 700 IU of vitamin D3, which can help to increase vitamin D levels.
After three months of taking the initial dose of vitamin D, get another blood test for 25-hydroxyvitamin D. If the child’s 25-hydroxyvitamin D level is over 80 ng/mL, then the child’s dose is adequate, and further action is not necessary.
If a person’s 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are below 80 ng/mL, then they should take a vitamin D3 supplement that is proportional to their body weight. A 25-pound child who is taking 1,250 IU of vitamin D per day would increase their daily intake to 1,875 IU, and a 50-pound child who is taking 2,500 IU of vitamin D per day would increase their daily intake to 3,750 IU.
Wait three more months and get another 25-hydroxyvitamin D test to see if doses need to be adjusted. If the level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is more than 100 ng/mL, then for every 10 ng/mL above 100 ng/mL, reduce the dose by 10%.
Levels of vitamin D that are higher than 100 ng/mL are not necessarily toxic, as toxic levels of vitamin D (asymptomatic hypercalcemia) are rare when levels are below 200 ng/mL. If you are concerned about these high doses, you can have your child’s blood calcium level checked, which will likely show that their calcium level is not high (over 10.5 mg/dL).
You should adjust the dose of vitamin D every three months based on your levels. Make sure you get your serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels checked rather than your 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D levels.
To ensure that your child gets the most out of their vitamin D supplement, give it to them during the meal that contains the most fats. An optimal dose of 25-hydroxyvitamin D may be produced without the need for higher doses.
Other Supplements That Can Help With Autism
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that detoxifies the body. It helps to protect our cells from oxidative stress and also removes heavy metals from the body.
According to research, children with autism tend to have low levels of glutathione. This resulted in a study with 33 children being split into two groups. At the end of the study, the children who had taken N-acetyl cysteine had much lower levels of irritability than those who had not.
Autism has been linked to higher-than-usual levels of inflammation in the brain and gut. Glutathione is a safe and powerful anti-inflammatory that also controls levels of oxidative stress, which is the cause of inflammation.
When you take glutathione as a supplement, it is especially important to remember that a liposomal form of glutathione will be absorbed into your bloodstream at higher levels than other forms.
Krill oil is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which does not taste fishy.
Parents with children who have autism often find it difficult to get them to eat a variety of foods. These children can be very particular about what they like and dislike to eat. The problem with traditional fish oil is that the taste of fish is unpleasant, and you may experience burping. This can make some children (and adults!) feel nauseous. The omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil are easily dissolved in stomach acid due to the presence of phospholipids. As a result, most people experience fewer after-effects.
Krill oil also contains choline and astaxanthin. Choline is an essential nutrient for cell health, and astaxanthin is a strong antioxidant found in nature. Both of these molecules may also help improve the nutrient levels in autism sufferers.
When treating autism with supplements, keep in mind that each individual will respond differently, and it may take some time to find the best approach for your loved one. There is no single supplement that will “cure” autism, but there are many that may help to ease some of the challenges associated with the condition.