Vitamin D deficiency linked to autism

January 3, 2013

Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk for developing autism, a researcher suggests.William Grant, Ph.D., Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center, San Francisco, Calif., and John Cannell, M.D., Vitamin D Council, San Luis Obispo, Calif., found that children ages 6 to 17 years old who lived in states with lower solar UVB doses during the summer and fall were more likely to be diagnosed with autism than those children who lived in states with higher solar UVB doses.

Vitamin D deficiency linked to autism

Jan 3, 2013
By: From staff reports
Drug Topics

 

Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk for developing autism, a researcher suggests.

William Grant, Ph.D., Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center, San Francisco, Calif., and John Cannell, M.D., Vitamin D Council, San Luis Obispo, Calif., found that children ages 6 to 17 years old who lived in states with lower solar UVB doses during the summer and fall were more likely to be diagnosed with autism than those children who lived in states with higher solar UVB doses.

The study was prompted by a map published Dec. 9 in the Los Angeles Times that showed higher rates of autism in the Northeast and on the West Coast and lower rates in the Southern and Plains states. The trend is similar to that of many types of cancer, the authors noted and encouraged them to explore a possible inverse correlation between solar UVB doses and autism prevalence.

The authors examined prevalence data of the number of children by state with autism in 2010 and further estimated the number of children by race and state affected.

According to the authors, the literature suggests that maternal vitamin D deficiency plays a role in autism risk. The authors also cite one study linking early life childhood vitamin D deficiency to autism risk.

"Both genetics and environment affect risk of autism. However, separating genetic from environmental factors is difficult," the authors wrote. "This study implicates vitamin D deficiency as an important risk factor for developing autism," the authors wrote and added that future studies should explore the link in both pregnant women and early childhood.

The study was published in the December 2012 issue of Dermatoendocrinology.

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