According to a group of Harvard researchers, there are 9 factors that cause or are associated with autism.
Here’s an excerpt from the abstract:
“A survey of the research literature identified 9 environmental factors for which increased pre-conceptual exposure appears to be associated with increased risk for autism. Five of these factors–mercury, cadmium, nickel, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride–are established mutagens. Another four–including residence in regions that are urbanized, located at higher latitudes, or experience high levels of precipitation–are associated with decreased sun exposure and increased risk for vitamin D deficiency”
This is the title of the article:
“Environmental risk factors for autism: Do they help cause de novo genetic mutations that contribute to the disorder? Med Hypotheses. 2010 Jan;74(1):102-6”.
I’ve always been intrigued by the connection with vitamin D. This observation was made about 10 years ago. Unfortunately, the connection between vitamin D and autism remains to be thoroughly understood.
Is low vitamin D in autistic kids caused by malabsorption or a lack of sun exposure? Most likely.
But which statement is true? Does low vitamin D cause autism or does autism cause low vitamin D?
Based on my research, on the function of the blood-brain barrier, I came across this article:
“Active form of vitamin D directly protects the blood-brain barrier in multiple sclerosis”.
They use a model of MS to study the role of vitamin D in the function of the blood-brain barrier. The concept is the same for any neurological disorder.
They show that vitamin D is critical for the integrity of the BBB. In other words, low vitamin D increases the permeability of the BBB, leading to a leaky barrier.
A leaky BBB allows toxins to penetrate the brain more easily.
This is a very exciting observation!
What if vitamin D plays a more critical role in the development of autism?
Is it possible that kids who developed autism after shots had a more leaky BBB because of low vitamin D, thereby allowing aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, and other toxins to penetrate the brain?
What about if the mom had low vitamin D during pregnancy. Would that affect the development of the BBB in the fetus?
We know that the integrity of the BBB is compromised in autistic kids, but we have yet to understand this phenomenon very well.
Based on my research so far, it is evident that aluminum is a known destroyer of the BBB, so it becomes a vicious cycle.
Low vitamin D reduces the integrity of the BBB, allowing aluminum to get into the brain tissues more easily, ultimately destroying the BBB…
However, the question remains unknown as to which statement is true.
But I suspect from my clinical experience that vitamin D should be better appreciated as it suggests that low vitamin D is a critical factor in the etiology of autism.
But further studies would be needed to fully comprehend this observation.
In the meantime, make sure you optimize your vitamin D levels.
The best sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, eggs, shrimp, fish, liver, bacon and the sun, of course.