Vitamin D Deficiency Could be a Cause of Autism
October 13th, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
A new Danish study published in the journal Pediatrics has identified a link between neonatal jaundice and autism. Babies born with jaundice have a significantly increased risk of developing both general psychological problems and autism, and researchers believe a vitamin D deficiency is to blame.
Formed from data on over 733,000 Danish children born between 1994 and 2004, the study revealed that jaundiced newborns are 87 percent more likely to develop a psychological disorder than newborns without jaundice. Jaundiced babies are also 56 percent more likely to develop autism than their otherwise healthy counterparts.
Part of the reason why experts believe vitamin D deficiency might relate to autism is the fact that babies born between October and March were about twice as likely to develop autism than children born during other parts of the year. The months between October and March are during the wintertime in Denmark, when sunlight exposure is at a minimum. And besides producing vitamin D in the body, sunlight exposure also breaks down bilirubin, a substance implicated in causing jaundice.
Bilirubin is a natural metabolite that the liver normally processes and eliminates, but newborns are incapable of breaking it down, which leads to jaundice. And excess amount of bilirubin are known to cause serious brain injury when left untreated, lending credence to the hypothesis that the chemical may be somehow involved in causing autism.
According to Dr. John Cannell, vitamin D expert and director of the Vitamin D Council, prenatal vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to autism. Vitamin D not only naturally eliminates bilirubin, but it cures neonatal jaundice as well.
Dr. Cannell suggests that women take 5,000 IU of vitamin D a day during pregnancy. He also suggests that babies born with jaundice be exposed to natural sunlight as an effective treatment, and in order to avoid brain injuries.