Thursday, May 07, 2009

Clinic Notes: Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism

The building next door to my clinic is full of tanning beds. Everyday I see a stream of people going in and out year round getting that golden tan under the lights. In the past I have shook my head and pitied them for risking skin cancer just for that back from vacation look. But now I'm not so sure. Some recent research suggest that avoiding the sun causes vitamin D deficiency and may contribute to the development of certain cancers such as prostrate cancer. And a recent study suggests that vitamin D deficiency may be involved in autism. The evidence comes from studies in Minnesota and Sweden involving Somalis immigrants. Their African home was on the equator and they got plenty of sunshine and vitamin D. There was no autism in their native land. In fact, there was no word in their language for autism. But when the Somalis moved the Minnesota and Sweden the incidence of autism in the Somalis soared. The Somalis in Sweden even call it the "Swedish Disease." I wonder now if parent should be dragging their kids to the tanning beds with them. With all the video games and childhood kids don't get outside as much as they used to. Maybe a few minutes in the tanning bed, equipped with video games of course, would cut the rate of autism.


mbarnes said...

Both the American and Canadian Pediatric Society now recommends that all children should be on 400IU per day. Take a look at they are offering free vitamin D for their cutomers children

Kingsley said...

I have read that 1 in 625 Malaysian children are autistic, as compared to 1 in 150 in USA (The Star, 2008).

With Malaysia being a country that sits by the equator, could this be of support to the theory that Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of autism?

PS said...

Neah, Somali kids get vaccinated twice, because many of them were fleeing war-torn areas and had no vaccination records when they moved to the US. All that mercury and aluminium in the vaccines have got to go somewhere, and it usually lodges in the brain. Malaysia's rate of autism is lower because required vaccines are way fewer than in the US.

Vitamin D has its role too, but Sweden and the US are on the same latitude, and autism rates in Sweden is very, very low. Similarly, Malaysia and Africa are on the same latitude, but autism in Africa was unheard of until very recently.