There are many theories being discussed on the cause of the increase in autism rates in the US. One such theory is the increase in vitamin D deficiency among children.
The vitamin D theory has been proposed by Dr. John Cannell, director of the Vitamin D Council. According to Dr. Cannell the increase of autism rates corresponds with the the dangerously low amounts of vitamin D many children have today. A combination of poor diet and lack of time in the sunshine have caused a dangerous decline in vitamin D levels in the United States.
Dr. Cannell studied rats to find a connection between vitamin D deficiency and brain development. Low levels of vitamin D can lower levels of calcitriol in the brain, which is needed for development. According to Dr. Cannell:
“severe vitamin D deficiency during gestation dysregulates dozens of proteins involved in brain development and leads to rat pups with increased brain size and enlarged ventricles, abnormalities similar to those found in autistic children.”
Though no theory has been proven conclusive on the development of autism, low levels of vitamin D can cause other health issues. Bone and heart diseases are more common in those with a vitamin D deficiency. According to recent studies nearly 9 percent of children have vitamin D deficiencies, while another 61 percent have low to insufficient levels. – Summer, staff writer
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