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A lack of vitamin D during pregnancy likely cause of autism, a study has found.

Queensland researchers analysed the blood of pregnant women and their offspring found those with vitamin D deficiencies scored “significantly higher” on the autism scale than those whose vitamin D levels were regular, reports Herald Sun.

The Queensland Brain Institute study found that pregnant women with low vitamin D levels at 20 weeks’ gestation were more likely to have a child with autistic traits by the age of six.

QBI researcher and study leader Professor John McGrath said upping vitamin D levels could reduce the incidence of autism.

“Just as taking folate in pregnancy has reduced the incidence of spina bifida, the result of this study suggests that prenatal vitamin D supplements may reduce the incidence of autism,” he said.

It’s widely known that vitamin D is vital for maintaining healthy bones; there is now a solid body of evidence that links it to brain growth.

Vitamin D usually comes from exposure to the sun, but it can also be found in some foods and supplements.

“We would not recommend more sun exposure, because of the increased risk of skin cancer in countries like Australia,” Prof McGrath said.

“Instead, it’s feasible that a safe, inexpensive, and publicly accessible vitamin D supplement in at-risk groups may reduce the prevalence of this risk factor.”

Professor Andrew Whitehouse from the Telethon Kids Institute said the study offered interesting possibilities, but needed to be put into perspective.

“Autism is linked to dozens if not hundreds of different mechanisms which lead to this condition,” he said.

“This study gives us an inkling of one of these possible mechanisms but I think before we think about anything else, and that includes treatment studies, we need to see this finding replicated.

“We know that genetic factors play a major role in the developmental pathways that may lead to autism.”

Share your comments below.

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  • Thank you for sharing this intriguing article.

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  • Thank god they’re finding links other then vaccinations. Hopefully it is right and something we can work on

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  • It will be interesting to see if this is true. If so then it is another condition that we may be able to control.

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  • This is interesting research and far more feasible and acceptable than the ill-informed anti-vaxxers who insist autism is from vaccinations (NOT!). I was very sick for the entire 9 months of my pregnancy, so imagine that yes I may have been Vitamin D deficient. My son has autism/aspergers, and I know that he had this before his first vaccination. He was born this it. So this is a far more feasible reason to me.

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  • There is always something we are deficient in….,

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  • I sure think vitamin D is essential for many things and that daily exposure to the sun is a great way to increase our vitamin D level.
    As the article says I totally believe as well that Autism is linked to dozens if not hundreds of different mechanisms which lead to this condition.

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  • In USA some children are diagnosed by the age of 2 y.o. and start therapy by then if there is speech problems. I know somebody who was a nanny to one a few years ago. They recently visited the family for a special occasion. 8 years later he says abbreviated sentences, enough that you know what he is trying to say. He just misses out the words that basically aren’t needed but he doesn’t know that. e.g. he might try to say “I need to go to the toilet” he may say “need toilet” or ” I go toilet” In some things he is a very smart boy.

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  • This is interesting to know

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  • Vitamin D is so widespread. It should become common routine when a GP prescribes you a blood test.

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  • Thanks for the important information.

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  • I was living in Qld at the time, and certainly got plenty of vitamin D, plus i was taking a fully qualified pregnancy vitamin supplement – so my intake of vitamin D exceeded the daily intake, but it made no difference.

    I would say it is all the chemicals in our foods, and what we are exposed to everyday that has impacted on these changes

    or is it, that these special children are really here to teach us all to step our of our comfort zones and look at life from a different perspective, albeit rather challenging for many of us!

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  • Its amazing what they can find on medical things.

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  • A good walk through a park early in the morning or later in the evening every day would give you a good dose of Vitamin D without getting sunburnt and the fresh air and exercise wouldn’t go astray either.

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  • My son has HF Autism I took prenatal vitamins and had regular tests my vit D levels were fine however my vit D levels were very low during my pregnancy with my 9 year old and yet she doesn’t have Autism. At this point it seems like absolutely everything causes Autism.

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  • Gosh, I am the Mum of an autistic son, and the guilt attached to such a finding is incredibly overwhelming. I really wish this kind of post was only put to print if the outcomes were ratified. Not sure that is so here with the loose wording. STOP PROMOTING SENSATIONALISM.

    Reply

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