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Autism risk factors – many are associated with low vitamin D – meta-meta-analysis March 2017

Environmental risk factors for autism: an evidence-based review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Mol Autism. 2017 Mar 17;8:13. doi: 10.1186/s13229-017-0121-4. eCollection 2017.
Modabbernia A1, Velthorst E2, Reichenberg A3.

VitaminDWiki Summary

Mamy of the autism risk factors in the study are also associated with low vitamin D

Health ProblemAssociation to Vitamin D
maternal bacterialless D ==> more infection
maternal autoimmune disease
autoimmune thyroid disease, diabetes, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis
maternal diabetes less D ==>more gestational diabetes
birth spacing <12 months short birth spacing ==> less vitamin D
C-section less D ==> more c-section
Birth weight <2500 g Less D ==> more preterm birth and LBW
Hyperbilirubinemia Vitamin D and Omega-3
Apgar at 1 min ? ?<6 OK
Maternal Overweight More weight ==>less D
Air pollution More pollution ==> not outdoors as much
antiepileptic drug Search VitaminDWiki 163 items as of April 2017
maternal selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Drugs that may harm bone (vitamin D needed) -April 2016
Pesticide exposure during pregnancy More pesticide ==> lower D
Assisted reproductive technologiesLow D ==> increased use of ART
Recent immigrant Dark skin and/or excessive clothes ==> low vitamin D

See also VitaminDWiki

Autism treated by Vitamin D: Dr. Cannell - video June 2013 includes many reasons why he believes Autism is related to Vitamin D

  1. Both have strong inheritance features – Vitamin D about 60%
  2. Both have gotten substantially worse in last 30 years
  3. Vitamin D is known to be involved in brain development
  4. All autistic children are VitD deficient, but not all children who are deficient are autistic: genes are involved
  5. When giving vitamin D to cure children of rickets “mental dullness” decreases as well
  6. Children with genes which give them too much (Williams Syndrome) have to reverse of autism – too sociable
  7. Mothers having lots of fish (and thus more vitamin D) give birth to kids with less autistic symptoms
  8. Both associated with weak bones
  9. Both worse around the age of weaning
  10. Autism is more common in rich families – more likely to apply sun screen and stay indoors
  11. Autism increases with drugs which lower levels of vitamin D
  12. Seizures are common with Autism - Vitamin D has been shown to reduce seizures
  13. Fewer autistic symptoms (such as sleep problems) during summer: when child gets more vitamin D from the sun
  14. Both worse with latitude
  15. Both vary with Ultraviolet light
  16. Both vary with time of year (more birth of autistics in March in Northern hemisphere)
  17. 2X more urban autism – less UVB in urban environments
  18. Both worse with pollution
  19. Both worse with increased clouds and rain
  20. Both worse with closely spaced pregnancies
  21. Autistics have abnormal immune response – similar to that of vitamin D deficiency
  22. Low levels of vitamin D in mother animals reduces brain function in offspring
  23. Vitamin deficient rat pups have similar brain abnormalities to that of human autistic children
  24. Autistic children get less vitamin D in their blood for the same amount of sun exposure
  25. The 4 males/1 female ratio - Note estrogen increases vitamin D in the brain (testosterone does not)
  26. Both worse in African Americans (A-A 2-3 increased autism rate)
  27. Both worse in Dark-skinned immigrants in Europe

 Download the PDF from VitaminDWiki

According to recent evidence, up to 40-50% of variance in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) liability might be determined by environmental factors. In the present paper, we conducted a review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of environmental risk factors for ASD. We assessed each review for quality of evidence and provided a brief overview of putative mechanisms of environmental risk factors for ASD.

Current evidence suggests that several environmental factors including vaccination,
maternal smoking, thimerosal exposure, and most likely assisted reproductive technologies
are unrelated to risk of ASD. On the contrary, advanced parental age is associated with higher risk of ASD. Birth complications that are associated with trauma or ischemia and hypoxia have also shown strong links to ASD, whereas other pregnancy-related factors such as maternal obesity, maternal diabetes, and caesarian section have shown a less strong (but significant) association with risk of ASD. The reviews on nutritional elements have been inconclusive about the detrimental effects of deficiency in folic acid and omega 3, but vitamin D seems to be deficient in patients with ASD. The studies on toxic elements have been largely limited by their design, but there is enough evidence for the association between some heavy metals (most important inorganic mercury and lead) and ASD that warrants further investigation. Mechanisms of the association between environmental factors and ASD are debated but might include non-causative association (including confounding), gene-related effect, oxidative stress, inflammation, hypoxia/ischemia, endocrine disruption, neurotransmitter alterations, and interference with signaling pathways.

Compared to genetic studies of ASD, studies of environmental risk factors are in their infancy and have significant methodological limitations. Future studies of ASD risk factors would benefit from a developmental psychopathology approach, prospective design, precise exposure measurement, reliable timing of exposure in relation to critical developmental periods and should take into account the dynamic interplay between gene and environment by using genetically informed designs.

PMID: 28331572 PMCID: PMC5356236 DOI: 10.1186/s13229-017-0121-4

Attached files

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