FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SOCIETIES FOR EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY February 20, 2014, doi:10.1096/fj.13-246546
Rhonda P. Patrick 1 and Bruce N. Ames
Nutrition and Metabolism Center, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, California, USA
Correspondence: Nutrition and Metabolism Center, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, 5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland, CA 94609, USA. E-mail: R.P.P., rpatrick at chori.org; B.N.A., bames at chori.org
Serotonin and vitamin D have been proposed to play a role in autism; however, no causal mechanism has been established.
Here, we present evidence that vitamin D hormone (calcitriol) activates the transcription of the serotonin-synthesizing gene tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2) in the brain at a vitamin D response element (VDRE) and represses the transcription of TPH1 in tissues outside the blood-brain barrier at a distinct VDRE.
The proposed mechanism explains 4 major characteristics associated with autism:
- the low concentrations of serotonin in the brain and its elevated concentrations in tissues outside the blood-brain barrier;
- the low concentrations of the vitamin D hormone precursor 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D3];
- the high male prevalence of autism; and
- the presence of maternal antibodies against fetal brain tissue.
Two peptide hormones, oxytocin and vasopressin, are also associated with autism and genes encoding the oxytocin-neurophysin I preproprotein, the oxytocin receptor, and the arginine vasopressin receptor contain VDREs for activation.
Supplementation with vitamin D and tryptophan is a practical and affordable solution to help prevent autism and possibly ameliorate some symptoms of the disorder.
- The "Vitamin D Sweet Spot" and Its Relationship To Aging YouTube Video, Aug 2013, 4 minute
- Reddit Journal of Science forum discussing her publication Feb 2014
- Free Podcasts on fitness, vitamin D, hacking your genes, etc.
- Autism, Vitamin D, and serotonin - Patrick interview by Mercola Feb 2016
- Search VitaminDWiki for SEROTONIN 155 items as of Feb 2016
- Search VitaminDWiki for tryptophan 105 items as of Aug 2017
- Serotonin related to season, light and perhaps latitude and vitamin D
- Overview Autism and vitamin D
- Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies – Ames Triage Theory Sept 2012 co-author of the study on this page
- Vitamin D, Omega-3 supplementation helps cognition – perhaps due to serotonin – Feb 2015 Part II, same authors
- Vitamin D Beyond the Bone webinar - Sept 2015 has the following chart (from the study on this page)