Vitamin D Newsletter

Newsletter

Dark-skinned immigrants, deficiency, and autism

Elliott from the UK writes:

I have a particular interest in ethnic minorities, especially Somali women whom I have treated several for vitamin D deficiency.

Dr. Cannell: It was interesting to read your recent newsletter regarding poor vitamin D status of Somali women and risk of autism and I was glad to see that scientists are confirming your autism theory. I am a registered dietitian from the UK and have a very strong interest in Vitamin D research.

I have a particular interest in ethnic minorities, especially Somali women whom I have treated several for vitamin D deficiency. Two of the Somali ladies I have treated are sisters, and both have multiple lists of health complaints from rare autoimmune skin conditions to the obvious aching bones and muscle weakness.

One of the sisters has an autistic son who is 3 years of age now. I am sure this is of no surprise to you the fact that she has an autistic child but her first vitamin D test came back at a staggering 0.5 ng/mL! Which I believe would be an accurate reading as it was carried out via the NHS and all local tests are sent to labs which are DiaSorin compatible.

I have not heard of vitamin D levels that low but I would be interested to hear if you have heard of similar experiences.

I really appreciate the valuable work you undertake in order to get the message out there about such an important autism issue.

Dr. Cannell replies:

Always trust low 25(OH)D levels and always repeat high 25(OH)D levels. Such low levels are not uncommon and indicate the person is at risk for sudden death from hypocalcemic seizures, should their calcium intake falter.

As regards the three-year-old Somali child with autism, remember that vitamin D, at 2,000–5,000 IU/day for every 25 pounds of body weight, may have a treatment effect in autism. The sooner it is started, the better.

In Minnesota, the Somali immigrants call autism the Minnesota disease, in Sweden the Somali immigrants call autism the Swedish Disease, but in Somalia, autism has no name.

Page last edited: 05 November 2010