Vitamin D Newsletter


Vitamin D, Somali emigrants and autism

Dr. Awolla Fur from Italy writes:

Autistic children need between 2,000 and 5,000 IU per every 25 pounds of body weight of vitamin D3, per day.

Dr. Cannell: I am mother of 7 year-old boy with autism, I am medical doctor, we live in Rome Italy, I have read most of your papers, and I was happy to read your theory regarding autism and low vitamin D. I am originally from Somalia, and as you know already the research done in Minneapolis and Sweden documented high incidence in Somali emigrants, probably due to low level of Vitamin D.

The Somali people usually are not fish consumers, even though the most important thing to add is about Somali women/mothers, most of these women cover themselves in Muslim tradition more in Europe than in Somalia, and some of them even use lightening creams that makes there skin more light and most of women that use these creams avoid the sun, because it can cause skin discoloration.

Actually, I have been treating my autistic son with Vitamin D for 11 months, local product that contains 5 mcg per 1 drop of Calcifediolo. He takes 10 drops a day and I see his language more fluent, and he is really happier and more social. Do you think this dose is enough? My son is suspected to have mitochondrial disorder, his muscle enzymes are alliterated, so he is seeing mitochondrial expert to decide soon if we should do muscle biopsy? Do you think there could be any correlation about mitochondrial issue and Vitamin D?

Dr Cannell replies: 

Calcifediolo is 25(OH)D, not vitamin D3, and is no longer available for prescription in the USA. The dose of 25(OH)D is considerably less than the dose of vitamin D3. Your son appears to be on 50 mcg (2,000 IU) of 25(OH)D, which is too much, reduce the dose by half and obtain frequent 25(OH)D levels and then titrate the dose up until his 25(OH)D is between 100 and 150 ng/mL (250–375 nmol/L). So-called "mitochondrial disorders" are common in autism; I suspect—but do not know—that they will improve with chronic vitamin D treatment. I doubt a muscle biopsy will add any useful information to his treatment.

Dr. Awolla Fur from Italy writes: 

Dr. Cannell: I am the Somali medical doctor from Italy. My son was responding well with Calcifediolo treatment, no Candida, no regression, just doing fine, I got your email and got him a 25(OH)D test. The result was more than 150ng/ml (in our laboratory normal value is 8.6–54.8ng/ml). We stopped the Calcifediolo and repeated the testing 6 weeks later and his 25(OH)D was 80ng/ml and other vitamin D was 101.

After stopping the Calcifediolo he started to regress, he was not at all improving, he started to have hyperactivity, and started to have new symptom, which is chewing his shirt, so we decided recently to introduce 4,000 IU of Ddrops D3 Carlson ( 2 drops a day), for 20 days, and we have seen really good improvement.

He is more connected, talking much more, and responding more quickly the questions that are asked. At the moment he is taking only 1 drop a day with only 2.0000 IU Carlson, I will appreciate if you can give me any support how we proceed from now, and what doses we can use? And for how long? Thank you again. God bless you.

Dr Cannell replies: 

Once you find a vitamin D3 dose that stabilizes his 25(OH)D between 100 and 150 ng/mL, keep that dose indefinitely with frequent checks of his 25(OH)D levels. 

I am glad he is now on Ddrops, which is vitamin D3. As he has already demonstrated a treatment response, I suspect his autism will steadily improve on vitamin D. Autistic children need between 2,000 and 5,000 IU per every 25 pounds of body weight of vitamin D3, per day. I suspect the other vitamin D you wrote about was 1,25(OH)2D. Only obtain a 25(OH)D blood test as a 1,25(OH)2D will add nothing to his treatment.

Once you find a vitamin D3 dose that stabilizes his 25(OH)D between 100 and 150 ng/mL, keep that dose indefinitely with frequent checks of his 25(OH)D levels. In spite of his dark skin, his 25(OH)D levels may increase some in the summer if he is outside, so the apparent 25(OH)D response to vitamin D3 may appear to be more robust in the spring/summer than the fall/winter. I suspect, but do not know, that after several years of levels between 100–150 ng/mL (250–375 nmol/L), you can begin to slowly lower the dose without an exacerbation of symptoms. Avoid rapid changes in dose, once he is in the range of 100–150 ng/mL (250–375 nmol/L).

Gail from Ottawa writes:

I work with the Somali immigrant community in Ottawa. If you see how healthy these immigrants are when they come here and how terrible their health is after a few years it is hard to see how it could be anything but vitamin D. Why do the health officials in Canada do nothing?

Dr Cannell replies: 

What is going on in Ottawa is a crime against people of color, just as what is going on against African Americans in the USA is a crime. It is not just autism, but schizophrenia, depression, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and hypertension, are all diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency and also associated with dark skin in temperate latitudes. African Americans die almost eight years younger than Whites do, due to the diseases of vitamin D deficiency. I hoped the Obama administration might do something, but so far they have not. Perhaps we should file our civil rights complaint again, like the one we filed in 2005, which then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales summarily dismissed.

Page last edited: 05 November 2010