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23 June 2010

Is Scientific American right about autism?

A Scientific American article asks, "What if Vitamin D Deficiency is a Cause of Autism?" (1) How could vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy cause autism, a genetic disease? Indeed, five researchers at Harvard, led by Dr. Dennis Kinney, recently endorsed and modified the vitamin D theory of autism. (2)

Dr. Darryl Eyles, of the University of Queensland, added his name to growing list of scientists who agree that vitamin D deficiency plays an important role in autism. (3) Writing in Acta Paediatrica, arguably the most read pediatric journal in the world, Dr. Eyles praised the vitamin D theory of autism as being "parsimonious," with the animal studies he has conducted over the last decade.

For the last 15 years, geneticists have tried and failed to find a common structural genetic abnormality in autism. What they have found is evidence of genetic damage; the genetic code is not properly regulated in autism, with multiple genes not being expressed, probably due to an environmental injury. As Dr. Kinney reports, vitamin D's mechanism of action is protection of the genome with direct regulation more than 1,000 human genes.

If the gestational and early childhood vitamin D deficiency theory of autism is true, the tragedy is more poignant in that physicians could prevent the disease with adequate daily doses of vitamin D during pregnancy and early childhood. Just as important, vitamin D's mechanism of action implies a treatment effect in autistic children.

This month, Acta Paediatrica, published yet another article on vitamin D and autism. This paper is open access; the pdf is free to download. (4) In the paper, Dr. Cannell reviews the evidence of vitamin D's involvement in autism, including evidence published after his original 2007 paper. (5)

  1. Glaser G. What If Vitamin D Deficiency Is a Cause of Autism? Sci Amer April 24, 2009.
  2. Kinney DK, Barch DH, Chayka B, Napoleon S, Munir KM. Environmental risk factors for autism: do they help cause de novo genetic mutations that contribute to the disorder? Med Hypotheses 2010;74:102–6.
  3. Eyles DW. Vitamin D and Autism, Does skin colour modify risk? Acta Paediatr 2010 Mar 8.
  4. Cannell JJ. On the Aetiology of Autism. Acta Paediatrica. ISSN 0803-5253, May 2010.
  5. Cannell JJ. Autism and Vitamin D. Med Hypotheses 2008;70(4):750–9. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

22 June 2010

Statement regarding recent studies showing no beneficial effect of vitamin D on cancer risk

The recent set of studies by the Cohort Consortium Vitamin D Pooling Project of Rarer Cancers published in the American Journal of Epidemiology online June 18 found virtually no effect of prediagnostic serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels on affecting incidence for seven types of cancer: endometrial, esophageal, gastric, kidney, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer and , non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. These results are puzzling as numerous studies report reduced risk of breast and colorectal cancer with higher serum 25(OH)D levels. Also, numerous ecological studies found lower cancer incidence and mortality rates for all of these cancers. What could explain the finding of no benefit?

One possibility is that a single serum 25(OH)D level measurement does not represent the level over the course of time when it would affect cancer incidence. Several studies find that long-term ultraviolet B (UVB) doses reduce the risk of cancer. A randomized controlled trial of vitamin D and calcium supplementation found a significant benefit of vitamin D between the ends of the first and fourth years of the study.

Another possibility is that serum 25(OH)D levels changed over the course of the studies; the median follow-up times ranged from 1.7 to 10.8 years. Serum 25(OH)D levels have fallen in Australia, the UK, and the US as the result of publicity on the risk of skin cancer and melanoma from sun exposure and the need to protect oneself from the harmful UV rays. On the other hand, vitamin D supplement use has increased greatly recently due to the widespread publicity of the benefits of vitamin D in reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases.

Thus, these studies should be taken with a grain of salt.

Dr. William Grant Vitamin D Council

14 June 2010

A big "Thank You!" to our supporters...

A sincere thanks to all of you who so readily and enthusiastically took action to show us your support. Your donations are what make it possible for us to continue working towards a healthier future for humanity by bringing the truth about vitamin D to the world.

But we still have a long way to go — your continued support will hopefully allow us to take on the exciting projects and campaigns we have planned for some time, but so far have been unable to fund.

3 June 2010

Vitamin D Council's future at risk — please help

Because we are a nonprofit, the support of the public is crucial to the Vitamin D Council's existence...

The number of donations we receive every year from the public is few and, as of this year, has decreased considerably. The truth is, if it were not for our sponsors, the Vitamin D Council would not still be here. The reality of so few donations has had its challenges, none more so than the limitations imposed upon what we are able to set out to accomplish. Now, that reality stands to bring its greatest challenge yet — it could place our very existence at risk.

Incorporated as a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(e) educational corporation in the State of California, the Vitamin D Council is required by the IRS to receive a certain percentage of our funding from many small donations. We are not meeting that requirement and, unless the number of donations received by the Vitamin D Council increases, the IRS could decide to revoke our nonprofit, tax-exempt status. If this were to occur, it is most likely that we would no longer be able to continue our mission.

To all our fans who appreciate the efforts of Dr. Cannell, to those who value the information provided by the Vitamin D Council, and to those who would like to keep us around awhile longer, we ask for your help in the form of a donation.

The vitamin D movement has come far, however, there's still a long way to go. The Vitamin D Council has been a prominent proponent in that movement and would be thankful for the opportunity to continue to bring the truth of the wonders of vitamin D to all of humanity. Our greatest accomplishments have yet to happen, let us see what we can do...

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26 May 2010

Professor needs help with autism study

Professor Gene Stubbs of the University of Oregon needs help with a study about vitamin D and autism. He is testing the theory that a mother with one child with autism will not have another if the mother takes vitamin D during her pregnancy. Women no longer need to come to the University of Oregon but can participate at a distance. Professor Stubbs writes:

"Can anyone assist us in recruiting mothers who already have children with autism and the mother is pregnant again before her third trimester? We are giving the mothers 5000 IU D3/day. So far every mother who has delivered has delivered within 1 week or on the date of expected delivery, and the babies are well within normal birth weights. They have not progressed far enough in age for us to screen for autism, but so far, the babies are interactive, have eye contact, are vocal etc..

However, we need more research families to participate. We have recruited other doctors to help us recruit and we have recruited doctors on the Vitamin D Council sites to help us recruit. We still need more families to participate to make our results significant. The families no longer have to come to our site to participate. If you know of any families who potentially might be eligible for our research, please give them my research assistant's phone number, 503-351-9255."

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.