Five Harvard researchers recently published a theory in the journal Medical Hypotheses, which has not yet been tested but may be of interest to many patients worried about the controversial autism “epidemic.”
No one knows for sure what causes autism or what accounts for its increase in recent years, but here’s a brief rundown of these researchers’ thoughts:
Autism is associated with “de novo” mutations in the child’s genes. “De novo” means these mutations are not inherited from the parents’ original genetic codes, but occurred in their reproductive cells during the parents’ lifetime.
It is thought that environmental toxins such as mercury, cadmium, nickel, trichloroethylene and vinyl chloride may trigger these mutations. This is supported by the fact that children from areas with high concentrations of these toxins have higher rates of autism.
The Vitamin D connection is that Vitamin D plays a key role in repairing and protecting DNA from mutation, caused by these environmental toxins.
Support for this connection was found in a population of Somali immigrants who experienced a high rate of autism in children born to parents who had moved to northern latitude cities in Minnesota and Sweden. Autism had been unheard of in these families when they still lived in Africa.
In other words, if you are planning to have a baby at any point in the future, whether you are a man or a woman—you may be able to begin protecting it from autism now by ensuring that you have adequate Vitamin D levels.
Also, this is the reason that I measure heavy metal levels in my patients before they get pregnant. I then help the woman detoxify the metals before she conceives.