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Low Vitamin D May Explain Higher Incidence of Autism in Boys

The incidence of autism continues to increase from 60 cases per 10,000 people in the 1990s to 2% of children. Low vitamin D levels are a confirmed risk factor for autism during the fetal period and childhood.

Vitamin D binds to more than 2700 genes in your body, explaining the multiple functions of this nutrient in your body.

The incidence of autism is four to five times higher in boys than girls, and vitamin D may explain the gender difference.

*Low vitamin D levels will promote lower serotonin levels in the brain, which may prevent normal brain development. Serotonin helps with prosocial behavior and healthy growth and connection between brain cells.

*Estrogen can activate the enzyme that increases serotonin production in the brain and may compensate for the low vitamin D levels required for normal brain development.

The higher brain estrogen production in females, which will boost serotonin production in the fetal stage and newborn, compared to males, may explain boys' higher incidence of autism. In other words, girls produce higher levels of estrogen in the brain, and estrogen acts similarly to vitamin D in increasing brain serotonin production and promoting normal brain development.

From my experience, vitamin D is a key nutrient for children and adults with autism.

"Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose."

Viktor Frankl


Patrick, R. P., & Ames, B. N. (2014). Vitamin D hormone regulates serotonin synthesis. Part 1: relevance for autism. The FASEB Journal, 28(6), 2398-2413.

Song, L., Luo, X., Jiang, Q., Chen, Z., Zhou, L., Wang, D., & Chen, A. (2020). Vitamin D supplementation is beneficial for children with Autism spectrum disorder: a meta-analysis. Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience, 18(2), 203.

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