Latest News » Study shows link between vitamin D, brain health and diets for autistic children

Vitamin D may affect certain symptoms of autism.

Though there is no cure for autism, growing public awareness of this complex condition has spurred a surge of new research that may be promising for children and families affected. In the last year alone, scientists have shed light on different therapeutic approaches as well as a potential difference in girls and boys with autism. In addition, the importance of diets for children with autism is also becoming increasingly evident. Recently, researchers from the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California revealed a potential connection between vitamin D and behavioral issues associated with autism.

According to a study abstract published by the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the scientists discovered that vitamin D levels may influence the amount of serotonin released in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can influence learning ability, sleep patterns, mood and other aspects of brain health and overall wellness. The nutritional supplement news resource NutraIngredients USA notes that low levels of vitamin D and serotonin have both been linked to prevalence and severity of autism, but no study has established a direct connection between these issues before now.

Vitamin D supports bone strength, memory retention and other important cognitive and physical functions. Though it cannot be found in many foods, it can be derived from natural sunlight – which, unfortunately, can be fleeting in March. For this reason, vitamin D supplements may prove beneficial in boosting levels of this compound.

"Supplementation with vitamin D and [the amino acid] tryptophan is a practical and affordable solution to help prevent autism and possibly ameliorate some symptoms of the disorder," the scientists concluded in their abstract.

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