Dietary Supplements for Autism

Dietary Supplements for Autism
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Vitamin C, vitamin D, and omega-3 fish oil supplements put to the test to improve the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Dietary supplements are commonly given to children with autism. Do they do any good? One of the most common is omega-3 fats in the form of fish oil, based on studies like this that show “a marked reduction” in omega-3 blood levels among autistic children. But maybe that’s reverse causation—instead of the low omega-3s leading to autism, maybe the autism led to low omega-3s. Maybe autistic children are just pickier eaters and not eating as much fish or flax seeds. You don’t know until…you put it to the test.

Six months of 200 mg a day of DHA, one of the long-chain omega-3s, and… no effect. So here, all these kids are taking it, despite the lack of evidence that it actually does any good. Maybe they just didn’t give enough? Okay, how about a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 1,500 mg of long-chain omega-3s. And, a high dose didn’t work either. Put all the studies together, and omega-3 supplementation simply “does not [appear to] affect autism.”

Here is a preliminary trial that was published of vitamin C supplements for autism that suggested benefit in at least some kids, but “should not be interpreted as a blanket recommendation for [vitamin C] supplementation”—especially at the whopping dose they used, which could increase the risk of kidney stones.

Bottom line, read a 2017 review in the journal of the Academy of Pediatrics: “There is little evidence to support the use of nutritional supplements” for children with autism, though they didn’t review the vitamin D data.

The vitamin D story started out, like the omega-3 story, with clear evidence that vitamin D blood levels were “significantly” lower in children with autism compared to other kids, and lower D levels correlated with greater autism severity. But vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. Rather than vitamin D playing some role in autism, isn’t it more likely that autistic kids just aren’t out sunbathing as much?

There were some promising case reports, though. For example, this two-year-old with autism, deficient in D, whose autism seemed to improve after vitamin D supplementation. But, you don’t know if it’s a fluke until…you put it to the test.

A study on the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in 83 autistic children, and… 80% got better, in terms of their “behavior,…eye contact,…attention span,” concluding: “Vitamin D is inexpensive, readily available,…safe,” and “may have beneficial effects.”  But, this was an open-label trial, meaning no placebo control group. So, we don’t know how much of the improvement was just the placebo effect. Now sometimes, open-label experiments are unavoidable. Like, if you’re studying the effects of physical therapy or something, it’s hard to come up with like a placebo massage. But, you can stick vitamin D in a pill. Why not then do a proper randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial?

The typical excuse you get is that it wouldn’t be ethical. If you have a kid who was vitamin D-deficient, how could you just stand by and give them a sugar pill? Yeah, but if vitamin D actually works, how many kids are you condemning to continue to suffer unnecessarily by publishing a less-than-ideal study design?

There are a bunch of “various tenable mechanisms” by which vitamin D could potentially help in children with autism: improvement in “DNA repair, anti-inflammatory actions,…mitochondrial protection,” etc. That’s why “randomized controlled trials are urgently needed.” But there haven’t been any such studies…until now.

A “[r]andomized, controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in children with autism,” and it’s about time. They gave kids up to 5,000 international units a day, depending on their weight, versus a placebo. The drugs we have for autism really just help with some of the “associated symptoms.” Like, we can give kids sleeping pills or something, but there’s no drug that really touches “the core symptoms” of autism. 

So, research groups around the world are looking for something better, and this group appeared to find it. “[V]itamin D supplementation revealed significant effects on the core manifestations of [autism spectrum disorder],” “significant improvements in [not only] irritability [and] hyperactivity [but] social withdrawal,” and repetitive behaviors, “and inappropriate speech”—the first double-blinded, randomized, controlled trial proving the efficacy of vitamin D in autism…patients.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: CC0 Public Domain via pxhere. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Dietary supplements are commonly given to children with autism. Do they do any good? One of the most common is omega-3 fats in the form of fish oil, based on studies like this that show “a marked reduction” in omega-3 blood levels among autistic children. But maybe that’s reverse causation—instead of the low omega-3s leading to autism, maybe the autism led to low omega-3s. Maybe autistic children are just pickier eaters and not eating as much fish or flax seeds. You don’t know until…you put it to the test.

Six months of 200 mg a day of DHA, one of the long-chain omega-3s, and… no effect. So here, all these kids are taking it, despite the lack of evidence that it actually does any good. Maybe they just didn’t give enough? Okay, how about a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 1,500 mg of long-chain omega-3s. And, a high dose didn’t work either. Put all the studies together, and omega-3 supplementation simply “does not [appear to] affect autism.”

Here is a preliminary trial that was published of vitamin C supplements for autism that suggested benefit in at least some kids, but “should not be interpreted as a blanket recommendation for [vitamin C] supplementation”—especially at the whopping dose they used, which could increase the risk of kidney stones.

Bottom line, read a 2017 review in the journal of the Academy of Pediatrics: “There is little evidence to support the use of nutritional supplements” for children with autism, though they didn’t review the vitamin D data.

The vitamin D story started out, like the omega-3 story, with clear evidence that vitamin D blood levels were “significantly” lower in children with autism compared to other kids, and lower D levels correlated with greater autism severity. But vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. Rather than vitamin D playing some role in autism, isn’t it more likely that autistic kids just aren’t out sunbathing as much?

There were some promising case reports, though. For example, this two-year-old with autism, deficient in D, whose autism seemed to improve after vitamin D supplementation. But, you don’t know if it’s a fluke until…you put it to the test.

A study on the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in 83 autistic children, and… 80% got better, in terms of their “behavior,…eye contact,…attention span,” concluding: “Vitamin D is inexpensive, readily available,…safe,” and “may have beneficial effects.”  But, this was an open-label trial, meaning no placebo control group. So, we don’t know how much of the improvement was just the placebo effect. Now sometimes, open-label experiments are unavoidable. Like, if you’re studying the effects of physical therapy or something, it’s hard to come up with like a placebo massage. But, you can stick vitamin D in a pill. Why not then do a proper randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial?

The typical excuse you get is that it wouldn’t be ethical. If you have a kid who was vitamin D-deficient, how could you just stand by and give them a sugar pill? Yeah, but if vitamin D actually works, how many kids are you condemning to continue to suffer unnecessarily by publishing a less-than-ideal study design?

There are a bunch of “various tenable mechanisms” by which vitamin D could potentially help in children with autism: improvement in “DNA repair, anti-inflammatory actions,…mitochondrial protection,” etc. That’s why “randomized controlled trials are urgently needed.” But there haven’t been any such studies…until now.

A “[r]andomized, controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in children with autism,” and it’s about time. They gave kids up to 5,000 international units a day, depending on their weight, versus a placebo. The drugs we have for autism really just help with some of the “associated symptoms.” Like, we can give kids sleeping pills or something, but there’s no drug that really touches “the core symptoms” of autism. 

So, research groups around the world are looking for something better, and this group appeared to find it. “[V]itamin D supplementation revealed significant effects on the core manifestations of [autism spectrum disorder],” “significant improvements in [not only] irritability [and] hyperactivity [but] social withdrawal,” and repetitive behaviors, “and inappropriate speech”—the first double-blinded, randomized, controlled trial proving the efficacy of vitamin D in autism…patients.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: CC0 Public Domain via pxhere. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

This is the latest of an extended series on natural treatments for autism (for those who want to be treated). Please check out the others if you’re interested:

The disappointing results with fish oil mirror what we now know about their use for heart disease. See, for example, Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil? and Omega-3s & the Eskimo Fish Tale.

What’s that about vitamin C and kidney stones? See Do Vitamin C Supplements Prevent Colds but Cause Kidney Stones?

For more on what vitamin D can and can’t do, check out:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

87 responses to “Dietary Supplements for Autism

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      1. I look forward to experiments with autistic people, where they are guided by competent professionals to adobt a whole food plant based diet. Maybe there are some autistic individuals who has some cronic inflammations in the brain. Or maybe the improvement in the gut flora (maybe with the aid of probiotics or fecal transplantation) can improve their condition. At least the experiments will only have positive side effects by preventing cronical diseases. I know, it can’t be done as a random double-blinded test for placebo effect, but it will be a highly unethical excuse for not doing the experiment.

        1. Ole Elvind Hansen:

          I never heard of a plant that contained Vitamin D. Milk, eggs, fish and 100% grass fed beef & lamb liver
          I think have moderate amounts of Vitamin D. Otherwise, one needs sufficient cholesterol to
          manufacture Vitamin D from the sun.

          Then there are pills. (I suspect cod liver oil has too much Vitamin A).

          1. With the help of the sun Vitamin D3 is produced both in skin of mammals and by algae especially microalga. Fish do not proud e D3 , however they do co centrate it by eating algae.Reindeer lichen is a reliable Vegan source of Vitamin D3.

          2. Vitamin D has been found in plants (other than microalgae and fungi). However, it would probably be unwise to rely on plants to meet one’s vitamin D needs:

            ‘The Solanaceae family includes important vegetables such as potato, tomato and pepper all of which have been found to contain vitamin D3. Our current knowledge is limited to the content in leaves, but future investigation will elucidate if also the edible portions contain vitamin D3. It would be valuable to screen a variety of crops and vegetables for vitamin D, but to carry out a larger screening development of less time-consuming and preferably more sensitive analytical methods are needed.’
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3651966/

            Dr Greger recommends vitamin D supplementation in specific circumstances
            https://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/

    1. Hooray for a very, very impressive p-value.

      An autistic young man is going to be starting working here soon.

      Going to his birthday this weekend and he is old enough to get a job.

      I am going to end up having Vitamin D near the water cooler.

    1. Don

      Depends how much sun he gets. If he does not have a specific medical problem,
      and if he lives south of Atlanta GA, he should not need any Vitamin D supplements.

      1. This is not true, there are documented mutations int Vit D metabolism genes that make people much less efficient at maintaining adequate d levels, even with “adequate” sun exposure. Plus there are many epigenetic factors that interfere: age, BMI, bathing habits, etc. The only way to know is to have your Vit D levels checked, ideally in summer and winter and see if you are at optimal levels. (50-60 ng/ml or 100 nmol/L….depends on what units the lab is using to report your value). IFyou are low, then you need to up your VIt D, preferably with some added Vit K2. Obese folks may need 15,000 IU per day to get to optimal levels. It is safe, inexpensive and can make a big difference in ones health. Free paper online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28458767
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5402701/

          1. Sorry, I should clarify myself. I am not talking about “rare variants of large effect”. These are the mutations that cause recognized Mendelian diseases that are autosomal recessive and devastating. I am talking about mutations that average people, you and me, have. They are called “common variants of small effect”. These common mutations in the genes that code for proteins involved in absorption, transport, binding and degradation of VIt D can influence how efficient a person is at maintaining VIt D levels. People vary in their metabolic ability to perform all sorts of necessary body functions but are still normal, functioning folk. But these metabolic, genetic variations of small effect over time contribute in part to chronic degenerative diseases. Plus their are the epigenetic/lifestyle factors: DNA methylation, lean vs fat tissue distribution, latitude, how often one bathes, time of year.

            so there is on one size fits all approach to Vit D dosing. I wish there was! Vit D testing is expensive, and at least in my managed care plan, not paid for. So I pay out of pocket to check my levels once yearly in the winter, its that important to me. The gold standard is to monitor your Vit D level as you are steadily taking a set dose and if you have reached optimal range, then you found your dose (for that time of year anyway). If you are low, then you need to increase your dose. I think if the entire population could have their Vit D levels optimized you would see a increased quality of life and health. OK, off my soapbox, we will return to the normal programming. ; )
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29030989
            Genetic and epigenetic factors influencing vitamin D status.”Moreover, it has been shown that genetic variants (e.g., mutation) and alteration (e.g., deletion, amplification, inversion) in genes involved in the metabolism, catabolism, transport, or binding of vitamin D to it receptor, might affect vitamin D level.”

    2. Hi Thanks for your question in this blog below Dr Greger go into detail about vitamin D recommendation. I hope this is useful to you all.

      Vitamin D (daily recommendations for those in the Northern Hemisphere; D3 from animal or plant sources may be preferable to the D2 sourced from fungi)

      Below approximately 30°latitude (south of Los Angeles/Dallas/Atlanta/Cairo)
      15-30 minutes of midday sun (15 for those with lighter skin; 30 for those with darker skin)
      or 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
      Between 30° latitude (sample cities above) & 40°latitude (Portland/Chicago/Boston/Rome/Beijing)
      From February through November
      15-30 minutes of midday sun (15 for those with lighter skin; 30 for those with darker skin)
      or 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
      From December through January
      2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
      Between 40° latitude (sample cities above) & 50°latitude (Edmonton/London/Berlin/Moscow)
      From March through October
      15-30 minutes of midday sun (15 for those with lighter skin; 30 for those with darker skin)
      or 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
      From November through February
      2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
      Above approximately 50°latitude (north of Edmonton/London/Berlin/Moscow)
      From April through September (or even briefer above 60°latitude (Anchorage/Stockholm))
      15-30 minutes of midday sun (15 for those with lighter skin; 30 for those with darker skin)
      or 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
      From October through March (or even longer above 60°latitude (Anchorage/Stockholm))
      2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D

      Optimum Nutrition Recommendations

    3. Also what I have personally seen is that some people may get a fair amount of sunshine but their body may not produce adequate vitamin d despite getting sunshine.

  1. Great, but WHY are autistic children deficient in Vitamin D? I know Folate is necessary to absorb Vitamin D.
    Perhaps there is an inborn error in Folate metabolism in autistic people???

    At least previously, my own guess has been that a lack of the 24 hour hugging that hunter gatherer children
    receive for the first two years of life was at least partly responsible.

    1. I really hate the hugging comment by Sydney. I have a 54 year old autistic son who was held and hugged as much as my other children. Probably more as he was our first child. We did and still do adore him! But the comment is very hurtful because at the time he was diagnosed, little was known about autism and we were told that bad parenting was the cause. Our response was that if that were true, he did not have autism. He is actually a textbook example of severe autism, and is non verbal. Also why is nothing being studied about adults on the spectrum? These kids do grow up!

      1. YES! Also, I suspect there’s probably many different causes as there are manifestations of autism. In that sense, like chronic fatigue syndrome, a basket classification because it makes it easier to not think deeply about when the underlying mechanisms are not known of a variety of similar appearing but really quite different human manifestations.

      2. Rabeth Meikle:

        I am sorry I hurt you.

        None the less, hunter gatherers (and all other primates) hold their babies at least 90% if the time.
        Some anthropologists have speculated that “there might be some psychological benefit
        to being held so much as an infant”.

        1. Sydney my personal opinion is that the proximity to trees and forest may be a component in how and why infants of primates are carried. There are reasons to keep infants in very close proximity hugged when in trees.. The infants themselves have vastly different capeabilities to hang on and such.

          The carry over to human the infant is carried but it is in a different fashion. To my observation it is commonly on the hip as they child ages not in a hug.
          Most primitive like societies I do not see the children hugged. Typically they involve the use of some contrivance to carry the baby.
          I would suggest nothing supports a infant being hugged continually(I mean how could they do that when hunting and gathering we are just not that strong to hug with one arm) but perhaps it is just that I am not familiar with the study or literature. I would say just peripherally putting the infant down on the ground would be much easier if one had not a contrivance. Why would they not do that pulling up a potato or some such?.
          Please provide it so I may look at it.
          Thanks.

          1. I would thinking about it….. say a babies relatively immobility would be a distinct advantage over a primate infant absolutely favoring just putting the infant down when performing a task rather than having it on you as primates do.

            Just seems you could get so much more done and the infants loud cry would suggest they also evolutionally set up for that. We can hear them cry for quite some distance so if hurt or in distress we could forage a relatively large space and still hear the baby. A primate I don’t think is quite set up as we are. And the trees and all visable space it would seem safer for baby to be right on/with primate mother.
            And as mentioned we are simply not so strong we could do all we do with one arm like a primate can.

            1. I would say absolutely to my opinion a babies loud crying is a contraindication to the notion of a baby always being hugged by a mother evolutionarily considered.
              I mean why so loud if a whimper would do as when a baby is carried or when being slept with?

              Silence or slight sound would be less a indicator for predation, all things considered, abstract a remote location device of distance. It would tend to draw a predator in and then be disinclined evolutionarily unless it served a greater purpose…to enable distant(relatively) foraging.
              Perhaps a hundred feet remote with no wind I would guess easily. Quite a distance enough if one is digging up potatoes pick berries or some things they would do normally.

              1. My own personal experience with a semiprimitive culture would also suggest little to no hugging. My mother in law was of the historical traditional sort of Navajo, a bit in between primitive almost stone age and present. She owned and used to use a stone plate type affair with a stone piece to grind corn as a primary method to do that. Just two rocks really Yet owned a pickup. Lived most of her life in a no electricity Hogan of traditional design with dirt floor from a ancient design borrowed from asia the initial home of Navajo seemingly. They were way back, Navajo, traditional hunter gatherers, spending time in two residences depending on time of year living off the land basically.

                Well part of that tradition was infant wise, a cradle board. A thing the land grant Hispanic also adopted. The infant was tied into a board by blanket and strapped to it, was carried around from there to here but then left in it while the mother worked.

                The woman were always busy busy so they could not hug children. Stopping to feed the child then released but then put in again. A friend of mine who was Hispanic complained to me his head was flat as result of being to long in the cradle board….it did tend to do that.
                Same idea really, the infant put down and left alone while a mother worked.Before a implement a cradle board why not just put down when doing things in a patch of leaves perhaps or this or that..makes more sense to me. We are not really much like primates in many ways. Their smile means submission ours does not. So we differ.
                But this was a carryover from who knows how many thousand of years ago.
                There was no hugging. The tightness did tend to calm babies though, I guess it reminded them of womb.
                Did they have metal Navajo back then…my guess is no. Arrowheads were made of rock things were rock it seems not metal. So perhaps it was a glimpse of that thing. Houses were mud and logs. Cuttings I find suggest rock were the axes not metal.

          2. Mostly vegan Ron in Mew Mexico:

            Hunter Gatherer Women carry their infants cradled in one arm in such a way to enable the infant to suck milk quite frequently. In a book written by anthropologists (I think “The Paleo Prescription”), it states that hunter gatherer babies suck milk on average every 13 1/2 minutes. The book describes a woman walking carrying a suckling infant in one arm, in the other hand a 35 lb bag of vegetables slung over her shoulder and a four year old child walking by her side.

            Mothers who use slings and such to carry infants are primitive agriculturalists. Their infants suckle much less frequently.

            The comparison with other primates is not 100%. For instance, all human babies, because of our huge brain, are actually born premature, otherwise the baby could never fit through the birth canal. So human mothers carry their infants whereas many primate infants hang onto their mothers fur.

            I suggest you read up on the differences between hunter gatherers and primitive agriculturalists.

            1. I suggest you may check your sources for relevance. If a woman is carrying a 35 pound bag of anything that is not a replication of a primitive culture, no such bags existed.

              And to mention the idea I present that the infant is put down as the woman gathers is not addressed by your statements in any manner.
              The observed time feeding is just that and has nothing suggesting a necessity. In fact it suggest your comment of a variable.

              Neither of which suggests a necessity to hug a child. I asked for reference in study and you produced the name of a book. I again ask for the same reference.
              Your opinion on the matter has already been established. Show support. You claim I challenge.

              1. I mention the Navajo as my experience with a semiprimitive culture and in no manner state my mother in law was a hunter gatherer to make that clear. This was stated..”They were way back, Navajo, traditional hunter gatherers, spending time in two residences depending on time of year living off the land basically.”
                I don’t say my mother in law was a hunter gatherer. I state her ancestory speaks to that past. Obviously I state she had a pick up.
                To be specific this ” Late arrivals to the region, the Navajos split off from the Apaches and then quickly evolved from a primitive culture of hunter-gatherers to perhaps the most supple and multifarious of all the Southwestern peoples.”
                References their hunter gatherer past. The split from apache happened many theorize as little as 600 years ago. As the retention of Hogan style from asia suggests a much longer period of time, the retention of artifact such as cradle board is likely well probably from a earlier hunter gatherer existence time period.
                The use of stone ware suggest a stone type based system in a recent past, not metal nor wood. The others in this area many were more developed such as pueblo and Azteca further south.
                Navajo were a more recent addition to the southwest separate from the anazi from which pueblo indian derived. Eventually they intermingled and adopted all the advances.

                So my supposition is that the cradle board may very well have been a implement of hunter gather society as expressed.

                Show the cradle board in Navajo use to arrive later than that and you may disprove that. But you must provide reference to show that of a viable source not just your opinion.

                In any event that will have only minor support for your contention on the hugging.
                I have read the literature, mostly it is based on a few primitive rain forest or equilivent peoples, found still in remote areas. Peoples in rain forest do not necessarily,, by any means, provide a glimpse into our evolutionary past. This is wishful thinking on the part of those observers. The rain forest we can be certain, our population of that area, is a relatively recent occurance, evolutionary fashion considered. Relative low light is present in rain forests…if their habitation had occurred in the evolutionary frame work time period of our skin color determination(a critical factor in this discussion as this is about vit D absorption) …they would have been light skinned. But no they are all quite dark the same as their savannah living neighbors.

                So clearly their study is not one of any long distant past when we as specie were evolving skin color adaptation.

                I find nothing to suggest you claim is true. If you do intend to provide those studies of anthropology pointing to these existant peoples as being evidential for peoples of a much earlier time frame I say…save it it is worthless. We have a study of rainforest dwellers who happen to be hunter gatherers not a blanket approval for consideration that all peoples in all manners acted in their manner…so select is their environment and likely not even inhabitated in that earlier time of lesser human population……it is quite not the place to live unless one absolute due to competition has to.

                1. I suggest to you…you refrain from commenting to people at large and to people specific that do have autistic children, half baked ideas on hugging based upon not well done and highly subjective suspect anthropological research derived from modern observation. Combined perhaps with psychological conjecture. Unless of course you may provide such a link proven in study, which I suspect is not possible. If you can show it. If autism is so easily solved we all need to know.

                  Since we are offering suggestions and all..

                  1. For those that may be interested this paper is a consideration of autism amongst Navajo as a difference not a disability… https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233216285_Navajo_and_autism_The_beauty_of_harmony

                    To context in Navajo those found with say a genetic abnormality such as the presence of both male and female genetalia upon birth, a very rare occurance, are considered not demons or devils, as some dark ages cultures were inclined to do(similiarily to peoples born with tails)…but a evidence of the birth of a shaman, a very highly regarded spiritual person.

                    So response to variance by culture is difference. Keep in mind perhaps, Navajo, is a matriarchy not what we find in the west.

    2. I sincerely doubt lack of hugging is responsible for autism. Children diagnosed with autism, or any chronic condition, are if anything MORE likely to have caring involved parents. Many dysfunctional families neglect children, so they do not receive basic medical treatment, much less diagnoses. I had asthma attacks my entire childhood, but was only diagnosed because I fainted at school at age twelve. I had been unable to breathe through my nose for the entire five years before prior due to swollen tonsils and adenoids. Incidentally, my asthma resolved when I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons, possibly due to the fish connection Dr. Greger covered in a past video.

      Also hunter gatherers are not an idyllically pastoral monolith. While some groups had gentle child rearing practices, others evinced the opposite. And infanticide for birth defects, or for simply being born female is not uncommon: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1555339/Girl-survived-tribes-custom-of-live-baby-burial.html

      1. Melody:

        A- The article you linked never mentions if the tribe are hunter gatherers or primative agriculturists

        B- The article never mentions for how long live babies are held each day and and until what age.

        1. The truth is that you do not know the cause of autism. I do not know the cause of autism. No one does. There are no substantive empirically backed theories at this point. Only hypotheses. So why latch onto a claim that blames the people devoting their lives to caring for their sick children? In the absence of tangible evidence, why not take a more compassionate viewpoint?

          Post Institutionalized children raised in orphanages without being touched or held throughout infancy have been studied extensively. If your view were correct they would have obvious massive rates of autism, correct? While they do display quasi autistic like behaviors like attachment disorder, the mental health issues that plague them are qualitatively different on the whole. They tend to have higher levels of ADHD and anxiety for example. Clinically diagnosed autism is not the same thing and should not be conflated.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2978793/

          And abuse and neglect do occur in primates: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/284e/27eabbfc076d201eeba81366041a6e4742ba.pdf

          Child abuse and neglect have occurred across time and species. Whereas the steep rise of autism in the modern era suggests a uniquely modern causal mechanism. If anything education and social service programs have reduced abuse rates and severity as compared to previous eras. Although there isn’t good comparative data, because child abuse intervention is a largely modern phenomena.

          1. Melody,

            Could not agree with you more ! There are a plethora of both theories and some correlative science that is still very much in its infancy regarding the “causes” of autism.

            In medical literature, literally every couple of weeks there is a new finding, be that genetic, signaling molecules, toxicity components and impacts to ….. a long list.

            I have an upcoming newsletter, focused on the latest findings in ASD upcoming in the next few months. It’s free, just sign up on my site.

            One of the points to be made is that the understanding and science behind the disease is increasing radically with more researchers and sites contributing, leading to many new findings. My experience, with hundreds of ASD patients, is that there is no unique single consideration but rather a group of known potentials creating the phenomena.

            Working with our current knowledge base and maximizing the “do no harm” approach using diet, supplements, medications and behavioral interventions is an excellent starting point, especially when coupled with good testing techniques and parental teamwork.

            Compassion is indeed an integral, essential approach to making the lives of all patients and caregivers better.

            Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

            1. Thank you Dr. Kadish. It seems we are moving past reductionist thinking in medicine, and I personally think it is wonderful.

              Thank you also for you points Mostly Vegan Ron. Most of the anthropological reading I have done has been from library books, so not easy to reference at will. I thought a specific illustrative example would suffice, because I presumed the fact that child abuse exists across cultures was basic knowledge. But you made the point more elegantly.

              Here is a well referenced article that goes into more depth on the subject: https://quillette.com/2017/12/16/romanticizing-hunter-gatherer/

      2. To expound upon Melody’s challenge I offer this reference as substance…’From Hunter Gatherer Infants and Children !kung and others by Melvin Konner….who in his book challenges the assertations made on the specific of the !Kung populations and related observational conclusion established in a earlier time and day….

        A partial quote on the claimed relevance of ape or monkey phenomena and their application to the subject…” If the monkey and ape background to hominid evolution entailed a consistent pattern of care of infants and juveniles, one would expect it to have coevolved with aspects of normal or optimal development that might have become dependent on it. If so, this would presumably limit the range of facultative adaptations easily achieved in human evolution, or at least the range achieved without developmental consequences.”

        To add, this population of !kung are known to commit infanticide due to abnormality of infants and would little serve as examples we may care to emulate to solve the problem of autism nor to exemplify in any psychologic means of remedy.

        Basically his challenge asserts the response to the child rearing from infant to teen was a specific response of circumstantial nature and not all hunter gather societies at large template.

        1. A quote from the introduction to the chapter..
          ” These descriptions, along with more quantitative studies of !Kung infancy and childhood, suggested that present-day childcare methods are discordant with those in the human environments of evolutionary adaptedness (EEAs), a discordance that could have developmental implications. Viewed against the phylogenetic background of the parental care patterns of higher primates, it also seemed possible that the HGC model was a species-specific instance of a general pattern characteristic of catarrhines. In addition, some specific theories of development were addressed. For example, the intensity of the mother-infant relationship among the !Kung and some other hunter-gatherers was viewed as supporting John Bowlby’s model of the role of attachment in infancy. However, excellent new research on hunter-gatherer infancy and childhood on the Agta, Efe, Hadza, Aka, and Ache called some of these generalizations into question. As much as or more than the !Kung research, these studies were methodologically sophisticated and focused on infancy and childhood. At the same time, new theory in life history evolution strongly suggested that hunter-gatherer childhood should not follow a single pattern but should adjust itself to widely varying ecological conditions (Belsky 1997; Chisholm 1993, 1999; Hrdy 1997, 1999); infant and child”

          Which affirms my contention this is source specific behavior of hunter gatherers in this place and time and peoples, does in no manner represent ways things were always and then should always be done for psychological or other health. These people in the main little represent the savannah the place where undoubtably our evolutionary adaptation to the specific of skin color and then vit D absorbtion did first occur.Which vit D absorbtion not the propensity to give hugs seems directly related in some manner to autism presentation.

          1. A quote from the specific of the killing of infants in this hunter gatherer population ….” Infanticide at or near the time of birth has long been known as a choice sometimes exercised by mothers in traditional societies, including hunter-gatherers. Among the !Kung, for example, it was reported in about 1 percent of births (Nancy Howell 1979″

          2. To be clear these peoples are of savannah type place but little represent necessarily by any means the savannah type peoples by behsvior who later evolved into our present humans by skin type and color. Their experience of life once thought a template for earlier human ways may simply be ecologically driven and nothing more than that.

  2. “Nut-seed derived salad dressing” was mentioned in previous topic on diabetes . (I apologize for being off topic) but we have a disagreement about what that means. Can someone please clarify for us? Can it be canola oil or sesame seed oil? Thanks for your answer and patience. Be well!

    1. Among many WFPB people, a nut-based dressing means blended whole nuts or seeds mixed with the other ingredients – not any form of isolated oil. I’m guessing that was what someone was referring to. Hope that helps!

    1. Ruth, check out p. 7 of Dr. Greger’s cookbook – “Ranch Dressing” – absolutely delicious even though not like what I think of as traditional Ranch. Easy to modify if you don’t want to roast garlic and freeze lemons. I use about 4 garlic cloves and squeeze about a half a lemon into it. And I use about a tablespoon of the miso. Very good as a dressing, dip, drizzle on sandwich wraps, etc. I’ve had non-vegan friends say they “just want to drink it!” I always keep it on hand, as well as Dr. Greger’s “Savory Spice Mix,” one of the essential ingredients.

  3. One issue not addressed at all seems to me to be that autism may be a very complex mechanism with interlocking and interacting causes. A single supplement may do nothing or very little. But in context with a number of others, in combination with carefully tuned diet (no small thing with an autistic child and may be impossible most of the time) you may find very different results.

  4. Next step in my thought process is – is there an optimal blood level of Vit D in autistic children. I ask as my nephew who is Asperger diagnosed and lives in sunny S. Cal. Is he naturally getting enough Vit D or is supplementation required?
    Really appreciate your work.

  5. Just my impression but it seems to me….
    Our Vitamin D needs were filled evolutionarily when we spent all day out in the sun naked. The change from dark to light skin at the northern latitudes speaks to the necessity of the sun to us.

    The idea one lives in the place or that…unless they are going about in the sun totally naked, it does not matter a whole lot where one lives. A measured bit perhaps, but what is to say that tiny amount suffices. Certainly if we evolved to the extend of changing our entire skin color, putting us at risk for increased skin cancer and all the rest, we are talking the fact we need large amounts of sun daily, likely to produce naturally vitamin D.

    The average person in todays world living wherever in the US, spends little time actually naked in the sun. And walking in the sun to ones car or even on a daily jog a very small portion of skin area is exposed. Arms legs face head are not close to entire body mass. The idea even one half hour lying in the sun sunbathing approximates our evolutionary skin exposure daily is just a preposterous contention. They spent all day naked each and every day and found even then they had to lighten skin color to get enough of the stuff…even when in the sun all day naked….what does that say as to importance!

    The measurements of vitamin D to my read were all to the extend of preventing deficiency that causes disease such as rickets but not to provide optimal health. It is not actually known what exactly is optimal health levels of vitamin D. To find that, we must expose each population under study to a extended period of time naked in the sun each and every day and for a entire year, as likely our evolutionary tendency has Vitamin D as retained to account for seasonal variance in absorption.
    I do not think that study has ever been performed. Now if it was then we could approximate what are normal levels of vitamin D and not just to prevent damage vit D levels. Occasionally I expect they have measured vitamin D levels in some primitive like peoples who still live today, but those are typically peoples of color in equatorial areas whose findings may not apply to northern Europeans in their areas in a natural environment.

    But in any event anyone wearing clothing I find myself assuming they need vitamin D. Especially if not the whitest of whitest peoples.
    And likely it seems it is not hugging or this or that but this fact exhibited. How many even consider having a baby out in the sun for even a few minutes nevertheless all day. And yes even if hugged, by the mother, out in the sun as the mother works does this or that in a primitive culture…. the baby also gets significant amounts of sun…Now it is like we are raising vampire babies..it is assumed horrible to expose babies to sun.

    I personally would throw out the idea walking to your car or doing this or that clothed in any latitude is going to provide optimal levels of vitamin D. Our evolutionary history says absolutely not. Our abhorance of skin cancer leads us that way but at what other cost?

    1. Check this out!

      http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/92/6/2130
      Low Vitamin D Status despite Abundant Sun Exposure

      Objective: The aim was to document the 25(OH)D status of healthy individuals with habitually high sun exposure.

      Setting: This study was conducted in a convenience sample of adults in Honolulu, Hawaii (latitude 21°).

      Participants: The study population consisted of 93 adults (30 women and 63 men) with a mean (SEM) age and body mass index of 24.0 yr (0.7) and 23.6 kg/m2 (0.4), respectively. Their self-reported sun exposure was 28.9 (1.5) h/wk, yielding a calculated sun exposure index of 11.1 (0.7).

      Main Outcome Measures: Serum 25(OH)D concentration was measured using a precise HPLC assay. Low vitamin D status was defined as a circulating 25(OH)D concentration less than 30 ng/ml.

      Results: Mean serum 25(OH)D concentration was 31.6 ng/ml. Using a cutpoint of 30 ng/ml, 51% of this population had low vitamin D status. The highest 25(OH)D concentration was 62 ng/ml.

      Conclusions: These data suggest that variable responsiveness to UVB radiation is evident among individuals, causing some to have low vitamin D status despite abundant sun exposure. In addition, because the maximal 25(OH)D concentration produced by natural UV exposure appears to be approximately 60 ng/ml, it seems prudent to use this value as an upper limit when prescribing vitamin D supplementation.

      1. The skin does not make active D3. Active D3 is made in the kidneys by signal of the parathyroid gland. So you have a total of three organs involved in the making.

      2. I’m sorry this does not approximate our evolutionary history even though by todays standards they are very very high..
        From the study…”Volunteers were required to have self-reported sun exposure of 3 or more hours per day on 5 or more days per week for at least the preceding 3 months, ”

        In this place native peoples were exposed to sun daily every day 12 hours per day not three in summer, and for seven not five days per week and it was a three month only study.And they were not naked and skateboarders particularly females…what is to say shirtless or not?
        It is interesting but shows nothing of real evolutionary present optimal vitamin D levels in peoples.

        Abundent sun exposure is the fault in the study..it is just likely not so to match our typical before clothing sun exposure particularly in this place as natives were typically not wearing much if any clothing all day every day….
        And where is the study of infants to show their levels of normal sun exposure? Die they have them in bassinets back in the day or on a mothers hip doing things and getting sun exposure.

        1. These are the current recommendations..https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm309136.htm

          No sun no sun no sun…..

          Now in what natural environment in which a woman did raise a infant with her(breast feeding attesting to this a necessity of frequency) could the prehistorical woman raise a infant in a sunless environment? Nothing suggest women were kept separate from infants in their first few years of life. So they could not be left in sunless compounds of group supervision and care.

          Never it would never happen.
          Even in northern climes, if the mother had to put the baby down to do a thing, would she put it in the shade or heat of the sun? When it was available..sun of course. In the southern climes of course they would be in the sun. Where are all of veggies fruits and such by vast predominance beans and such grains where are they found…..they are found growing in full sun, this is where they grow best. Occasionally fruits are grown in trees oranges and such but just as many in open sun as not. And our build, being just above that of plane grasses, and our lack of equal upper body strength to lower, suggests firmly, we were a creature of evolution developed in savannah, not forest. Apes are creatures of forest with large muscles in the upper body to get about in forests. And also covered in hair, they seem to not have our need for sun, as evidenced by white skin and hairless bodies(relatively).

          Clearly we developed evolutionarily in savannah and most of our food sources are full sun grown food sources. WE eat mushrooms but no one supposes they ever filled a predominant part of our diet, as they may if we lived in forest as prime.

          Yet we presuppose a infant due to potential of skin cancer to have no need for sun whatsoever. Now if skin cancer was the issue, and the only issue, there would be zero light skinned peoples, as they do indeed have more propensity to skin cancer development.
          No….firmly there is something in sun we need and need it greatly. And our children as infants are all being raised without this perhaps key ingredient at the advice of the medical community In the fear of skin cancer.
          Which by my read has perhaps tragic consequences some of which we just do not fathom.
          Is this one of them….I say it appears it may be so.

          Those that say it is compounded the hugging and this or that…. imagine for a moment, it was as simple as this..doing a very very unnatural behavior with a infant at the advice of medical professionals. Keep in mind these medical professionals do great things but on occasion as to lifestyle have been found completely absolutely wrong on things…once they did think smoking per example(only one example of recent coinage) was perfectly fine and may actually help lungs in some manner.

          No one really knows this is not fact. Despite skin cancer in infants and even children being the most rare of disease, we have not ever studied if this may be cause. We do know we have found things like sunscreen do indeed lead to skin cancer due to cancer causing agent within them.

          Infants in shadealways has never ever happened prior in our history excepting the last period of it. A very minute time compared to the whole.
          Yet this is the medical communities recommendation.

          Yes, they cannot handle the sun as we may, but how much is to much and how much is not enough…we just do not know, and always advocate for none at all. Perhaps with consequence.
          I am just me and no medical professional at all and just expressing personal opinion. But my opinion is, that if I was in charge of the care of a infant I would at present see to it they got some sun, maybe just a little, 15 minutes or so, naked if possible, sun daily.

          Cancer from that seems unlikely. Benefit from that unknown but harm most probably none.

            1. Most by vast majority of our plants grains beans root veggies and such (not all but the vast vast preponderance) are found growing in full sun not rain forests. Nor are we adapted by musculature to rain forest survival. Every anthropologist I know has attested to human as being a savannah dweller our height being of the almost exact kind consequent to open area range grasses.

              Apes some monkeys were rain forest dwellers we differ significantly particularly with skin and hair covering from them.
              This open mostly hairless form with light skin color in northern latitudes is particular to human only.

              1. Even if one studies the dweller of rain forest today that are still present. Invariably every one that I have seen, the community clears the living areas of trees for habitation, preferring full sun for various reasons to include the drying out of skin and animal parts for future consumption in oppressive humidity.

                Nevertheless though we inhabit all place even the Antarctic presently, likely rain forest was not a preferred place to be in, when competition amongst human for space was not a necessity due to increased populations. Earlier when we actively evolved things like light skin color savannahs were the places.

                1. If so think of it….rain forest dwellers by type would be light skinned..why not?
                  Is skin color some mysterious thing separate from evolution….of course not. Less sun we evolved light color to absorb more of it.
                  But rain forest habitation occurred far after our evolution of skin color clearly.

                  1. I am agreeing with about 99% of what you’re posting though I wonder here, did evolution stop at some point prior to the advent of modern medicine?
                    And even with our heroic interventions, there may still be some evolutionary forces in play. Though then again, maybe it’s mostly devolution now…

                    1. Well no evolution continues. If we continue to restrict our sun exposure as we do so grossly now, probably due to health benefit most of us will trend very long term lighter, as evolutionary benefit will be (disease and such) slightly to the light side skin color.
                      Or perhaps we could evolve as great apes having little need for things such as vit D from sun. Developeing a mechanism for internal production separate from sun.

                      Like vitamin C being a addition necessary for us, other animals make their own. But us, as we had it so present in our environment, we found it not necessary, as it was in diet always. So it is with vitamin D. We find it so naturally from the sun, we find it not necessary to self create it by specie.
                      Some assimilate vit D from sun better than others. But our new natural sunless environment is so stark and different from that of our recent evolutionary path, we suffering by some part would be almost a guarantee.

                      Infants are all in the extreme range of this abnormal environment…no sun ever. So who would suffer the most….likely infants though we may not know the mechanism nor fully the consequence.
                      But no evolution continues. In a very large population consideration a more amount will live and breed who by various means takes care of this vit D problem. Eventually by being able to breed more that characteristic will predominate. But it may take a half a million years.

          1. It never ceases to amaze me the arrogance of us as a community, human, to assume us, because we have a high intellect, to be abstract from our evolutionary history and engage in activity that seem completely counter to it usually to health consequence.
            Meat and dairy consumption is most conspicuous in this. If we did eat meat never ever did we eat it three times a day in grossly large quantities as we do now. We simply could not have been that good at hunting we are not built for other than at greatest, a once a day consumption.

            So we suffer.
            And dairy, we know the tale on that mostly it causes as many problems with us than not.

            But with infants, god or some or mythical being,(and some in these times now claim we are aliens put her) has created them, creatures of wonder and joy, it is perhaps thought….and they only, must be raised in conditions totally abstract from their evolutionary history…..we humans do not need to comply with our history as we are exceptional, and special, above nature……to our perhaps great peril.

            Infants always had some sun in their environment, and were never kept in total shade, it is completely impossible to suggest any situation in primitive times when they were….totally completely impossible. And we know sun to human is not as sun to ape or other animal. Why would we suppose their is some necessity for complete shade all of a infants life, yet this is what we do.

            Yes our health professionals suggest this is best for them…..despite it making absolutely no sense.Yes on a hip mostly or carried a infant would get far less sun than a adult…..and their skin likely reflects that. But that far less, was never ever, no sun exposure the environment we have infants in now. And nothing indicates our evolutionary history includes adaptation to the wearing of clothes. Our arms legs and head do not tan at different rates than other parts of us, which would be indicated by such adaptation. Hair and such suggests firmly, our adaptations skin wise were firmly established prior to the advent of clothing. Hence most hair on head a needed to be protected area from sun and cold but completely unnecessary with hat. Likely one of the first clothing accessories worn. As from head is most heat loss.

            1. Ron,

              Always enjoy your tangents.

              They talked about it in the documentary “Healing Cancer from the Inside Out” how people are wearing clothing and staying inside and skin cancer has increased at such a high level and people have stopped smoking nearly as much as they used to in America and lung cancer rates have increased, rather than decreased.

              They pointed to the pollution and smoking in Okinawa and said that smoking is indeed carcinogenic, but if you don’t eat animal products, the cancer caused by pollution and smoking didn’t seem to grow nearly as fast. If I recall, Dr. Greger said that on autopsy, the Cancer was in them, but just hadn’t effected their lives.

              1. I think lung cancer has as significant risk indoor radon exposure. IN fact here a few years back they were giving out radon detectors as due to volcanic soils we tend to that.

                So there may be other auxiliary facts which we do not connect at times.
                Skin cancer I have not researched is specifically. My dim recollection is that at least one study had the areas adjacent to the most direct exposure but not the most directly exposed space on skin to most likely suffer occurence. Some theorized that may be due to vit D being produced by the skin and offering a protective effect but not so much in the nearby lesser exposed areas.
                Just a theory but I do dimly recall that from years ago.

                It is a interesting subject.

                1. I do propose, a bit lower down, that age, the ability to have older peoples in any human grouping, though not of child care age nor mating age….. may be a evolutionary benefit. Those of us who are older may appreciate that discussion. Though I will admit I may hold some bias.

  6. Considering the beneficial effects of vitamin D3 on hyperactivity in Autism, I wonder if D3 supplementation would help hyperactivity in ADHD? Frequent exercise in the sun would be best, I know, but in Northern climates, getting adequate sunshine is difficult.(I have even treated a vitamin D deficient lobsterman from Maine with an osteoporotic fracture.) Are there any studies? Thank you.

    1. Your question is reasonable because certainly there is some overlap with ADHD and Autism (Check out this link for clarification: ADHD and Autism: Understanding the Differences https://www.rileychildrens.org/connections/adhd-and-autism-understanding-the-differences? ) Still it’s a big step to assume treatment for autism with Vit D would also work for ADHD and indeed I found no such studies when I looked in the Medlineplus data base. Wish I could be more helpful

  7. To all the commenters mentioning evolutionary factors relating to vitamin d, please remember that evolution only selects for people or animals of reproductive age. therefore we may have been selected for a short-term advantage (vitamin d absorption), whereas skin cancer affects us later so would not have been affected by evolutionary pressures as much. please don’t go leaving your baby in the sun as one burn can treble their risk of skin cancer.

    autism appears to have a significant genetic component. it may be a trait in humans which has developed due to its advantages in our society (e.g. being more logical, good memory, technical understanding). it may be one of those things which is a huge benefit to the person in smaller amounts, but those with more autism genes can find life very stressful and difficult (as do their family members). sickle cell anaemia is analogous: if people have one gene they’re protected from malaria, but with two genes they can get very ill.

    perhaps reducing other associated problems, such as vitamin d deficiency, help reduce some negative impacts but I doubt this is a cure.

    1. No…. no offense but in human society evolution did not only address those of breeding age. The complexity of human society included the presence of those older than breeding age and actually older than child rearing age always. And they probably assumed always, a part of the entire community. Likely our evolutionary history included the presence of those of older age in it(hence why we live to be older) as a evolutionary advantage. For one reason or another probably retention of knowledge(where food was and such), we tend to favor not dying even beyond the age of child rearing, 50 or so at most.

      If older peoples than 50 or so were useless, the most advantaged societies of human, who produced as result the most children, simply would not have them and evolutionarily we would have a life expectancy of that not 80 or so.

      Studies of societies that replicate primitive circumstance seem to have peoples dying off due to injury illness or such cause at a early age by average but that does not disallow the ability of humans to have within those populations those of a much older age within them.

      AS mentioned we seem to have been evolutionary advantaged to have members in our populations of older age than 50 or so.

      AS to the specific…no one is suggesting to sunburn your baby. All the medical recommendation is for no sun absolutely none, for a infant.
      Please show the literature that shows increased life expectancy of that population of no sun infants as opposed to exposed to some sun infants. Abstracting from medical availability or income variables.
      I personally would do 15 minutes a day but categorize that as a personal opinion with no qualification in speciality. Please show evidence that 15 minutes a day will produce sun burning. Assuming typical western environments sea level at our latitudes, of course not in hot sun, 100 temperature or some such. Babies have decreased heat mechanism abilities. But typically normal environments heat overexposure is a auxiliary or occasional consideration here. But I would not claim that is a precaution
      Obviously one would approach that gradually after birth but nevertheless…

      What is the substance to suggest no sun ever is a optimal health producing environment for infant?

      1. Humans evolved in the context of a human society many many years ago. That separation, the success of humans as opposed to like specie was by my read directly present in our success dependent not on individual success but societal successes(groups of humans). When were present very many like specie of similiarity such as Neanderthal (there were many many more than Neanderthal) in all probability the success of human was a societal of human success not a individual success. Age I would suggest the ability of human to have old humans and the advantage that would bring food source continuance of knowledge base and retention of knowledge(a utterly important thing to our survival) would likely be the why of our continuance and the reduction of neaderthal and similar specie. They simply did not live as long as us and likely did die at earlier ages such as 50.

        Musculature and such they were superior. But heavily muscled things in human form do not have the same life expectancy in general form. It would be a reasonable assertation to make they did not in fact live as long as us.
        Success breed survivability in human is a group function not a individual function as we are more than any other specie societal.

        1. Some neaderthal did interbreed with us and we do by type, some of us, retain their genes. But many other different groups of similar kind to human but distinct specie did exist and vanished without introduction into our gene pool. What was our evolutionary advantage to them some much stronger and more capeable…by my take it was our ability to socialize which was the key more than any other thing.

          Others did they die shortly after their children were able to get along perhaps say a 20 year old parent then dying at 27…I would say sure, why not.

          But why would humans have those older who did by some population always exist in even primitive populations(if even a few) why did they persist.
          Their presence and hence our ability to reach those ages speaks directly to evolutionary advantage.

          So the notion all our evolution considered, the societal impact upon human to have upon breeding success and survivability, would directly counter the notion humans are similar to all animals in this regard concerned only with the up to child care age only necessity.
          This is why we live generally so much longer than animals. A few exceptions elephants and such…. there is some evidence of this knowledge retention as well and the increased survivability of groups of older age containing members hence. Elephants the older ones lead the group typically to water holes and such.

          But in this we are singular…we only live so long…..why…it advantages us evolutionarly.

          In this day and age of the generally discarded elderly in many fashion we hazard that at great risk also to my personal opinion. It is not by accident this thing of able to live long. But in discussion it is common..people always say that….well it only matters till we breed than how long we live does not matter…it firmly does old age attainment ability must be key to human survivability or else we simply would not engage it. Which is how evolution works unnecessary things are discarded always.

          1. Honestly I am a little take aback to think anyone would assume I am advocation for giving babies sunburns…”please don’t go leaving your baby in the sun as one burn can treble their risk of skin cancer. ”

            But I do claim not all sun exposure will produce a sun burn in a baby. In studies done on babies, they have found some sun adaptive changes made most commonly to arms and such which they do not suppose is caused by sun burns. If babies were that fragile likely it is that we as a specie would never have survived as I clearly have shown our evolutionary history does not include us all dying of skin cancer shortly after child rearing age and it clearly shows we all had exposure to some sun in our anthropological history as infants. To be totally not sun exposed as present today would be completely impossible.

            In fact if we all did die or contract skin cancer at say age 50, in earlier days…that would be quite a notable and well known anthropological finding. But no I find nothing that shows that.

            Do you?

            1. I pose the question repeated, and keep in mind not so long ago it was said no sun exposure for human was preferable in the medical profession…..are we best served by continuance of this practice of advocating for absolutely no sun exposure to infants?

              I say this is not founded in science at least none I am aware of. I know sun burns lead to cancer and all the rest but also know that recommendations for sun exposure for adults has indeed changed over the years.

              Please produce the evidence in a scientific fashion that shows any mortality or other health advantage to no sun exposure to infants as to low sun exposure to infants….if it is out there and good science I would certainly like to recommend it.
              If not……well then this piece here seems to suggest it may bear some examination and perhaps our recommendation presently of no sun exposure may be a bit premature as was the earlier recommendation of no sun exposure for adult one time in favor.

              But no, I am not advocating for giving infants sun burns. Even though infant and they do burn much more rapidly than us, I would suggest some very minimal exposure will not produce a burn. Please also explain to me that is not fact as well, if any sun exposure produces sun burning in infants even of the most minimal kind.

              Once formula was staunchly advocated for as superior to breast milk…yes that was supposed and widely circulated. I mention this to keep in mind what is generally accepted as good preferred behavior especially as it concerns infants is at times found not.

  8. Please look at the coimbra protocol which uses huge doses of vitamin d along with magnesium, selenium and vitamin k for a host of autoimmune illnesses including m.s. and IBD, they also now report success with autism! Is there a downside to huge amounts of vitamin d like that-1000iu per kg of body weight, even though they are advised to also be on a very low calcium diet?It seems to be reversing those conditions, many thousands on facebook pages reporting success.

  9. I am autistic and I live in Michigan. We sometimes have very little sunlight. I have chronic vitamin D deficiency. I am prescribed D3 gel capsules. I was wondering what the best way to supplement is and if there is a “whole food” way. Does it make a difference if you are concerned about the mthfr gene? Thank you!

    1. Welcome, Joy!

      Good to have you here!

      You are being prescribed Vitamin D, which sounds like a good idea if you are chronically deficient. Have you been tested for MTHFR or are you just wondering about it? What are you doing now? It wouldn’t hurt to include some Methyl Donors in your B Vitamins either way. Be careful not to take too many Methyl donors, according to one study on PubMed, but using some in the Methyl form is an easy solution.

      Are you doing fat sources with your D?

      Good to see you taking responsibility for your care!

      You are so articulate that I would never guess autistic. And, yes, I know that there are plenty of articulate autistic people. There is such a wide spectrum. I just have dealt mostly with people who couldn’t have communicated like you just did.

      I have a young person who is struggling so much with autism and just threw a rock through a window out of a sense of rejection. I have always liked him but he is paralyzed by self-consciousness and that has caused people to be aware of his faults at a higher level than they should. Life is hard when you are in a different category from other people. I am hoping that I will be able to come alongside of him. He really has been getting rejected and could use some unconditional love.

      I honestly have wondered at various times whether I was autistic and if I grew up now, I probably would have been diagnosed because they changed the standards from when I was young. It is hard for me to tell because I had an abusive bully authority figure and so did this young man. Hard to say how to not be self-conscious when the adults are bullies. It definitely left me glitchy when people are bullies of anyone at all and that glitchiness might be autism. Not sure. Anyway, I wish you well on your journey through life. WFPB seems like a good place for all of us.

    2. Hello Joy, thanks a lot for your comment.

      Taken daily in doses under 2000 IU, vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol) appear bioequivalent (meaning they both work just as well in your body). However if your physician suggests you take large intermittent doses (such as 50,000 IU weekly, then D3 is probably superior).

      Unfortunately, diet is a poor source and it is found naturally only in a few foods, like dairy products, fatty fish, animal fats of pastured animals, liver and egg yolks. Given the few dietary sources and the lack of sun exposure, vitamin D deficiency is very common among people and supplementation is required in almost all cases in order to meet the body’s need.

    1. The second study I could not find a published challenge so I reviewed it myself. Keep in mind I am just another blogger here expressing unqualified opinion…

      But this is stated in the study…”The baseline to 8-week Clinical Global Impression and Childhood Autism Rating scale testing measures also showed improving trends, although not statistically significant (P =.06,P =.07, respectively). ”

      Which is pretty consistent in the whole study, some trends seem to exhibit but none actually statistically significant. On autistic specific testing only one category or test showed improvement.
      While that may say well…wait a second that is improvement..how about that…but then you add in the study group is 13 kids and there is not much to hang your hat on.
      Furthur research is needed this is far from conclusive. The statements the researchers made in the conclusion seem far more optimistic than the numbers suggest. They also add in parental observations in the concluding statement, which in this are notoriously suspect, as parents are always looking for improvements for their kids and are likely to report some in the hope of improvement.

      To my personal opinion I don’t speak for this site.

    1. Thanks Julot for the link. I stopped buying vit D supplements some time ago, and it may have been after watching one of Pam Popper’s other videos.

      Did you see this one by VegSource? He takes a critical look at some trials featured by Dr Greger in vit D videos. Interesting comments.
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bflE6ubv7tw

      This is one of my favorite vids of Dr Greger showing the action of the sun through our skin regenerates Coq10. Amazing, and it seems obvious to me at least that swallowing a pill is not going to have anywhere near the same effect upon us as sunlight.
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-regenerate-coenzyme-q10-coq10-naturally/

  10. This misinformation is just another instance of “cherry-picking” studies to prove a point. The following excellent and recent meta-study showed 88% of autistic children taking omega-3s improved 33%. “Supplementation of omega 3 fatty acids may improve hyperactivity, lethargy, and stereotypy in children with autism spectrum disorders: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Cheng et al., Neuropsychiatric Dis. Treatment 2017:13 2531–2543.”

    1. Steve-Thank you for citing that study which while encouraging specifically concluded “However, the number of studies was limited and the overall effects were small, precluding definitive conclusions. Future large-scale randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm or refute our findings.” Seems like rather than citing “cherry picking,” it is reasonable to concluded further studies are indeed needed so that we can be in better agreement. Isn’t that what research is all about? Keep reading and again thanks for adding that study. Now we just need more…

      1. The studies quoted in your video denying any effect of omega-3s on autism were the small ones. The study quoted above referenced almost 200 children in 6 trials. Results were consistent showing improvement in lethargy, hyperactivity, stereotypy, and inappropriate speech. My question is why you did not reference the above study in your video. Yes, more studies will be welcome, but this one is the best and latest on omega-3s and autism. Ignoring it allowed you to inaccurately dismiss the therapy. By the way, there are many other supplements not mentioned in your video that have excellent studies showing good results. From your video, we might conclude that NO supplements EVER help autism, except vitamin D. Thank you for including one of Dr. Saad’s studies.

  11. Dr. Greger, DrKadish or “Hijacker” (forum name)– Is there any evidence D3 can assist those with ADHD? Some researchers speculate Autism and ADHD are derived from a similar neural malfunction. In particular, I am searching for studies which show direct benefit for ADHD in young adulthood (18-25 yrs).

    1. Your question is reasonable because certainly there is some overlap with ADHD and Autism (Check out this link for clarification: ADHD and Autism: Understanding the Differences https://www.rileychildrens.org/connections/adhd-and-autism-understanding-the-differences? ) Still it’s a big step to assume treatment for autism with Vit D would also work for ADHD and indeed I found no such studies when I looked in the Medlineplus data base. Wish I could be more helpful.

  12. I wish we could get an experienced psychology/autism researcher to weigh in on these studies. Dr. Greger reports what the studies say, but he doesn’t necessarily know how to judge the overall quality of the study as well as an expert would. Thanks to the people in comments who have posted meta-analyses.

    For those asking about ADHD, there is nothing that’s for sure, and the only studied nutritional treatments are:
    1. For a fraction of kids, removing all artificial colorings and flavorings from their diet improves symptoms. Multiple studies, but the mechanism is unknown
    1. Pretty high dose (2-5 g/day) fish oil. An EPA/DHA ratio of 2:1 is most effective for depression, I am not sure about ADHD ratio
    3. Amino acids/protein – since dopamine and other neurotransmitters are made of amino acids, some people try to supplement L-tyrosine or a few others to increase neurotransmitter production. No real research results. Many doctors recommend high protein meals esp breakfast to maximize production

    If you hear about “natural”, “herbal” treatments like Huperzine A, Rhodiola, Bacopa, and others… don’t be fooled. These supplements are not harmless, they often have effects mimicking certain prescription drugs but they are untested and unregulated. Don’t give your kids random supplements! The prescriptions are safer!

  13. We need a study to see if there is any correlation between the increasing incidence of autism and the excessive emphasis on sun protection. Yes, controlled for the possibility that autistic children may not go out in the sun as much.

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