Monday, December 30, 2013

Immune function, Vitamin D3, and Autism

Have you been hearing a lot about Vitamin D3 and health?  Maybe you know someone who is Vitamin D deficient. 

I recently read an interesting article looking at Vitamin D, autoimmune issues, and autism. This study looked at levels of Vitamin D and levels of anti-MAG auto-antibodies in healthy vs. autistic children.  Anti-MAG auto-antibodies are antibodies that specifically attack the myelin on neurons and are implicated in some forms of neuropathy.  Click on the link below to read the article in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.

Research study investigating Vitamin D, antibodies that attack myelin on nerves, and autism

Here is a summary:

1. Immune abnormalities, mainly autoimmunity to brain tissue, may have a pathogenic role in autism.  Recently, vitamin D deficiency has been implicated as a potential environmental factor triggering some autoimmune disorders.  

2. In this study, autistic children had significantly higher serum levels of anti-MAG auto-antibodies than healthy children, P < 0.001. Increased serum levels of anti-MAG auto-antibodies were found in 70% of autistic patients. A previous study conducted on 32 Egyptian children, aged between 3 and 8 years, reported anti-MAG seropositivity in 62.5% of autistic children.

3. In the present work, patients with severe autism had significantly higher serum anti-MAG auto-antibodies than children with mild to moderate autism.

4. Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels had significant negative correlations with serum levels of anti-MAG auto-antibodies.  That is, individuals with lower vitamin D showed higher levels of auto-antibodies.  

The authors emphasize that the findings are intriguing for future study and do not negate the contributions of other factors in the expression of autism.  The possibility is raised, however, that there may be an autoimmune contribution in a subset of individuals with autistic expression and that Vitamin D3 may play a role.