Vitamin D Could Explain Why Autism Is Three Times More Common in Boys

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A shortage in vitamin D on the mom’s side might discuss why autism spectrum condition is 3 times more typical in young boys, state Queensland Brain Institute scientists.

In their most current research study, Professor Darryl Eyles and Dr. Asad Ali discovered vitamin D shortage throughout pregnancy triggered a boost in testosterone in the establishing brain of male rats.

Increase in testosterone in the brain 

“The biological cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is unknown but we have shown that one of the many risk factors—low vitamin D in mothers—causes an increase in testosterone in the brain of the male fetuses, as well as the maternal blood and amniotic fluid,” Professor Eyles stated.

“In addition to its function in calcium absorption, vitamin D is essential to numerous developmental procedures.

“Our research also showed that in vitamin D-deficient male fetuses, an enzyme which breaks down testosterone was silenced and could be contributing to the presence of high testosterone levels.”

Vitamin D is vital in brain advancement

Professor Eyles’ previous research study has actually revealed that vitamin D plays an important function in brain advancement which providing vitamin D supplements to mice throughout pregnancy totally avoided autism-like qualities in their offspring.

Co-author Dr. Ali stated that extreme direct exposure of the establishing brain to sex hormonal agents like testosterone was believed to be a hidden reason for ASD, however the factors stayed uncertain.

“Vitamin D is involved in pathways controlling many sex hormones,” Dr. Ali stated.

“When the rat mothers were fed a low vitamin D diet, it caused male fetal brains to have high levels of exposure to testosterone.”

Time to study more danger elements for ASD

Professor Eyles stated the research study was the very first to reveal that a recognized danger aspect for ASD modifies testosterone in both the fetal brain and the mom’s blood — one possible factor to why ASD is more widespread in males.

“We have only studied one risk factor for ASD — vitamin D deficiency during development — our next step is to look at other possible risk factors, such as maternal stress and hypoxia – lack of oxygen – and see if they have the same effect,” he stated.

Reference: “Developmental vitamin D deficiency increases foetal exposure to testosterone” by Asad Amanat Ali, Xiaoying Cui, Renata Aparecida Nedel Pertile, Xiang Li, Gregory Medley, Suzanne Adele Alexander, Andrew J. O. Whitehouse, John Joseph McGrath and Darryl Walter Eyles, 10 December 2020, Molecular Autism.
DOI: 10.1186/s13229-020-00399-2

This research study is released in Molecular Autism and was a cooperation with The University of Western Australia’s Dr Andrew Whitehouse and moneyed by the National Health and Medical Research Council Australia and Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research.

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