When the sun is shining, vitamin D is formed in the capillaries of the skin (from metabolites of cholesterol). Vitamin D is really not a vitamin at all but one of the most important steroids in the human body without which many cells – including neurons – of the body cannot function properly. All sorts of diseases and disorders result or are worsened if there is not a sufficient level of vitamin D in body tissues. This is true for disorders of bone, skin and brain, but also of cancers and heart disease, and most likely the immune system.
At the GNC, in collaboration with other international research groups in the UK and Australia, we have studied vitamin D in autism. We have found that pregnant mothers of children who later will get a diagnosis of autism have low levels of vitamin D, newborn babies who later are recognized as having autism also have very low levels, children and adults with autism have lower vitamin D-levels than people who do not have autism. We consider it very reasonable to suggest vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy and in the first few years of life and that the blood level of vitamin D be measured in all children and adults with autism and related disorders, so that they can receive supplementation if needed.
However, synthetic vitamin D is not as good for the brain as the vitamin D produced by the human body in connection with sun exposure. The vast majority of the world’s population (including children) need sun exposure. Sunshine has always been one of the best sources of ”health” (much like air and clean water). Most of us have a safe warning sign (called erythema/slight redness) that will let us know when we have had enough. We should then get out of the sun (or put on some reasonable clothing). It is extremely worrying that people are instead told that they should be using sunscreen (containing a number of substances that may have very harmful effects, including infertility and, indirectly, cancer from extreme overuse of the combination of sunscreen and sun exposure).
When the sun is shining in Japan, umbrellas are just as common a sight as when it rains. In Sweden, preschool children are not allowed to spend time outdoors, some preschools will not even let them out if the sun is shining. Sunscreen is smeared all over young people’s bodies much to the delight of the ever-growing giant of the sunscreen industry. When will this madness end?
Blog post by Christopher Gillberg
Credit: Magnus Gotander