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with Jessie Johns

Neurodivergent conditions, including but not limited to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD, and Tourette’s syndrome (TS), pose significant challenges to affected individuals and their families. Research into the aetiology and management of these conditions has identified various factors, including genetics, environmental influences, and nutritional status. Among these factors, the status of vitamin D has gained attention due to its potential role in neurodevelopment and mental health. This paper examines the significance of vitamin D status in neurodivergent presentations, drawing on empirical evidence and epidemiological studies.

Vitamin D is a crucial hormone involved in numerous physiological processes, including calcium absorption, bone health, hormonal health, and immune function. Beyond its traditional roles, emerging research indicates that vitamin D also plays a role in neurodevelopment. Animal studies have demonstrated that vitamin D deficiency during critical periods of brain development can lead to alterations in brain structure and function, potentially contributing to neurodivergent conditions.

Epidemiological studies have consistently reported an association between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of neurodivergent conditions. For example, research suggests that maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may predispose offspring to ASD. Similarly, low vitamin D levels have been linked to symptoms of ADHD and schizophrenia in both children and adults. While the exact mechanisms underlying these associations remain unclear, evidence suggests that vitamin D may influence neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, and gene expression, all of which are implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodivergent conditions.

Intervention studies investigating the effects of vitamin D supplementation on neurodivergent presentations have yielded mixed results. Factors such as baseline vitamin D status, genetic variability, and individual response to supplementation are elements to be considered when supplementing an individual with vitamin D. 

In summary, vitamin D status is an important consideration in the context of neurodivergent presentations. Evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to the development and severity of conditions such as ASD, ADHD, and schizophrenia. While supplementation holds promise as a potential intervention, additional research is needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and determine optimal strategies for implementation. Healthcare providers should prioritise assessing and addressing vitamin D status as part of comprehensive management approaches for neurodivergent presentations.



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Fernell E, Bejerot S, Westerlund J, Miniscalco C, Simila H, Eyles D, Gillberg C. (2015). Autism spectrum disorder and low vitamin D at birth: a sibling control study. Molecular Autism, 6(1), 3. doi:10.1186/2040-2392-6-3

Gracious BL, Finucane TL, Friedman-Campbell M, Messing S, Parkhurst MN. (2012). Vitamin D deficiency and psychotic features in mentally ill adolescents: a cross-sectional study. BMC Psychiatry, 12, 38. doi:10.1186/1471-244x-12-38

Patrick RP, Ames BN. (2014). Vitamin D hormone regulates serotonin synthesis. Part 1: relevance for autism. FASEB J, 28(6), 2398-2413. doi:10.1096/fj.13-246546

Jessie Johns is a Clinical Nutritionist that has a deep understanding of how the food we eat impacts our health and wellbeing. She believes that consistently meeting the body’s nutritional requirements with adequate wholefoods is fundamental in not only restoring good health, but to truly heal the body and thrive.

To learn more about Jessie and her offerings, click here