Did you know there’s a vitamin D receptor in every single cell in our bodies?
Vitamin D plays a role in every system and cell in our body. It’s involved in things like:
- Gut health
- Bone health
- Hormone production
It even has a role in preventing heart disease and cancer. We can’t discount the importance of Vitamin D for our overall health and for specific autism-related health issues.
Recommended Dosing vs. Optimal Dosing
Vitamin D dosing is measured in International Units (IU). The recommended daily intake for a young child is around 400 IUs. However, from everything I’ve seen in my practice and research 400 IUs is usually not enough.
The recommended 400 IUs per day is merely enough to prevent rickets but it’s not optimal.
So what is optimal? There’s a lot of gray area between “I’m not going to let my child get rickets” and “How can I help my child’s body function its best?”.
The rough estimate for optimal dosing is 1000 IUs per year of age. So a 5 year old would need 5,000 IUs per day to achieve optimal Vitamin D levels.
Normal Levels vs. Optimal Levels
Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient, which makes it easier to overdose on than the water soluble vitamins (like vitamin C and the B vitamins), so it’s wise to have your child’s Vitamin D levels checked to be sure they’re on an adequate and safe dose. Many labs have come out with finger stick testing for Vitamin D. This is easier than a traditional blood draw for many children.
Traditionally, 30 -100 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) is considered the normal range for Vitamin D. But for optimal immunity and gut health I typically aim for 80-100 ng/mL.
Medication’s Effect of Vitamin D Levels
Many autistic children have GI complaints and issues with reflux. As a result, acid blockers like Prilosec and Prevacid are often used to help. However, when we decrease the acid in our stomach we also decrease the absorption of nutrients including Vitamin D magnesium, B12, and iron.
If your child is taking an acid blocker it is even more important to supplement with Vitamin D.
Additionally, when you give Vitamin D3 you should give it along with Vitamin K2 (D3+K2). As we learned in the video Lithium and B12 and Their Effect on Autistic Characteristics, lithium acts like a taxi that brings B12 into our cells. Similarly, there’s a partnership with D3 and K2. Without K2, the calcium that our body absorbs is more likely to create calcifications on the heart arteries and in other areas of our bodies.
Vitamin K2 makes sure the calcium that’s absorbed as a result of optimal Vitamin D3 levels is taxied to the bones instead of creating unwanted calcifications in other parts of the body.
A simple finger-stick test is all you need to get started on the road to optimal Vitamin D levels. Then work with your health care provider to find the correct dosage for your child so you can keep their immune system and overall health in tip-top shape.
Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing a great job.
I hope this information has been helpful to you as part of creating Your Autism Game Plan.
Do you have a topic you’d like to learn more about? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org