The information in Part 3 is based upon clinical observations and not upon actual research studies. We believe there is validity to see, at the very least, possible connections and trends between low D levels in babies and young children and healthy mental development particularly with regard to autism and associated developmental disabilities. These are known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
Many websites including those of CDC (Center for Disease Control) and autism research foundations maintain that the causes of autism are not clearly defined or known. There are many hypotheses and rightly so. Brain development and the causes of ASDs are exceedingly complex and they are affected by many factors both before birth and afterwards. As mentioned in the earlier D Blog Parts 1 and 2, adequate D levels have influence or direct regulatory involvement in at least known 1000 gene functions. And this may be even greater since there are about 2700 known D linkup sites on the entire set of human genes.
POSSIBLE CULTURAL and BEHAVIORAL PATTERNS and SHIFTS THAT COULD GIVE RISE TO LOW D LEVELS
D researchers and doctors have noted trends over the past several decades. These trends include the following:
- Increased mechanization i.e. driving which reduces sun exposure.
- More people doing indoor jobs or shift work (late day or night).
- Fewer people doing their own outdoor chores e.g. gardening and exterior home repair.
- Decreased outdoor school activities i.e. physical education.
- More job mobility and urbanization i.e. more people moving to cities.
- Fear of skin cancer or premature skin aging leading to extreme avoidance of the sun or overuse of sunblocks.
- Start of the electronic revolution i.e. video games, more television shows, more reliance on media to “teach” our children.
These habits and shifts in behaviors quite simply contribute to lower exposure to sunlight and thus lower D production by the body. They have clearly happened and are still happening at an even faster rates in some cases. Many of these trends began to happen in the 1980s and some a bit earlier. Coincidentally, some data recording the occurrence of ASDs beginning back in the 1970s points out the following pattern:
- ASD incidence in the 1970s was about 1 case per 2500.
- ASD occurrence by the new millenium was about 1 case per 250.
- ASD frequency around 2009 – 2010 was at a rate of about 1 case per 110.
Major societal changes happened around these times once computerization took root in the workplace and in home life. This put pressure on productivity demands and improved efficiency. Computer technology applications created a whole new set of employment opportunities that linked more people to desks and keyboards. These jobs put more people into positions of more affluence because both business and home life were now hooked and increasingly dependent upon the few who could create and manage the increasingly complex world of computer technology.
Enter the internet. Downloading. Linking. Streaming. Email. Social media of so many kinds to connect globally. Games for adults. Games for kids. Online betting. Videos on youtube. Music. Movies on demand. One never has to get up to move. Why you can order food to be delivered via online.
There’s an expression that “hindsight is always 20/20”. In the case of D insufficiency and D deficiency it may serve you well to use your hindsight to see the trends. You can then choose to do nothing or you can choose to make some adjustments in your lifestyle based upon this information.
For more insight on this viewpoint, go to The Vitamin D Council website.
To Your Good Health!