How we take care of ourselves during pregnancy can certainly affect our unborn babies.
The recent study on autism spectrum disorders revealed that low vitamin D levels at birth were linked to the mental condition as seen in children at the age of 3 years. This is a very crucial medical information because a lot of pregnant mothers still do not take into consideration the importance of taking supplements and at the very least Vitamin D.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is very known as the sunshine vitamin, however, it despite the popular belief, it is not a true vitamin. It is a pro-hormone. When we are exposed to the sun’s rays, our body synthesizes vitamin for utilization. We can also get enough portions from food intake and supplements. The role of vitamin D in body functioning is significant as it helps with healthy bone and teeth formation, increases the functions of our immune system and central nervous system. This is where the link to autism spectrum disorder enters. As vitamin D helps with normalizing and regulating brain functions, children with ASD have erratic brain responses that lead to behavioral and emotional concerns.
Other contributions of the vitamin to the body includes regulation of insulin levels and helps in diabetes management, support lung function, and cardiovascular health, and influences the expression of genes involved in cancer development, healthy pregnancy, and healthy babies.
Food sources of Vitamin D
It is not really hard to look for foods that are rich in vitamin D. Mostly are kinds of seafood like herring, swordfish, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna. Other sources are cod liver oil, maitake mushrooms, fortified skim milk, and poultry products. Only be cautious in taking vitamin and strictly follow doctor’s order. Increase vitamin D intake also known as hypervitaminosis D can develop to calcification of bones and hardening of blood vessels which can lead to medical conditions of the kidneys, lungs, and hearts. Early symptoms of hypervitaminosis are a headache and nausea, anorexia or loss of appetite, metallic taste. And digestive problems like vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.
The link between vitamin D to autism
Current research on persons with autism have found that they have low levels of vitamin D. This prompted new studies to elucidate the correlation of mothers not receiving enough vitamin D supply while pregnant and evaluating these children later if they have ASD. In one study in Scotland, 800,000 children in Scotland showed that more children who were conceived in the winter months have autism. Mothers either stayed indoors or the lack of sunlight have contributed to this effect. However, further studies are needed to establish the medical and biology related to strengthening further this claim.
Prenatal care and healthy pregnancy
It is still being advocated by health professionals that once a woman finds out that she is pregnant, immediate consultation with the doctor and following doctor’s orders is very important. if you are suspecting that your child may have ASD, have them evaluated by a specialist to get the right treatment and management.