It shows the dramatic healing capacity of Vitamin D3 on one of the most baffling epidemics of modern time - childhood Autism.
Note: The mother's letter below has been edited for brevity. You can
read the full account on the Vitamin D Council's newsletter archives,
Another Autism Case Report.
Reprinted with permission.
Dear Dr. Cannell:
At age 2.5 years, between December 2007 and January 2008, my son
experienced a fairly dramatic onset of symptoms that led to his
diagnosis of autism.
We took our son to see a number of specialists during the winter of
2008 including a neurologist (who diagnosed him with Asperger Syndrome),
a psychologist (who diagnosed with autism), and a second psychologist
who specialized in the treatment of autism (who diagnosed him with
Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not-Otherwise-Specified). All three
diagnoses are on the autism spectrum. He also began seeing an
occupational therapist, a speech therapist, a behavioral specialist, and
a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) doctor for dietary interventions.
We saw a dramatic improvement by April/May of that year. Nearly all
the symptoms on the list above had resolved. We assumed the improvements
were due to diet but he started to go into the sun around that time.
Our son slept well and spent many peaceful, happy and anxiety-free
months during the spring and summer after turning three.
By December, our son's symptoms had worsened further and we decided
to put him in a very expensive and intensive autism treatment program
through our local hospital. He made slow progress during his
participation in the program from January through April. He was also
involved in speech and occupational therapy during the winter months.
During that winter, I was crying to some friends about my son and
describing his seemingly seasonal pattern of symptoms. We had just seen a
second neurologist searching for help, and I was extremely frustrated
when, after listening to my son's symptoms and history, he told me
"There is nothing seasonal about autism," then suggested that we put our son on an anti-depressant. We refused the medication.
One of the friends I was crying to is a research librarian and the
other is a medical researcher. After our conversation, they located and
e-mailed me a few journal articles they thought might help, one of the
articles was by Dr. Cannell and discussed his
vitamin D theory of autism.
Reading the article was one of those "Aha!" moments and I felt hopeful that Dr. Cannell was on to something.
By June our son was released from both speech therapy and
occupational therapy and we were told that he no longer showed any
delays for his age. When he had begun occupational therapy in January,
the OT had been astonished at our son's lack of muscle tone. She
recommended that he also receive Physical Therapy services, so we went
on a long waiting list. Our initial OT was in a car accident, and in May
we were transferred to a new OT.
When the new OT first saw our son, she said could not believe he was
the same child described in the notes. By May the low muscle tone,
hyperactivity and distractibility noted in his file, were no longer
evident. His turn came up for physical therapy and we were told he no
longer needed it.
Our son has always spent a lot of time outdoors in the summer,
without sunblock. He had a happy and relaxing summer. As
fall/back-to-school approached, I began to fear the onset of another
regression and again read the article by Dr. Cannell my friend had sent.
I visited his website and decided we would try a vitamin D
supplement. Our pediatrician did not encourage any dose higher than 400
i.u. (that found in a typical multivitamin) but did write a script to
25-hydroxy level tested.
In August his level was 37, so we started him on 5,000 iu daily and had
his level retested on October 21st. By October his level was 96. The
pediatrician was concerned that this was too high and told us he should
not have more than 400 iu per day.
Knowing that Nov-March are typically his worst months, we reduced the
dosage down only to 3,000 iu from October through mid-December. At an
appointment in December our son was doing wonderfully (none of his usual
fall/winter symptoms yet evident) and the pediatrician told us 3,000 iu
was too much and that we should be giving no more than 400 iu.
In mid-December we reduced the dose to 1,500 iu. By the beginning of
January we noted a marked loss of eye contact. We also noted that our
son was again interchanging his right hand for writing and eating (after
using his left hand exclusively for 8+ months). We increased his
vitamin D level to 4,000 iu daily in early January. On January 11 we had
his 25-Hydroxy level checked on January 11 and found that it was 89. By
the end of January, we and his grandparents noted improvement in his
In January 2010 we attended his preschool conferences. The teacher
had marked cards with the following code (1=age appropriate,
2=developing, 3=area of concern). Our son received 1s in all areas with
the exception of hopping on one foot and balance beam where he received
2s. We were told that he is on par with or ahead of his peers in all
areas (academic, fine motor, etc.), and that his teacher had noted no
unusual symptoms or concerns.
During the fall/winter 2009-2010 our son has been free from nearly
all of the most troubling symptoms that plagued him the previous two
You're welcome. Several things need comment.
First, the symptoms are typical of autism.
Second, the seasonality of symptoms suggest a vitamin D deficient disease.
Third, the treatment in the spring of 2008 seemed effective but, in hindsight, it was simply due to spring sun exposure.
Fourth, as you may now know, light boxes for seasonal affective disorder make no vitamin D.
Fifth, your pediatrician knows little about Vitamin D other than what
committees tell him; your decision to ignore his advice probably saved
your son's brain from further injury, as autism is a progressive
inflammatory destruction of brain tissue.
Sixth, the fact that you needed bed rest and gave birth prematurely suggests you were Vitamin D deficient during your pregnancy.
Seventh, his twin sister has never had autism, despite the same
intrauterine environment. This is consistent with my theory, that autism
is caused from a quantitative, not qualitative, variation is one of the
enzymes that metabolize Vitamin D. That is, there are no structural
differences in these enzymes in autism, only a genetically determined
difference in the amount present. These enzymes are responsive to
estrogen; estrogen protects the brain from being damaged by low Vitamin
D, probably by increasing the amount of activated Vitamin D present,
explaining why boys are four times more likely to have the disease.
The report that your son deteriorated when his dose was reduced from
3,000 to 1,500 IU suggests autistic children need adult doses of Vitamin
D. When you reduced the dose from 3,000 to 1,500 IU/day he worsened
although his level on 1,500 IU/day was probably still greater than 50
ng/ml. This makes me think that dosage needs to be stable and suggests
that Professor Reinhold Vieth's theory of a detrimental seasonal
resetting of the intercellular metabolism of Vitamin D may even be true
at levels above 50 ng/ml, where the body is storing the parent compound,
cholecalciferol, in muscle and fat.
His current dose of 4,000 IU per day is perfectly safe and will give
him a level of 80-100 ng/ml, inside the reference ranges of American
laboratories. Toxicity (asymptomatic high blood calcium) begins
somewhere above 200 ng/ml. Generally speaking, autistic children should
take 2,000 IU per every 25 pounds of body weight for six weeks, then
have a 25(OH)D blood test and adjust the dosage to get into the high end
of the reference range, 80-100 ng/ml.
Although I first published the Vitamin D theory of autism theory 3
years ago, few autistic children are currently treated for their Vitamin
D deficiency. This is due to several reasons. One, those who think,
correctly, that autism is a genetic disease, stop thinking after that,
reasoning that genetic diseases are untreatable. Such thinkers do not
understand epigenetics (upon the genome). Vitamin D is probably the
heart of epigenetics, as nothing works upon the genome like vitamin D.
Secondly, the "all autism is caused from vaccinations" crowd cannot
accept the Vitamin D possibility as it threatens their core beliefs.
They simply cannot change their minds.
Finally, as you now know, organized medicine would say you should
stop the vitamin D and watch your son deteriorate, which is why slavery
to evidence based medicine is fine for scientists and unethical for
John Cannell, MD
Vitamin D Council
This newsletter from Dr. Cannell is one of the most revealing and
informative pieces of information I have read on the powers of “the
Sunshine Vitamin D3” on overcoming Autism.
Please share it with all you know who may benefit from reading it. And I highly recommend subscribing to their
Vitamin D newsletter.