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Vitamin D found to regulate serotonin, suggesting link to depression and autism

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New research set to be published in the Journal of The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology has found that vitamin D indirectly regulates levels of three brain hormones, including serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with mood, appetite, sleep, and social behavior. Depression is commonly associated with low serotonin levels, and raising serotonin levels is the main purpose of prescriptions of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The new study, led by biochemist Bruce Ames, Ph.D., reveals that serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin are all activated by vitamin D. Results showed that vitamin D activates the gene that makes an enzyme which converts the amino acid tryptophan to serotonin.

L-tryptophan has often been used as a natural amino acid therapy for depression, with tryptophan found in high levels in foods such as cheese, turkey, and certain nuts. This new finding has led researchers to suggest that autism and depression may be linked to the reduced serotonin levels caused by deficient vitamin D intake, and vitamin D may be a key supplement for helping prevent and treat these conditions.

The current guidelines for vitamin D levels are concentrations above 30 nanograms per ml. Vitamin D is made in the skin using the sun's radiation, but melanin in dark-skinned individuals and sunscreen inhibit this action. The most recent National Health and Examination survey reports that more than 70% of people do not meet the current vitamin D concentration guideline. Vitamin D levels plummeted over the last 20 years, and autism rates have climbed. This period of the precipitous decline in vitamin D levels and skyrocketing rates of autism and mood disorders coincides with two factors that are affecting exposure to natural sunlight. With sunscreen being heavily promoted and used regularly by many people, and atmospheric modification (artificially generated clouds from aerosol spraying) blocking out wavelengths of light that activate vitamin D synthesis, few people are getting adequate vitamin D from their skin.

Vitamin D is being recognized as a key component of many biological processes. This growing vitamin D deficiency epidemic is apparently contributing to the development of immune system dysfunction, infectious illnesses, and psychiatric disorders, such as depression, insomnia, ADHD, and autism. Vitamin D has been found to help prevent or treat a variety of illnesses, including MS, cancer, and even the common cold and flu.

Another factor which many now believe plays a role in the breakdown of these biological systems is man-made electromagnetic fields, particularly those associated with wireless technologies such as cell phones and cordless phones, WiFi networks, and electrical smart meters. Dietrich Klinghardt, a physician in the state of Washington known for his research in complementary medicine therapies, has pointed to a strong empirical correlation between these EM fields and autism. These fields are known to disrupt sleep and brainwave activity, and they may be doing this by interfering with the ability of the body to synthesize and regulate levels of serotonin and melatonin and other hormones or neurotransmitters. Those concerned about their health and well-being can take steps to protect themselves, which include spending adequate time in natural sunlight, taking supplements of Vitamin D and other key nutrients, and limiting exposure to unhealthy frequencies of man-made electromagnetic radiation.

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