Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Vitamin A and autoimmunity
An interesting study due out this month in "Nature Medicine" journal may have some relevance to the use of Vitamin A (either as high dose vitamin A taken on a monthly basis and for many, as a daily dose of Cod liver oil) in the biomedical approach to treating autism/Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) protocol which has a great focus on nutrition for autism. We know that our immune dendritic cells, which are the microbe-sensors of the immune system, can send out an alert to stimulate immunity, or a message to calm the immune response and tone down an excessive immune response. It seems that the message to calm excessive immune response uses vitamin A, which may explain the link between vitamin A deficiency and certain autoimmune and other diseases. It may be that infection with bacteria and viruses that cause chronic infections have evolved strategies that alter the signal balance to their advantage. A friendly reminder: those who take high doses of Vitamin A should always monitor blood levels!