#2 Update re:COVID-19

Greetings, everyone!

Please read the two preceding Covid blog posts before reading this one and continue following Dr.Fauci’s recommendations. Since I last posted we have learned a few more things about COVID-19 and, as time passes and we learn from our experiences and those of others, more will be shared.

  1. Zinc – Loss of taste and loss of smell are also probable symptoms of the virus. Both these conditions are often associated with a deficiency of zinc. Zinc is critical for proper immune function and for proper utilization of vitamin A. Vitamin A is critical for lung health and immune function. Increasing intake of food sources of zinc is recommended. (You are already eating your orange vegies and dark leafy greens for your A, right?) Pumpkin seeds, beans and nuts are all good sources of zinc.
  2. Potassium – Potassium is critical for proper lung function, specifically for the abilitiy of the lungs to expand and contract. The Covid virus causes a specific type of pneumonia where this elasticity is lost. Broths are an excellent source of potassium and other nutrients. Consume them daily. If you have the clinic handbook there are recipes in the Appendix/Broths section. I am including a few below. I mention broths, and potato soup  specifically because of the case of an elderly nursing home patient who was told she would not survive. She did. And her family credits the daily potato soup for saving her life. Below is a link to the CBS news story of that woman and her potato soup.

Covid and potato soup

Through my years in practice I have always been amazed at how the difference between those patients who survived life threatening illness and those who did not were often simple, time proven remedies and actions. Consider increasing your intake of foods high in potassium – potatoes, avocados, prunes, etc. Also, my apologies to the potato-buying- folks of the last post – your instincts were right! Kudos to you! (Just don’t forget your onions, garlic, and orange vegies, too!)

   3. Breathing exercises.  These have already been recommended however, I have attached 2 videos for you. Wim Hof has been extensively     studied by science. Do use common sense. Practice on an empty stomach only. If you have a preexisting lung condition or are weak, consult your health care provider, first. The Holotropic technique is similar. There are also gentler yoga breathing technique videos online.

   4. Preventive herbs – The Covid-19 virus has over a 96% equivalency to the SARS virus.  We know from the SARS epidemic that those health care workers who took herbs that strengthened the immune system did not become ill compared to those health care workers who did not take herbs (from a study of 16,000 health care workers). The same has been found to be the case in China with this virus. What did they take?  They took a combination of herbs based around a common over the counter formula called Jade Windscreen (Yu Ping Feng San). As mentioned earlier, it is recommended that you do what you know works best for your body for strengthening it against upper respiratory infections.

All good medicine,





COVID-19 Update 3/18/20


This photo was sent to me a few days ago. It is of a grocery shelf in  the Twin Cities. It made me very sad. The shelves were emptied of red and white potatoes. Good foods, yes, but not particularly helpful to the immune system or lungs. The upper shelf with garlic – ignored! The yams ignored! Garlic is an ancient wonderful antiviral medicine that strengthens the entire body! Yams are a wonderful food for strengthening the lungs! The lungs are very susceptible to this particular virus. Folks are bypassing the very foods that will most protect them……Have we forgotten everything our ancestors taught us?

As of March 17, 2020 this is the latest information I have been able to obtain regarding the Chinese experience with the Covid virus. This new global experience is sobering as it continues to evolve. The recommendations in the previous blog post for self care still hold. i.e. Onions, garlic, and orange vegetables.
Incubation: 2-14 days
– Signs and symptoms: fever, dry cough, sneezing, funy nose, sputum production, nasal congestion, shortness of breath, lethargy, dehydration;
– 5-10% of patients: diarrhea or nausea (before fever and difficulty breathing)
~80% of patients had lymphopenia (low lymphocyte count)
– Mild thrombocytopenia common; Low count – poor prognostic sign
Ibuprofen not recommended
– Of hospitalized patients: 10-20% admitted to ICU
– 3-10% require intubation
– 2-5% die
– Sustained lung damage in survivors of severe form
More than 85% of patients with confirmed coronavirus received herbal treatment along with western medicine treatments
– Four phases (Wuhan hospital):
– 1) Prevention Phase: All patients given an herbal formula that contained antivirals, strengthened the immune system, and supported lung health; and acupuncture – S36 and CV6, for 15’ 2x/day, (afternoon and evening.)
– 2) Early Phase: generic symptoms – low grade fever, headache, chills, ticklish throat, sore muscles; Lung CT scan negative. Patients were given different herbal formulas based on presenting status
– 3) Pneumonia phase: symptoms – fever, especially in the afternoon, alternating chills with fever, cough, bitter taste in mouth, dry mouth, chest discomfort, difficulty breathing, asthma, wheezing, thirst, nausea or vomiting, bloating, reddish urine, no appetite, weakness, loose stool; CT scan of lungs reveals pneumonia. Herbal formulas appropriate to symptom pattern.
– 4) Recovery phase: no fever, dry cough, dry mouth, weakness, shortness of breath, stuffy chest. Herbal formulas appropriate to symptom pattern.
Doctors and hospital personnel with no symptoms were all given herbal formulas to support the immune system and lungs.
– At the height of the epidemic, hospitals were overwhelmed. Doctors in full hazmat gear worked in 6-8 hour shifts. No breaks, no water, no food, no bathroom breaks (they wore diapers).

Lotus Institute of Integrative Medicine

Integrative treatment has proven effective in China with low mortality rate. In one study, integrative treatment led to a 91.4% recovery rate with 5.9% progressing from moderate to severe, a marked improvement over conventional treatment, which resulted in 61.1% and 35.3% respectively.

New England Journal of Medicine
February 28, 2020

Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China, Guan, et al.

Since December 2019, when coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) emerged in Wuhan city and rapidly spread throughout China, data have been needed on the clinical characteristics of the affected patients.
We extracted data regarding 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 from 552 hospitals in 30 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities in mainland China through January 29, 2020. The primary composite end point was admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), the use of mechanical ventilation, or death.
The median age of the patients was 47 years; 41.9% of the patients were female. The primary composite end point occurred in 67 patients (6.1%), including 5.0% who were admitted to the ICU, 2.3% who underwent invasive mechanical ventilation, and 1.4% who died. Only 1.9% of the patients had a history of direct contact with wildlife. Among nonresidents of Wuhan, 72.3% had contact with residents of Wuhan, including 31.3% who had visited the city. The most common symptoms were fever (43.8% on admission and 88.7% during hospitalization) and cough (67.8%). Diarrhea was uncommon (3.8%). The median incubation period was 4 days (interquartile range, 2 to 7). On admission, ground-glass opacity was the most common radiologic finding on chest computed tomography (CT) (56.4%). No radiographic or CT abnormality was found in 157 of 877 patients (17.9%) with nonsevere disease and in 5 of 173 patients (2.9%) with severe disease. Lymphocytopenia was present in 83.2% of the patients on admission.
During the first 2 months of the current outbreak, Covid-19 spread rapidly throughout China and caused varying degrees of illness. Patients often presented without fever, and many did not have abnormal radiologic findings. (Funded by the National Health Commission of China and others.)


Sources available upon request.

COVID-19 and Your Immune System

NOTE: If you have a current chronic health condition, especially a chronic lung condition, or are in any way immuno-compromised, self-isolation is recommended.

There is much that we do not know. Our scientists are working to provide us with the data we need to prevent and treat COVID-19. We are learning from those countries who have more experience with this disease. The following may be of interest:


Experience of a Chinese doctor working in an integrated health hospital in Wuhan China (epicenter of the Covid19 pandemic): These are her notes. Data is continuing to be compiled.

30 patients in this group
Only 4 were elderly.
Admitted 2/4,5/2020.
All had a fever.
All had a dry cough.
Most had a thick white tongue coating.
Most patients received both antiviral pharmaceuticals and Chinese herbs.
If fever reducing pharmaceuticals were given the fever tended to recede and spike repeatedly taking 3-5 days to subside.
Patients given herbs saw a shorter duration of fever of 0.5 – 2 days.
Symptoms peaked at approximately 1 week into the infection.
The fever then subsided at which time the cough worsened to pneumonia. This prompted a change in protocol to include phlegm reducing herbs before symptoms started to show.
Patients who were able to cough up the phlegm improved quickly.
15 patients were discharged from hospital 2/25/20 with no residual lung involvement.
Some patients had lung damage including fibrosis.
This doctor also noted that those of her regular patients who practiced healthy living habits in the preceding year did not get sick even though they lived in Wuhan.

Source: Lotus Institute of Integrative Medicine


In all pandemics there are those that survive and those that do not. It behooves us to learn from those who survive so that we can incorporate those actions ourselves. People who live appropriately for their own body/mind adapt and do well. Genetics and pre-existing illnesses are important and there are many things everyone can do to optimize one’s health.

The best defense against any disease is a strong and healthy immune system. So here’s a little reminder of those things that may help keep you healthy:

  • Daily fresh air – do daily breathing exercises; (air your house out 1+x/week)
  • Drinking pure water
  • Eating whole foods especially steamed orange vegetables and steamed dark leafy greens.
  • Eating fresh raw garlic, onions, apples daily, drinking immune boosting herbal teas, anti-flu herbs, and using herbs such as thyme, sage, and oregano in your daily cooking (these items can vary); eating soups daily e.g. 100 garlic chicken soup
  • Eating appropriately for your age, gender, health status, and circumstances
  • Do not overwork
  • Sleeping 7-8 hours per night and waking refreshed
  • Eliminating stressors (no junk food, sugar, white flour,etc.)
  • Maintain good eliminative function (2-3BMs/day)
  • Sauna baths 1-4x/wk
  • Additionally, take care to avoid getting chilled in the cold, damp spring air (dress warmly). Also, avoid the harsh dry air of the indoors (simmer water on the stove). Spring is also a great time to clean up the diet and do a cleansing fast. At the very least, do good things for your liver and avoid aggravating it. (Liver is critical for proper immune function).
  • Doing yoga
  • See your chiropractor, or osteopath.

For more detailed info refer to the following sections in your handbook (The 12 Elixirs):

  1. Appendix: Organ Maintenance – Lungs, Large intestine, Spleen, Liver, and others as fit your system.
  2. Appendix: Broths, especially onion soup.
  3. Appendix: Food
  4. Appendix: Cleansing
  5. Part III
  6. Chapter 6 Environment

Disease never comes out of the blue. Viruses, bacteria, molds, etc. ebb and flow in their appearances depending on the milieu they are in. In other words, environment is everything – the environment outside of us and the environment inside of us. We have immediate and almost total control of our own internal environment (immune system) and we have some control over our external environment. As climate continues to change we will see more and more ‘new’ illnesses. Practicing healthy living habits that change to adapt with the environment and that fit your own body is critical for developing a robust, flexible, and adaptive immune system. The plants and animals of our world are in the same boat. They are bit smarter, though. They instinctively adapt their diets/lifestyle to the changing environment and this includes making chemicals within their tissues that protect them from viruses, bacteria, molds, etc. The field of zoopharmacology is slowly being integrated into human medicine and its none too soon.  (Chen et al. BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:24 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1746-6148/10/24 (Elderberry and chicken coronavirus)

All good medicine,


For a relaxing photo essay of some health reminders click here:


Your Brain and the Cost of Modern Medicine

The latest research indicates that dementia is associated with unhealthy gut bacteria levels.*

Antibiotic overuse, antimicrobial soaps, germ paranoia, cholesterol misinformation – all brought to us by well-meaning but overly anxious authorities of the medical establishment. Sage advisors were ignored and poorly thought out recommendations were put in place.

So now, the results are in. We are dealing with several generations  raised on low-fat, fake fat, or no-fat diets. Fats are necessary for healthy brain development and function, proper immune function, and proper hormonal function. Three areas of human health in crisis. **

Drug and pesticide overuse –   in our bodies, in our food supply, and in our environment have led to depleted and damaged levels of good bacteria in our bodies, in our food supply, and in our environment.

The ancients recognized the importance of the gut to brain health and that (healthy) longevity was dependent on that healthy relationship.

At any rate, no worries – that only upsets your gut flora more – just clean up your diets (Mediterranean diet is a good place to start), eat your kraut, play in the dirt, support your organic farmers, and talk to your legislators – change starts with you. Let’s make the next generations healthier than the current ones.


All good medicine,


*More Evidence Links Gut Bacteria to Dementia

HONOLULU —  Depletion of certain gut bacteria, and an elevated level of other bacteria, are associated with an increased risk for dementia, a new study suggests.
“Although our study has numerous limitations, the results suggest that the gut microbiome could be a new target for the management of dementia,” study author Naoki Saji, MD, PhD, Vice Director, Center for Comprehensive Care and Research on Memory Disorders, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology in Japan, told Medscape Medical News.
Doctors should urge patients to “take care of their gut,” said Saji.
The study was presented here at the International Stroke Conference (ISC) 2019, and published online January 30, 2019 in Scientific Reports.
The gut microbiome refers to microorganisms that live in the digestive tract; there are about a thousand different species of bacteria, comprising trillions of cells. Recent research has correlated certain changes in gut bacteria with inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, and studies have shown that changes in diet can alter gut bacteria.
The gut microbiome has become a hot topic for many experts, including Saji. His research interests include associations between dementia and cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases. He supports the hypothesis that these diseases share common risk factors.
Results of previous research suggest a relationship between the gut microbiome and cardiovascular diseases. “I thought that a relationship between dementia and gut microbiome might be also possible,” said Saji.
The new study included 128 outpatients visiting a memory clinic at their institution; participants had a mean age of 74.2 years and 59% were female.
Researchers collected information on demographics, risk factors, and activities of daily living, and assessed cognitive function using neuropsychological tests and brain MRI scans.
As well, from fecal samples, they determined gut microbiota using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis. This, said Saji, is a well-established and reliable method of classifying gut microbiota.
Investigators divided study participants into demented and nondemented groups. They used multivariable logistic regression models to identify factors independently associated with dementia.
Silent lacunar infarcts and cerebral microbleeds were more frequently seen on MRI scans of patients with dementia, the researchers report.

Decreased Bacteroides

The T-RFLP analysis revealed group differences in components of gut microbiota. For example, levels of Bacteroides (enterotype I), which are organisms that normally live in the intestines and can be beneficial, were decreased in demented compared with nondemented patients.
Other bacteria (enterotype III) were increased in the group with dementia.
Multivariable analyses showed that enterotype I (odds ratio [OR] 0.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.02 – 0.4, P < .001) and enterotype III (OR 12.7, 95% CI 3.3 – 65.8, P < .001) were strongly associated with dementia, independent of traditional dementia biomarkers such as APOE ε4 genetic status; deficits in certain neurochemicals; and high scores on Voxel-Based Specific Regional Analysis System for Alzheimer’s Disease (VSRAD).
Fecal concentrations of ammonia, indole, skatole, and phenol were higher in demented compared with nondemented patients.
These new results indicate that dysregulation of the gut microbiome is independently and strongly associated with dementia, commented Saji.
The study had a number of limitations. One is that the cross-sectional design could not establish a causal relationship between differences in the gut microbiome and dementia. As it had relatively few patients, the study may have been at risk of being underpowered, and the absence of enterotype II among demented patients may have affected the statistical interpretation.
Another possible limitation is selection bias, as the study was performed in a single hospital-based cohort, and possible confounding factors, such as the release of inflammatory biomarkers, and nutritional and dietary parameters, were not assessed.
Despite these drawbacks, Saji noted that the odds ratios in the study were high.
Saji suggested there may be common underlying mechanisms in the effects of gut microbial composition on multi-organ arteriosclerosis.
Analyses of the gut microbiome may not only lead to better ways to manage dementia, but perhaps to a new therapy for the disease.
Saji pointed to a recent report from Kobayashi et al suggesting that Bifidobacterium breve A1 supplementation may improve cognitive function in adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
The 24-week, open-label, single-arm study examined the cognitive effects of the oral supplementation in 27 subjects, 19 of whom completed the study.
To assess cognitive function, the researchers used the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST). They measured mental condition and quality of life for gastrointestinal symptoms using the Profile of Mood States 2nd Edition (POMS2), and the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS).
The study found MMSE scores were significantly increased and GSRS scores significantly improved during the intervention.
Saji pointed to a recent report from Kobayashi et al suggesting that Bifidobacterium breve A1 supplementation may improve cognitive function in adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
The 24-week, open-label, single-arm study examined the cognitive effects of the oral supplementation in 27 subjects, 19 of whom completed the study.
To assess cognitive function, the researchers used the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST). They measured mental condition and quality of life for gastrointestinal symptoms using the Profile of Mood States 2nd Edition (POMS2), and the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS).
The study found MMSE scores were significantly increased and GSRS scores significantly improved during the intervention.

Dietary Role?

Can diet alone boost beneficial gut bacteria enough to affect cognition? Some studies have suggested there may be such an advantage to the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on eating foods like fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, and staying away from unhealthy fats and sugars, said Saji.
Iadecola noted, though, that it may not be this diet per se that affects cognitive function, but its lack of saturated fats.
The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC 2018) in Chicago last summer featured a number of studies that investigated how the digestive system, including gut and liver functions, may be related to changes in the brain, and to brain disorders such as dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, scientists have reported that some species in the microbiome can promote protein build-up in the brain. This may be significant as accumulation of amyloid and tau proteins are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
And recent reports from experiments in AD mouse models suggest that changing the bacterial profile in the digestive tract, by changing their diet, may reduce amyloid plaques, lower inflammation, and improve memory.
The study was supported by the Research Funding of Longevity Sciences; NARO Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution project (Advanced integration research for agriculture and interdisciplinary fields); and the Toyoaki Scholarship Foundation. Saji reports grants from NARO Bio-oriented Technology Research 
Advancement Institution project, the BMS/Pfizer Japan Thrombosis Investigator Initiated Research Program, the Toyoaki Scholarship Foundation, the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED). Iadecola has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
International Stroke Conference (ISC) 2019: Poster WP569. Presented February 6, 2019.
Scientific Reports. Published online January 30, 2019.
(Thank you to NutriDyn for this article)

Genes – Destiny – Disease


Lake Superior

People of a certain age will recall that at one time it was thought that one’s genetic code was one’s inalterable destiny. Today, science has proven to us that it is not quite so.. Remember the scientific belief that 98% of  DNA was ‘junk’? (A poor euphemism for “we don’t know what 98% of DNA does”). Turns out, with further study, that the DNA ‘junk’ consists of millions of switches that can determine how, when, and where to turn genes on and off. We actually have profound opportunities to alter our genes.

Environmental influences, such as a person’s diet and exposure to pollutants, can affect which genes get turned on.

Therefore, eat, drink, and be merry! (i.e. eat healthy food, drink healthy liquids, live in a clean environment, and laugh!)

All good medicine,



DNA switches for disease


Cell phones and fertility

If you have the habit of carrying your cell phone in your pants pocket you might wish to reconsider.

Studies show that about 14% of couples in industrialized countries have difficulty in conceiving a child. Male infertility is a contributing cause 40% of the time. Another recent study showed decreased sperm motility and viability associated with exposure to cell phones.*

Our love affair with technology has tended to blind us to potential dangers. The scientific studies suggesting  negative health effects of cell phone use are piling up. Keep your phone off your body and, as suggested in The 12 Elixirs,  take a day off per week from all electronics.


All good medicine,



*Effect of mobile telephones on sperm quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis☆Jessica A.AdamsaTamara S.GallowayaDebapriyaMondalaSandro C.EstevesbFionaMathewsa


Your Legs – Your Brain

Just in case you needed another reason to start hiking, walking, climbing, dancing, running this year 😉   ….
New research shows that leg exercise is an important mechanism for brain regeneration.
Large leg muscle activity such as climbing stairs and running triggers the production of the stem cells that the brain uses to renew itself.
In mice, immobilization caused a 70% decrease in nerve stem cell activity.
Happy New Year! Dance the night away!
All good  medicine,
2018 May 23;12:336. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00336. eCollection 2018.

Germs and “I” Cloud


In a scene from the current film Embrace of the Serpent an Amazonian shaman blows smoke across the body of a sick woman to heal her. Incense, smoke, and simply the air blown from our lungs have been used in healing for a very long time. Generally ignored by science, these methods  now bear re-examination.

Recent studies* have demonstrated what the ancients knew all along – that

each of us is surrounded by a cloud.

 A cloud that can affect our health. It is, in fact, a cloud of your own unique bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It is so unique that your presence in a room can be positively identified even though you may be long gone. Call it your “I” Cloud.

That cloud of microbial essence is determined by how you live – what you think, eat, drink and breathe. It is also affected by others around you – and their clouds of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It is certainly possible therefore, that if you change your ‘cloud’ you may be able to change your health. The use of incense, for example frankincense,  is not only  pleasant to smell it is also a powerful antiseptic – a powerful healer. Suddenly the notion of traditional methods of healing that can affect a person’s bacterial cloud no longer appear quite so mysterious.

All good medicine,


*Meadow JF, Altrichter AE, Bateman AC, Stenson J, Brown G, Green JL, Bohannan BJM. (2015) Humans differ in their personal microbial cloud. PeerJ 3:e1258 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1258

Health and Light

Light pollution is a threat to human health, the health of ecosystems, and esthetics.  There is a growing body of studies showing that

we are both overexposed to light at night, and underexposed to natural light during the day.

Light exposure affects our moods, hormones, fertility, and immune system. Excessive night light exposure is associated with increased breast cancers.

Earth Hour is March 24, 2018, 8:30-9:30PM local time. Turn off your lights.

The 12 Elixirs – chapter 21 – the fourth elixir: Sleep –

maintain a totally dark bedroom!

Get outdoors during the day!!!

Logo of envhper

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Increase in Artificial Night Sky Brightness in North America


Temporal organization of physiology is critical for human health. In the past, humans experienced predictable periods of daily light and dark driven by the solar day, which allowed for entrainment of intrinsic circadian rhythms to the environmental light–dark cycles. Since the adoption of electric light, however, pervasive exposure to nighttime lighting has blurred the boundaries of day and night, making it more difficult to synchronize biological processes. Many systems are under circadian control, including sleep–wake behavior, hormone secretion, cellular function and gene expression. Circadian disruption by nighttime light perturbs those processes and is associated with increasing incidence of certain cancers, metabolic dysfunction and mood disorders. This review focuses on the role of artificial light at night in mood regulation, including mechanisms through which aberrant light exposure affects the brain. Converging evidence suggests that circadian disruption alters the function of brain regions involved in emotion and mood regulation. This occurs through direct neural input from the clock or indirect effects, including altered neuroplasticity, neurotransmission and clock gene expression. Recently, the aberrant light exposure has been recognized for its health effects. This review summarizes the evidence linking aberrant light exposure to mood.


Transl Psychiatry. 2017 Jan; 7(1): e1017.
Published online 2017 Jan 31. doi:  10.1038/tp.2016.262
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1998 Jan;48(1):73-9.

Autism and the Mother’s Nutrition

A recent study demonstrated that mothers who took supplements during pregnancy had a lower number of children with autism than mothers who did not take supplements. The study suggests that (!!!) the nutritional state of the mother during pregnancy may have a significant impact on the health of her child.

See chapters 11-14 of The 12 Elixirs for more information on nutrition and the health of our children.

“An international collaboration led by the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Drexel University (Philadelphia, USA) set out to investigate the association between mothers’ use of supplementation during pregnancy and risk of ASD in their offspring who were aged 4 to 15 years.
They analyzed data from the Stockholm Youth Cohort, which included 273,107 mother-child pairs living in Stockholm County (Sweden). Mother’s use of multivitamin, iron, and folic supplementation was reported at the first antenatal visit. Diagnosis of ASD with and without intellectual disability in children was obtained from register data.
The researchers found that the prevalence of offspring ASD with intellectual disability was 0.26% and 0.48% in the maternal multivitamin use group and the non-use group, respectively. This meant that mothers who used multivitamin (with or without additional iron or folic acid, or both) was associated with an average 31% lower risk of ASD in children compared with mothers who did not use supplements. After adjusting for potential confounders and using other analytic methods, similar estimates were found.
However, the association study does not prove that multivitamin use caused lower risk of developing ASD in child. Due to limitations of the data, the study cannot answer how type, timing, and dose of supplement influences the ASD risk. Also, it remains to be determined whether there is a critical window for multivitamin use by mother and whether certain combinations of specific nutrients are responsible for the prevention of ASD.
The study results were published in the journal BMJ (October 2017).
Why is this Clinically Relevant?
  • Maternal nutrition during pregnancy is essential for the wellbeing of offspring. This study indicates it is also associated with lower risk of ASD
  • Clinicians may recommend multivitamin supplement for women who plan to become pregnant or are in early pregnancy
  • It is important to select supplements that are manufactured according to GMP which ensures quality standard


[1] DeVilbiss, E.A., et al., Antenatal nutritional supplementation and autism spectrum disorders in the Stockholm youth cohort: population based cohort study. BMJ, 2017. 359: p. j4273.”
Thank you to Carl  at NutriDyn for this reference.