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If you are reading this blog, I am sure that you are familiar with the role of vitamin D in promoting healthy bones and a healthy cardiovascular system as well as reduced risk for diabetes. Additional studies suggest that low vitamin D may be associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. New research just added one more surprise benefit for vitamin D supplementation – vitamin D deficiency in pregnant mothers is linked with autistic traits in the child a few years down the track.

The researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland and the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands examined around 4,200 blood samples from pregnant women and their children and discovered a link between autism and low levels of vitamin D. More specifically, they found that pregnant women who were vitamin D deficient at 20 weeks gestation were more likely to have a child with autistic traits by the age of six.1

The result from this Queensland study seems to support the conclusion from a previous study published in the Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences in 2014, which revealed that Vitamin D deficiency was higher in autism children compared to healthy children.The case–control study conducted between June 2011 and May 2013 surveyed a total of 508 children, 254 of autism and 254 of healthy children. The analysis revealed that Vitamin D deficiency was higher in autism children compared to healthy children.

Most of the vitamin D that we rely on comes from the sun. But things like air quality, long and cold winters at higher latitudes or simply covering up to avoid dangerous uv exposure can limit the amount of vitamin D people draw from sunlight. Rather than taking in more sunlight and, with it, the heightened risk of skin cancer, the researchers suggest that taking vitamin D supplements may be a better path forward.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Connie Wan

Journal References:

  1. Vinkhuyzen, A. E. et al. Gestational vitamin D deficiency and autism-related traits: the Generation R Study, Molecular Psychiatry November 29, 2016; doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.213
  2. Bener, A. et al. Is high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency evidence for autism disorder?: In a highly endogamous population, J. Pediatr Neurosc. 2014 Sept-Dec; 9(3) 227-233.


Seattle Gummy Company (SGC) specializes in formulating gummy nutraceuticals. Gummy is recognized as a broad category of gelatin or pectin-based, chewable sweets that are popular among children and adults alike. You may ask — “why formulating nutraceuticals in a gummy candy?” Fortunately for us, in addition to being delicious, gummy is an extremely effective formulation for delivering bioactives into the blood stream allowing quick absorption and fast action onto the human body.

Pharmaceutical scientists have developed common mechanisms for delivery drugs into human body. Routes of administration are generally classified by the location at which the substance is applied. Common routes of pharmaceutical administration include oral/gastric (through mouth to GI track), topical (skin), transmucosal/sublingual, inhalation, and injection (intramuscular, intravenous, or subcutaneous).  Among these, oral transmucosal absorption is one of the fastest routes because of the rich vascular supply to the mucosa and the lack of a stratum corneum epidermidis. The minimal barrier in oral mucosal membrane results in a rapid rise of bioactives in blood concentrations.

For example, the oral transmucosal route has been used for many years to provide rapid blood nitrate levels for treating heart attack. The drug, nitroglycerine, appears in blood within 1 minute, and peak blood levels of most medications are achieved generally within 10 to 15 minutes, which is substantially faster than when the same drug is administered by the oral/gastric route.1

Another example is the fentanyl Orale, an opioid formulation designed for children through transmucosal administration.2-7 One advantage is that the sustained therapeutic blood levels of the drug offers pain control for hours. This contrasts with the extremely short duration of analgesia (minutes) with single low doses of intravenous fentanyl. In addition, oral transmucosal administration of the drug avoids the enterohepatic circulation and immediate destruction of the drug by gastric acid or partial first-pass effects of hepatic metabolism, therefore allowing bioactive compound to stay active in the system.

The bioactive must have a prolonged exposure to the mucosal surface in order for significant absorption to occur across the oral mucosa. The chewing, controlled softening and melting of the gummy formulation through SGC’s proprietary formulation process not only provide sufficient exposure time to the mucosal surface but also provide the movements maximizing the surface exposure and distribution of the bioactive over the mucosal membrane therefore further facilitating the absorption.

In summary, delivering nutraceuticals in gummy formulation allows the fast absorption, sustained blood level, and avoidance of the destruction of the bioactive compound. The gummy allows the bioactive compound to quickly access the blood stream and deliver the health benefits. By tapping into the knowledge and experiences from the pharmaceutical industry, SGC scientists have created an effective nutraceutical delivery solution in SGC’s delicious gummy products.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Connie Wan


Scientific References:

  1. Administration of drugs by the buccal route (1987) Lancet. 1:666–667.
  2. Oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate premedication in children (1989) Anesth Analg. 69:28–34.
  3. Oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate for premedication in paediatric outpatients (1990) Can J Anaesth. 37:857–866.
  4. Comparison of oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate and an oral solution of meperidine, diazepam and atropine for premedication in children (1989) Anesthesiology. 70:616–621.
  5. Oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (lollipop) premedication in human volunteers (1989) Anesth Analg. 69:21–27.
  6. Absorption and bioavailability of oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (1991) Anesthesiology. 75:223–229.
  7. Preanesthetic medication in children: A comparison of oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate versus placebo (1989) Anesthesiology. 71:374–377.