High Levels of Vitamin D Make the Brain Super Smart

Vitamin D supports many functions in the body, including immune responses and maintaining healthy bones. Dietary sources include fatty fish and fortified beverages (such as milk or orange juice); brief exposure to sunlight also provides a dose of vitamin D.

Many studies have implicated dietary or nutritional factors in cognitive performance or function in older adults, including many studies of vitamin D, but all of them are based on either dietary intakes or blood measures of vitamin D.


Is Vitamin D Supplement Good for Dementia Prevention?
Researchers wanted to know if vitamin D is even present in the brain and if it is, how those concentrations are linked to cognitive decline. They examined samples of brain tissue from 209 participants in the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a long-term study of Alzheimer’s disease that began in 1997.

Later, they assessed the cognitive function of the participants, older people with no signs of cognitive impairment, as they aged, and analyzed irregularities in their brain tissue after death.

In the Tufts study, researchers looked for vitamin D in four regions of the brain—two associated with changes linked to Alzheimer’s disease, one associated with forms of dementia linked to blood flow, and one region without any known associations with cognitive decline related to Alzheimer’s disease or vascular disease.

They found that vitamin D was indeed present in brain tissue, and high vitamin D levels in all four regions of the brain correlated with better cognitive function.

However, the levels of vitamin D in the brain didn’t associate with any of the physiological markers associated with Alzheimer’s disease in the brain studied, including amyloid plaque buildup, Lewy body disease, or evidence of chronic or microscopic strokes. This means it’s still unclear exactly how vitamin D might affect brain function.

Dementia is multifactorial, and lots of the pathological mechanisms underlying it have not been well characterized. Vitamin D could be related to outcomes that they didn’t look at yet, but plan to study in the future.

Researchers are planning follow-up studies using a more diverse group of subjects to look at other brain changes associated with cognitive decline. They hope their work leads to a better understanding of the role vitamin D may play in staving off dementia.

However, experts caution people not to use large doses of vitamin D supplements as a preventive measure. Excessive amounts can cause harm and have been linked to the risk of falling.

Source: Eurekalert

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