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Is Vitamin D Good For The Brain

What Does Vitamin D Do In The Body

Vitamins for Brain Health | ADHD Brain

Maintains strong bones: Vitamin D promotes bone health by helping the body absorb calcium, which is a mineral crucial to keeping bones strong. “Calcium is not very well absorbed by the human intestines. Calcium in your bloodstream interacts with the vitamin D in your blood that goes and activates cells in your bone to help you make stronger bones,” says David Cutler, MD, family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.

Promotes muscle strength: Vitamin D can aid in keeping muscles strong. A study published in Plos One in 2017 showed a positive correlation between muscle strength and vitamin D intake.

Boosts immune system: Vitamin D is crucial for a healthy immune system and good health. Immune system cells such as B cells and T cells have receptors for vitamin D. Essentially, the vitamin helps keep the immune system balanced.

Aids in brain function: Researchers believe there is a link between vitamin D and neurological function. Vitamin D can promote brain development and prevent neurodegenerative conditions. Additionally, preliminary research suggests there may be a link between low vitamin D levels and depression.

Randomized Controlled Trials Of Vd Supplementation

The few randomized controlled trial studies examining the efficacy of VD supplementation suggest that VD intake could also improve stroke outcome and cardiovascular function. A non-blinded randomized controlled trial on 25D3-deficient and -insufficient stroke patients tested the effects of administering single doses of 600,000 IU of Cholecalciferol Intramuscular injections . The experimental group’s mean functional outcomes at 3 months improved by 6.39 points on the Scandinavian Stroke Scale, whereas the control group improved by only 2.5 points . The results of this study, however, are questionable due to the non-blinded nature of the trial. Another randomized controlled trial tested VD-calcium supplementation after 6 months, 25D3-deficient patients with supplementation had a decreased mortality risk compared with the control group and were more likely to attain a good mRS functional outcome . However, at doses of 2,000 IU per day for 5 years, as tested in a nationwide randomized, placebo-controlled trial, VD supplementation failed to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events and mortality .

The Role Of Vitamin D3

Another surprising thing about vitamin D3? Its not actually a vitamin, but a pro-hormone. Its considered a pro-hormone because the body is able to produce it on its own by absorbing sunlight on the skin.

Other vitamins and nutrients are unable to be produced by the body and therefore must be obtained via diet and supplements. The body needs to store a healthy amount of vitamin D in order absorb phosphorous and be able to maintain normal levels of calcium. In fact, vitamin D is essential to many functions in the body:

  • Vitamin D is necessary for the maintenance of strong bones and healthy teeth.
  • Keeping a healthy store of vitamin D gives added protection to such diseases as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.
  • Helps with diabetes management and maintaining healthy insulin levels.
  • Vitamin D offers immune support as well as protection to the nervous system and the brain.
  • Vitamin D is essential to the health of the lungs and cardiovascular system.
  • Helps inhibit the development of cancer.

Also Check: What Is Caltrate With Vitamin D

Benefits Of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in many physiological functions and protects against a variety of health problems.

It is one of the many nutrients required for building strong bones and warding off osteoporosis.

B12 protects against heart disease by removing the toxic amino acid homocysteine from the bloodstream.

It may reduce the severity and frequency of allergies and asthma attacks.

Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy hair, nails, and skin and is sometimes prescribed topically to treat eczema and psoriasis.

It is sometimes used to relieve the pain and nerve damage of shingles.

When taken with other B vitamins, it reduces the risk of macular degeneration, an eye disease that eventually leads to blindness.

Functional Outcomes From Observational Studies

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25D3 deficiency has been linked to greater stroke severity and negative post stroke outcomes . Lower serum 25D3 levels in patients with stroke are independently associated with higher infarct volumes, although causality has yet to be determined . Overall stroke severity, assessed using the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, was worse in 25D3-deficient patients with stroke, whereas patients with sufficient to optimal VD levels had lower scores on that scale, or less severe strokes, on average . Short-term post stroke outcome, measured by the modified Rankin Scale at patient discharge, was similarly poorer among 25D3-deficient patients with stroke . 25D3-deficient patients also had higher mRS scores 3 months post stroke, reflecting relatively worse longer-term outcomes . A significant nonlinear relationship between 25D3 and Barthel Index scores has also been found at 3 months, with the strongest association up to 16 ng/ml 25D3 before the effects of higher 25D3 diminish . Likewise, cognitive impairment at 1 month after ischemic stroke, assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination and adjusted for risk factors, was also significantly higher among 25D3-deficiency patients, although not significantly different between 25D3-sufficient and -insufficient patients . Regarding longer-term outcomes, only one study with a small sample of 50 patients, found no significant correlation between mRS scores and 25D3 after 6 months .

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Remembered To Take Your Vitamins How Vitamin D Can Affect Your Brain

QBI Group Leader Associate Professor Thomas Burne studies brain development and behaviour, and recently published research linking vitamin D deficiency to to a range of cognitive disorders. Here he took questions from people across the world on his team’s latest discoveries.

Q: How does vitamin D help the brain?

A: Vitamin D is neuroprotective, regulates the immune system and helps with calcium balance. It is also involved with regulating many genes important for brain function. Although vitamin D is thought of as a vitamin, it acts as a neurosteroid and plays important roles in the brain.

Q: Are there populations that have higher rates of vitamin D deficiency due to seasonal lack of sun exposure or lack of fortified food? And is there a corresponding increase of cognitive disorders in those populations?

A: Great question! There is a clear variation in vitamin D levels around the world depending on latitude and season. There are many epidemiological studies showing an association between season and many brain disorders, including schizophrenia. People with darker skin in colder climates are much more likely to have sub-optimal vitamin D levels than people with lighter skin in colder climates.

Q: Did you provide the rats with vitamin D again after the 20 weeks of deficiency? And if so, did their ability to remember and learn go back to normal? Maybe vitamin D is a key factor in fighting Alzheimer’s?

And one for all you budding students …

Vitamin E: Good For The Brain Good For The Heart

Vitamin E is the collective name for a group of 8 naturally occurring fat-soluble vitamins.

Vitamin E supplements are usually taken for heart health.

Given the rule of thumb that whats good for the heart is good for the brain, youd be right to assume that vitamin E is also good for your brain.

The main brain benefit of vitamin E is helping prevent mental decline as we age, particularly when its paired with vitamin C.

Vitamin E plus C makes a winning combination for combating memory loss.

The vitamin E+C duo is correlated with:

  • maintaining a good memory
  • significantly lowering the risk of developing Alzheimers disease

Vitamin E can minimize the damage caused by a stroke.

The best vitamin E supplements contain the d form, such as d-alpha tocopherol, rather than the dl forms which are synthetic.

Best Food Sources of Vitamin E

Seeds, nuts, avocados, olive oil, shrimp, green leafy vegetables, and broccoli.

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Choosing The Best Vitamin B12 Supplement

Its almost always preferable to get your nutrition from food rather than supplements if possible, but vitamin B12 might be an exception.

For those with compromised digestive systems, supplemental B12 is better absorbed than B12 from food where its bound to protein.

And for some, the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from dietary supplements is limited by how much intrinsic factor is present.

There are a lot of options when choosing a B12 supplement.

Besides being available in the usual tablets, capsules, and liquid drops, it is also available in sublingual tablets, sprays, or lozenges.

This latter group is marketed as being more bioavailable, but studieshave not found this to be the case.

Youll also find several forms of B12 in supplements cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin, and hydroxocobalamin.

There seems to be little difference in absorption or bioavailability for most people.

However, hydroxocobalamin is recommended for anyone with the MTHFR genetic mutation.

It is also the form usually used in B12 injections for treating deficiency.

Strange but true: No plants or animals can synthesize vitamin B12. It can be made only by microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. Even synthetic vitamin B12 supplements require bacteria for production.

Functional Outcomes And Vd On Brain Protection

Getting enough vitamin D may keep your brain healthy.

Prospective population health studies observing dietary intake have previously noted that dietary intake of VD in middle-aged to senior populations has reduced the risk of stroke incidence and mortality . The few randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of VD supplementation suggest that VD intake could also improve stroke outcome and cardiovascular function .

Figure 1. Combination of various proposed mechanisms in endothelial cells for vitamin D prevention/mitigation of ischemic stroke. 1,252D3 diffuses through the endothelial cell membrane, binds to vitamin D receptor , dimerizes with RXR, and translocates into the nucleus. The complex binds to VDRE for transcription of genes resulting in inhibition of renin-angiotensin and activation of SDF1a, VEGF, and NOS pathways for vasodilation and anti-inflammation upregulation of IGF-1 expression of blood brain barrier tight-junction proteins occludin and claudin-5 upregulation of nerve growth factor , which supports neuronal growth, maintenance, and survival.

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Vitamin D And Brain Function

  • Vitamin D deficiency is very common and significantly impacts brain health.
  • Mild cognitive impairment and dementia are common forms of age-related cognitive decline.
  • Both disorders and other aspects of healthy brain function have been consistently associated with levels of vitamin D in the blood.
  • Higher levels of vitamin D appear protective, and lower levels significantly increase the risk for future cognitive dysfunction.
  • Supplementation and regular testing can be helpful in maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D in the body.

Vitamin D Little Help Against Brain Diseases

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 16, 2018 — Vitamin D does little to defend your brain against multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease, a new review shows.

The finding is based on an analysis of more than 70 studies.

“Our work counters an emerging belief held in some quarters suggesting that higher levels of vitamin D can impact positively on brain health,” said study author Krystal Iacopetta, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Adelaide, in Australia.

“Past studies had found that patients with a neurodegenerative disease tended to have lower levels of vitamin D compared to healthy members of the population,” she explained in a university new release.

“This led to the hypothesis that increasing vitamin D levels, either through more UV and sun exposure or by taking vitamin D supplements, could potentially have a positive impact. A widely held community belief is that these supplements could reduce the risk of developing brain-related disorders or limit their progression,” Iacopetta said.

“The results of our in-depth review and an analysis of all the scientific literature, however, indicates that this is not the case and that there is no convincing evidence supporting vitamin D as a protective agent for the brain,” she said.

Study co-author Mark Hutchinson added, “We’ve broken a commonly held belief that vitamin D resulting from sun exposure is good for your brain.”

The study was published July 10 in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.

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High Dose Vitamin D Promotes Severe Persistent Disability In Eae

Vitamin D exerts immunomodulatory effects on cells within the innate and adaptive immune system, which widely express cell surface vitamin D receptors . Therefore, we examined whether the respective vitamin D diet may have affected the frequency of T cells, B cells and myeloid antigen-presenting cells in blood, lymph node and spleen. As indicated in Supplementary Fig. 3, high vitamin D was associated with an increase in frequency of T cells and fewer B cells in the blood. Moreover, in the spleen, these mice contained an elevated frequency of CD11c+ dendritic cells and F4/80+ macrophages.

EAE was induced after chronic vitamin D supplementation. All three treatment groups developed EAE around Day 12 . Mice that received the standard dose of vitamin D developed the lowest scores, as expected based on earlier EAE studies showing that short-term oral vitamin D administration ameliorated EAE and impaired activation and CNS migration of monocytes and T cells . Surprisingly, mice supplemented with high vitamin D dose manifested a more severe EAE course. Mice were maintained on their respective diet throughout the entire disease course. Recognizing nutrition as a potential confounder, we monitored weights daily. While low and high vitamin D groups had modestly higher mean body weights within days after immunization, there were no significant differences in body weights in any groups throughout the disease course .

Tips For Healthy Sun Exposure:

15 Brain Foods To Boost Focus and Memory

The ideal amount of sun exposure should produce somewhere in the range of 10,000 20,000 IU of vitamin D3. This depends upon the amount of body parts exposed, the strength or angle of the sun and the color of the individuals skin.

This is the approximate amount of time each individual skin type needs of sun exposure to get the appropriate 10,000 20,000 IU considering that at least 60% of the body is exposed to sunlight. This would be equivalent to intentionally sun bathing. They should get this amount at least three times weekly in order to fully optimize vitamin D3 levels.

1. Get the Appropriate Sun Exposure For Your Skin Type:

Light skin = 15-20 minutes dailyMedium Skin = 25-30 minutes dailyDark Skin = 40-45 minutes daily

2. Apply a Natural Moisturizer:

Use coconut oil, aloe vera and/or green tea extract as a moisturizer before and after sun exposure for added anti-oxidant protection

3. Supplement Dosage:

If adequate sunlight is not available or attainable than supplement with 5,000-10,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.

I recommend aiming for 1,000 IU per 25 lbs of body weight, so a 150 lb individual would aim for 5,000-6,000 IU. It is possible to get around 1,000 IU daily from food if you eat grass-fed butter, pasture-raised eggs, organic meats or cod liver oil.

Also Check: Where Can I Buy Biotin Vitamins

Other Ways To Reduce Brain Fog

Brain fog symptoms can be related to a number of factors, including nutrient deficiencies, lack of sleep, stress, and even undiagnosed medical issues.

If youre experiencing symptoms such as memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and inability to process information, its a good idea to talk with a healthcare professional.

They can run tests that may help you find out why youre experiencing these symptoms.

For example, medical conditions such as Hashimotos thyroiditis, celiac disease, and anxiety disorders may present with brain fog symptoms (

Vitamin D And Early Brain Development

Until recently, it was thought that only certain peripheral organs could synthesize the final active form of vitamin D. But we now know that human and rodent brains do express the protein necessary for the conversion of vitamin D to its final active form, and also that the nutrient binds to sites on brain cells in a similar pattern in both species. This evidence suggests that vitamin Ds roles during normal brain development are so important that they have been preserved through evolutionary change and that we might learn more about humans by observing the rodent brain.

Growing evidence from a group of studies in both rats and mice indicates that vitamin D is involved in normal structural brain development, though it is not clear yet if that is the case in humans.2 Mice born to mothers that were deficient in vitamin D before and during pregnancy had longer, thinner brains, with enlarged ventricles . These offspring grew more new brain cells than normal during early brain development and had less pruning of excess cells, a necessary process for forming effective brain cell connections. Unfortunately, these effects may be permanent: Some studies report that vitamin D supplementation after birth does not reverse these alterations.

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Cognitive Consequences Of Vitamin D Deficiency

Ronald Devere MD FAAN

I vividly remember , taking two tablespoons of cod liver oil every morning in the winter as a child growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in the late 40s through early 60s. The taste was horrible until the late 50s when it became available in an orange flavor. I was told that this cod liver oil was necessary to replace vitamin D levels, during the winter months when there was much less direct sunlight and less skin exposure because of the heavy winter clothing necessary for the Canadian Prairies. I dont recall giving my children much cod liver oil or other forms of vitamin D when they were growing up in Houston.

It has only been around 25 years since the first report suggesting that the function of vitamin D extended well beyond its classic role in systemic calcium homeostasis.1 Vitamin D has been shown to influence neurogenesis, expression of neurotrophic factors, detoxification and amyloid beta clearance.2,3 Recent population based studies have consistently linked low Hydroxyvitamin D levels to cognitive impairment in older adults in England,4 across Europe,5 and less consistent in United States.6

Before I begin discussing vitamin D and the central nervous system, lets briefly review some basic physiology.


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