Vitamin D, also referred to as the sunshine vitamin, plays a crucial role in your health. It is essential for healthy bones as it helps in the absorption of calcium. Without vitamin D, bones cannot use calcium, rendering it useless, and lowering the strength of one’s bones.
Besides, assisting in maintaining healthy bones, vitamin D is crucial for boosting the health of the endocrine function, immune system, and the cardiovascular system. Research points out that a lack of vitamin D may comprise immune health, ante up the risk of hypertension, and negatively impact insulin secretion among people with diabetes type II.
Recently, studies have been finding an association between vitamin D and brain health.
Vitamin D And Brain Health – What Does Past Research Say?
Extensive research in recent times attempts to uncover the relationship between vitamin D and brain health. One of the latest studies found out a link between vitamin D shortage and an increased risk of schizophrenia.
Other studies on rodents indicate that vitamin D deprivation culminated in brain damage. The rodents also performed poorly on cognitive tests. What’s more, researchers have also noted that people who survive a cardiac arrest have reduced odds of recovering from brain function if they show low levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D And Brain Health – What Does The Latest Study Say?
The latest study that appeared in the journal Trends in Neurosciences learned of a link between brain function and vitamin D. The research has been conducted by Thomas Burne who is an associate professor at the University of Queensland Brain Institute in St. Lucia, Australia, and his colleagues.
Burne opined, “Unfortunately, exactly how vitamin D influences brain structure and function is not well-understood, so it has remained unclear why deficiency causes problems.” To study the matter, Burne and his colleagues deprived the subject adult mice of vitamin D for 20 weeks.
After this duration, researchers conducted some cognitive tests to compare the experiment group of mice with a control group. The tests showed that mice, which had a lack of vitamin D were less likely to learn new things and remember them as compared to mice in the control group.
Further scans showed that the brains of the rodents had reduced perineuronal nets in the hippocampus, which is the brain area that is key for memory formation. These nets act like “scaffolding” in the brain, forming a supportive mesh of some neurons that help stabilize contacts of these calls with other neurons.
However, the researchers outlined that there was a significant reduction in the number and strength of connections between neurons in the hippocampus of the brain. The possible explanation is that a shortage of vitamin D makes these perineuronal nets more exposed to the degrading enzyme action. There is, of course, more research that is needed to understand this though.
In conclusion, not only is vitamin D essential for bone health and the immune system but also the brain. Therefore, it is important that you spend some time outdoors and have vitamin D enriched foods.