Vitamin D Deficiency May Lead To Depression And Impaired Cognitive Function

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It is already believed that a lack of vitamin D can increase the risk of depression but what effect might it have on our cognitive function?

Unfortunately not many studies have been done specifically focussing on vitamin D and cognitive function but what has been done is producing some interesting results.

One recent study looked at vitamin D and cognitive function in older women and found that older women who had a lack of vitamin D had twice the risk of cognitive impairment than those who had adequate vitamin D levels.

Dr Cédric Annweiler from Angers University Hospital in France told Medscape that “After accounting for all potential confounders, our findings showed an association between vitamin D deficiency and global cognitive impairment. These results are congruent with fundamental research and add to the growing body of evidence in favor of the neurological action of vitamin D” he said.

Research conducted at Buffalo University found that low vitamin D levels were associated with more advanced physical disability and cognitive impairment in people with multiple sclerosis.

Then according to Amie Peterson, MD, of Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Vitamin D may have anti-inflammatory properties that help keep brain blood vessels and brain tissue healthy.

Dr Peterson et al checked the vitamin D levels of 150 older people living alone and gave them a standard cognitive function test. What the results showed was that the lower the vitamin D levels, the lower the score on the test.

So until future research sheds more light on the exact nature of how vitamin D can affect our brains in the meantime the evidence does suggest that a lack of vitamin D can have a devastating effect on our physical and mental health and can lead to an increased risk of depression and possibly brain atrophy, as well as cancer and other health problems too.

So how do you know if you are getting enough Vitamin D?

Well unless you have your vitamin D levels tested you don’t. The most natural source of vitamin D is from sunlight as vitamin D is produced in the body when the sun’s rays hit our skin, which means that people living in the Northern Hemisphere could be lacking in vitamin D during the long dark winter months. You can also find vitamin D in fish and in fish oils.

The problem with taking vitamin D as a supplement is that vitamin D can be stored in the body and build up to toxic levels over time. If you are worried speak to your doctor for more advice.

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