Sunshine Vitamin May Have Other Benefits
Prince George, B.C. – Vitamin D may prove to offer a positive boost to your brain.
Research by Dr. Jacqueline Pettersen at UNBC, looked at the impact high and low doses of Vitamin D had on healthy adults.
Her study found those taking high Vitamin D doses (4000 IU/day) performed significantly better on tasks of nonverbal (visual) memory, compared to both pre-treatment and the low dose (400 IU/ per day) group. Dr. Pettersen also found the benefits were even more pronounced among those with lower levels of Vitamin D to begin with.
““This is one of the first studies to demonstrate a positive effect of vitamin D supplementation on brain function in healthy adults,” says Dr. Pettersen, a cognitive/behavioural neurologist with the Northern Medical Program. “While there has been good evidence that Vitamin D improves memory in animal models, research to date has been limited with respect to humans.”
Vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is not produced in the body but must be either synthesized in the skin in response to the sun’s UVB rays, or through diet. However, there are few good food sources of vitamin D, and at northern latitudes, like Prince George, there are also not enough UVB rays to help make Vitamin D during several months of the year. Unless you take a supplement during the winter (and possibly the summer as well if you take cover from the sun), you are likely to be insufficient.
“These results have implications for public health,” notes Pettersen. “For people living in Northern B.C., and other regions which experience extended winter, the findings suggest that they should be supplementing with Vitamin D during the cold weather months, and also taking a dose that is higher than the current recommended daily amount.”
Dr. Pettersen says it is still not known if taking high doses for long periods should be recommended as there are other factors that should be considered.