Vitamin D could slow down brain in older people

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Vitamin D, often celebrated for its role in keeping our bones strong, also has a place under the sun when it comes to our brain’s health. A recent study from Rutgers University takes a closer look at this connection, focusing on older adults.

Most of us know that we can get vitamin D from just being in the sunlight. It’s also available in supplements for those who might not spend enough time outdoors or have a hard time absorbing the vitamin naturally.

Besides its well-known benefits for bones, there’s a growing interest in how vitamin D might influence our brain, especially how we think and process information.

The study zoomed in on a group of women between the ages of 50 and 70. These women were a bit on the heavier side, either overweight or obese. The researchers were curious about how vitamin D would affect their memory and how quickly they could react to things happening around them.

To find out, they divided the women into three groups, each taking a different amount of vitamin D every day for a year. The first group took 600 international units (IU), which is the usual amount recommended.

The second group took a bit more, 2,000 IU, and the third group doubled that to 4,000 IU. All the women were also encouraged to lose some weight during the study.

Here’s where things get interesting. The women who took 2,000 IU of vitamin D each day started to show better memory and were able to learn new things more efficiently. However, when it came to how quickly they could react, there was a catch.

Those on 2,000 IU a day were a bit slower in their reactions, and for those taking 4,000 IU, the delay was even more noticeable. This slowdown in reaction time is something to watch out for because it could make falls and injuries more likely, especially in older folks.

Past studies have also hinted that taking too much vitamin D, like 2,000 IU daily or more, might actually make people more prone to falling.

So, while a dose of 4,000 IU might seem like a good idea for getting more vitamin D, it could end up making walking or staying balanced harder for older people.

This study opens the door for more questions than it answers, signaling a need for more research.

It’s particularly important to figure out if slower reaction times really do lead to more falls. And since everyone’s different, finding out whether men and women need different amounts of vitamin D could be helpful too.

For those of us keen on keeping our brains in tip-top shape as we age, there’s more good news.

Other studies suggest that eating like you live along the Mediterranean sea, loading up on Vitamin B, sticking to a high-fiber diet, and getting plenty of antioxidants could all be beneficial for brain health, possibly even lowering the risk of dementia.

The Rutgers study, led by Sue Shapses and her team and published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, gives us a glimpse into how vitamin D can play a role in our cognitive function as we get older.

It reminds us that while vitamin D can be a valuable ally in maintaining our brain health, finding the right amount is key. Too little might not offer the benefits we hope for, and too much could slow us down in ways we don’t expect.

If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies that bad lifestyle habits can cause Alzheimer’s disease, and strawberries can be good defence against Alzheimer’s.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that oral cannabis extract may help reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms, and Vitamin E may help prevent Parkinson’s disease.

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