A recent study suggests that Vitamin D consumption during physical development has an effect on brain power as one ages, leading to speculation that appropriate supplementation in later years can help us retain or even improve mental acuity.
Fibro fog, anyone?
According to several studies (see References section, below, for cites), Vitamin D may, in addition to fighting cancer and keeping our skeletons strong, help improve cognitive abilities. That’s an intriguing finding for those of us fighting fibro fog, the occasional decline in aspects of cognition that can accompany fibromyalgia.
Is it possible to alleviate the memory lapses, the word-searching, and the sudden inability to do simple math with just a daily pill? Well — probably not. But even so, Vitamin D is a necessary substance for good health. It’s unique among vitamins in that our own bodies can manufacture it out of sunlight. Fifteen minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen three times a week — most experts seem to agree that this is sufficient to allow our bodies to do their thing.
However, our ability to make this vitamin decreases as we age, so it’s also important to make sure we eat foods rich in vitamin D. Some good suggestions, in addition to the usual milk and milk products, include salmon, cod, and shrimp. Eggs are also a good choice.
A good multivitamin with vitamin D isn’t a bad idea, but if you want to supplement with 1,000 I.U. or more vitamin D pill, check with your physician first; vitamin D can be toxic in large amounts. 1,000 IU should not produce toxicity by itself, but all sources should be considered.
- “Effects of vitamin D supplementation on symptoms of depression in overweight and obese subjects: randomized double blind trial”; Journal of Internal Medicine; R. Jorde, M. Sneve, Y. Figenschau, J. Svartberg J. and K. Waterloo; December 2008 and “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with low mood and worse cognitive performance in older adults”; American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry; C. H. Wilkins, Y. I. Sheline, C. M. Roe, S. J. Birge and J. C. Morris; December 2006, both quoted in “Mental Health Benefits of Vitamin D” — Michele Turcotte: LiveStrong.com (accessed Nov. 7, 2009)
- “Vitamin D: Vitamin Dependency, Deficiency and Toxicity” – Merck.com (accessed Nov. 7, 2009)