Well, this is the final installment of my mini-series on Vitamin D, the only vitamin that is actually a hormone! See Vitamin D – Part 1 if this is news to you. The more the research community looks at Vitamin D and “all” areas of health, the clearer the evidence is that keeping your Vitamin D levels in a healthy range helps everything!
So, what about brain health? Oh boy, who doesn’t want a healthy brain? The involvement of Vitamin D in brain function has been the subject of many scientific studies over the last 25 years. People with higher levels of Vitamin D do a better job of making many neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that are associated with proper brain function. Two of these neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, are direct participants in improved mood, lower anxiety, better sleep, clear thinking and even long term memory. And, this is only a partial list!
In addition to everyday brain health, the research also shows that low Vitamin D levels in the body actually play a direct part in the development of such serious conditions as Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Even recovery from traumatic brain injuries is affected by Vitamin D.
All-in-all, Vitamin D is one very critical factor in your general health. Next time you have blood tests done see if your doctor will also order a Vitamin D level. The number will tell you how close you are to healthy levels. If your levels are low, you can do the things necessary to bring it up. Remember in Vitamin D – Part 2 I said that my level was 11 when I first checked it a few years ago? That was seriously too low. The last time I checked it (2 months ago) it was 52. This is a healthy level, not perfect but healthy. My target is 60 to 80 and I am getting close.
Healthy levels of Vitamin D make a world of difference for brain health, whether you’re a kid, a great-great-grandmother, or everyone in-between. There are no guarantees that you brain will stay healthy all your life but it sure would be nice if it did. And, yes, good old Vitamin D will help!!