With many people focused on the risk of developing skin cancer, according to data from the CDC, almost a quarter of the population of the United States are considered deficient in Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of serious medical conditions. In fact, recent research has suggested that a diet which is low in Vitamin D could actually cause damage to your brain.
How Low Levels of Vitamin D Affects Your Brain
This new research which was reported in the publication Free Radical Biology and Medicine, was from a study led by a team of researchers from the University of Kentucky.
While many experts are aware that a lack of Vitamin D can compromise bone health, they were investigating how a deficiency in Vitamin D could affect other tissues and organs in the body including the brain.
The researchers documented that middle aged rats which had been fed a low Vitamin D diet over a period of several months showed signs of free radical damage to their brains.
The rats showed a significant decrease in their cognitive performances when they were given learning and memory tests. The team also noted that there were a number of different brain proteins damaged during this period.
The Impact of this Research
According to lead author, Allan Butterfield, this has a huge potential impact on the well being for a large proportion of the population. Vitamin D deficiency has been documented to be particularly widespread in the elderly, therefore the research was concerned with investigating the effect on “oxidative status” within the brain when Vitamin D levels are low.
The report concludes that adequate levels of Vitamin D are essential in order to “prevent free radical damage” occurring in the brain and “subsequent deleterious consequences”.
Low Vitamin D levels have previously been associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease, certain cancers and heart disease. Many people would therefore benefit from ensuring that they consume Vitamin D rich foods, supplements or have daily sun exposure of a least ten to fifteen minutes.