Skipping This Vitamin Makes a Stroke Twice as Deadly

You may already know the risk factors for stroke. But new research shows being deficient in this essential vitamin could make a stroke twice as damaging with slow recovery.

You already know that getting more of this vitamin may be the easiest way to add healthy years to your life. Now research reveals it could help protect your brain during a stroke…and even determine your body’s ability to recover after.

Dr. Nils Henninger is a professor of neurology at University of Massachusetts Medical School. Over the course of a year, he studied the blood levels of this vitamin in senior stroke victims. He recently presented his results at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2015.

He and his team found that people with low levels of this vitamin—about 30 ng/mL—had twice the amount of dead tissue in their brains after a stroke. That means even a minor stroke can turn deadly for someone not getting enough of it. But that wasn’t the only risk they faced…

For every 10 ng/mL decrease in their circulating levels, these people’s chance of recovering in what’s considered a normal period of time—three months—was cut in half.1 So they were less likely to improve normally…and were more likely to suffer worse damage.

But worst of all…

About 40% of adults over 50 are deficient in in this vitamin. Their levels are 20 ng/mL or less.2 And if you go by the results of Dr. Henninger’s study… It could mean almost half of adults over 50 could be at risk for more damaging strokes. Not to mention longer recovery times.

What was this critical nutrient?

Vitamin D3.

It makes sense… You already know your D3 levels influence risk factors for having a stroke in the first place. Things like hypertension and diabetes. Not getting enough can have a direct effect on stroke risk too. Studies show inadequate D3 intake can double a woman’s risk of having one.3 But this study shows a clear link to greater severity and longer recovery time. Not just your risk of having a stroke.

But it’s an easy problem to fix.

The first step is to get your D3 levels measured. You can ask your doctor for a 25(OH) D test. This is the most accurate way to know the amount of D3 in your blood. There are also in-home tests you can order online. We recommend you aim for about 60 ng/mL. But if your results come back a little low, there are ways to bring them up naturally.

Spend more time in the sun. Natural sunlight is your best source of D3. It only takes an hour a week—or about eight minutes a day—to get enough. You can also try eating more grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, and wild-caught salmon. If you choose to supplement, look for one that gives you about 5,000 IUs from whole food sources.

In Good Health,

Angela Salerno
Publisher, INH Health Watch

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Health Topic: Diet and Nutrition | Heart and Cardiovascular | Stroke

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