It’s no secret that vitamin D is good for you.
Certainly, it’s great for bones. Vitamin D helps prevent other serious health problems, like high blood pressure. And, it’s critical for your immune system.1
You probably already know all that. But here’s something you may not know…
An interesting new study about vitamin D shows that it can protect you from one of the most debilitating brain diseases…
Much like Alzheimer’s, this disorder primarily affects older people. But for some reason, you don’t hear as much about it. Now this study sheds new light… and offers new hope.
A group of scientists recruited 157 patients with early signs of this disease. They tested the patients’ blood twice in one year.2
They all had this disease. They all had low levels of vitamin D.
These patients had Parkinson’s disease. It’s an illness that affects up to 1 million people in the U.S. and can have devastating effects.3
But as the researchers explain, Vitamin D seems to control many body processes. It affects cell growth, protects cells from damage due to pollution and chemicals, and keeps hormones in good working order.4
All this helps keep the body running smoothly. The muscles, spine, and brain all have “vitamin D receptors.”
That’s why Vitamin D is essential to the nervous system.5 And that’s how vitamin D is linked with Parkinson’s disease.
Some disorders related to Parkinson’s are also linked to low levels of vitamin D. People with balance problems, weak muscles, and thinking problems are often vitamin D-deficient.6 Same with Alzheimer’s.
But it goes way beyond that…
Low vitamin D is also linked to diabetes, multiple sclerosis,7 heart disease, and kidney disease.8,9
What’s more, this crucial vitamin lowers your risk of pancreatic cancer.10 And vitamin D reduces risk of colon, breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, too.11
Why? Most likely because it boosts your immunity. It sets the body’s T cells into action. Those cells destroy harmful invaders.12
What’s the best source?
Vitamin D can be found in some foods. Your best bets are oily fish, such as herring, mackerel, and sardines. But you aren’t going to get enough just by eating these foods.
In fact, according to noted researcher Dr. Michael Holick, the average light-skinned person will produce up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D within just half an hour of summer sun exposure. You would have to eat 58 cans of sardines to get the same amount of vitamin D.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. The absolute best way to get this vitamin is through sun exposure.
There’s a catch though…
Your body might not absorb enough that way either. Your age, skin tone, body mass index, the season, and even your location make a difference. People with dark skin don’t absorb very much vitamin D from the sun. And people living in North America won’t get much “D” from the sun during winter.13
In addition, we gradually lose our capacity to produce vitamin D from sunlight as the body ages – a time when we need it most. According to Dr. Iain Lang, one of the authors of the Alzheimer’s and vitamin D study, “Getting enough vitamin D can be a real problem, particularly for older people, who absorb less vitamin D from sunlight.”
The only way to know if your vitamin D levels are putting you at risk for cognitive impairment – and a host of other diseases – is to have your levels tested. Just ask your doctor. It’s a simple test.
The optimal level of vitamin D ranges from 50-70 mg/ml. If your levels fall below this range, you should make plans to enjoy some time in the sun more often (without burning). If that is not possible or practical, consider supplementing your diet with vitamin D3. Don’t rely on a multivitamin. You’ll likely get less than 400 IU daily, which is not enough.
Then check your levels again after a few months to ensure they are within range.
Vitamin D is one of the most powerful and important compounds to your health. We already know that it can reduce your risk for cancer and promote a strong immune system. And now we know that it can protect your brain too. So preserve your mind and precious memories by making plans to enjoy some time in the sun each week.
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