Have you read any health news lately? If you have, you've probably come across a story about the importance of vitamin D and its incredible health benefits. So why is it that populations all around the globe are suffering from vitamin D deficiency?
In the past, you might not have thought of getting enough of the sunshine vitamin as anything serious. If this is the case, you couldn't have been more wrong! Not only is vitamin D essential for optimal overall health, it's absolutely vital for a healthy brain, too…
In fact, a 2014 study published in the journal Neurology uncovered that people who are severely deficient in vitamin D face a doubled risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease. This study, led by author David Llewellyn of the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK, is one of the largest of its kind to date.
If you think you might be lacking vitamin D or are serious about staving off the severe condition that is dementia, I urge you to keep reading.
Study reveals a major link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia
The findings of the study were based on 1,658 adults aged 65 years and over. Each subject was generally healthy and able to walk without assistance. The researchers behind the study followed each subject closely for six years.
At the end of the six-year period, 171 of the subjects had developed dementia
. In addition, 102 had developed Alzheimer’s disease. What the researchers discovered was that the subjects who were moderately deficient in vitamin D had a 53% increased risk of developing dementia of any kind.
Those who were severely deficient in vitamin D, on the other hand, saw their risk increase to a whopping 125% over those with adequate levels of the vitamin. What’s more is that researchers noted similar number for Alzheimer’s disease…
Subjects who were moderately deficient in vitamin D were 69% more likely to develop this kind of dementia, while the severely deficient were 122% more likely to develop it.
Llewellyn concluded that while the team expected to find an association between vitamin D deficiency and risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the drastic results came as a huge surprise. In fact, he said that the association was twice as strong as anticipated.
So how can you tell if you’re vitamin D deficient?
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How to determine if you’re vitamin D deficient
In adults, some of the most common signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include struggles with infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a diabetes
diagnosis, and gut troubles such as Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome
If you suffer any of the above symptoms or are simply worried that you’re not getting the amount of vitamin D you should be, you should consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor will be able to test for vitamin D deficiency by giving you a 25(OH)D test, also known as a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test.
Though what’s considered an optimal blood level usually depends on your doctor or the laboratory you go to, most healthcare practitioners recommend a level between 20 and 40 ng/ml.
What to do if you turn out to be vitamin D deficient
The first thing you need to do is to not panic! You can improve your vitamin D deficient condition by simply making a couple of diet and lifestyle changes. Here are my top three tips for optimising your vitamin D levels:
#1: Catch some sun
It isn’t called the sunshine vitamin for no good reason! Lying out in the sunshine for at least 20 minutes each day is by far the best way for your body to obtain optimal levels of vitamin D. Just be sure not to skimp on the sunscreen to prevent skin cancer
and damage. A fantastic all-natural sunscreen you can try that contains no harsh chemicals or parabens is red raspberry seed oil. To read more about this all-natural oil as a natural sun protectant, go here
#2: Take a vitamin D-rich supplement
The second best thing you can do to ensure that you’re getting enough vitamin D is to take a daily supplement that contains the essential nutrient. Even if you lie out in the sun a lot, I recommend you take a supplement as well anyway, just to be safe. In fact, I recommend everyone takes a supplement to give their levels a boost. There are a number of highly beneficial supplements available that contain vitamin D.
Try and eat a diet rich in vitamin D. Some of the richest food sources of this vitamin include fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna and mackerel), foods fortified with vitamin D (such as orange juice, soy milk and cereals), cheese, egg yolks and beef liver. It’s also important you cut out nutrient-zapping eats and drinks including processed foods, coffee and alcohol. This will help keep your vitamin D levels in the healthy zone and your hormones happy.
PS: Do you know how you should really
be eating for a healthy brain? Read this
to find out!