21 August 2018

Vitamin D no cure for brain diseases

The hypothesis that increasing vitamin D levels could reduce the risk of developing brain-related disorders or limit their progression has been countered.

Vitamin D does little to defend your brain against multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease, a new review shows.

The finding is based on an analysis of more than 70 studies.

The study was published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.

"Our work counters an emerging belief held in some quarters suggesting that higher levels of vitamin D can impact positively on brain health," said study author Krystal Iacopetta, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Adelaide, in Australia.

Results of in-depth review

"Past studies had found that patients with a neurodegenerative disease tended to have lower levels of vitamin D compared to healthy members of the population," she explained in a university new release.

"This led to the hypothesis that increasing vitamin D levels, either through more UV [ultraviolet] and sun exposure or by taking vitamin D supplements, could potentially have a positive impact. A widely held community belief is that these supplements could reduce the risk of developing brain-related disorders or limit their progression," Iacopetta said.

Not a miracle solution

"The results of our in-depth review and an analysis of all the scientific literature, however, indicates that this is not the case and that there is no convincing evidence supporting vitamin D as a protective agent for the brain," she said.

Study co-author Mark Hutchinson added, "We've broken a commonly held belief that vitamin D resulting from sun exposure is good for your brain."

While vitamin D is essential for health, it "is not going to be the miracle 'sunshine tablet' solution for brain disorders that some were actively hoping for," said Hutchinson, who is a professor at the University of Adelaide.

Image credit: iStock




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