A diet low in vitamin D causes damage to the brain, a new study has warned. The study led by University of Kentucky researchers found that in addition to being essential for maintaining bone health, vitamin D serves important roles in other organs and tissue, including the brain.
Researchers found that middle-aged rats that were fed a diet low in vitamin D for several months developed free radical damage to the brain, and many different brain proteins were damaged as identified by redox proteomics. These rats also showed a significant decrease in cognitive performance on tests of learning and memory. "Given that vitamin D deficiency is especially widespread among the elderly, we investigated how during ageing from middle-age to old-age how low vitamin D affected the oxidative status of the brain," said lead author on the paper Allan Butterfield, professor in the UK Department of Chemistry, director of the Center of Membrane Sciences, faculty of Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, and director of the Free Radical Biology in Cancer Core of the Markey Cancer Center.
"Adequate vitamin D serum levels are necessary to prevent free radical damage in brain and subsequent deleterious consequences," Butterfield said. Butterfield recommends people consult their physicians to have their vitamin D levels determined, and if low that they eat foods rich in vitamin D, take vitamin D supplements, and/or get at least 10-15 minutes of sun exposure each day to ensure that vitamin D levels are normalised and remain so to help protect the brain.
The study was published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine....