Scientists at the Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, California have recently begun studying whether there is substantial convincing biological or behavioral evidence that links vitamin D deficiency to brain dysfunction. The study found that there is biological evidence which proves that there is an important role for vitamin D in the development of the brain and its function. Supplementation for groups that are chronically low in vitamin D has been found to be extremely beneficial. Vitamin D is involved in brain function through its wide distribution of vitamin D receptors throughout the brain.
Vitamin D affects the proteins in the brain that are known to be involved directly with learning, memory, motor control, and possibly even maternal and social behavior. Research has shown that supplementation is beneficial to those groups whose vitamin D status is extremely low, especially nursing infants, the elderly, and African Americans, but the need for further study has been established. The authors of the study argue that vitamin D supplementation is necessary for those groups that are at risk.
Increased vitamin D levels protect the body against osteoporosis, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. There is now evidence that suggests that vitamin D may help protect against a potentially dangerous rise in blood pressure which occurs in some people as they get older. A study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition had researchers finding that as many as 60 percent of whites and more than 90 percent of blacks who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey had insufficient blood levels of vitamin D.
Researchers also investigated the association between vitamin D, blood pressure, and age. This investigation found that people with lower blood levels of vitamin D had significantly higher increases in systolic blood pressure as they aged than did those people who had healthy levels. Actually, the age-related rise in blood pressure turned out to be 20 percent lower in those people who had healthy vitamin D levels, as oppose to those people who did not. This suggests that vitamin D deficiency may play a critical role in high blood pressure development.
Many other studies have suggested that there is a role for vitamin D in reducing blood pressure. According to Vin Tangpricha MD, PhD., an assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Lipids at Emory University School of Medicine, there is not enough evidence that vitamin D prevents hypertension available, however, because vitamin D insufficiency is highly prevalent throughout the United States, it may be a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement solely because of the strong evidence on vitamin D’s ability to prevent osteoporotic fractures. It has been noted that further studies are needed in order to determine vitamin D’s effect on blood pressure.
Additionally, it needs to be determined if giving all patients vitamin D will help lower blood pressure. Those people who have a family history of other risk factors that are associated with high blood pressure, such as being older than sixty-five, should have their blood pressure checked regularly. Be sure to look for more studies and information on the effects of supplemental vitamin D on both white and black habitants of the United States to help battle vitamin D deficiency. To learn more about supplemental vitamin D, contact your local health food provider.