(NaturalNews) A study to be published in the Journal of Geriatric Psychology and Neurology has revealed that vitamin D could help ward off the decline in mental function which usually accompanies old age. Its findings add on to other recent studies which had also suggested vitamin D has protective effects in this area.
Study after study has revealed to us the amazing protective and beneficial effects of vitamin D on various aspects of health. In some ways, it almost sounds too good to be true. But once we understand that vitamin D functions not so much as a vitamin, per se, but more as a hormone which regulates a multitude of processes in the human body, this then becomes far less surprising.
Details and Findings of Study
Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School (Exeter) and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom as well as the University of Michigan in the United States had looked at 2,000 persons who were 65 years old or more, and who had participated in the Health Survey for England carried out in 2000. The study team assessed the subjects' cognition or comprehension skills, which included factors such as attention, memory, as well as time and space orientation; impaired cognitive function has been linked to a higher chance of getting dementia.
Among the study subjects, about 200 were found to have significant cognitive impairment. And the researchers uncovered the finding that the degree of cognitive impairment was inversely correlated with vitamin D levels in the subjects. In fact, those with the highest levels of vitamin D in their bodies had less than half the risk of cognitive impairment, as compared to those with the lowest levels of the nutrient.
Getting Enough Vitamin D
Besides exposing one's bare skin to sunlight, what other ways can we get our necessary fix of vitamin D? The truth is people who live in higher latitude zones as well as older folks, whose bodies are less able to synthesize vitamin D upon exposure to sunlight, may well have to look at getting enough vitamin D through dietary sources, such as oily fish and supplements.
"For those of us who live in countries where there are dark winters without much sunlight, like the UK, getting enough vitamin D can be a real problem - particularly for older people, who absorb less vitamin D from sunlight. One way to address this might be to provide older adults with vitamin D supplements," said Dr Iain Lang from the Peninsula Medical School, who was part of the study team.
Other Related Studies and Evidence
As always, the researchers as well as leaders from Alzheimer's organizations have called for further research. But for believers, there is already more than sufficient evidence of the healing powers of the sun, both in traditional wisdom as well as modern scientific proof, in protecting both the body and the mind.
A University of Southern California study, for example, had found that more time spent under the sun during childhood translated to reduced risk of getting multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life. Published in 2007 in the journal Neurology, the study had looked at 79 pairs of identical twins, each of which comprised one person who developed MS. MS itself has a heightened incidence rate at higher latitudes, which already suggests a link with limited sun exposure. That study added to findings from previous research, which had discovered that women who consumed vitamin D supplements had a 40% lower MS risk.
Another study published in 2007, this time in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also suggested that vitamin D could play a part in slowing the aging process of bodily cells and tissues. Carried out at King's College in London, the study had looked at over 2,000 women and found that higher levels of vitamin D were linked to less signs of aging-related DNA changes.
More recently, a study published in 2008 in the Archives of Neurology found that low levels of vitamin D could also have a part to play in the development of Parkinson's disease. Read more about that study at http://www.naturalnews.com/024871.html.
As the evidence mounts, why not begin getting some daily sunshine during the cooler hours of the day?
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