And now there's breaking news that scientists have discovered two more extraordinary benefits to getting enough vitamin D through sun exposure and supplements. It turns out a lack of the remarkable vitamin could result in sports-related muscle injuries. What's more, vitamin D may, in a sense, help "vacuum" out plaques in the brain associated with the dreaded, mind-robbing dementia known as Alzheimer's disease.
A recent study just presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting now underway in San Diego has linked too little vitamin D in the body to an increased risk of muscle injuries in athletes. Specifically, the scientists studied National Football League (NFL) football players.
"Eighty percent of the football team we studied had vitamin D insufficiency. African American players and players who suffered muscle injuries had significantly lower levels," said Michael Shindle, MD, lead researcher and member of Summit Medical Group, in a statement to the press.
The researchers worked with 89 football players, average age 25, from a single NFL team, giving them laboratory tests to measure vitamin D levels in the spring 2010 as part of the athletes' routine pre-season evaluations. Over the course of the season, the team provided data to the scientists so they could document how many of players missed games due to muscle injuries. Vitamin D levels were also classified according to a player's race and how much playing time was lost due to muscle injuries.
The results showed that a large number of these super fit, professional athletes were actually seriously deficient in vitamin D. Twenty-seven players were dramatically deficient and 45 more had levels consistent with insufficiency. In fact, only 17 players tested had values in the normal limits. African American players were far more likely to have the lowest levels of vitamin D. And the 16 players who suffered muscle injuries were found to have the lowest vitamin D levels.
"Screening and treatment of vitamin D insufficiency in professional athletes may be a simple way to help prevent injuries," Dr. Scott Rodeo, MD, Co-Chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery, noted in the press statement.
While preventing sports injuries with vitamin D is an exciting possibility, consider this other, potentially mind blowing news about the remarkable vitamin -- it may help prevent and even reverse the buildup of amyloid beta plaques in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer's disease.
That's the conclusion of new research just published in BioMed Central's open access journal Fluids and Barriers of the CNS. A lack of vitamin D has been suspected to play a role both Alzheimer's disease and less serious but worrisome age-related memory problems. And now a study conducted by scientists at Tohoku University in Japan has found that removal of amyloid plaques from the brain depend on vitamin D.
The researchers treated mice bred to have amyloid beta plaques in their brains with injections of vitamin D. The result? The vitamin D therapy actually helped remove these plaques, which are the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, from the rodents' brains.
"Vitamin D appears to increase transport of amyloid beta across the blood brain barrier (BBB) by regulating protein expression, via the vitamin D receptor...These results lead the way towards new therapeutic targets in the search for prevention of Alzheimer's disease," Professor Tetsuya Terasaki said in a media statement.
Editor's note: NaturalNews is opposed to the use of animals in medical experiments that expose them to harm. We present these findings in protest of the way in which they were acquired.