A new study out of the Northern Medical Program links relatively high doses of Vitamin D to the improvement of brain functions. Dr. Jacqueline Pettersen compared two groups of healthy adults between the ages of 20 and 76. Over the course of 18 weeks, one group took a high dose of Vitamin D (4000 IU/day) while the other took a low dose (400 IU/day).
Dr. Pettersen found that the high dose group performed significantly better in tasks like visual memory. She says Northern BC residents are unable to synthesize any Vitamin D for 6 months out of the year.
“We are finding with studies like mine and others that higher doses are probably even better for optimal health outcomes. In the summer months though, most experts would advocate for healthy sun exposure, and that would be exposing your arms and legs without sunscreen; because that will certainly diminish your ability to synthesize Vitamin D, but healthy exposure for 15-20 minutes twice a week.”
She adds Vitamin D is not produced in the body and is increasingly hard to get from food. She recommends people take at least a low dose of Vitamin D supplements, especially during the winter.
“Over the years there has been a lot of association studies so looking at vitamin D levels and looking at cognition or looking at patients with Alzheimers and showing that they have lower levels than healthy age match control. So there is a lot of suggestive evidence. Then in the animal studies they have demonstrated quite convincingly that supplementing with Vitamins can improve cognition as well as decrease the risk of Alzheimers.”