The “sunshine vitamin” may be good for the brain

Remember the movie Nim’s Island (2008)? Actress Jodie Foster plays the part of an agoraphobic, someone who is afraid of the outdoors. She eventually overcomes the disorder when she is called to fulfill a personal mission. While watching the movie, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was getting enough vitamin D.

Why, you might ask? Vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin” for good reason. When the skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays, it triggers the body to make vitamin D. We cannot make this vitamin without sunshine, even though our bodies require it. Jodie Foster’s character likely received her vitamin D from dietary supplements, one can only hope, since it’s such a beneficial vitamin. She could have received sufficient amounts from foods like salmon, eggs and milk, which are all high in vitamin D.

Vitamin D:

  • helps promote healthy bones as it aids in the absorption of calcium
  • regulates how much calcium stays in our blood, contributing to heart health
  • helps strengthen your immune system and regulate cell growth

 Mind your Ks, Ps and Ds

Apparently, the older you are, the less vitamin D your skin absorbs. And yet, as you age, the more you need vitamin D to keep your mind sharp.

Researchers at the University of California-Davis conducted a study and found that participants, average age of 75, who had deficient (less than 12 ng/mL) or insufficient (12-20 ng/mL) vitamin D levels, experienced a decline in short-term memory and executive functions (reasoning, problem solving and planning). Their average levels of vitamin D were 19 ng/mL. Consensus among physicians is that levels should be at least 35 ng/mL.

The study also found that participants’ cognition was declining about two and a half times faster than those who had adequate vitamin D (20-50 ng/mL) levels.1

 Try Supplementing D with P(URE)

Here in Texas, at the PURE home office, we are strong proponents of the sunshine vitamin. Not only do we get a lot of it being in southern climates, but we have some fabulous products that contain it. Below is a list of vitamin D-rich products with their respective amounts. Note that IU on a vitamin label means “international unit.” That’s science lingo for the amount of fat-soluble vitamins in a capsule; vitamins that are stored in the body, versus water-soluble vitamins which are not.

Products by PURE with vitamin D:

How much vitamin D do you need?

According to the Institute of Medicine, 600 International Units (IU) is the recommended daily intake for children and for adults ages 19 to 70. People ages 71 and older should get an additional 200 IU.2 Please note that CalciuMK+ and 360 Complete Shake are safe for children 6 to 12 years of age. Immune6 and Daily Build are safe for children ages 12 years and up.

All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure each day for your body to produce adequate amounts of the vitamin. That can easily be done by walking the dog, going for a quick jog around the block or mowing the lawn. Keep in mind that using sunscreen can block vitamin D absorption. Always be sensible with your time in the sun.

Also, your complexion can factor into your sun exposure needs. Lighter skin absorbs vitamin D quicker than darker skin. People in the northern climates are exposed to less sun than those who live in the south.

Most people get enough vitamin D. However, if you don’t spend enough time in the sun, or if your body has trouble absorbing the vitamin, you may not get enough. So spend some time outdoors and enjoy the beautiful sunshine, wisely. It’s the best way to get your D, and to do your body good.

 

1 http://www.news-medical.net/news/20110120/American-Academy-of-Dermatologys-position-statement-on-vitamin-D-reflects-IOMs-findings.aspx

2http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/vitamin-d-recommendations-20101130862

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