A team of researchers have examined the link between vitamin D and brain function to find out why the nutrient may be the key to memory function. According to medicalnewstoday.com, the researchers published their findings in the journal, Trends in Neurosciences.
The lead author of the study, who also led the research, Dr Thomas Burne of the University of Queensland Brain Institute, St. Lucia, Australia, said that over 1 billion people worldwide suffered vitamin D deficiency.
He also confirmed the existence of a well-established link between vitamin D deficiency and impaired cognition. In the study, Burne and his colleagues deprived healthy adult mice of dietary vitamin D for 20 weeks, after which they used tests to compare them with a group of controlled mice.
The authors said that cognitive tests showed that mice lacking vitamin D were not able to learn new things and they remembered less, compared with the mice in the controlled group. The researcher reported that there was also a stark reduction in the number and strength of connections between neurons in the hippocampus.
The author also said that impaired brain function in the hippocampus might contribute to some of the symptoms of schizophrenia, such as memory loss and cognitive distortions. Meanwhile, previous research findings suggested that insufficient Vitamin D could compromise the immune system, raise the risk of hypertension and negatively affect insulin secretion in people with type 2 diabetes.
Other studies had also shown that depriving middle-aged rodents of vitamin D led them to develop brain damage and perform less on the cognitive tests. The researchers found that people who survive sudden cardiac arrest are less likely to recover brain function, if they have low levels of vitamin D.
Source: Medical World Nigeria