Can Sun Tanning Prevent Alzheimer’s? The Relationship Between Vitamin D3 and Brain Health

alzheimers and vitamin d3

New studies are proving that one of the best things you can do for your health to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s is to take vitamin D3 or get a steady dose from daily sun exposure if that’s possible.

In the last decade, there’s been a literal explosion of information obtained from research studies on Vitamin D3. If you are concerned about brain health or if you have a family history of those diseases this article is for you.

The Reality of Alzheimer Disease

Alzheimer disease was first clinically described in 1906. Now, Alzheimer disease is the most common cause of dementia in those aged 65 or older. It is characterized by a progressive decline in both cognition and memory.

brain sun graphics

“The brain is our most complex organ and brain scientists are just now beginning to understand how to protect it.”

The sad news is that with the rapidly aging population in the United States, projections are that 20 million people in the United States will develop this extremely debilitating neurological disease during the next four decades. Imagine the burden of this on the rest of the population. Someone with Alzheimer’s eventually gets to the point where they can’t stay in their own home; it’s too dangerous for them. The disease makes it too easy for someone to forget whether or not they turned off a burner on the stove or water faucet – and this can lead to potentially dangerous situations.

Before a victim of Alzheimer’s gets to the point of entering a nursing home, they need home care. This is not only costly but also places a big burden on the rest of the family who is responsible for their care.

How Practitioners Thought About Vitamin D in the Past

About a decade ago, health practitioners and even researchers thought of vitamin D only as the bone vitamin. They observed that a vitamin D deficiency was capable of causing rickets in children, which affected the way the bones developed. It caused problems in adults, too.

For example, the leg bones under the influence of a vitamin D deficiency caused weak bones that couldn’t hold up the skeleton. Because of the weight of the skeleton, the leg bones would bow outwards.

How Vitamin D Works in the Body Revealed

Now, vitamin D is seen as the vitamin that acts like a hormone, affecting the immune system, the skeletal system, the glands of the body, and even the brain. Every part of the body has vitamin D receptors that respond to the vitamin – so when there’s not enough, all those parts of the body will start to suffer.

And with all the latest information on vitamin D requirements, we also know that the amounts everyone was taking in the past – 400 to 600 IU per day was so far underneath the level required for health that it’s estimated that a vitamin D deficiency is found in 50% up to 75% of people in the world. One study specifically estimated that 69% of the whole population is deficient in vitamin D.

The big problem is that there are very few food sources of vitamin D. This means a supplement is about the only way to get the vitamin in your body in therapeutic dosages that it is expecting to get.

The Studies About Brain Influences of Vitamin D3 and Alzheimer’s

Some of the evidence on how vitamin D3 helps your brain function (and other functions) is pretty amazing in itself. Here’s a list of some of those research findings:

  • One of the possible vitamin D deficiency signs could be a mild cognitive decline. This means you have symptoms such as forgetting why you walked into a room, forgetting words and people from the past or present, and fuzzy thinking that feels like a dark cloud is over your mind, interfering with decision-making.
  • Vitamin D3 reverses brain inflammation in several studies.
  • Vitamin D3 deficiency causes weak muscles and aches and pains in the body.
  • When vitamin D3 was added to drug treatment for those with Alzheimer’s Disease, they found that it reversed the Alzheimer’s symptoms. This is amazing, but it also gives us a clue about vitamin D and its function in the brain.
  • Besides all the brain health benefits, low levels of vitamin D are associated with diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other diseases. In fact, some studies found that if someone had a vitamin D deficiency, they were more apt to die of any other cause than if they had adequate vitamin D levels.

What You Can Do To Boost Your Vitamin D Levels And Protect Your Brain

Fortunately, the solution is simple: get some sun, eat a proper diet, but most importantly, take a vitamin D3 supplement.  The sun is the most ancient way of getting Vitamin D, but some people create Vitamin D from sun exposure less efficiently than others (it’s just a genetics and/or skin tone factor).

How do you know if you’re deficient in vitamin D3?

Well, if you don’t get regular sun exposure and don’t take a vitamin D supplement you’re most likely deficient!  Sorry, but contrary to popular belief the vitamin D added to milk is only enough to prevent rickets.  It’s NOT enough for maintaining healthy levels and preventing other diseases related to vitamin d deficiency!

If you really want to know how deficient you are in vitamin D you’ll need a blood test. Many doctors won’t balk at ordering this test anymore so do ask your doctor to run the test along with your annual blood tests. The scale for the test is 0 to 100 ug/dl, and anything less than 30 ug/dl is considered too low. In fact, some top alternative medicine doctors report that their goal is to get their patients’ level of vitamin D up to 55-65 or even 75 ug/dl.vitamind3-brain-health-pin

The dosage of vitamin D to take daily once your levels are in the good range is 2000 IU per day. For babies, the amount is 1000 IU vitamin D3 per day. If you’re deficient, you may need up to 10,000 IU Vitamin D3 per day for 3 months to raise the levels.

There’s a lot more to know about Alzheimer disease and dementia but vitamin D3 supplementation is certainly a big key for prevention and also alleviating symptoms. Some other things you can do are regular brain exercises (some call this neurobics) and dancing. Start with the supplementation. I bet you’ll notice a big difference in how you feel in a week! But still continue it as you need it every day!

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About the author

Dr. France Carpentier

Dr. France Carpentier has over forty years of experience as a healthcare professional. She started as a Registered Nurse in Quebec, Canada, which was followed by over thirty years as a Chiropractor in Florida. She has always had a focus on nutrition using a holistic approach to health and wellness.