Dementia is a hugely debilitating condition, taking its toll on aging people and their families. Humans value their intellectual ability highly and coming to terms that they are deteriorating is very difficult. Many people believe that there are some remedies that can prevent multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or other brain-related disorders. But scientists from the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia say Vitamin D is not one of them.
Many people believe that dementia at later stages of life is a result of the lifestyle and thus can be prevented with early lifestyle changes. This might as well be true, but scientists were always sceptical if the vitamin D (also commonly known as the sunshine vitamin) can help people avoiding brain-related disorders. This belief was based on a fact that patients with a neurodegenerative disease tended to have lower levels of vitamin D. Now researchers from Southern Australia conducted a systematic review of over 70 pre-clinical and clinical studies in order to shed some light on the role of vitamin D in preventing these neurological conditions.
Because patients with neurological conditions had lower levels of the vitamin D, people decided that increasing levels of this vitamin result in a better neurological health. In fact, many scientists believed that vitamin D supplements could prevent brain-related disorders or slow their progression. However, now scientists conducted a review of a lot of scientific literature on the matter and found no actual evidence that vitamin D could prevent brain-related conditions, including dementia. Scientists think that this false belief became so strong because of observational studies instead of clinical tests. Scientists say that the link between neurological health and vitamin D levels is most likely associative instead of being causal.
Interestingly, while vitamin D probably doesn’t help avoiding neurological conditions later in life, being is sun may have some benefits for the brain. Mark Hutchinson, one of the authors of the paper, said: “There are some early studies that suggest that UV exposure could have a positive impact on some neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis. We have presented critical evidence that UV light may impact molecular processes in the brain in a manner that has absolutely nothing to do with vitamin D”. This just means that being in sun is good, just don’t expect vitamin D supplements to push brain-related disorders away.
Science is full of all kinds of false beliefs. When some ideas get accepted as facts, it is hard to question them. So it is nice that vitamin D myth got busted this time.
Source: University of Adelaide