What is Vitamin D Good For? (Part 2: The Brain & Nervous System) – Vitamin D is needed by virtually every cell in the body, and is essential for hundreds of processes each and every day
With this series of posts, we are focusing on the fact that vitamin D is needed by virtually every cell in the body and contributes to hundreds of physiological processes each day having to do with a wide array of health effects. Vitamin D acts as a protector and regulator so it is able to enhance the functioning of cells, tissues and organs to keep us healthy and defend against diseases of many kinds. From musculoskeletal to cognitive and mental-emotional wellness, vitamin D has many benefits, and a deficit in vitamin D can lead to impairment or disease. With this in mind, why take a chance at being deficient in vitamin D?
Last week, we explained why vitamin D is important to the musculoskeletal system; today, we take a look at why vitamin D is important to the health and function of the brain and nervous system for overall cognitive, mental, and emotional wellness.
Your Brain Needs Vitamin D
Mental health conditions are very common, with an estimated 50% of Americans and Canadians diagnosed with a mental disorder at some point in their lifetime by middle age. The crisis has been even greater during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an observed increase in incidence of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide. In recent years, cognitive health has also been declining. 1 in every 3 seniors die with some form of dementia, and between the years 2000 and 2018, deaths due to Alzheimer’s increased by 146%.
Vitamin D has been biologically linked to emotional well-being, mood, cognition, and better mental health overall. One study on vitamin D and mental health in particular found that self-perceived measurements of mental and emotional wellness were positively associated with higher vitamin D levels.
How can vitamin D have such an influence on mental and emotional wellbeing?
Vitamin D functions in the brain and nervous system to:
- Stimulate neural cell growth and maturation during brain development
- Protect neural cells from damage due to oxidative stress and inflammation
- Play a role in the production of neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, catecholamine)
Mental Illness and Neurodegenerative Disease associated with low vitamin D include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia
- Cognitive decline
- Parkinson’s disease
- Depression/Anxiety/Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Autism & ADHD
- Multiple sclerosis
- Macular degeneration
The Connection Between Inflammation and Mental/Emotional Wellness
Managing chronic inflammation is extremely important for diseases associated with the brain and nervous system. Multiple studies have found a direct correlation between high levels of inflammation and increased incidence of mental-emotional health problems. Previously, we reviewed a study assessing the effects of chronic inflammation on cognitive health, where higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) were related to an increase in cognitive decline. Vitamin D is known to be associated with the risk of many of these inflammation-based diseases, with higher levels of vitamin D associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers and lower disease risk.
Other Important Co-Nutrients for Mental & Emotional Health
Don’t forget that vitamin D works along with other essential nutrients for our health. For our brain and nervous system, these include:
- Magnesium for stress/anxiety, ADHD and cognitive decline
- Omega-3s for cognitive impairment, anxiety/depression, SAD, and ADHD
- Probiotics for cognitive decline
- And many others…
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D to Support Your Mental & Emotional Wellbeing?
With almost 90% of the general population having vitamin D levels below the recommended 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L), it is obvious that most people need more vitamin D. While most of us cannot achieve a vitamin D level of 40-60 ng/ml from sun alone, either due to our lifestyle, where we live, or other circumstances, we can certainly reach those levels with the right amount of supplementation.
By joining the GrassrootsHealth projects, you are not only contributing valuable information to our study, but you are also gaining knowledge about how you could improve your own health through measuring and tracking your nutrient status, and educating yourself on how to improve it. Do you know what your status of vitamin D, omega-3s, and other essential nutrients is? Could your levels be improved? Test now to find out!
We now have a NEW GIFTING SERVICE that allows you to quickly send ‘Gift Cards’ to friends, family and coworkers who you consider might need immediate access to testing, and to Claim the Joy of Your Health TODAY. Give the gift today!
What does the Research Say about Vitamin D & COVID-19?
It’s TIME to start saving lives! If you can help PREVENT the majority of the death, it’s time! What’s it costing you/us not to take action NOW?
There is much published research that supports a clear link between vitamin D and COVID-19 showing that higher vitamin D levels are related to:
Be sure to educate yourself on the benefits and importance of vitamin D for immune health, and take steps to ensure you and your loved ones are getting enough.
You can review all of the COVID-19 and immune health information we have shared on this page.
What Does it Take YOU to Get Your D to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)?Did you know your health could be greatly affected by making sure you have a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)? Help us help you.
STEP 1 - Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, be sure to test today to find out.
STEP 2 – Determine your target level. Are you at your target level? Experts recommend a level of at least 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L).
STEP 3 – Need to boost your level? Use the D*calculator to see how much vitamin D it may take to reach your target. Opt for the Loading Dose for a quicker boost.
STEP 4 – Optimize how your body absorbs and utilizes vitamin D with co-nutrients and these simple steps.
STEP 5 – Re-Test! This is an important step to make sure you have reached your target level, and to ensure you are not taking too much! Re-testing after 3-4 months is recommended.
STEP 6 – Adjust, Repeat…
Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially COVID-19.
The first Randomized Controlled Trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 has shown a 96% lower risk of ICU admission for those receiving vitamin D (as 25(OH)D to quickly boost vitamin D blood levels) along with the standard treatment, compared to those receiving standard treatment alone.
These results support many previous observational studies showing a relationship between vitamin D levels and intake and COVID-19 severity.
GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has launched the new Immune Boost project with the use of our myData-myAnswers nutrient health system that nearly 15,000 people are already using for their health. Specific markers that influence immune health are suggested for testing as part of this project including:
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Index
- Essential elements magnesium, selenium, and zinc
Our goal is to demonstrate how one can use the Nutrient Research Model established by Dr. Robert Heaney to show the effect of vitamin D serum levels of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) on risk reduction for all ethnicities in the population. Status and intake of other nutrients will also be analyzed for any type of relationship to immune status and symptom severity. Join the project today!
Please let us know if you're interested in helping sponsor this project.
Through GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, you can also test your essential elements magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as your omega-3 levels, inflammation levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Find out your levels today! Log on to the test selection page (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved.
Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!
How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?
To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called
For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details. This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!