Vitamin D necessary for brain function

April 30, 2008

Insufficient levels of Vitamin D are common in Americans with the elderly and African Americans having a particularly high risk of deficiency. This review, written for a broad scientific readership presents a critical review of scientific evidence relating to a possible causal relationship between vitamin D deficiency and effects on behavior and cognitive functions.
The scientists including Dr. Bruce Ames conclude that there is enough evidence to point to an important role for Vitamin D for brain development and brain function. Dr Ames observes that there is a wide distribution of receptor sites for Vitamin D in the brain. They also note that Vitamin D affects brain proteins that are involved with motor control (movement), learning and memory. This skillful review is published in the April 2008 issue of The FASEB Journal.

Supplementing with Calcium plus Vitamin D cuts down on exercise-related bone fractures

Daily supplements of calcium and vitamin D, long linked to improving bone health, may also reduce the risk of stress fractures during exercise, scientists have reported. Female recruits receiving the daily supplements experienced 20 % fewer stress fractures than their un-supplemented counterparts according to results from a randomized, double-blind study of 5,201 female U.S. Navy recruits during eight weeks of basic training. "Generalizing the findings to the population of 14,416 women who entered basic training at the Great Lakes during the 24 mo of recruitment, calcium and vitamin D supplementation for the entire cohort would have prevented 187 persons from fracturing," write the authors from Creighton University Osteoporosis Research Center in Nebraska and the Naval Institute for Dental and Biomedical Research.
Stress factures are said to be one of the most common and debilitating overuse injuries seen in U.S. military recruits affecting 21 % of female recruits who suffer from this form of injury. Male recruits suffer less. Such fractures are also problematic for athletic people outside of the military.
In the study the researchers randomly assigned the recruits to receive daily supplements of 2,000 mg of Calcium and 800 IU of Vitamin D, while the other group received a placebo. At the end of the eight weeks of basic training, 309 women developed stress fractures. Women receiving the vitamin-mineral combination were 21 % less likely to experience the fractures, report the researchers. The study is published in the May 2008 issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.