Memory and Vitamin D
In other memory related news (see previous post), a 2017 randomised trial in healthy adults showed that high levels of vitamin D improved visual and non-verbal memory, resulting in higher-level cognitive function. This trial was conducted in healthy adults so the mechanism isn’t necessarily about correcting disordered function related to a disease state. However, the impact of higher doses (4000iu daily) was greater in those with lower baseline levels of vitamin D (75 nmol/L). Interestingly most Australian pathology labs indicate that a vitamin D level between 50-100 nmol/L is sufficient. On this basis a proportion of adults that have ‘normal’ levels of vitamin D may benefit from increasing their level to the high-normal range.
Vitamin D, Sleep and Pain
I have previously discussed before the relationship between sleep, mood and pain (listen here or read here) but a recent paper (Oliveira D, et al, 2017) provides the possibility that vitamin D might provide an important interface between sleep and pain. Vitamin D shows sleep modulation effects and lower levels have been liked to sleep disorders. The link between vitamin D, sleep and pain may in part be the impact this nutrient has on shared brain neurotransmitter pathways. The anti-inflammatory impact of Vitamin D may also help reduce nociceptive (danger signals) input, which the brain interprets as pain.
I will add my usual caveat with vitamin D, which is to establish baseline serum levels before taking higher doses and it is worthwhile seeing a health care professional such as your naturopath or nutritionist to do so, particularly if you are having memory or pain-related issues. Sunshine can and vitamin D rich foods are also important for maintaining healthy levels.
de Oliveira, D.L., Hirotsu, C., Tufik, S. and Andersen, M.L., 2017. The interfaces between vitamin D, sleep and pain. Journal of Endocrinology, 234(1), pp.R23-R36.