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New research from South Australian scientists has shown that vitamin D is unlikely to protect individuals from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or other brain-related disorders.

The findings, released in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience reported that researchers had failed to find solid clinical evidence for vitamin D as a protective neurological agent.

“Our work counters an emerging belief held in some quarters suggesting that higher levels of vitamin D can impact positively on brain health,” Krystal Iacopetta, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Adelaide, said. “The results of our in-depth review and an analysis of all the scientific literature indicates that  there is no convincing evidence supporting vitamin D as a protective agent for the brain." 

Mark Hutchinson, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics and professor at the University of Adelaide worked with Iacopetta on the research and findings.

“This outcome is important and is based on an extremely comprehensive review and analysis of current data and relevant scientific publications,” Hutchinson said.“We’ve broken a commonly held belief that vitamin D resulting from sun exposure is good for your brain.”

Interestingly, Hutchinson notes that there may be evidence that UV light (sun exposure) could impact the brain beneficially, in ways other than that related to levels of vitamin D.

“There are some early studies that suggest that UV exposure could have a positive impact on some neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis,” Hutchinson said. “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.”

“We need to complete far more research in this area to fully understand what’s happening,” Hutchinson said.

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