We hear a lot about the dangers of spending too much time in the sun.
And it’s true. If you repeatedly bake yourself to a crisp, it can have some serious health consequences.
But the dangers of getting too little sunshine are JUST as real… even if they aren’t as evident at first.
UV-linked skin cancer is an OBVIOUS boogeyman. It’s often disfiguring and an immediate emergency.
But shunning the sun can send your risk for vitamin D deficiency skyrocketing. And your risk for cognitive decline and dementia soaring right along with it.
And let’s face it, in the long run losing your memories can be every bit as devastating as skin cancer.
Unfortunately getting too MUCH sun continues to suck up ALL the attention. And many folks aren’t even aware of the dangers of too little.
But a breakthrough study may finally help change that.
Too little sunshine can lead to a “stiff” brain
We know a lack of vitamin D is linked to brain problems. But exactly how it affects the brain’s structure and function has always been a bit of a mystery.
Well, until now that is. Because thanks to a new study we FINALLY have some answers.
It turns out our vitamin D levels affect a type of “framework” in our brain called perineuronal nets.
This supportive mesh surrounds and stabilizes neurons, helping them to communicate.
But when our vitamin D levels drop too low, the framework starts to break down in the hippocampus. And since this area of the brain is vital to forming memories our ability to learn and remember is affected.
Scientists call this growing inability of our minds to change and adapt a loss of neuroplasticity. But you can think of it as having a “stiff” brain. Which is every bit as bad as it sounds.
In other words, while you can SEE the results of far too much sun on the outside, the INVISIBLE damage from far too little is just as serious on the inside.
Vitamin D keeps your brain supple and memories intact
Low vitamin D is a growing problem. And while it can happen to any one of us at any age, seniors are at even greater risk.
In fact, some experts estimate that up to 52 percent of seniors are low in D.
As we age, we often spend less time outdoors. And that means we end up missing out on the UV rays our bodies need to make D.
At the same time, our bodies become less efficient at producing vitamin D.
Which is why seniors typically need at least 800 IUs of vitamin D a day, while younger folks often need less.
But don’t worry, raising your D levels isn’t hard. Here’s how…
To boost your vitamin D levels, and reduce your dementia risk, start with the obvious… the sun. Depending on where you live, and the time of year you should be aiming for 15 to 30 minutes in the sun every day without sunblock.
Next stock up on the right foods. Tuna fish, cheese, and eggs are all excellent sources of vitamin D.
Talk to your doctor about testing your D levels. If you find you’re still running low, you can try a vitamin D3 supplement. Just be sure to get plenty of magnesium too, which is needed to activate the D efficiently. Good sources of magnesium include leafy greens, nuts, and wild-caught fatty fish.
Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D to keep your brain supple and your memories intact.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
Follow Alice and HealthierTalk on Twitter and Facebook.