GET SOME SUNSHINE!
BRAIN HEALTH | 3.18.2018 | BY SHILO ZELLER, BSc.
In past tips we’ve discussed the importance of getting outside and participating in outdoor sports. But what about just enjoying the sunshine? The sun allows us to synthesize our own vitamin D which is important for our overall health and for keeping our bones strong. High levels of vitamin D give our brain the tools it needs to fight off infection and also keeps our lungs, heart, and muscles working at their optimal performance.
Recent studies out of Europe have shown that individuals with low levels of vitamin D had slower information-processing speed (especially in males above the age of 60). Further to that, vitamin D plays a crucial role in staving off diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s because it keeps the development of peptide clusters at bay. There has also been a link between low levels of vitamin D contributing to feelings of depression due to the low production of serotonin - a feel good neurotransmitter. Vitamin D has also been shown to make a difference in the developing brain. A study published in 2018 showed that mothers that had low levels of vitamin D also reported having children that had learning and memory problems as well as other cognitive deficits.
So if you’re having trouble squeezing in an outdoor walk or workout, simply spending some time soaking up the rays will have positive effects for your brain health! Experts suggest that spending 15 to 30 minutes in sunlight 2 to 3 times per week is ideal for increasing vitamin D levels. Don’t forget sunscreen!