Is vitamin D deficiency to blame for your slipping memory?

Vitamin D

By pH health care professionals

Are you still as mentally sharp as you used to be? Do you feel like you are more forgetful? Are you less decisive? If so, you may be experiencing what is called mild cognitive decline.

Losing your wallet and finding it in the fridge may be funny the first time, but after a while, not so much. You rely on the people around you to remind you of something obvious. You miss appointments. Your work performance and personal relationships take a hit. You chalk it all up to stress and lament that a tropical vacation would resolve all your troubles.

Well, you may be right … sort of. Whether from the sun, food or supplementation, you may be in need of some vitamin D!

What does vitamin D have to do with your brain function?

A recent study noted that low vitamin D status was related to cognitive decline in older patients (average age around 75). A number of studies have also found similar results for people in their late 50s and above, as well as postmenopausal women. Vitamin D deficiency is especially a concern as you age, as older folks tend to produce less vitamin D in their skin from the sun. Some research points toward vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for dementia.

So how can you be proactive?

1. Know the signs of cognitive decline, such as:

  • Forgetting things more often
  • Forgetting important events, appointments or social engagements
  • Losing your train of thought or the thread of conversations, books or movies
  • Feeling overwhelmed by decision-making, planning or instructions
  • Having trouble finding your way around familiar environments
  • Becoming more impulsive and showing increasingly poor judgment

2. Ask friends and family if they have noticed any of these changes in you. If you have some of these signs, talk to a health care professional about nutrition testing, including vitamin D!

3. Don’t wait for signs of cognitive decline. Be proactive and incorporate vitamin D into your everyday life. Just 15 minutes of exposure to bright, midday sun may produce 1,000 units of vitamin D in a person with fair skin. To give you a reference point, the RDA for most adults is 600 units per day. Note that if you have darker skin, you require more time in the sun to get the same amount of vitamin D. Read more about it here.

Should you soak up some more sun?

Use your judgment when choosing the right amount of time in the sun, understanding both its beneficial and harmful (skin aging and risk for skin cancer) effects. Moderation is key, and there are other ways to get your vitamin D as well, including food sources and quality supplements. Test, don’t guess, though! Taking vitamin D supplements without finding out if your body really needs them can potentially be dangerous if you take too much. You can get vitamin D toxicity.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.