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How Vitamin D supports your immune system

How Vitamin D supports your immune system

It's no secret that vitamin D plays an integral role in everything from immunity to bone health, but few realise it's a superstar when it comes to brain health as well. If you needed another reason to prioritise your vitamin D intake, here are three key ways the sunshine vitamin promotes cognitive function (and mood, too):

1. It supports the health of our nervous system

Our nervous systems have all sorts of receptors for various hormones, and vitamin D receptors are one of them, meaning there's a reason those D receptors are in our brain and central nervous system. As it turns out, this essential fat-soluble micronutrient wonder is a big player in supporting nervous system function and brain health.

In fact, research has shown that vitamin D has neuroprotective effects, thanks to its impact on the production and release of neurotrophins (key proteins required for both the development and survival of neurons).

Additionally, vitamin D helps protect nervous tissues from oxidative stress and ensures balanced calcium levels in our blood (and cells, including the nervous system). As it turns out, calcium is a major signalling compound inside cells and ensures neurons fire properly, which has implications for our entire body.

2. It helps maintain cognitive function as we age

As we get older, processes like oxidative stress and ageing organs and systems can manifest as cognitive function that's not as acute and ripe as our earlier years, but according to assistant professor of neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine Nicole Avena, PhD, vitamin D helps buffer against these processes.

In a 2019 Journal of Ageing Research meta-analysis of vitamin D’s effects, a clear connection was identified between vitamin D levels (i.e. how healthy your vitamin D status is) and age-related cognitive function. The study authors found that insufficient and deficient levels of vitamin D are tied to less optimal global (aka overall) cognitive health parameters, while vitamin D sufficiency was linked to a protective decrease in key brain biomarkers.

3. It provides mood support and promotes emotional well-Being

And of course, we can't forget vitamin D's connection to mood. Not only has vitamin D been found to help regulate melatonin and serotonin (two hormones very involved in mood), but it also affects our gut health by promoting beneficial bacteria and supporting the integrity of the gut lining.

The Vintage Salon Team

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