July 13, 2010 at 10:06am
We all know about the link of low levels of vitamin D associated with MS progression. The common wisdom is that this is because vit. D modulates the immune system. But now there are more and more studies coming forward showing linkage in other neurological disorders and general brain health via the vasculature.
Vitamin D supplementation can protects vasculature of the brain.
Low vitamin D levels are linked to brain atrophy.
From Scientific American:
Low vitamin D in Parkinsons and Dementia--
"The first study, led by Paul Knekt and colleagues at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland, examined levels of vitamin D in the blood of 3,173 Finnish men and women aged 50-79 determined to be free of Parkinson's disease at the start of the study. The researchers then examined the incidence of Parkinson's disease in these participants over a 29-year follow-up period. They found that participants with the highest levels of vitamin D (more than 50 nmol/L) had a 65 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease than those with the lowest vitamin D levels (less than 25 nmol/L).
In the second study, David Llewellyn of the University of Exeter and colleagues examined vitamin D levels among 858 Italian men and women age 65 and older. They found that more than half of the participants with dementia were vitamin D deficient .
And here is news of a study at SUNY Buffalo, from earlier this spring:
"Low vitamin D levels may be associated with more advanced physical disability and cognitive impairment in persons with multiple sclerosis, studies conducted by neurologists at the University at Buffalo have shown.
Their results, reported at the American Academy of Neurology meeting, held earlier this month, indicated that:
The majority of MS patients and healthy controls had insufficient vitamin D levels.
Clinical evaluation and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images show low blood levels of total vitamin D and certain active vitamin D byproducts are associated with increased disability, brain atrophy and brain lesion load in MS patients.
A potential association exists between cognitive impairment in MS patients and low vitamin D levels."
Now, how could this situation be compounded when we consider CCSVI as a factor in developing MS? I believe it's all about protecting the brain from further vascular damage. Here's a wonderful research paper on how Vitamin D can provide "vasculoprotection" of the brain.
"Vitamin D may help to protect against cognitive deterioration and dementia, speciﬁcally, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, through vasculoprotection (Lind et al., 1987; Burgess et al., 1990; O’Connell et al., 1997; Pfeifer et al., 2001; Wang et al., 2001; Zittermann et al., 2003; Wang et al., 2008a,b), preservation of neurons (Sutherland et al., 1992; Landﬁeld and Cadwallader-Neal, 1998; Brewer et al., 2001), and protection against risk factors for cognitive dysfunction (Lind et al., 1987; Burgess et al., 1990; Hypponen et al., 2001; Pfeifer et al., 2001; Li et al., 2002, 2004; Zittermann et al., 2003; Bisc- hoff-Ferrari et al., 2004; Wang et al., 2008a,b).
We did observe an inverse association between 25(OH) D concentration and presence of white matter hyperintensities and large vessel infarcts; indicators of cerebrovascular disease (Buell et al, in preparation). Consistent with this ﬁnding, we observed a positive association between vitamin D concentrations and the integrity and structural arrangement of white matter ﬁbers using diffuser tensor imaging. Further studies designed to provide information on the temporal relationship of 25(OH)D and brain morphology are warranted.
420 J.S. Buell, B. Dawson-Hughes / Molecular Aspects of Medicine 29 (2008) 415–422"
The underlying message is, get adequate vitamin D and sunshine. You're helping your brain, and may be slowing or preventing atrophy.