Do you question whether you have the onset of alzheimers because you suffer with:
brain freeze – you have difficulty recalling words, names, addresses, phone numbers etc … that you know very well. Very often it feels like the information is just out of reach or, on the tip of your tongue but nothing is coming to you?
forgetfulness – can’t remember where you left something …. could be the keys, phone, glasses, a paper you were just working on, etc
memory lapses – difficulty recalling recent events
impaired concentration – thoughts wander a great deal making it difficult to do a task.
Unclear thinking – Sometimes described as feeling “woolly” or “fuzzy” in the head
People of all ages will suffer health issues if they are deficient in Vitamin D, but one recent study has found that people with vitamin D deficiency performed poorly on cognitive tests. The researchers concluded that that there is a link between low vitamin D and dementia, alzheimers and cognitive impairment. But, be mindful that falling levels of oestrogen also causes symptoms similar to vitamin D deficiency and you don’t want to confuse that with the symptoms of menopause. They are similar.
Statistics now report that more than 1 out of every 2 menopausal women are deficient in it, so education is now imperative to ensure women receive enough natural Vitamin D. How do you do that you ask? Simple. Aim to expose yourself to the sun’s ultraviolet rays for 15 minutes a day and your body will produce all of the vitamin D it needs.
The link between vitamin D and menopause brain fog
Researchers have found that vitamin D improves brain function, aids in neurotransmitter synthesis, promotes nerve growth, improves your memory, increases awareness, regulates your moods, removes toxins from your body that can cause brain fog and transports oxygen, blood and nutrients to your brain.
Your vitamin D level affects the neurotransmitter system in your brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit thought from one cell to the next, allowing your brain cells to “talk to each other”. When the levels of neurotransmitters are altered, it affects your brain functions and causes menopause brain fog. Two neurotransmitters, known to regulate attention, mental focus, memory, learning and cognition, are epinephrine and norepinephrine. When Vitamin D levels are low, these neurotransmitters can’t talk, creating brain fog symptoms.
The link between vitamin D and Alzheimers Disease
Not only does vitamin D deficiency cause menopause brain fog symptoms, but it significantly increases your risk of Alzheimers Disease and other types of dementia.
A recent study evaluated vitamin D levels in 1658 people over 6 years. The researchers found that:
people who were moderately deficient in vitamin D were 69% more likely to develop Alzheimers Disease than people with normal levels of vitamin D
people who were moderately deficient in vitamin D were 53% more likely to develop other forms of dementia than people with normal levels of vitamin D
people who were severely deficient in vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimers Disease, or another form of dementia, than people with normal levels of vitamin
Vitamin D deficiency has been found to significantly increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases.
So, if you are 45 years and older, I recommend you get your vitamin D level tested now, to know where you stand and whether you need to address the situation..
How to get your vitamin D level tested
According to the Vitamin D Council, there are 3 ways to do this, one of them involving sending your tests to the USA, so I’m only going to recommend two ways.
Ask your doctor for a vitamin D test. Be specific and ask for a 25(OH)D test. There is another type of blood test for vitamin D, called a 1,25(OH)₂D test, but the 25(OH)D test is the only one that will tell you whether you’re getting enough vitamin D. If your health insurance covers a 25(OH)D test, this is a good way to work with your doctor to get tested.
Order an in-home test. These tests are sent to your home. You prick your finger and put a drop of blood on to some blotter paper. You send the paper to a laboratory to be tested. These are an alternative if you don’t want to go to your doctor just for a vitamin D test, or if your insurance doesn’t cover a test
What it means:
Though the importance of vitamin D to mental functioning needs further study, the vitamin has long been known to be necessary in helping your body absorb calcium for stronger bones, and that too is beneficial for women who are menopausal.
Emerging research is finding that the vitamin, which is actually a fat-soluble hormone, is vital to healthy functioning of many of our bodies' systems. In the past few years, there have been more and more studies suggesting that low vitamin D levels in the blood can cause health problems in children and adults. Studies have linked low levels of vitamin D, known as "the sunshine vitamin", to higher risk of certain cancers, of poor balance and falling in older adults, and of diabetes, asthma, and a weaker immune system.
The evidence makes a strong case for everyone to make sure he or she is getting enough.
Here are some tips to help you get enough vitamin D. 1. Take a balanced approach to sun exposure. UV radiation from the sun is the best natural source of vitamin D, but too much sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer. 2. From May to August in Victoria, get two to three hours of midday sun exposure per week. In Victoria, UV levels fall below three from May to August. At this time, most people need two to three hours of midday winter sun exposure to the face, arms, hands (or equivalent area of skin) over the course of a week. People with naturally very dark skin may require three to six times this amount of sun. 3. From September to April in Victoria, get a few minutes of mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun exposure each day. In Victoria, UV levels reach three and above for much of the day from September to April, and sun protection is required. At this time, most people need just a few minutes of mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun exposure to the face, arms, hands (or equivalent area of skin). People with naturally very dark skin, may require three to six times this amount of sun. 4. Use a combination of sun protection measures between September and April, when UV levels are three and above. Use a combination of clothing, sunscreen, hats, shade and sunglasses. Sunscreen use should not put you at risk of vitamin D deficiency. 5. Never use a solarium to increase vitamin D. A solarium gives off dangerous UV radiation, increasing the risk of skin cancer. 6. Speak to your doctor if you are at risk of low vitamin D. You might be at risk of low vitamin D if you have naturally very dark skin, get little or no sun exposure, have a medical condition that affects vitamin D metabolism, or take certain medications (for example, those that increase the breakdown of vitamin D). Breastfed babies who fall into the above categories, or have mothers with low vitamin D, can also be at risk. 7. Exercise daily. Regular exercise assists with production of vitamin D. 8. Eat enough calcium. Vitamin D and calcium work together to make your bones strong. Make sure you get enough calcium by including a selection of dairy products, leafy vegetables, fish, tofu, Brazil nuts and almonds in your diet. 9. Eat foods rich in vitamin D. Good sources include eggs, liver, and fatty fish such as mackerel, herring and salmon. Some margarines and low-fat milks have added vitamin D. Food, however, only makes a small contribution (approximately 10 per cent) to the body's overall vitamin D levels and it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from diet alone. 10. Speak to your doctor before taking supplements. Vitamin D supplements may be helpful for some people, but you should speak with your doctor first and take them strictly as directed
Research: Online: Rodale’s Organic life by Leah Zerbe, Dr Manson is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Chief of Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr Christiane Northrup, MD and bestselling author of “The Wisdom of Menopause”,