• Can Vitamin D Deficiency Impact Cognitive Function? — Chromatography Investigates

Ion Chromatography (IC)

Can Vitamin D Deficiency Impact Cognitive Function? — Chromatography Investigates

Jan 10 2018

Get your five a day, make sure you get your daily exercise and, of course, make sure you get out in the sun. All are essential requirements to keep fit and healthy. Getting enough vitamins and minerals is vital to make sure your body and mind stay strong. And vitamin D is an essential requirement for humans. As a result, failure to get enough can lead to all sorts of physical problems. Recently, however, scientists have suggested that it may also affect people’s cognitive function. Read on as we investigate whether vitamin D deficiency can lead to cognitive impairment — unless you’re vitamin D deficient of course.

The importance of vitamin D

Nobody would be blamed for being unaware of the importance of vitamin D. It’s only in the last decade or so scientists are realising just how essential it is. Quite simply, it’s a vitamin that helps regulate calcium and phosphate levels in the body. The best source is from direct sunlight, which allows the body to create its own vitamin D. It’s also found in oily fish, red meat, egg yolks and fortified foods in lower levels.

Vitamin D has long been known as an essential for healthy bones. But more recently, scientists are linking the vitamin with other disorders, such as muscle weakness and fatigue. While most people will be fine in the summer, some doctors recommend supplements during winter months for everyone — and even all-year-round for people who can’t get outside enough.

Cognitive impairment

A team of scientists aimed to clarify the link between vitamin D deficiency and cognitive function in a recent study. They found 225 patients with psychotic disorders and performed tests on vitamin D levels. These levels were determined using liquid chromatograph-tandem mass spectrometry. More on the applications of mass spectrometry can be found in the article ‘MS Atmospheric Pressure Ionisation Sources: Their Use and Applicability’.

Over the course of the study, they evaluated what they called ‘key cognitive domains’ — such as verbal learning, verbal memory, executive functioning and processing speed. Their findings display a clear link between vitamin D deficiency and cognitive function, with processing speed and verbal fluency particularly prominent.

Authors of the study suggest further randomised controlled trials are required to test the effects of vitamin D on patients with psychosis. However, further down the line this could also point towards problems of vitamin D deficiency for cognitive function more broadly. So, for now, better get out in the sun.

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