Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Seven-Fold Increased Risk Of Lower Brain Functioning After This Serious Event

Dawn Papple

New research indicates that a vitamin D deficiency is linked to a seven-fold increased risk of having lower brain functioning following cardiac arrest.

This wouldn't be the first time that vitamin D was thought to have implications in brain functioning. Recently, Inquisitr reported that vitamin D was one of the supplements used in a lifestyle overhaul that demonstrated the first-ever recorded reversal of memory loss in Alzheimer's disease. Vitamin D is not generally considered an actual vitamin. It's often considered a hormone, though even that statement has been argued. Humans make vitamin D inside ourselves after exposure to the sun.

Medical News Today reported Sunday that a study presented at the yearly meeting of the Acute Cardiovascular Care Association, which is part of the European Society of Cardiology in Geneva, found that 65 percent of patients with a vitamin D deficiency had lower brain functioning after suffering cardiac arrest. This was compared to 23 percent of lower brain functioning reported in patients who had vitamin D levels within a normal range. Researchers considered patients vitamin D deficient if their 25-(OH) D levels were below 10 ng/mL.

Scientists and organizations have different opinions of what is considered a deficiency of vitamin D. Vitamin D levels between 0-30 ng/mL are considered deficient according to the Vitamin D Council and the National Institutes of Health. The Endocrine Society believes that a level lower than 20 ng/mL is a deficiency. The Food and Nutrition Board considers 0-11 ng/mL as deficient.

Patients in this study, though, who experienced the much lower brain functioning after cardiac arrest had a vitamin D level of 7.9ng/mL, while good brain functioning was found in people with a level over 12.5 ng/mL, according to Medical News Today.

According to the Vitamin D Council, certain people are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency. People with darker skin require more sunlight than people with fairer skin in order to obtain vitamin D. People who stay in doors during the day, obviously get less sunlight. People who cover their skin with clothing or sunscreen are more likely to have vitamin D deficiencies. People who live further from the equator can't even get the right kind of sunlight needed to make vitamin D for part of the year. Infants that are breastfed and are not given supplemental vitamin D3 or their mothers do not take vitamin D supplements are also often deficient. Pregnant women are regularly found to be deficient as well as people who are overweight.

The team of researchers involved in the study presented at the meeting of the Acute Cardiovascular Care Association used their data to conclude that the only factors that had a greater impact on brain functioning after cardiac arrest than sufficient vitamin D was whether or not someone was around to perform CPR or having a "first monitored heart rhythm that was non-shockable."