Vitamin D Does Not Improve Brain Activity in Teenagers
A new research published in the online Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reveals that the brain activity of teens is not positively influenced by higher levels of vitamin D. According to precedent studies, higher levels of vitamin D directly influence the brain activity of adults.
The main goal of this current study was to investigate if vitamin D has the same effects on teenagers as it has on adults. Scientists have tested the effects of two different types of vitamin D: ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2 – sourced from plants) and cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3 – sourced from sunlight).
Their results are based on testing a little over 3000 children which had their D2 and D3 levels measured at approximately the age of nine. All of the tested children are part of a long-term health program called the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, which tracks numerous children that were born in the early 90s.
The academic level of the children was tested twice. The first time it was tested was at the age of 13, the second time being later, at the age of 16, when scientists evaluated the results the children had at the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams. The tested domains included English, science and mathematics.
Children originating from disadvantaged backgrounds were found to have higher levels of Vitamin D2 whilst higher levels of Vitamin D3 was found amongst children originating from less disadvantaged backgrounds. The study shows that high levels of Vitamin D3 is not linked to increased brain activity and better academic performance.
Poor English skills has been observed in children aged 13 to 14 that had higher levels of D2. The study revealed that children aged 15 to 16 also received fewer high grades at the GCSE exams.
The leading authors of the study suggest that the study suggests that the beneficial effects of Vitamin D on the brain activity and academic performance might only surface later in life. They also note that the results might indicate that Vitamin D is more beneficial to the aging brain rather than the younger brain.
The authors point out that there have been many studies that indicate that there is an important link between the neurological functions of the brain and vitamin D. Because of these results, several changes regarding the protection against UV have been made in the public health guides.
“However, our results suggest that protection of children from UVB exposure, which has been associated with low levels of vitamin D, but which protects against skin damage and skin cancer, is unlikely to have any detrimental effect on academic achievement”, conclude the authors of the study.