So what is a neuroactive steroid and what does it have to do with our brain? According to the research at Queensland Brain Institute, one neuroactive steroid is Vitamin D and is active in brain development.
Amazingly, our brain needs its share of Vitamin D to function properly. New evidence indicates that if Vitamin D is deficient in our system it has been linked with abnormalities in the brain. Increasingly, Vitamin D deficiency is being associated with a number of psychiatric conditions such as autistic spectrum, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and cognitive decline.
W. Robert J. Przybelski, a research scientist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health said, “We also know vitamin D activates and deactivates enzymes in the brain and the cerebrospinal fluid that are involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth.” In addition, animal and laboratory studies suggest vitamin D protects neurons and reduces inflammation. There are vitamin D receptors throughout the central nervous system so it is important that there is available vitamin D for those receptors.
HOW MUCH VITAMIN D DO WE NEED?
So how much is enough vitamin D for our body? Experts say 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily—about the amount your body will synthesize from 15 to 30 minutes of sun exposure two to three times a week—is the ideal range for almost all healthy adults. Keep in mind, however, of your skin color, where you live, and how much skin you have exposed to the sun as all of these factors affect how much vitamin D you can produce.
THE BRAIN AND OUR SKIN HEALTH
The big push to prevent skin cancer from too much sun may have come with unintended consequences. The “sunshine vitamin” is synthesized in our skin when we are exposed to direct sunlight, but sun block impedes this process. This could impair brain function because of a deficiency of vitamin D.
Unfortunately, due to decades of professional and media misinformation, the typical American believes they should avoid the midday sun and need to use sunscreen before, and several times during, sun exposure, but research indicates this is wrong.
Let me give you a “prescription” for beneficial use of vitamin D. First some conditions to consider:
While sun exposure is your best source for vitamin D, it’s important to understand that not all sun exposure will allow for vitamin D production. The only wavelength that makes your body produce vitamin D is Ultra Violet B light rays, when they hit exposed skin. It is the Ultra Violet A rays that cause damage to your skin and is a cause of skin cancer.
The Ultra Violet B light rays from the sun must pass through the atmosphere to reach you. This does not occur in the winter for many of us in the U.S. The sun’s rays are also impeded during a fair amount of the year for people living in temperate climates as well.
PRACTICAL GUIDELINES TO OPTIMIZE YOUR VITAMIN D BENEFITS
These are Guidelines for Safe and Effective Sun Exposure
The time of day when the sun position is above 50 degrees from the horizon of where you live is the key. To determine sun position for maximum Vitamin D we need to use the following type table to calculate when to be in the sun.
1.The U.S.Navy has the Sun or Moon Altitude Azimuth Table http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/AltAz.php. This table will help you determine the times of day when the sun is above 50 degrees from the horizon in order to get the UVB rays.
2.To use the table simply specify the date, time interval, and location then click on the “Compute Table” button. Look at the altitude list down to the 50 range and those are the times that it is safe and beneficial to be exposed to the sun. This is translated to the date and time of places on the globe. It means, for example, that some people who live in Chicago the UVB rays are not potentially present until March 25, and by September 16th it is not possible to produce any vitamin D from the sun in Chicago. Please understand it is only theoretically possible to get UVB rays during those times. If it happens to be cloudy or raining, the clouds will also block the UVB rays.
3.There is also an App at iTunes which makes the process even easier. You can download a free app called “D Minder” which will make all the calculations for you. This app sets up information about you then it computes the amount of Vitamin D you are getting. It will even tell how long you should stay out in the sun and warn you when the time is up. How good is that? Here is the URL HYPERLINK “https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/d-minder/id518836420?mt=8” https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/d-minder/id518836420?mt=8
Vitamin D isn’t a frequency of light; it is a vitamin that is produced in the skin upon contact with Ultra Violet B radiation. If you are behind glass or cloudy weather blocks the UVB, then your skin will not be able to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D alone is not enough for people to perform better. There is a complex of vitamins and proteins and other substances needed for the brain, but Vitamin D is one of the important ones.