Most people recognize Vitamin D for its bone health benefits. Many are unaware of its pleiotropic effects including from neuroprotection, brain development, immune protection, and various other benefits.

Vitamin D is a neurosteroid responsible for brain maturation and growth, and stimulation of the most important antioxidant in the brain, the neuroprotectant glutathione (GSH). It also regulates melatonin production and hormone regulation responsible for the development of normal sleep patterns and human circadian rhythm.

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with medical conditions such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, autism, OCD, sleep impairment, infectious/inflammatory diseases, autoimmune disorders, and mood disorders such as treatment-resistant depression.

Current Pharmaceutical Design recently published an article related to Vitamin D’s role in treatment-resistant depression.1 The study suggested that Vitamin D supplementation was useful in improving symptoms of Vitamin D deficient patients with mood disorders, especially in patients with reported inflammatory-related conditions.

Recent evidence in clinical literature suggests that the development of autism spectrum disorders may be attributable to maternal Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is a critical contributor to immune function during pregnancy as the placenta contains a considerable amount of Vitamin D necessary for fetal development. Vitamin D deficiency can also increase risks of inflammatory and infectious diseases given its role in innate and autoimmunity in various medical conditions.

Bone health will no longer be recognized as the predominate benefit of Vitamin D. This article highlights its effect in neurological development, autoimmunity, and sleep regulation as just a few of its underlined pivotal roles. Further research create better understanding of more effective therapy regimens to patients eligible for Vitamin D supplementation.
 
Ariana Hawkins is a 2021 PharmD candidate at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.


REFERENCE

di Michele F. Why Vitamin D Status Might be Important for Brain Health and Mental Well-Being?. Curr Pharm Des. 2020;26(21):2439-2441. doi:10.2174/138161282621200520085710