Published on March 21, 2019
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Did you know that vitamin D plays an important role in brain health and could benefit those who’ve had a stroke? Vitamin D supports normal neuron function and prevents cellular death after a brain injury. Studies have linked low vitamin D levels with increased stroke severity and a higher risk of post-stroke disability and mortality. In this blog, we will highlight two clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation after stroke, both showing significant benefits for stroke survivors.
Clinical Trial #1: Stroke Severity
In 2017, results from a randomized controlled trial on stroke severity were published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. The objective of this study was to compare stroke severity at admission and after 3 months for 30 patients who received vitamin D (one injection of 600,000 IU) and 30 patients who did not. The research team found that those who received vitamin D had greater improvement in stroke outcome after three months than those who did not (severity score improvement: 6.39 vs. 2.50, P<0.001).
Clinical Trial #2: Post-Stroke Disability and Mortality
Results from a randomized controlled trial on the impact of vitamin D and calcium supplementation on stroke outcome were published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice in 2016. In this study, 53 patients were followed for 6 months; 25 were given vitamin D (one injection of 600,000 IU plus 60,000 IU/month, which averages to 4,932 IU/day) and calcium (1000 mg/day), along with usual care, and 28 received just usual care alone. The research team found that those in the vitamin D and calcium group were approximately twice as likely to achieve a good outcome with regard to the degree of disability or dependence in daily activities compared to the control group (P=0.31). The chart below shows that 84% of those in the vitamin D and calcium group survived at 6 months compared to 60% in the control group (P=0.049).
Magnesium may protect against heart disease, stroke and diabetes
A review of research involving more than 1 million subjects around the world linked magnesium with significantly lower risk of several diseases, including stroke.
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How can I track my vitamin D intake and levels?
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