Researchers finding show that Vitamin D may help prevent ischemic strokes. These new findings were presented at the International Stroke Conference. The research presented at the conference showed that patients with vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL had infarcts two-fold larger than those with higher levels and had a higher risk for functional dependence at 3 months. Nils Henninger, MD, assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, conducted a study of 96 patients (median age, 73 years; 45% women) with acute ischemic stroke admitted to the University of Massachusetts Medical Center from January 2013 to January 2014. Henninger noted that this study was not designed to answer the question of the exact role of vitamin D. However, he said questions remain: “Is vitamin D the factor causing all the effects that we notice, or is it an innocent bystander, a sentinel or a biomarker?
The true effects of vitamin D still remain a mystery to Doctors. A direct link has not yet been established to show how it affects patient outcomes. What is known is that there is a correlation between patient outcomes and vitamin D which may also be related to patient lifestyle. Dr. Henninger stated, “Maybe vitamin D is associated with greater brain tissue damage after a stroke.”
Very few foods in nature contain vitamin D. The flesh of fatty fish (such a salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are the best sources. Vitamin D is also found in small amounts in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. One other good source is milk that is fortified with vitamin D. A source not related to food is direct sunlight.
Older adults are at increased risk of developing vitamin D insufficiency. This is due partly because their skin cannot synthesize vitamin D efficiently and they may spend more time indoors. People of dark skin may also not process vitamin D from sunlight due to increased pigment melanin in the epidermal layer. People who are obese or who have had bypass surgery may also find it harder to produce vitamin D from sunlight and should also be aware of a possible deficiency.
 Low Vitamin D Linked to More Severe Stroke, Poor Outcomes. Medscape. Feb 13, 2015.
 Low Vitamin D Levels predict stroke severity, worse outcomes. Cardiology Today. Feb 16, 2015
 Vitamin D, Health Sheet for professionals. National Institutes of Health. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/