Sunbathing can keep you brainy

Lazing in sunshine can ward off dementia as you age

Retired people emigrating to the Costas could be on to something — researchers have found that the vitamin D we gain from exposure to the sun could help to keep our brains in tip top form as we age.

Scientists at the University of Manchester discovered that higher levels of vitamin D, produced by the skin’s exposure to the sun or from eating oily fish or taking supplements, are linked with improved mental ability in middle-aged and older men.

The study, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry and reported in the Telegraph, compared the brain agility of 3,133 men aged 40 to 79 at eight test centres across Europe.

The researchers found that men with higher levels of vitamin D performed consistently better in memory and speed of recollection tests than those with lower levels.

Dr David Lee, lead researcher from Manchester’s School of Translational Medicine, said: ‘The association between increased vitamin D and faster information processing was more significant in men aged over 60 years, although the biological reasons for this remain unclear.’

Lee added that people should still be aware that, despite these benefits to the brain, they should still be wary of overdoing the sunbathing as there is an increased risk of skin cancer.

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