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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

Vitamin D and Health

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jan 29th 2009

 Well, when I was a little boy my Grandma always provided a glass of milk and cookies when we came home from school. She always reminded us of the importance of milk for healthy bones, carrots for good eyes and fish for healthy brains.

I don't know about carrots and fish for eyes and brains but researchers from the Peninsula Medical School of the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan, have for the first time identified a relationship between Vitamin D, often called the sunshine vitamin and cognitive impairment in a large-scale study of older people. They found that those older people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were more thant twice as likely to suffer a deterioration in their cognitive abilities. The implications are serious because a deterioration in cognitive abilities can lead directly to dementia.

There are three sources of vitamin D and they are:
1. Exposure to sunshine,
2. Foods like oily fish,
3. Foods fortified with vitamin D such as milk, cereals, and soy products.

So, my Grandma was right. She always told us to get out of the house, get plenty of sunshine, often served us fish, such as salmon, and insisted we eat milk with cereal in the mornings and, of course, that glass of milk with cookies after school.

If her life is any proof that she was right, I can tell all of you that she lived to 94 years of age with a sharp mind. She was always active, never stayed in the house, ate well and gave everyone else things to think about, whether they wanted to or not. As a result, she didn't get depressed. As for those around her...well...

I suspect that all of this holds true for people of any age. Therefore, if you want a sharp mind and to keep it, get plenty of vitamin D, through sunshine and milk, eat all of your fish, carrots, and vegetables,  get plenty of exercise and..."give em all hell."

Your comments are encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD




Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Completely agree - kaudio - Feb 2nd 2009

For a long time, I did not appreciate milk very much. I thought it tasted funny, and I did not get much out of it. But, I recently re-introduced milk into my diet in order to further my body's recovery after workouts. The results were definitely noticeable as I could go through my workout feeling less soreness - if any at all - from the day before. I now firmly believe that milk does wonders for the body, and I wholeheartedly agree with your post.

Diet and Mental Health - anichka - Feb 1st 2009
Interesting article.  I have studied vitamins, nutrition and health for years.  Known nutritional health experts who use vitamis and food to treat depression.  I think balanced diet can be the key to a happy well rounded existence.  In combination with excercise of course. I have been really focussing on diet and movement lately.  Reading books on such things has been helpful.  I am currently reading a book by Lisa Buldo regarding belief in God and using that belief to create the life you want to lead.  I think when you have faith you can accomplish so much.

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