Boosting vitamin D intake could help to prevent age-related diseases, in particular loss of vision and blindness, a study said.
Middle-aged mice treated with the vitamin for six weeks had lower levels of a toxic protein linked to age-related macular degeneration, heart disease and Alzheimer's, it was reported in the journal Neurobiology of Aging. AMD is the leading cause of blindness among people over 50 in the developed world.
Lower levels of amyloid beta in the mice's eyes and blood vessels led to significant improvement in their vision. Vitamin D treatment also reduced numbers of cells called macrophages, which play a vital role in the immune system and can also trigger inflammation.
The study adds to growing evidence linking vitamin D, naturally generated by ultraviolet rays from the sun on skin, with a diverse rage of disorders including diabetes, arthritis and some cancers.
People today are generally less exposed to vitamin D than our early ancestors.