Vitamin D is essential for good health in aging adults. A vitamin D deficiency has long been associated with osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, asthma and cancer, and may also play a role in the prevention of diabetes, multiple sclerosis and hypertension.Link Found between Vitamin D Deficiency and Dementia
A new study has found that a deficiency in this important vitamin may also play a role in the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
An estimated 40-75% of all adults are vitamin D deficient. This may be because vitamin D is only naturally present in a few foods. It can be absorbed through sunlight, but because of concerns about skin cancer, doctors recommend getting vitamin D through certain food and supplements.
An international research team conducted a study that observed over 1,600 seniors for six years. They found that those who were severely deficient in vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s and dementia than those who had adequate levels.
Participants who were only mildly deficient had an increased risk of 53%, while those who were severely deficient had a 125% increased risk of developing dementia.
A recent study published in JAMA Neurology adds to the growing body of evidence linking low vitamin D levels to cognitive decline. The most recent study to demonstrate the importance of vitamin D to brain health involved 382 participants with an average age of 75.5 years. Some participants had dementia, others had mild cognitive decline and others were healthy.
Researchers took blood tests every year for five years to evaluate the vitamin D levels in each participant and found that participants who had been diagnosed with dementia had a lower vitamin D average than the other groups. Researchers also conducted cognitive tests that evaluated episodic memory, semantic memory, visual perception and executive function. Those tests showed that participants with lower levels of vitamin D demonstrated a greater decline in both cognitive ability and episodic memory.
Authors of the study say that their findings demonstrates a link between vitamin D and cognitive decline: