Osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s: Is There a Link?

Pam Flores @phflores Health Guide
  • November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and we'd like to discuss the comorbidity between these two conditions.

     

    In a study done at The Third Military Medical University in ChonQing, China that was published in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease a link was established between these two medical disorders.  In addition to these two diseases, we know that depression is also linked to osteoporosis as well, along with other mental diseases.

     

    For the prospective study, the researchers followed 2,019 community residents aged 65 years or older for five years. During the follow-up, 132 Alzheimer's disease cases were identified. 

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    Zhou et al. found baseline bone mineral density, bone loss rate, current cigarette smoking, daily alcohol drinking and lower leptin levels were correlated with elevated risk of Alzheimer's disease.

     

    The missing link between low bone density and high risk of Alzheimer's disease could be vitamin D, which has been associated with both osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease, a health observer suggested.


    Vitamin D is a vital nutrient necessary to stave off so many medical disorders, like cancer, bone loss, heart disease, mineral metabolism disorders and others.  We know that approximately 50% of people, world wide, are classified as being vitamin D deficient according to the Vitamin D Council and it's recommended to determine whether you are deficient or not by having a serum vitamin D test called 25 (OH) D blood test.  This test is easy to perform and the results can tell your physician how much D you need to take to maintain a level sufficient enough to elevate your bodily stores of this vitamin throughout the year.  If you are extremely deficient, you may be prescribed a therapeutic dose of 50,000 or 100,000 International Units per week or month of Drisdol (D2), until you reach a level necessary to maintain your reserves during the many seasons of the year.

     

    If this study is correct and vitamin D is implicated in Alzheimer's, then it's not hard to understand its connection to bone loss since we have to maintain a level of D, at all times, that will strengthen our bones.

     

    If you have a family member, friend or find yourself low in this vitamin it is imperative to increase your intake to an amount that will raise your score significantly so it will remain in the ≥ 50 ng/ml regions.  If this sounds high, per your local labs idea of normal - which is usually around 30 ng/mL (125 nmol/L) - that's because the newer research has not reached the testing labs woefully low cut off point.  We need to get our labs to rethink the normal score to coincide with the latest testing from the vitamin D experts who've done a tremendous amount of study in this area to prove their recommendations.

     

    Vitamin D is vital in the treatment of bone health, and those who are insufficient in this nutrient were 2.3 times more likely to have dementia, and 2.5 times more likely to have Alzheimers according to the study above from The Third Military Medical University in ChonQing.

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    Since there are few foods containing vitamin D, aside from fatty fish, eggs, cod liver oil and fortified milk, you'll probably need to get it in the form of a Dɜ supplement.  If your doctor should prescribe vitamin D in a therapeutic dose, be aware that it can be ordered in Dɜ form instead of D2 which does not have the bioavailability that Dɜ does.

     

    So if you are dealing with both of these disorders, or you want to prevent both, have your vitamin D levels checked. 

     

    Also be aware that certain medications that can interfere with the absorption of D so check this list to see if you are taking any of these things that might hinder the benefits of your daily D intake.

     

    If we can get our vitamin D levels up, maybe, just maybe we can prevent some of the incidences of Alzheimer's and osteoporosis, so do your best to make this happen today.

     

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Published On: November 10, 2011