Low vitamin D linked to dementia
A new study published in the journal Neurology concludes that low levels of vitamin D are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and also that many older adults have severely low levels of the vitamin, putting them at a much greater risk for dementia.
Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School in the U.K. analyzed 1,658 dementia-free people over 65 who had participated in the US population-based Cardiovascular Health Study. The vitamin D levels in their blood were tested and they were followed up for an average of 5.6 years. During this follow-up period, 171 of the participants developed dementia and 102 participants developed Alzheimer's disease. The researchers found the participants with low levels of vitamin D were 53 percent more likely to develop dementia, and those who were severely deficient were 125 percent more likely, when compared with participants with healthy levels of vitamin D.
While the research did establish a clear link between vitamin D and dementia, it did not show that vitamin D deficiency actually causes dementia. The scientists' next step is to set up clinical trials to establish whether eating foods such as oily fish or taking vitamin D supplements can delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.