Dementia and Vitamin D Deficiency: Is There a Link?

Vitamin D

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Also, test subjects who had low levels of vitamin D had a 70 percent increase in the risk of Alzheimer’s and subjects who had severe deficiencies had an increased risk of as much as 120 percent! The study authors from the University of Exeter Medical School in England, were surprised by the study results saying that the link was twice as strong as they had expected it to be.

The authors took into account variables such as smoking, education, alcohol consumption, and the results remained the same.

Clinical trials are now needed to determine if eating certain foods high in vitamin D, or taking supplements can prevent or delay the onset of dementia. This study is an important one as it’s the first large scale study done concerning dementia and vitamin D intake. Although scientists are sure why a lack of vitamin D can lead to dementia, one idea is that the brain, especially the hippocampus, is one of the first areas to show signs of dementia, and it’s literally full of vitamin D receptors.

Most people don’t believe research about the benefits of vitamin D because it seems too good to be true and too easy to be possible. However, vitamin D is vastly underrated. It has a profound action mechanism that is similar to a steroid hormone that can actually turn genes off and on. No other vitamin works in this manner. There are more than 1,000 types of genes that are directly influenced by vitamin D. Read also about Vitamin D deficiency link to prostate cancer risk.

How to be sure you get sufficient levels of this all important vitamin? Safe sun exposure, a healthy diet, combined with supplements, especially in the winter months if you live in an area that gets little sun.

Sources:

American Academy of Neurology news release, accessed 6 August 2014 via Newswise.

CDC Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease, accessed 6 August 2014.

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