Why You Need Vitamin D, Are Deficient, And An Alzheimer’s And Dementia Risk

There are several reasons why you need Vitamin D in the prevention of things like osteoporosis to prevent brittle bones. However, a new study suggests most Americans, particularly seniors, are deficient and have double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

A team of researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School in England gathered research on 1,658 elderly volunteers who participated in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Based on data collected between 1992-1993 and again in 1999, the group concluded there is a connection between Vitamin D deficiency and a person’s risk of developing a brain disorder later in life, according to Neurology. Now, the “why” part may be known.

During the research, blood levels of hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) were drawn from participants. At the time, all members had relatively clean bills of health: everyone was free of heart disease, history of stroke or neurological disorders of the brain regarding memory.

Average followup of all study participants was about 5.6 years. During that time, 171 went on to develop overall dementia, 102 of which were Alzheimer’s disease sufferers. A parallel was drawn, which was statistically significant, with those with severe levels of Vitamin D concentrations (less than 25 nmol/L) and those with the newly-diagnosed condition. Moreover, those who were free from all-cause dementia typically had D levels of the vitamin in higher levels (greater than or equal to 50 nmol/L).

A New York City neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, who specializes in memory disorders, believes that, in order to lessen or prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, there needs to multiple interventions.

“This study points to the importance of good levels of vitamin D in helping to prevent onset of Alzheimer’s disease in late life, the most common type of Alzheimer’s. Vitamin D helps to prevent the accumulation of the toxic amyloid plaque that is present in Alzheimer’s disease and prevents vascular brain disease,” said Dr. Gayatri Devi.”

As the FDA, scientists and doctors often say, more research is needed in order to make a definitive conclusion before treatment plans created. However, from the data collected in this study, the likelihood is high that deficiency of Vitamin D has a negative impact on more than heart health, and is a strong precursor to Alzheimer’s and dementia. In fact, as reported previously by The Inquisitr, due to the large scale of this study, the results have more significance than previous studies that only showed a small correlation.

Meanwhile, in order to increase levels, the best source is from Mother Nature herself: the sun. Experts say, depending on one’s skin color, a person can get an ample supply of D from a few minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen). The general rule is that a person with fair skin only needs no more than 10 minutes of direct exposure daily. Those with darker skin may need as much as 20-30 minutes. However, due to the threat of skin cancer, it is recommended that your doctor is consulted first.

Other sources of the D Vitamin can be obtained from dairy products, eggs, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), and D3 supplements. Go here for more on why you need Vitamin D.

[Image via iclipart]