According to a recent study, researchers are able to confirm the link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia. An international team of researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School discovered that participants who had a severe vitamin D deficiency were also twice at risk of developing dementia as well as Alzheimer’s disease. The results were published in the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The researchers observed elderly Americans who took part in the Cardiovascular Health Study. The researchers chose 1,658 participants aged 65 and over. The chosen participants were able to walk unaided and were free from dementia at the study onset. The researchers then followed the participants for six years to determine who among the participants eventually developed Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
During their study, the researchers discovered that participants who were moderately deficient in vitamin D also had a 53 percent increased risk of developing any form of dementia. Those who were found to be severely deficient of vitamin D had a 122 percent increased risk.
According to Dr David Llewellyn, who led the study, “We expected to find an association between low Vitamin D levels and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but the results were surprising — we actually found that the association was twice as strong as we anticipated.”
“Clinical trials are now needed 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. We need to be cautious at this early stage and our latest results do not demonstrate that low vitamin D levels cause dementia. That said, our findings are very encouraging, and even if a small number of people could benefit, this would have enormous public health implications given the devastating and costly nature of dementia,” Dr. Llewellyn further added.
The said study was the first large scale research into the relationship between dementia risk and vitamin D where the diagnosis was conducted by a team of multidisciplinary experts using an extensive range of data, which included neuroimaging. Previous studies have indicated that vitamin D deficiency is linked to the development of cognitive problems in people. This study confirms that the deficiency of the said nutrient will lead to a substantial increase of dementia risk.
Source: University of Exeter. (2014, August 6). Link between vitamin D, dementia risk confirmed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806161659.htm