The understanding of the role of vitamin D in maintaining optimal health has advanced sharply in the past two decades. There is mounting evidence for beneficial roles for vitamin D in reducing the risk of bone diseases and fractures, many types of cancer, bacterial and viral infections, autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. Recently, several reports have also been published regarding the role of vitamin D in neuroprotection. This article develops the hypothesis that vitamin D can reduce the risk of developing dementia, presenting the evidence from observational and laboratory studies. The observational evidence includes that low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, depression, dental caries, osteoporosis, and periodontal disease, all of which are either considered risk factors for dementia or have preceded incidence of dementia.
Vitamin D Deficiency Drastically Raises Your Risk for Dementia
According to one recent study, seniors who have low vitamin D levels may double their risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Specifically, compared to those with vitamin D levels in the normal range:
- Those with low levels had a 53 percent increased risk for dementia, and a 70 percent higher risk of Alzheimer's
- Severely deficient individuals had a 125 percent higher risk for dementia and 120 percent higher risk for Alzheimer's
As noted by the authors: “This adds to the ongoing debate about the role of vitamin D in nonskeletal conditions.”
The Link Between Depression and Dementia
Other recent research has found links between depression and dementia, and between vitamin D deficiency and depression. One eight-year-long study from Rush University Medical Center found that higher levels of depression translated into greater risk for dementia later on.
The severity of the depression was also linked to the speed of memory …
Vitamin D sufficiency is important both when it comes to preventing depression and pain, but a vast majority of seniors are also vitamin D deficient. So here again we see how a vicious cycle can be set into motion by vitamin D deficiency.
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