Vitamin D deficiency directly linked to dementia, study finds

Credit: Карина Панченко/ Pixabay

In a study from the University of South Australia, scientists found a direct link between dementia and a lack of vitamin D.

They found low levels of vitamin D were associated with lower brain volumes and an increased risk of dementia and stroke; genetic analyses supported a causal effect between vitamin D deficiency and dementia.

in some populations, as much as 17% of dementia cases might be prevented by increasing everyone to normal levels of vitamin D (50 nmol/L).

Dementia is a chronic or progressive syndrome that leads to deterioration in cognitive function. Globally, more than 55 million people have dementia with 10 million new cases diagnosed every year.

Vitamin D is a hormone precursor that is increasingly recognized for widespread effects, including on brain health, but until now it has been very difficult to examine what would happen if we were able to prevent vitamin D deficiency.

In the study, the team analyzed data from 294,514 participants from the U.K. Biobank, examining the impact of low levels of vitamin D (25 nmol/L) and the risk of dementia and stroke.

The team says the findings are important for the prevention of dementia and appreciating the need to abolish vitamin D deficiency.

The study is the first to examine the effect of very low levels of vitamin D on the risks of dementia and stroke, using robust genetic analyses among a large population.

In some contexts, where vitamin D deficiency is relatively common, our findings have important implications for dementia risks.

Indeed, in this U.K. population, the team observed that up to 17% of dementia cases might have been avoided by boosting vitamin D levels to be within a normal range.

The findings are incredibly significant given the high prevalence of dementia around the world.

The team says dementia is a progressive and debilitating disease that can devastate individuals and families alike.

If they are able to change this reality by ensuring that none of us is severely vitamin D deficient, it would also have further benefits and we could change the health and well-being of thousands.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about a new way to predict dementia before symptoms appear, and new way to treat mild dementia.

For more information about dementia, please see recent studies about how to stop dementia from nose, and results showing half of older adults now die with a dementia diagnosis.

The study was conducted by Professor Elina Hyppönen et al and published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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