Interesting information released from the University of Exeter Medical School.
The team studied elderly Americans who took part in the Cardiovascular Health Study. They discovered that adults in the study who were moderately
deficient in vitamin D had a 53 per cent increased risk of developing dementia of any kind, and the risk increased to 125 per cent in those who were
I saw this on the news last night and I have to admit, I'm a little concerned. I've read other articles in the past few weeks that indicate
Vitamin D deficiency is also linked with heart problems, arthritis, major depression, diabetes, cognitive impairment, and more. Obviously, Vitamin D
has a connection to many parts of the body, including the brain. This latest study adds an increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer's as part of
the problems associated with deficiency.
We need to be careful here, however. As one doctor warns,
" We need to be cautious at this early stage and our latest results do not demonstrate that low vitamin D levels cause dementia."
The problem is, vitamin D deficiency is now a reality for many in the population. According to
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
, vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a
So who's likely to have low levels of vitamin D? People with limited sun exposure (such as folks who live in more northern climes, use too much
sunscreen, or remain indoors excessively), people with darker pigmentation, those with kidney failure, obese persons, and the elderly. Your doctor
can test your vitamin D levels with a simple blood test.
How do you increase your vitamin D levels? According to the article, there are three main ways. Increase exposure to sunlight, eat more oily fish,
and take supplements. For some people, however, these steps are not enough.
I'm one of those people. I make it a point to be outdoors for at least an hour every day, soaking up sunshine. I don't really like fish but on my
doctor's recommendation I take cod liver oil (ugh). As for supplements, my levels are low enough that I have to take prescription strength vitamin D
and my doctor gives me a shot twice a year. Even with all this, my vitamin D levels are still under the recommended levels. So hearing on the news
that deficient levels are associated with greater risk of dementia and Alzheimer's isn't exactly comforting.
You can find a plethora of information online discussing the signs and symptoms of low vitamin D. It might not be amiss to talk with your doctor
about testing your level next time you have a physical.