Low Vitamin D Levels May Significantly Raise Dementia Risk
More and more research is highlighting the fact that vitamin D intake among mature adults is far too low, and that this deficiency could be damaging their health. A new study by researchers from Britain, Italy and the United States now links the risk of dementia to inadequate levels of vitamin D.
The study, which was published in the July 2010 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that low levels of vitamin D may significantly increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia among mature adults.
858 Italians aged 65 or older were recruited for the study and followed for 6 years. The researchers assessed cognitive decline using a well known method called the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE.)
They found that the participants with the lowest levels of vitamin D had a staggering 60% increased risk of substantial cognitive decline by the end of the study. Those participants were also 31% more likely to experience problems shifting their attention between tasks with different cognitive requirements.
These findings show that vitamin D supplementation may work as a preventative measure and possibly even a treatment for dementia.
Vitamin D is important for many other things as well, such as bone health, boosting the immune system and even reducing the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Currently, approximately 90% of mature adults are vitamin D deficient, in large part due to the fact that our skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing the vitamin as we age.
Vitamin D levels can be increased by taking a daily vitamin D supplement or incorporating more vitamin D fortified foods into the diet. Some foods that are often fortified with vitamin D are yogurt, milk, orange juice, cereals and margarine.