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Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Dementia and Alzheimer's

Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's, according to a new hypothesis published in the June 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

The hypothesis, by William Grant, PhD, from the Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center, is based on a growing body of research linking vitamin D deficiency to a number of risk factors for dementia.

Some of these factors include increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and periodontal disease.

According to Grant, vitamin D deficiency is linked to several risk factors for dementia, and therefore could play a role in the development of dementia as well.  He claims the association is very strong based on two key factors.

First, there are a number of observational studies which support the beneficial role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of diseases linked to dementia, such as vascular and metabolic diseases.

Second, a large number of studies have found that vitamin D reduces the risk of several mechanisms that lead to dementia.

A recent study from China published in the April 2009 issue of Diabetes Care found that 94% of older adults are vitamin D deficient or insufficient.

This is in large part due to the fact that as you grow older, your skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D from the sun.

A good way to boost you vitamin D levels is by taking a high quality supplement or eating more foods fortified with vitamin D.  Fish, milk products and many cereals either contain vitamin D naturally, or are fortified with the vitamin.

Ensuring you get enough vitamin D in your diet is essential, particularly as you age, seeing as the vitamin has been linked to lower blood pressure, increased calcium absorption, stimulation of the immune system, regulation of cell growth and protection against certain cancers.

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