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Vitamin D Deficiency May Double the Risk of Dementia

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased risk of osteoarthritis, cavities, high cholesterol, depression and hip fractures. A recent study suggests that having a vitamin D deficiency may double the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Participants in the study included 1,658 people over the age of 65 who did not have dementia, cardiovascular disease, or a previous history of strokes at the onset of the study. The researchers followed the participants for an average of 5.6 years, during which time 171 of them developed Alzheimer’s disease.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that people with between 25-50 nanomoles per liter of vitamin D were 53% more likely to develop dementia compared to those with normal levels (50 nmol/L). Particiapants who had less than 25 nmol/L had a 125% higher risk when compared with people who had 50 nmol/L.

Additionally, people with lower levels of vitamin D were 70% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and those who were severely deficient were 120% more likely.

Researchers from the UK’s University of Exeter Medical School, the French Angers University Hospital, Florida International University, Columbia University, University of Washington, University of Pittsburgh, Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Center for Clinical Management Research and the University of Michigan conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 6, 2014, in the journal Neurology.

Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin damage, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

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