According to the latest research published in the Journal of Neurology, “Elderly people who are highly deficient in vitamin D may be at an increased risk of becoming afflicted with brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s as compared to people who are not deficient.”
The chief scientist of the University of Exeter Medical School, David Llewellyn, said that they anticipated finding a link between low levels of vitamin D and the probable risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, but the outcome of the study was astounding. In fact, the link was twice as strong as they expected.
Researcher Llewellyn who led the ‘Blood and Lung Institute’s Cardiovascular Health Study’ checked the data of more than fifteen hundred Americans who were above the age of 65. He, together with his team of researchers, found that elders who were moderately deficient in vitamin D were at a fifty-three percent threat of suffering from diseases, including a drop in mental ability such as dementia. However, the risk amplified by twenty five percent for older adults who were severely deficient in vitamin D.
In the same way, adults who were moderately deficient in vitamin D were at a sixty-nine percent risk of developing Alzheimer’s while severely deficient adults were at a twenty two percent increased danger of getting Alzheimer’s.
Llewellyn says that they further require a clinical study to ensure if consuming foods rich in oily fish and taking vitamin D supplements can help to prevent or delay the occurrence of mental cognitive diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Llewellyn further states that they need to be watchful of their findings since it is an initial stage, and moreover the study does not determine if low vitamin D levels cause dementia. However, he and his team of researchers are hopeful of their findings. They believe if only a handful of people could benefit, this might be highly beneficial for the health of the public. This is because we all are aware of the deadly effects of mind disorders including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Currently, there are more than five million people alone in the United Sates who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. The Chicago-based Alzheimer’s Association has further found that Alzheimer’s is the sixth largest cause of death in America where one out of three elderly people die because of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
According to the director of scientific programs, Keith Fargo, this research is noteworthy. It is one of those major studies that is able to find out the probable link between the deficiency of vitamin D and Alzheimer’s. However, it could not tell the reason for the same. Nonetheless, Fargo reported that the brain as well as its hippocampus region is rich in vitamin D receptors. It is important to note here that the hippocampus is one of those regions of the brain that breaks down first with the onset of Alzheimer’s.
The primary sources of vitamin D are sunshine and supplements. Other trivial sources are foods are egg yolk and oily fish such as sardines and salmon. There are many other studies that support the possible association of low levels of vitamin D and Alzheimer’s. A study conducted in Denmark also found the same connection. Furthermore, studies done in France and Australia found shaky links between taking supplements of vitamin D and a better memory. Numerous other studies have also linked vitamin D to the prevention of numerous other diseases such as cancer, asthma, and diabetes.
John Cannel, MD, executive director of the California-based nonprofit Vitamin D Council says that there are many people who underestimate the significance of vitamin D for the prevention of mental diseases. However, vitamin D has a huge impact on the health of an individual since it is a steroid hormone and is able to switch genes on and off unlike any other vitamin. It may be surprising to believe, but there are more than one-thousand types of diverse genes that are directly affected by vitamin D. Cannel recommends people to attempt multiple approaches in order to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D. Necessary sun exposure as well as prescribed supplements in the winter months can help to maintain the levels of vitamin D to optimum.
Cannel found the findings of this new study quite promising mainly because the structure and size of the study was huge. The study took into account the data of large number of participants and followed them for several years. He said that the next constructive step is a randomized controlled trial. However, still the results of this study seem quite accurate.