Onset of dementia may be delayed or possibly avoided by making sure people have sufficient vitamin D, a new study suggests.
The study, published online April 22, 2022, by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analyzed more than 294,000 people (most of them women over 60) living in the United Kingdom. Using blood tests on all participants and neuroimaging tools on about 34,000, researchers looked for associations between vitamin D levels and risks of dementia and stroke. A normal blood vitamin D level was defined as at least 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L); a deficiency was defined as less than 25 nmol/L.
Low vitamin D levels were linked with an increased risk of both dementia and stroke over the following 11 years. Based on this observational study, people with low vitamin D levels were found to have a 54% chance of developing dementia compared with people whose levels were normal. Researchers acknowledged that these results do not prove that taking extra vitamin D, even if you have a low blood level, can prevent dementia.
Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about your vitamin D levels.
This article was originally published by Harvard Women's Health Watch