A new study published this week in Neurology from the American Academy of Neurology week shows that those who have moderate to severe deficiencies in vitamin D are more inclined to develop Alzheimers disease other similar forms of dementia than those who have higher levels. Alzheimers disease is a form of degenerative memory loss which affects over 5 million people in the United States. It is estimated that it can affect over 16 million people by 2050. It can progress over time to cause serious impairments with daily life. The study showed vitamin D levels below 25 nm/L had highest risk. People with levels above 50nm/L appear to have more protection for brain health.
The study done at the University of Exeter Medical School found that adults who suffered from a moderate deficiency of vitamin D had a 53 percent higher risk of Alzheimers dementia while those who had severe deficiencies were noted to have a 122 percent raised risk. It was thought that the counter argument that those with severe dementia may have personality changes which can cause vitamin D deficiency was unlikely.
This link was a surprise to the scientist but is exciting new information since we do not have many direct ways to protect against Alzheimers. Vitamin D has been shown to help with bone density, cardiovascular protection and certain inflammatory conditions, however, more data and studies are needed to confirm the new link with dementia and advise guidelines for intake of vitamin D specifically for prevention of Alzheimers.
For now people should get their levels checked at least once a year and discuss with their physician what the appropriate vitamin levels should be for their health issues.