The importance of adequate levels of vitamin D has been in the news for several years now. Doctors have known that as people age their ability to convert sunlight into the vitamin D that we all need diminishes and that low vitamin D levels can contribute to various health problems. The new findings of a recent study published in the journal Neurology the show a promising link between good vitamin D levels and decreased risk of dementia.
For a period of six years, researchers out of United Kingdom’s University of Exeter Medical School observed over 1600 adults over the age of 65 not suffering from any signs of dementia at the beginning of the study. Of the 1600 plus adults in the study, 171 had developed dementia or Alzheimer’s disease six years later. Results showed that the adults with good levels of vitamin D cut their risk of developing dementia to 1 in 10, as compared to adult with lower levels of vitamin D.
Researchers were highly encouraged by the results. The lead author of the study, Dr. David J. Llewellyn, was actually surprised with the results he found as he explains, “We expected to find an association between low vitamin D levels and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but the results were surprising – we actually found that the association was twice as strong as we anticipated.”Of important note is the fact that even after adjusting for other pertinent factors, such as smoking, the results of the study remained unchanged.
The best vitamin D sources are sunlight, some coldwater fish, and supplements. Many physicians recommend vitamin D supplements as it is hard to get adequate amounts of vitamin D through diet and sunlight alone. Finally, it is important to note that while initial results are promising, health experts explain that more evidence is needed for conclusive recommendations.