Vitamin D is all over health headlines these days—and with good reason. Vitamin-D deficiencies have been linked to increased risk of cancer and a multitude of other conditions including heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and now—the latest—dementia. A new study in the Journal of Geriatric Psychology and Neurology has found that low levels of vitamin D in adults over the age of 65 may be linked to cognitive impairment.
The study, which surveyed almost 2,000 adults, is the largest body of research to identify this relationship, supporting other studies indicating the role of vitamin D in brain development. Smaller studies have shown that serum 25-hydroxyviatmin D [25(OH)D] is a good indicator of vitamin D status and can be used to determine levels of cognitive function. Results of this study indicated that people with normal cognitive function had higher levels of serum 25(OH)D than people who were cognitively impaired.
Most people get their daily dose in the sunshine or in fortified foods, but with age, the skin absorbs less vitamin D even with adequate sun exposure. Seniors don’t have to pack up and move to the Florida sunshine, but it is extremely important for adults over 65 to increase their daily vitamin D intake, usually through supplements. Find out what to look for in a vitamin D supplement.