Another link between vitamin D and dementia

Research among Asian subjects supports earlier research on North Americans and Europeans that finds that low levels of vitamin D may double the risk of cognitive decline.

Another study has linked low vitamin D levels with a higher risk of cognitive decline in older people. The latest study, conducted among 1,200 Chinese subjects, echoes findings from earlier research that suggested that a lack of the vitamin may double the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from Duke University and Duke-NUS Medical School set out to learn if the links between vitamin D levels and cognitive decline in the elderly in Asia were consistent with findings from studies conducted with subjects who lived in North American and Europe. They analyzed data from Chinese participants who were at least 60 years old at the start of the study, measuring their baseline vitamin D levels. Then, they assessed their cognitive abilities over two years.

Regardless of gender and age, the people with lower vitamin D levels at the start of the study were approximately twice as likely to exhibit significant cognitive decline over time. In addition, low vitamin D levels at baseline were also associated with double and triple the risk of future cognitive impairment. The results were published in the Journals of Gerontology.

"The findings reinforce the idea that vitamin D protects against neuron damage and loss, and call for more intensive investigations into the effects of vitamin D supplements on cognitive decline," according to a Duke university release about the work.

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